The Comic: The Fuse #1 published by Image Comics
In 2001, Ralph Erenzo bought the old Tuthilltown Gristmill in Gardiner, N.Y., with the intent of building a rock climbers ranch. The neighbors in the surrounding areas were not too pleased with this plan and made it very difficult to make this a reality. So, Ralph scrapped that idea and went back to the drawing board. Not long after, he met Brian Lee who was looking for something new in his life. That’s when it hit them: Let’s make whiskey in New York State for the first time since prohibition. The only problem was, neither of them knew anything about distilling whiskey. Combining Greg’s business skills with Brian’s technical skills, they set out on making this a reality. The next two and half years were spent traveling to distilleries all over the world and meeting with experts to learn the tricks of the trade.
The Tuthilltown Distillery was built out of the old Tuthilltown Gristmill buildings. For 220 years this property used waterpower to render grain into flour. The property is a landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the perfect spot for Erenzo and Lee’s vision. They wanted to revive this property and once again use it to create something from the land. They began by renovating one of the mill granaries into a micro-distillery. It took them 6 months and a lot of experimentation to create the handmade, rich whiskey they had dreamt of. From the local grain to the glass, every step of the process is done in-house. In 2003, they created Tuthilltown Spirits LLC. They began selling their craft spirits in 2005 and they have only grown in demand and popularity over the years.
The Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey has a deep golden color. The nose is spicy with hints of oak, sweet vanilla and a bit of citrus. It has a spicy, almost cinnamon flavor with hints of oak, vanilla and subtle fruit. The finish is short, leaving behind the vanilla, oak and spice. The price tag on this is between $40-$50 for 350ml. Yes, it’s expensive, but for a carefully made handcrafted spirit, it’s well worth the money.
This last year, Image Comics published some of my favorite comics to date, so when I see a new Image series on the shelves, I get very excited. The Fuse #1, written by Antony Johnson with art by Justin Greenwood, was one that slipped my radar completely. I hadn’t heard anything about the book and wasn’t familiar with the creative team at all. Going in completely blind, I picked it up and put it on the top of my to read pile.
The issue opens up with a man named Dietrich heading to a satellite city orbiting 22,000 miles above Earth called Midway City. Through a rather comical exchange with the passenger sitting next to him, we discover that he is a police officer on his way to start a new job. When he arrives in Midway City, he makes a quick phone call to his superiors and then witnesses something rather odd. He clears the way to secure the possible crime scene and is met by Klem, his new partner. This relationship does not start out well. It’s the old trope of new partners who don’t care for each other but are forced to work together. Honestly, most of the issue felt very familiar. It’s the cop drama procedural in a sci-fi setting. It’s not a bad premise by any means. It’s just one that we’ve all seen many times before. The thing that makes this story stand out is the setting. We aren’t given too much explanation here about Midway City, which I love. Too often, a new series will start out by explaining the setting, what came before it and why we are where we are. The Fuse, however, throws you in the middle of it with no real understanding of this new world. For me, that was the hook of this first issue.
The art by Greenwood does a nice job of not giving too much away. The scenery and character designs are drawn in a familiar way and don’t lean too heavily on the sci-fi side of the book. Most of the issue looks like a street level, gritty crime drama. The first page that really caught my eye was the double page splash of Midway City. This is absolutely gorgeous and shows you just how big this place is. These are the only pages in the book that really translate the sci-fi setting.
Overall, I thought this was a decent first issue. I’m interested to see how Dietrich and Klem’s relationship progresses, but I’m most interested in Midway City. I can’t wait to learn more about the city and what it has in store for our protagonists.
Thanks for reading,
Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold that against him.