Fracture #1-3

The origin story is an essential part of any superhero saga. It tells us about the character, gives the reader a chance to share in their life & find out who they are before throwing said character in at the deep end with an entirely new skill set & seeing how they cope. Fracture bucks the trend somewhat by having its origin start in the middle. It’s a little confusing yes, but in a way that benefits the story & works as a great launch pad to catapult the reader into the mindset of its protagonist Jeff. You see Jeff has a secret identity. He’s really Lower Triton’s super powered defender, Virtue. Problem is his secret identity was so secret even he didn’t know he was Virtue. This would be a big problem for Jeff if Virtue’s Nemesis, Malice ever found out. Especially considering that Jeff is also Malice too, & no he didn’t know that either.

Given that Fracture is about one man who is actually three it seems almost fitting that the things which make it stand out are also threefold but also make it work as one. First off we have Chad Cicconi’s artwork. It’s simple & smart. There’s a definite sense of practicality to the characters – the way they look & the clothes they wear all make them feel more like real people & thus more identifiable. There are no over muscled “suped up” flyboys here. Secondly there’re Dave Dwonch’s colours which are also straight up & simple but eye catching with it. The colours lend the book a classic feel which enhances the clear Golden Age influence but don’t detract from the more humane aspects. Then, thirdly, we have Shawn Gabborin’s writing & it’s here that things get a little complex. After the slow paced, more visual story telling tics of Snowed In, Gabborin’s foray into super hero territory is a faster paced & more wordy affair, While some of the dialogue is a little exposition heavy at times this doesn’t get in the way of Gabborin telling a fantastic story & having great fun doing it. When your central character can turn into the hero (or the villain) at any moment then the next set piece is often only a panel away.

Fracture is a book that throws up a great concept that’s so simple you sit there & wonder why nobody thought of it earlier (If they did & I didn’t credit them then sorry, but this is the first time I’ve come across it). While it is inevitable that the origins of all 3 of these characters will come with time Jeff’s inner conflict at discovering he’s God, the Devil & Bob all rolled into one is the central focus of this volume. Jeff is a well written & engaging character & the conflict he feels as he discovers that he has two other lives feels genuine & helps take the story in some unexpected & interesting directions. Jeff doesn’t just struggle with the burden of being a superhero; he struggles with the burden of being the super hero’s secret secret identity & the burdens that come with that. On top of all this he struggles even further with the burden of being a villain, not to mention the burden of suddenly discovering that his pokey one bedroom apartment is not actually as small as he’d previously thought.

Now, Fracture is an incredibly busy book & the team behind it squeeze a lot in over the course of 3 issues. For the most part they manage this incredibly well opening up a series of mysteries & resolving them while leaving enough left open that you’ll definitely want to come back for volume two. A part of me would have liked downtime with the family in the middle to give certain scenes later on in the book a little more weight as well as more of a chance to get to know more about who Jeff thinks he is but the story is only 3 issues in & these aspects may well be earmarked for a later chapter. Plus, as everyone knows, the key to anything is that you’re always meant to leave your audience wanting more & in this case Fracture succeeds.

[Listen to Jon’s interview with the creators of this book here!]