The Fuse Vol. 2: Gridlock

Antony Johnston (Goodreads Author), Justin Greenwood (Illustrator)

Image Comics, 2015

The collection title refers to "Gridlocking:" maglev-bike races across the Fuse’s vast solar arrays, an illegal activity which has nonetheless attracted a huge audience for its clandestine broadcasts, even back on Earth. When the leading racer turns up dead, the situation is complicated by her being from a rich family, as well as being the announcer and public face of the sport. Detectives Klem and Ralph's investigation quickly turns up many complications, including the drug trade on The Fuse (so large it occupies an entire level on the station, called Smacktown), network licensing negotiations for the games, a rebel liberation group, and the usual family and marital complications. It's ultimately a murder mystery in a sci-fi setting, and like the first volume the clues are all there for the reader, giving us a chance to figure things out along with the police protagonists. There's one running joke that continues to tickle me. New arrival detective Frank Dietrich is German, and veteran Klem persists in calling him "Marlene" most of the time. There is some new information about Frank at the end of the arc--addressing the question of why a successful Earth cop would come to the station--which is bound to complicate things going forward.

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Definitely one of my favorite series -- both for the character interaction (including "Marlene") and the fair-play mystery aspect. I want to go back and read these books all in a bunch now, rather than in the single issues I bought them in, and see how they all connect.

Yeah, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the first volume until you brought the series up in another thread. It's available on the library Hoopla service, so there's no reason not to catch up. Much of Image's recent output is on there, which is why I also started reading the Nailbiter collections beyond the first one.

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