REVIEW: “Federal Bureau of Physics” #5

(Vertigo / DC Comics, 2013)

Review by John Monaghan

Story:  Simon Oliver
Art: Robbi Rodriguez
Colours: Rico Renzi
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

In my reviews of FBP #1 and #2 I praised Oliver for the tension and pace of the comic, which plunged us head first into a world of physics anomalies where the fragment of the universe was unstable, and straight into a conflict between two partners at the FBP, two partners with a history and purpose. I was disappointed when issues #3 and #4 saw this conflict resolved without resolution in such a small space of time. Jay tried to shoot Adam inside a bubbleverse and missed, after chasing him and thinking he was killed by a truck, they met again where Jay told Adam that he was offered money to help people he didn’t know, that they had double crossed him, and ultimately sacrificed himself to buy Adam time to escape. My first disappointment was that upon Adam exiting the bubbleverse, the next page was a month in the future, where Adam and Cicero were taking retrospectively about the event, Cicero telling Adam to keep quiet as they didn’t really know anything. I didn’t like it for a number of reasons but the major one was that it seemed out of character for Adam not to be violently pursuing and investigating what had happened. Anyway, after this month with no coverage he took a leave of absence from the FBP, which is where issue #5 picks up as Adam is visiting his uncle.

I enjoyed the artwork, particularly a scene where Adam and his uncle smoke a joint together but #5 gave me a strong feeling of stasis and inactivity. For Adam, there doesn’t seem to be any sense of drive or urgency to uncover what exactly happened with Jay. The focus seems to shift to what happened to his father and more specifically why 3 months of his father’s research notes are missing from the trailer. #5 ends with the promise of Adam following this up and a rather unexciting closing scene where a new agent turns up to work at the FBP upon Adam’s return. I’m not saying that I’m not optimistic about the future of the comic. It stands to reason that Oliver will have a plan that will tie all these strands together hopefully into a pretty epic event. However, the rate of time passing – both in the comic and in the real world – without any sense of drive or determination or progression has left me feeling a little let down by the comic, and in no rush to pick up #6. I might, and I might enjoy it, but I feel like it’s been a sad two months for a comic that I was really hyped about at the outset.

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Follow John Monaghan on Twitter:  @deadlifts

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