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Comic Book / The Fuse

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22,000 Miles up, there is no backup. Working homicide on an orbiting solar-power-generation space station, in a five mile long jury-rigged steel city stuffed with a half million people, and no help from your so-called colleagues back on earth, is more than tough...it's murder.
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Ralph Dietrich, the Fuse's newest Homicide detective, has barely stepped off the shuttle when a homeless 'cabler' drops dead in front of him. As if that wasn't bad enough, he also accidentally insults his new boss - The Fuse's oldest Homicide detective, Sergeant Klem Ristovych.

But it's just a dead homeless person. Should be a slam dunk, right?

Maybe not. After a second cabler turns up dead on the steps of City Hall, the case takes Klem and Ralph through ever layer of Midway City, from the lowest hobo to the Mayor himself, as they carefully navigate Fuse society - not to mention each other.

And nobody is above suspicion.

Cynical, foul-mouthed veteran Antony Johnston (Umbral, Wasteland) gets partnered with fresh-faced idealist Justin Greenwood (Wasteland, Resurrection) for a new crime series with serious attitude!

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The Fuse provides examples of:

  • Becoming the Mask: Stephen Kachowski aka "Porl" in "Constant Orbital Revolutions" is an anti-terror undercover cop in the FLF who went native and became a sincere terrorist.
  • Body Double: In the "Perihelion" arc, Klem catches the "Haircut Killer" by impersonating the woman who she suspects he intends to kill next.
  • Bookcase Passage: "Constant Orbital Revolutions" has a miniature version, with a secret compartment in the victim's bedroom closet that is opened by moving a book.
  • Buddy Cop Show: The comic is based around the two protagonists Klem and Dietrich, who are police partners.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Leonid gets shot in "Constant Orbital Revolutions" but was prepared enough to wear one because he knew a sniper was on the loose.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Dietrich, superficially, although he actually has secret objectives that may not be wholly within the law.
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  • Cain and Abel: Dietrich's sister has no interest in reforming when he finds her and shoots him in the stomach before being herself killed by the other cops.
  • Camp Straight: Klem is the unusual Distaff Counterpart, a so-far straight woman with a very butch personality and dress sense.
  • Clear Their Name: In "Constant Orbital Revolutions", Klem's son Leonid is framed for complicity with the FLF.
  • Cold Sniper: "Porl" tries to snipe the Mayor at a campaign event.
  • Colonized Solar System: As well as the Fuse, there is implied to be a permanently-inhabited and breeding human colony on Mars.
  • The Comically Serious: Dietrich. It's implied that some of it is how he naturally is and some of it is trolling his colleagues.
  • Cool Old Lady: Klementina "Klem" Ristovych, a veteran homicide detective and former construction worker.
  • Cowboy Cop: Klem is an unusual female example.
  • Day in the Life: The "Perihelion" arc takes place in a twenty-four hour period, during the day of Earth's closest orbital approach to the Sun, which is a festival on the station but is also associated with out-of-control behaviour of different types.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Subverted in the "Russia Shift" arc, in which two homeless people are the murder victims but the crimes turn out to be very personally directed at them specifically.
  • Facial Recognition Software: It exists on the Fuse, but criminals and political dissidents wear "dazzle" make-up that breaks up the planes of the face and stops it from working.
  • Fictional Sport: Zero-G Ball, or "ziggyball", which appears to be a three-dimensional microgravity equivalent of either American football or basketball.
  • First-Name Basis: Dietrich notices the first time Klem calls him "Ralph", in the "Gridlock" arc.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Klem is not the most considerate or tactful of people.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Happens occasionally between the Midway City Police and the anti-terror squad, who are part of a separate organisation run from Earth.
  • Lean and Mean: Klem isn't a villain, but she's very thin and also very abrasive and dark-humoured.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Dietrich turns out to be searching for his sister, a life-long left-wing terrorist who has now joined the FLF.
  • Meaningful Name: "Russia shift" stands for the time the station flies over Russia as the earth rotates below them.
  • Mundane Dogmatic: The comic does its best to create a realistic vision of future humans in space, without Space Opera elements.
  • The Nick Namer: Klem immediately starts calling Dietrich "Marlene", after famous German actress Marlene Dietrich.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Mostly. The only significant change seems to be that men (and Klem) wear upright open shirt collars with no points, and what look like clip-on ties. The "wacky" fashions seen in the book are only slightly changed from contemporary crusty/punk styles.
  • Oddly Small Organisation: The Fuse's homicide squad consists of five people. Justified as all the services on the Fuse are severely underbudgeted.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Klem is in her sixties at least and Dietrich in his twenties or thirties.
  • Police Procedural: IN SPACE!!
  • The Political Officer: When Klem starts to suspect Dietrich's personal agenda, she suspects him of being this, although probably wrongly.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Played with. Other Fuse police officers are actually shocked that Dietrich volunteered to be transferred to The Fuse.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The incident in "Perihelion" where a pediatrician is mistaken for a pedophile by an uneducated mob is based on a notorious real incident in Britain in 2000.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The "haircut killer" turns out to be obsessed with his mother and to be trying to "become" her.
    • An Earth left-wing terrorist group briefly mentioned in the comic is called "Front 424", which is a reference to the Industrial music group Front 242.
    • "Zero-G Ball" was briefly mentioned as a sport in an episode of Red Dwarf, although it might be a coincidental similarity of imagination.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Klem is about to retire at the beginning of "Constant Orbital Revolutions" but decides not to after Dietrich has a family tragedy and is seriously injured.
  • They Fight Crime!: A young, by-the-book black guy paired up with an elderly white female Cowboy Cop.
  • Tomboyish Name: "Klem" for Klementina.
  • Two-Faced: Ralph's sister has some nasty scars on one side of her face due to a suicide bombing that she accidentally survived.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Ralph Dietrich. Black and either gay or bi.
  • Wacky Racing: The "Gridlock" arc centers around illegal racing across the surface of the solar panels, in hard-vacuum and on magnetic hover-bikes.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: There is a strong separatist lobby on the Fuse, divided into the constitutional-nationalist Midway Freedom Council and the terrorist Fuse Liberation Front.
  • Weapon of Choice: People make a habit of questioning Ralph's choice of using a real handgun in a space station instead of the usual 'bouncers' with ammo designed to disintegrate upon impact — so as to not cause damage to the actual station.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ralph's FLF lover Vernon gets shanked in jail to stop him talking.
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