Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colors: Rico Renzi
Review by Patrick Brennan
Vertigo’s new series Collider has finally hit the shelves, looking to join the likes of Image’s Nowhere Men and The Manhattan Projects as part of a new era in science fiction comics. Issue #1 begins with a brief prologue after which we are introduced to Adam Hardy, a member of the Federal Bureau of Physics. A government agency in the vein of the FBI, the FBP is responsible for the containment and prevention of anomalies like losses of gravity and spatial vortexes. There’s not much information given just yet as to why these anomalies are taking place, but it appears to be connected to scientific breakthrough made years previous. Hardy, a part of the old-school breed of “gunslinger, wild west FBP agents,” is coasting through life as he tries to juggle the pressures of his line of work and the politics that come with it. Meanwhile, there seems to be a conspiracy afoot, with hints of some sort of disaster looming that will no doubt cause problems for the agency, not to mention the world.
Story-wise, the book is pretty solid. Hardy feels a bit too much like the stereotypical “burnt out Special Agent” character at times, but there’s enough mystery to his backstory to make you want to read on. What’s fascinating from the start, and what writer Simon Oliver does well in this first outing, is the portrayal of a world that has taken in stride huge changes to common knowledge and everyday life. Thanks to these scientific leaps, people have grown used to what was once thought of as extraordinary. This change in culture is displayed wonderfully in one scene where a 911 dispatcher calmly and uninterestedly asks a caller what the nature of their emergency is: “fire…ambulance…police… or physics?”
Robbi Rodriguez’s work in this issue, though at times in need of a little refinement, is wonderful. He expertly captures the movements of characters, managing to retain the sense of that motion. This makes the action pop out in certain sections, with Hardy’s ordeal in the “localized gravity failure” being a standout example of this. Also, Rodriguez’s facial expressions greatly add to some of the more comedic moments. His art, along with Rico Renzi’s bright and vibrant coloring, give the book a really distinctive feel.
If you too think that “science is the new Rock & Roll,” then pick up Collider #1. While its debut isn’t exactly a homerun, its awesome blend of mystery and science fiction, coupled with its fun and expressive art style, shows a lot of potential. It should be fun to see what Oliver and Rodriguez have in store for us next issue.