Well then. That was exciting.
Simon Oliver’s mind-bending, physics-loving new series Collider is clearly prepping to blow your mind in an entertaining, intelligent, and exciting way. This reviewer can’t proclaim to being anything close to resembling a physicist, short of a deep-seeded love for Neil deGrasse Tyson, funny articles about the Large Hadron Collider, and thinking with Portals. But one doesn’t need to know how to operate a particle accelerator or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to get into this book.
So is Schrödinger’s cat alive or dead? Or both? Find out below!
Set in the pseudo-present, the story follows Adam Hardy, a blue collar worker for the Federal Bureau of Physics. His job is to find localized gravity anomalies and fix them, along with a rag tag team that includes Jay Kelly, an old timer with a shady background, and Cicero Deluca, a former child prodigy and newest member of the team.
Writer Simon Oliver explores a very interesting premise: “You wake up in the morning and you have the weather report, the traffic report and then you have the physics report on the radio while you’re eating your cereal. There’s a wormhole on the freeway or loss of gravity in a supermarket parking lot,” Oliver says, in an interview with USA Today. Such heavy ideas are kept grounded by the “everyman” approach that Oliver takes to his characters.
The main protagonist, Adam, is a regular disillusioned blue collar joe. Some years ago his father disappeared chasing “quantum storms” and now Adam finds himself a member of the old guard of the formerly elite FDP. He feels like he’s being pushed out by newer “book smart” guys like Cicero Deluca. He’s not particularly enamored with his job these days. These storytelling choices all help ground the character and the world surrounding him. Keeping the characters relatable allows the reader to accept the strange and bizarre occurrences they face everyday on the job.
Oliver very clearly has a mystery to unravel, and it looks like it’ll be a fun and unexpected ride. Clearly something is wrecking havoc on the very laws that govern the universe itself and while such ideas can seem weighty or aloof, they’re presented here in a very clear and easy to understand manner, without talking down to the reader. Concepts such as “parallel universes” and the “time-space membrane” are exciting without seeming intimidating. Technobabble and physics jargon are kept at a minimum without sacrificing the stories intelligence.
Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork is clean and colorful. His depictions of people in zero gravity are wondrous and fun. His sketchy line work gives the characters a weightlessness and playfulness while Rico Renzi’s color palette (you may have noticed an abundance of hot pinks and purples) are eye-catching and other-worldly. Much like Oliver’s writing, Rodriguez’s artwork and Renzi’s coloring never strain under the weight of the “heavy” ideas the story is based on.
As a first issue, it easily grabs your attention with its striking visuals and easy storytelling approach. However, being dropped in media res may be disconcerting for some readers who would like more information on how such physics anomalies have become so common place. The trippy art style and color palette may not be for everyone.
The only other “bad” thing about this issue is related to the printed copy. There are three or four very loud one page ads for DC’s Vertigo line – and while it’s understandable that the publisher is trying to promote its newly retooled line – it comes close to distracting the reader from the story. Having an ad for the very book you are currently reading within the issue seems a bit incessant.
Collider takes an interesting premise of a world where physics can and will go mental and runs with it very well. Writer Simon Oliver’s working-class heroes and relatable and interesting and artist Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork is fun and exciting. Definitely a Vertigo title to be on the look out for.
Source: USA Today