“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez
Prior Experience With Title
None, but it is a new property so I’m pretty much in the same boat as everyone else except for the ones that already bought the first three. I really had no clue what this series was about besides something to do with physics gone amuck and that there was some sort of problem with its original name which leads me to…
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
The whole reason it was on my radar to begin with was because I saw an article on Bleeding Cool that stated this new series called Collider was forced to undergo a name change due to a conflict with a pre-existing comic title. It caught my attention sitting on the shelf after that moment so I decided “why not?” and picked it up.
We open in Baja Mexico, some years ago. A gentleman is recording a video for his son explaining that things are changing, that the actual laws of physics are being broken. Before he can get too in-depth, he’s pulled away to address an oncoming quantum tornado which leads us to the present day. We quickly meet his son and the main character of this series, Adam Hardy, who is helping an old lady with her broken-down car until her attractive young niece arrives, leading him to turn off his communicator and show us what a ladies man he can be. Meanwhile, a high school principal calls 911 to report an emergency, but this emergency is not fire, ambulance, or police related but rather a physics emergency. We flip the page to see fifteen to twenty teenagers floating up in the air, getting higher and higher because of a localized gravity failure. The Federal Bureau of Physics is sent to meet the problem head on and they subsequently rescue the teens. They also bring a device that will help restore gravity by artificially stabilizing it with the follow-up being to lower an agent down to weld the membrane shut. Said agent is Adam who strolls in 90 minutes late, lipstick on his cheek, which completely annoys his superior, Cicero. Adam’s partner, Jay Kelly, volunteers to take his spot on the mission but Cicero insists Adam does it all the while Adam wonders what caused this anomaly in the first place. Adam explains to us that Jay is the last of the original F.B.P. agents, possessing more of a wild west mentality rather than the by the book directive of Cicero. After Adam is lowered, things appear to be going alright until they experience a total loss of gravity resulting in all hell breaking loose. Adam flies away uncontrollably until they fix the problem…which creates an even greater problem as he hurdles towards the vortex. Lucky for him, Jay acts quickly and throws a winch to save his life. Later, as Adam flirts with the nurse looking after him, Cicero gives him a lecture saying he doesn’t like Adam’s attitude and his laissez-faire way of life though does later confide in him that this event could be the result of something forming in close proximity to the Earth’s time-membrane. Still with me? We are then shown a video report that a mysterious individual is watching concerning that legislation is trying to defund the F.B.P. and open it up to the private sector. Jay meets up with this individual and questions him if it was his group’s doing that caused the events of the day. The mystery man’s response is rather bluntly that Jay is being paid well to complete a job for him, not ask questions. So it appears that Jay is a traitor…or is he? The issue ends with a gigantic, crazy-looking event in the sky, a physic event Adam’s father predicted would occur all those years ago.
Adam Hardy’s Father: Things are changing by the day, we’re on the verge of a new era of discovery. Some of the laws that were chiselled into stone at the beginning of time–hell, maybe even all of them–are not as permanent as we thought…and for those of us foolish enough to figure out the new rules, well, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Adam Hardy’s Father: Our universe is governed by predictable constants. Up has always been up, down is down…the arrow of time only flies in one direction…and 99.9999 times out of a hundred a dropped egg will break…quite literally the mysteries of the universe will be laid bare for the taking.
Adam Hardy’s Father: Given the right conditions the impossible’s always possible…never forget that and you’ll be just fine…
Principal Rogers: 911?
Operator: …And the nature of your emergency…fire, ambulance, police…or physics?
Adam Hardy: Hey, Cicero, an LGD, just like that, with no warning signs?
Cicero: Let’s worry about that later…
Jay Kelly: Which means…
Adam Hardy: He doesn’t &*^%$#& know.
Adam Hardy: Just another day at the office…only instead of putting on a suit and tie and punching a clock…we were putting our @^%&* on the line repairing the very fabric of the universe. And we had no clue what had already started and where it would lead us…
Adam Hardy: He saved both our @^%&* out there today. I hope you thanked him.
Adam Hardy: Jesus, Cicero, you ever been checked for Asperger’s?
Mystery Man: You’re fully expected to do whatever’s necessary to complete the job you were hired for, as we agreed.
Jay Kelly: And just supposing I fail?
Mystery Man: I would strongly advise against that outcome.
Adam Hardy: At that point we had no idea everything I and everyone else had grown so used to…was all about to change–again.
Final Verdict: The art was great and the story has just enough outside-the-box ideas and engaging mysteries that it leaves me wanting more. Whatever you want to call this series, the one thing that is certain with it is that aims to engage its readers for quite some time. Thusly, I’m going to have to Add It To My Pull-List. Now I just have to track down the other two issues…