FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 1 (DC/Vertigo)

FBP v1 cover

Rating:  4.5/5 – Who knew physics could be so much fun?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Jeff Bouchard.

Over the last several years, the Vertigo line of comics has seen many changes.  From the transition of Executive Editor Karen Berger who had overseen many of Vertigo’s popular titles to the ending of longtime series such as Hellblazer, many questioned what was ahead for Vertigo.  After seeing new titles hit the shelves like Scott Snyder’s The Wake and Jeff Lemire’s mini-series Trillium; and now reading volume 1 of FBP Federal Buruea of Physics, I feel comfortable knowing that the creative freedom that drew creators to the publisher and spawned such great titles as Fables, Preacher, Y: The Last Man and DMZ in the past is alive and well today.

FBP Federal Bureau of Physics volume 1: The Paradigm Shift (the series was called Collider for it’s 1st monthly issue) is one of the most unique and fun stories I have read over the last twelve months.  The volume collects the first seven issues of the title and I have to hand it to Vertigo for producing a trade paperback that contains that many issues at the low cover price of $9.99 and providing an inexpensive entry to the title for new readers.  I believe my copy was discounted but even if it wasn’t I think $10 for seven issues of a comic is a good deal, anything below original cover price seems like a steal, especially when you factor in the content but your own mileage may vary on how you feel about pricing.

The world of FBP is one where the laws of physics are sketchy at best.  People experience gravity failures and wormholes on a daily basis.  Enterprising citizens harness dark matter to perform prison escapes.  In order to combat these issues, there is a government agency (the FBP) whose agents handle these irregularities.  Adam Hardy, the main agent the story follows, has a checkered and mysterious past, as the first several pages outline with the questions surrounding Adam’s father who was investigating these physics irregularities years ago.

FBP is written by Simon Oliver (co-creator of the Vertigo series The Exterminators), with Robbi Rodriquez on art.  Rico Renzi is the colorist and Steve Wands and Jared K. Fletcher share the lettering duties.  The art is one of the strengths of the book in my opinion, with Rodriguez’s unique style handling the various physics irregularities quite well.  He and Renzi really showcase their talents on the pages in the bubble dimension where almost anything is possible and the lines and colors pop off the page in many of the panels.  Rodriquez’s style is reminiscent of artist Riley Rossmo’s where it is scratchy and rough and each character is expressive.

FBP is an interesting idea with multiple layers of intrigue added for good measure.  There is the mystery around Adam’s father, his new partner and her history, and the deregulation of the physics management business all pulling the FBP agents in various directions.  With the change of partners and all that has happened throughout the first seven issues, you realize there is so much you don’t know about the main characters and their motivations.  At any moment, as Adam’s father states at the beginning of the first issue “the impossible’s always possible…”  That has me excited for the future of this series that has started strong out of the gate with a fantastic first volume.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard
(jeff@comicspectrum.com
)
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