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Collider #1: The Federal Bureau of Physics

Vertigo’s new series looks at patching up warped laws of physics as a routine job.

Collider #1

 

Collider, a Vertigo book from Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez, was something I heard about first at Comic-Con, and I thought it sounded pretty intriguing. A Federal Bureau of Physics is one more emergency service you dial 911 for – do you need firemen, police, an ambulance or physics? – because it's become commonplace for reality to warp in specific places for mysterious reasons.

For example, in Collider #1, Marshall High School is experiencing a localized gravity failure, which means teenagers are floating around on campus. Cue Agent Cicero of the FBP coming in with his task force, including hotshot Adam Hardy and wild vet Jay Kelly, coming in with all sorts of heavy-duty equipment to deal with the issue. The job threatens to go wrong when, during the repairs of a defect in the time/space membrane, the power levels of said defect are much higher than normal and threaten to suck Hardy into a gravitational vortex. Only Kelly's quick thinking saves the day. While Hardy catches shit later from Cicero (who gets a crack thrown his way about potentially having Asperger's, which immediately makes me interpret his personality as Abed Nadir from "Community," even though he looks like Dr. Steve Brule) about his fly by night attitude, we learn that Kelly is secretly in hock to some nefarious mustachioed 'secret meetings in cars' type of jerk who may or may not be responsible for the jacked up power levels.

I like the concept behind this series, but so far I'm not really hooked on the book, and a big part of that is the art from Rodriguez. It looks like it kinda wants to be Sean Murphy by way of Humberto Ramos, but it doesn't really gel, and it comes off as just sort of unpleasant. It's one of thos visceral responses one has to artwork sometimes – your mileage may vary. Maybe it's an aesthetic you'll be into, but I'm just not a big fan. I like my art for science-heavy stories to be sleek and slick, not sketchy and stretched. Also, Oliver's dialogue doesn't particularly crackle, either. It could be a matter of a brand new book full of brand new characters with no one to be invested in as yet, but no one jumped out to hook me.

I want to like Collider, and it's not actively bad, but its first issue didn't bring the excitement I'd hoped for.

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