Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Steve Niles has, in recent years, made quite a name for himself with all of the horror comics he's been writing for IDW. With Fused we have the opportunity to see some of Niles' work pre-IDW fame, and in doing so we can see that it wasn't all that great. Actually, I can't blame the lackluster nature of this mini solely on Niles since there were more than a few other factors that led to the breakdown of this story, but at the center is definitely Niles.

As much praise as Niles has received for his horror work, most noteably his 30 Days of Night titles, I haven't been too impressed. Admittedly, I have only read the first 30 Days mini, but from that I found his style to be average and the title being a big crowd pleaser more for Templesmith's art than Niles' story. In Fused we have a story of a scientist who becomes "fused" into a robot body. After he becomes fused, some government agency takes up pursuit after him. You're never really informed as to what this governmental attack team has against our protagonist, but I'm pretty sure you're supposed to assume that the doctor he was working under was involved in some type of shadow ops program where he wasn't supposed to leave... yet he did.

The majority of the four issues is spent watching Mark, our fused main character, run from the military. This wouldn't necessarily have been a bad thing if there were more clear cut reasonings and explanations given for what was happening, but the only real reasons the reader is allowed to pick up on is the bad blood between Mark's boss and the military. This doesn't exactly work for me, unfortunately.

To complicate matters, this miniseries was originally solicited as an ongoing, but I'm assuming the sales must have been pretty low since it was retroactively turned into a miniseries that would complete in four issues. Niles may have been attempting to craft a much longer story that had to be truncated to fit into the allotted four issues so much of the underlying plot could have been scheduled for examination in issues #5 and beyond.

Another obstacle that this series faced was the artist rotations. Each issue had a different art team, but it wasn't supposed to be that way. Each team ended up quitting after one issue, except for Templesmith who ended up doing the last issue of the series. It's hard to keep a consistent tone when the art team is constantly in flux and there were some drastic changes between different art teams, namely between the first three issues and the fourth issue done by Templesmith.

Even though this series didn't work out, there is one very good thing that did come out of this, at least in the minds of many comic fans--the pairing up of Templesmith and Niles who would later work together on a myriad of titles. I'm just glad that Templesmith has received the recognition he has since I'm a huge fan of his art style. Fused ended up being a sizeable letdown for me, but at least the fourth issue was pretty, right?

Art: 3
Story: 2.25
Overall: 2.5

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