Issue 1 of Tales From The Fringe comprises 2 short stories – The Peter centric backstory titled, “Tomorrow”, a side story – “Lost Time”.
I recently got my copy and have posted my review below the jump for those of you wondering whether or not it holds a candle to the show itself. [Updated].
Tomorrow gives us a glimpse into Peter’s backstory, specifically his time wheeling and dealing in Iraq before he joined Fringe Division. We start with Peter in a bit of a bind, he owes money to a group of guys who threaten to kill him if he doesn’t pay up. Fortunately for him, he is saved by an old friend, Ahmed – who we are introduced to in “Fracture“. (I’m assuming they want us to believe it is the same character)
Trouble is, Ahmed needs a favor – his brother has fallen in with extremists who are pressuring him to become a suicide bomber, or they will kill his family. Ahmed asks Peter to help his brother out, to show him that there’s another way – to “give him another life”.
Peter agrees to use his connections to help, but his morality is put to the test as he is forced to make a decision between personal gain and honor.
What I Liked:
It was good to get a bit more on Peter’s backstory and to discover why Ahmed gave him such a frosty reception when he travelled back to Iraq in “Fracture”. I was particularly intrigued by the themes of choice, consequence and honor, and appreciated the chance to see a side of Peter that has been promised but is yet to be fully embellished in the show itself.
As mentioned, the story ties in nicely with “Fracture”, giving us an indication of just how far Peter has come, whilst highlighting some of the reasons behind his redemptive streak.
What I Didn’t Like:
The story may provide context for Peter’s backstory, but in truth it’s not the most compelling tale they could have chosen. It’s awkward in places – Peter’s wisecracks don’t land well – and there’s a tiger. Why? Because we’re in a foreign country, of course!
The artwork, though decent throughout, comes with one major problem. Peter. It looks nothing like him! I don’t know if this was an artistic choice, but I found it really distracting.
All in all, they failed to capture the essence of Fringe and its characters. I know that Peter isn’t the easiest person to work with, but even so.
I was going to mention the lack of eastereggs (aside from “Ahmed” cropping up), but to be fair, that didn’t really bother me. Rating: 6/10.
To be honest, I found the side story more interesting, even though it’s more detached from the show.
Lost Time is an intriguing little tale about a girl who takes a mind trip pill called “F” and ends up perceiving herself in a future she doesn’t quite recognize. It’s a tale that carries overtones of the main Fringe story. I assume “F” is a take on Cortexiphan, while the girl’s visions resemble Olivia’s ability to see into the alternate universe. There are also parallels with the girl meeting the man who ‘made her this way’, echoing Walter Bishop and William Bell’s clinical trials and the way in which Olivia’s path led her back to them. Rating: 7.5/10.
To be honest, when I first read Tales From The Fringe Issue #1, I was expecting…more. But while writing this review I realized that it’s a ‘useful’ addition to the Fringe Universe during the Lowatus. It wont quench your Fringe hunger, nor will leave you with a greater understanding of the show – it’s not supposed to. But it will provide you with a couple of intriguing questions to deepen your Fringe palate and fill in one or two non-canonical blanks.
It may also make you reconsider Peter’s morality and whether he is a man of honor or of self interest. That’s enough for me to take away from this and feel somewhat satisfied, because it’s those character considerations that fuel the story.
If you’re going to buy this, you shouldn’t take it as canon. If the events in the show end up contradicting any of these stories, don’t be surprised – it’s not written by the show writers and any interpretation of the stories should be done in fun, to exercise the muscle for the real thing.
That said, it’s good to have something Fringe related to look forward to. I’m assuming that each story will dive into the backstories of the main characters. And who knows, we might even have one where agent Jessup gets hired as the NSA’s top password hacker. Because..we so need an explanation!
Limited 1 for 10 Photo Variant Cover. Written by JUSTIN DOBLE, ALEX KATSNELSON & ADAM GAINES Art by FEDERICO DALLOCCHIO & SHAWN MOLL Introducing an all-new 6-issue miniseries featuring tales set in the world of the hit TV series! In the first story, Peter Bishop is forced to choose between doing the right thing – saving a troubled young man pressed into service as a suicide bomber – or scoring a dream job. In the second story, a high school girl finds herself inexplicably transformed into an adult. Even more shocking, she also discovers she’s an assassin! [Published by Wildstorm].