Review: Beyond the Fringe #5a
I'll admit, I do not watch the show The Fringe. I tried watching it the first season, and it just didn't click with me. As a rabid fan of The X-Files, that show really put bookends for me in this genre that probably will never be opened. But, when I heard via twitter that two of my all time favorite creators were going to pen the digital comic — I couldn't resist!
Combine the return of the insane writer of comic manifestos Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim, Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, Strange Tales) with the artistic genius of Becky Cloonan (Demo, Conan, Northlanders), and you may have the most wonderful combination since you put chocolate in my peanut butter.
The first thing I noted was the "5a" designation of this book. I did some research, and Beyond the Fringe alternates every two weeks between “A” and “B” storylines. “A” storylines explore events tied directly to the “Fringe” show canon, while “B” storylines take a “what-if” approach, and look at how things might change if certain elements are out of balance in some way. A very interesting approach.
The story revolves around an artificial arm attached to Nina Sharp that begins to write messages on its own. After some key background, we discover that it may have an eerie connection to experiments conducted by Walter Bishop and William Bell back in the 1970s; the arm is "echoing" the thoughts of the past.
Overall, this was set up to what looks to be a take on a fairly standard sci-fi storyline — turned it on its head, and with Vasquez at the helm, this has the potential to go anywhere. Cloonan's art is as strong and expressive as ever; she's the perfect choice for a TV franchise comic.
This book has my attention, and I'll be sure to tune in for the next issue.
Beyond the Fringe is a digital only comic available via Comixology or the DC Comics app.