ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘FAB,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

FAB Volume 1 - But Why Tho?

FAB Volume 1 is one of several debut comics for publisher Storyworlds. It is written by Ramzee with art by Stefano Simeone and lettering by Taylor Esposito. The original conceit of FAB is by Storyworlds founder Max Gadney. In FAB Volume 1, a new 3D printing technology has the power to create anything, living or otherwise. When the technology leaks and some rogue technologists get their hands on the technology, a secretive agency is bent on stopping Fabs from wreaking havoc, or worse.

The concept here is totally classic B movie in the best way: a generally innocuous technology being used for arcane and nefarious purposes? Perfect caper. But FAB Volume 1 also goes further, entangling a spy thriller, monster story, and an Orphan Black-like plot to the point of creating something totally unique. It opens cold and keeps running non-stop the whole volume through. The mystery and intrigue kept me held the whole way through and I’m left longing for more to come in a future volume, hopefully.

Admittedly, the way the story is presented is a tad confusing. It jumps around between times, points of view, and sequences generally without warning and left me unclear or entirely confused on several occasions. Sometimes this was remedied by rereading more carefully, but not always. This confusion led to a detachment from some of the characters and their arcs or motivations. Nonetheless, the volume succeeded in keeping me hooked in spite of these confusions. This is a testament to the worldbuilding and storytelling as a whole.

Visually, the comic is solid. There is nothing stand-out about the setting, but the characters have distinct looks to them with different body types and facial shapes. What I appreciate most is that there is a different color overlay given to each distinct scene, which helps somewhat in distinguishing one moment from another in a way that the text itself does not. I don’t prefer the way the comic flows overall, but given how it does, the visual cues are an appreciated narrative booster that never takes away from the scene visually. The SFX throughout the book are top-notch though, adding a lot to the myriad action sequences, which are already drawn fluidly and graphically. I did find the letters “O” strangely large and distracting, though.

Honestly, I wasn’t completely sold on FAB Volume 1 until the final act of the comic, where it took a number of sudden turns that flipped some of the Men in Black and Blade Runner tropes it was already poking fun at on their heads. There is a lot of well-trodden ground in this genre, and the volume still managed to completely surprise me in the end.

FAB Volume 1 is a solid take on a classic genre. Its premise, mystery, and intrigue are captivating, albeit the story is a bit difficult to follow at times, and some of the characters fall a bit flat. Overall though, the major twists and challenges to my expectations in the end of the book made this a worthwhile read and have me interested to see what may come in a future volume.

FAB Volume 1 is available in June and can be pre-ordered via Storyworlds’ website.

FAB Volume 1
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TL;DR

FAB Volume 1 is a solid take on a classic genre. Its premise, mystery, and intrigue are captivating, albeit the story is a bit difficult to follow at times, and some of the characters fall a bit flat. Overall though, the major twists and challenges to my expectations in the end of the book made this a worthwhile read and have me interested to see what may come in a future volume.