FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 1: The Paradigm Shift by Simon Oliver
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 1: The Paradigm Shift written by Simon Oliver with art by Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi

Genre: Science Fiction, Crime Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #1 in the Federal Bureau of Physics series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 176
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A crime fiction story set in a future where calls to 911 are answered with “Fire, Ambulance, Police or . . . Physics?”.

Why I Read It:
When I first read the description of this one it sounded different and interesting.

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-7 of the comic series plus some extra pages of notes and preliminary artwork.

From the publisher:

Wormholes in your kitchen. Gravity failures at school. Quantum tornadoes tearing through the midwest. As with all natural disasters, people do what they always do: They adapt and survive. And if things get really bad, the Federal Bureau of Physics (FBP) is only a call away. FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics is the story of Adam Hardy: Young, brash and smart, he’s a rising star at the FBP, but when a gravity failure leads to the creation of an alternate dimension known as a “BubbleVerse,” Adam is sent on a rescue mission and finds his skills and abilities pushed to their limits when he discovers his partner has a different agenda.. .

My Thoughts:
I knew going in that this would be different and I’m glad I gave it a try. It was fun and interesting and left me with some storylines wrapped up but enough intrigue and unknowns to keep me on the lookout for more in this series.

The first page starts with:

Physics is broken. Gravity failures, entropy loops and wandering wormholes are the norm. But it’s no longer front-page news, and Federal Bureau of Physics’ resident slacker; Agent Adam Hardy is about to get a harsh reminder of why he joined the bureau.

“Prevent and protect” is the FBP motto, because if only one thing’s for certain in this upside-down world, it’s that “the impossible is always possible.

It starts out as a bit of a buddy cop story except that the laws they are enforcing are the laws of gravity and physics. The mix of science fiction and cop story is fun and because of the premise open to pretty much anything happening.

Adam is mostly likable but he’s got his flaws. The story of how and why physics is broken isn’t answered in this volume but there are hints of history to be explored for both Adam and a new FBP agent named Rosa Reyes.

I’m not exactly in love with the artwork but it’s growing on me. It’s got an unfinished feel to it and the style is quite different from what I’ve seen in my other graphic novels. There are some inconsistencies in the way characters look and that always bothers me but I’m hoping that as the series continues that will resolve. The artwork tells a lot of the story in the background of dialog in many of the frames and the style does fit the fast paced action oriented feel of the story quite well. As the artist says in the additional notes at the end:

When Simon and Mark asked me how I see the book, I replied “it should be blue collar sci-fi”

I’d have to say he achieved that.

This is likely to become a series that rather than waiting for collected trade paperback editions I’ll just subscribe to the digital format and read the issues as they are available on my tablet.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5