FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 3: Audeamus
Simon Oliver, writer; Alberto Ponticelli, artist; Rico Renzi, colorist
Vertigo Comics, 2015

Volume 2 left off with a helicopter sent by the mysterious Mr. Blackwood. But before that story resumes, we get an origin story for Cicero, the FBP field agent with the crazy hair. He seemed destined to become an FBP scientist, but reading the collected papers of rogue scientist Professor Hardy convinced him to grapple with the new crazy physics more directly. As we discover, he is the father of Agent Adam Hardy, so he has already figured heavily in the story. He's supposed to be dead, but this is crazy physics...

Adam makes the acquaintance of a woman with a precocious young daughter named Ina. They give us an Everyman perspective on the collapse of the world. Blackwood tries to convince the FBP agents to join him in Project Audeamus, which he claims will use a dark matter generator he invented to restore the dark matter needed to prevent the collapse of reality.

This volume saw the departure of artist Robbi Rodriguez, co-creator of the series. Can't say I can recall a series going on without one of the creators. But artist Alberto Ponticelli stepped in with a compatible visual style, and got to create some new characters as well. Cover artist Nathan Fox stayed on, giving some additional visual continuity (he also helped out a bit on interiors).

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 4: The End Times
Simon Oliver, writer; Alberto Ponticelli, artist; Michael Wiggam, colorist
Vertigo Comics, 2015

Looks like the end in more ways than one at the outset of this collection. Ina and her mom are witnessing the complete collapse of society, while the FBP group learns that Blackwood may have a secret. Hardy takes the first craft into interdimensional space. He survives against all odds, and eventually the real purpose of Audeamus is revealed: it's an A.I. escape hatch for the rich backers of the project. They leave the world behind before it completely disintegrates. When Adam connects he meets his father, still existing in interdimensional space, and offering the chance for a reunion.

But Adam sees that his escape will be at the expense of the entire human race, and makes his choice. In the end the world is still in the midst of crazy physics, but it's still there. And a grown Ina is an FBP agent, on the case to protect mankind from the impossible--never forgetting that the impossible is always possible. Not a stereotypical happy ending, but a satisfying one, and full circle in a way.

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