Friday, May 23, 2014

Sketched Comic: Federal Bureau of Physics

Get out your, um – physics books? Look, all of this stuff is a bit over my head. Just go read FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics by Simon Oliver, Robbi Rodriguez, and Rico Renzi.

In a world where the physical laws of the universe are broken, there's only one organization to call: The Federal Bureau of Physics. Adam Hardy is one agent trying to keep the world from breaking apart, but he'll soon find out that there's a mysterious group trying to break the laws of physics on purpose!

What a weird, great idea for a book! If there's anyone into science and science fiction, this is the book for you. It's a crazy story of a universe breaking down where you can't trust anyone or anything. It's fantastic on all fronts.

Let's talk about the art, which is just wild. Rodriguez seems to be doing a combination of inks and darkened pencils, and it makes the whole thing look dynamic and fluid. Everything looks like it's in motion. His style really shines when things start to break down, like when Adam goes into a pocket universe where physical objects no longer have solid effects. I love his exaggerated character designs. I wouldn't say they're cartoony, but they all have so much character to them. You can see this in Cecero's constant scowl even with his full head of fuzzy hair, or Adam's prominent jaw and long nose. They're really great character studies. Renzi has to be given major props because the colors are incredibly vibrant. This is a book that's got bright pinks and purples, rabbit yellows and subtle turquoises. It's so crazy-looking.

I really love how diverse this book is. Adam is Indian, and Rosa Reyes, who joins the group later in the book, is Hispanic. That's awesome. This book is too cool a concept to have another boring white guy as the protagonist. I mean sure, Adam is still a guy with daddy issues who constantly beds women, but just making him Indian and adding that heritage (especially when we get to see his extended family), adds so much depth to a character that would otherwise have been just like five million others out there. And Rosa has an even crazier origins story, which I won't spoil here, but adds to the crazy nature of the book.

This book is really cool. The first issue deals with something that won't go over people's heads: The force of gravity is somehow nullified. And then it just gets weirder. They get into such strange, crazy stuff and I can't wait to see what they come up with next. There are tons of action and intrigue. For a book about physics, it's weird how political it gets. I like that it takes place years after this breakdown takes place, so everyone is more or less nonchalant about gravity not working or time displacement causing hours to be lost. The FBP wants to keep the department government-run, but people aren't always happy with the results and are clamoring for the private sector to take it over. That's kind of got real world issues in it, right?

The writing is great, the dialogue is fun, and, most importantly, the characters are really well-realized. Adam is usually easy-going but has some emotional issues. Cecero is so humorless and straight-edge that you don't know if you can trust him. And Rosa is a complete blank slate, unsettling everyone who works with her. Jay is probably the most normal, but he seems to be hiding something. I also like how much intrigue is surrounding the agency, and what the hell is really going on with the world. It's a very engaging story. 

I'm trying to find out more to write about this comic but it's just a really well-written, diverse, beautiful, cool comic. You should go pick it up!

THE GOOD: Diverse, cool concept, smart, great visuals and character designs, great colors, cool story.

THE BAD: I mean I guess if you don't like science???

THE VERDICT: $$$$$ Go pick it up! It's a great read, really smart and really gorgeous, and you can pick up the first volume for about $10!

BOOKS LIKE IT: The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Atomic Robo, Hellboy

ONE-PAGE METAPHOR: When something creates a pocket universe, Adam and Jay must go in and shut it down. The laws of physics are completely wrong. A construction worker falls onto a woman, colliding with her and creating this grotesque gooey monster. 

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