Overview: FBP has been a strange title for me, I’m intrigued by the story and love the artwork, but for some reason it hasn’t “clicked” with me completely. This issue seemed to follow suit, but there is something about the series as a whole that keeps me coming back for more. There is a lot of mystery, and series scribe Simon Oliver certainly does not spoon feed, so there is a fine line he’s walking between giving away enough and withholding too much. This issue was enjoyable, but it still didn’t knock my socks off. Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi continue to impress with art that looks like nothing else on the shelves, and if this cover by Nathan Fox didn’t grab your attention from across the shop, then see an optometrist soon.
Story: This issue is part 2 of Adam and Rosa’s journey to
Eerie, Indiana Nakeet, Alaska. The setting is engaging because the people here just go with the flow–of physics!–and accept their newfound reality. I’m still not sure where this is all going to lead us, but I’m hoping by the end of this arc we have some of it figured out. Rosa is still acting strange, and while we get a glimpse into her past, but like Adam; we’re still left scratching our heads regarding her behavior, and she likes it that way, because she still refuses to open up. Intermittently we jump over to Cicero and his former partner waxing philosophic about the multiverse, which is interesting and all, but I’m not sure how it fits into the larger story, or if it’s just a chance for Oliver to expound his views on the subject. It all ends on a mysterious note as well with Adam and Rosa’s discovery of the bodies in the tank, which apparently doesn’t please Rosa. For the most part this issue just suffers from the same problems I’ve had with this series before. We’re getting a lot of intriguing developments, but nothing is leading to any revelations yet, just more mystery. Whether it is the motives of people at the bureau, or actions of our protagonists, this series needs to throw us a bone sooner or later, otherwise our interest won’t be sustained. I hope this arc leads to some answers, because I want to like this book more, and I want to see it succeed.
Artwork: One thing that is not ambiguous about this title is the aesthetic. Robbi Rodriguez has a distinctly abstract style that fits the tone of the series perfectly. Combined with the bright pallet and painted sound effects–I don’t know if Rodriguez or letterer Steve Wands is responsible for this–that jump off the page, this is a beautiful book. I’m sure the style is a bit polarizing and might not be for everyone, but you can’t argue against the fact that from a craftsmanship standpoint, the art team on this book is superb. There are so many wild ideas going on in this world where laws of physics are in flux, that a lesser team could muddle the storytelling or mess with the tone. One thing I’ve noticed is that you can flip through this book without reading it, and get a sense of what’s going on. With a story this complex you wouldn’t get it all, but the expressions of the people, and the choice of panel layouts are spot on from a storytelling perspective, and that is no small feat.
Conclusion: So this issue continued a trend I’ve felt with this series, I haven’t been “hooked” yet. On the plus side it also continued the trend of keeping me intrigued enough to keep reading it. The end of this arc will determine my future with this book, and I REALLY hope that it ends with me loving it. The art is fantastic as usual, and all in all I’m rooting for this series. I want the new Vertigo to succeed, and books like this that are truly different and challenging, but rewarding, are what Vertigo is all about. What did you guys/gals think of this issue? Please let me know in the comments, you can even tell me I’m dumb, and this series is way over my head, and I promise not to call you a hipster :) Thanks for reading!