Comic Review: ‘The Five Fists of Science’


A comic review by G-FUNK

Sometimes you read a blurb and automatically know that this is a book for you. You order it straight away and wait patiently. When it arrives you delve straight in and discover…it’s better than you expected.

Ahem.

Ladies and Gentlemen: the fantastical story that follows is, I assure you, absolutely true.

Thank you.

Oh!–Slight and SUBTLE liberties with historical events, characters both real and imagined…

…scenarios, settings…dialogue and dialects, motivations, character and and narratives arc…

…and the whole of the mise en scene may have been taken for certain…DRAMATIC EFFECT.

So save the e-mails complaining about fact and accuracy. We are in the business of verisimilitude — and that cannot be constrained by pedantry.

And now, without further ado, I give you Fraction and Sanders’ THE FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE, produced in conjunction with Image Comics of Berkeley, California.

Thank you.

And so it begins. The story involves the teaming up of Nicolas Tesla, Mark Twain and Bertha von Suttner as they strife for world peace. This they hope to achieve through the creation and selling of an ultimate weapon, forcing every nation into a stalemate. Unfortunately this isn’t to the liking of an evil collaboration between Thomas Edison, John Pierpont Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and Guglielmo Marconi. In defiance of Tesla’s advances in science they are working towards summoning a powerful demon that they intend to use in taking over the world.

As you can tell from the above excerpt, the story does not strife for historical accuracy in the telling of the story. The authors do, however, keep the character’s quirks and mannerism as accurate as accounts allow. So while it’s unlikely that Tesla dressed in a costume and fought crime as a vigilante using his inventions, he did insist on eating alone and measuring the cubic mass of everything he ate.

The story is wickedly funny with the dynamic between the shut-in, socially awkward genius Tesla and show-man Twain. There’s not much of a sense of mystery but the banter and action keeps things moving along at a quick pace and the characters never cease to amuse. Seeing Tesla acting electric monsters using a giant steampunk robot will always be entertaining.

At the outset the setting the concept could be compared to Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, but this is comic is much more tongue in cheek than the famous collection. The authors are more than happy to play loosely with the material to immensely fun effect.

Highly recommended for fans of science!