"Tomorrow/Lost Time" (TALES FROM THE FRINGE #1)

I have really been looking forward to this comic for quite some time now, and I am very excited to finally have read it, but before discussion of this comic begins, I find it important to advise those who have not yet read this comic against reading any further, as this does contain spoilers. The first half of the comic is titled "Tomorrow" and revolves around Peter in Iraq. When I first found out about this comic and how it was about about Peter in Iraq, I instantly assumed that we would find out why Ahmed's face is scarred so badly (in reference to "Fracture"), and I was right. Peter is torn between two promises that he has made to people, the problem being that he can only keep one. Will he help a young man named Malik who is being forced to commit suicide, or will he seize an opportunity for a very highly paid job? Unfortunately, he chooses the job, and Malik dies as a result while his brother Ahmed is left badly scarred. I was very excited to have seen that I was correct in assuming that this comic would explain why Ahmed is scarred, but the comic's ending is an incredibly downer and depressing one.

I love how we see Baghdad, Iraq in the sky in the same block-lettered font as locations are presented to us in the TV series, but as far as graphics are concerned, I do have a complaint, and that is that I definitely think that a much better job could have been done on Peter, because I don't think that Peter's character in this comic looks a whole lot like Peter. The dialogue, his mannerisms and his clothing are all right on, but not his appearance. Anyway, after Malik explains his predicament to Peter, Peter tells him that he can help him get out of the country, and that makes me wonder just how much power Peter has and how he acquired it. He also says, "I know something about saving face and looking out for loved ones," which makes me wonder what he means by that. Idefinitely get the impression that that line was intended to serve a function, but I'm not sure, because we don't know of any specific time prior to the pilot episode that Peter looked out for a loved one. Perhaps, he is speaking of his mother, Elizabeth Bishop? I can't think of anyone else to whom he'd be referring when he says that. We do know that Peter had a good relationship with his mother, especially since Walter wasn't much of a father to him.

In "Ability" (1.14), Olivia teases Peter about his "weird connections," and she is definitely right. Peter desperately speaks to an unidentified man that he knows in order to help Malik; Peter always has his "weird connections" on which to rely, but it isn't long before he receives an opportunity for a job, a job that we see him negotiating in the pilot episode. A bartender, who is another one of his "weird connections," tells Peter that "a couple of guys came in here today looking for a contractor to run an oil line. I told them about you. They want to meet." This is what Peter decides to do, ultimately breaking his promise to help Malik, and this is why Ahmed is so bitter in "Fracture" (2.03), why he questions whether or not Peter cares about lives. It can totally be understood now, and like I said, I had a very strong feeling that this comic would help us understand that. I feel sorry for those Cortexi-Fans who don't read the comics, because they really are rewarding in a lot of ways; they give insight into matters that the TV series does not. For example, it will most likely never be explained in the TV series what happened to Ahmed, because that is the purpose of this story.

The second half of this comic is titled "Lost Time" and doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. In the story, a teenage girl named Nikki is spending time with her boyfriend who offers an unknown drug to her. She accepts, and consequently, she suddenly finds herself living the life of an assassin. "Code 47" is the usual Alias nod, which is funny, because only seconds prior, I was thinking about how the assassin kind of looked like Jennifer Garner and how her use of stealth to infiltrate the building reminded me of Alias (Elektra also crossed my mind). The ending doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, though. The assassin is supposed to kill a man who then hits her with his car after she goes back to being herself again, and he calls it "karma." I don't know how to draw a conclusion from that. Did Nikki switch consciences with someone, or did she travel to the future, where she saw herself as an assassin? I'm not sure; this half of the comic really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, very confusing, indeed. It is a very complex story that you have to think long and hard about, which I have, and I still don't fully understand, but I think it is, in fact, intended to leave us to draw our own conclusion. Ultimately, I give this comic eight femme fatales.

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