This issue features two stories, the first titled "The One That Got Away," which is Broyles-centric, and the second titled "Nonfiction," which, although seemingly "stand-alone," definitely gives us quite a bit to think about, but before I talk about the stories in depth, be warned that this does contain spoilers, just in case you haven't read the comic yet. "The One That Got Away" unfortunately kind of disappoints me, because it leaves me wantingmore, a lot more. I was hoping that I would get some insight into Broyles' character that I didn't already have, but I don't feel like I learned much of anything. What we do learn from this story is that Broyles used to have a partner named Corrine, but something Fringey happened to her, which left her severely deformed (her bandages reminded me very much of Jones' bandages in "There's More than One of Everything," the first season finale, episode 1.20). However, this is nothing conclusive. Why, exactly, is she deformed? Does it have something to do with the "Earthling" case? Why aren't Broyles and Corrine partners anymore? Is it because of what happened to Corrine? That only brings me right back to my original question - what didhappen to her? All we know is that she suffered from something related to Fringe Division, but we don't know what or what, if anything, it has to do with this particular case.
So, surely, you can see what I mean when I say that I am left wanting more. I already knew from "Earthling" (2.06) that Broyles' wife left him because of his obsession with the case involving people turning into dust. I already knew, or at least assumed, that he missed a lot of important family events because of his devotion to the job. None of that is news to me, and I was hoping for something to really make me drop my jaw, or at least learn something new about Broyles, something conclusive. The last comic is much different, because it answers something for me that I had been wanting to know - how did Ahmed from episode 2.03, "Fracture," become deformed, and what did Peter have to do with it? This, however, is just ultimately disappointing, especially since it is about Broyles, someone that we don't know that much about to begin with. The story focuses on the little that we do know and gives us very little else. At any rate, I am also very disappointed with the artwork, not because it's bad, but because once again, our character doesn't look like, well, our character. He does, however, look strangely like an Observer in certain scenes.
The second story is titled "Nonfiction," and this is definitely my favorite "stand-alone" comic book story to date. I found it to be incredibly intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what was going to happen. The first observation that I would like to make, as I always do when this happens, when the opportunity presents itself, is that Emerson says that he has been the night watchman for the library for forty-seven years; of course he has. The number "47," for those of you that don't know, is a number that shows up quite often in J.J.-related works, most notably Alias since it actually plays a major role in the plot itself, which is why I think that just about every "47" mention since has been a "nod" to the show. Anyway, for a while, I was wondering if maybe Elizabeth was the Elizabeth, as in Peter's mother Elizabeth, but this is ruled out when we learn that she was born in 1981, which would obviously make her way too young to be Peter's mother (Elizabeth Bishop had to have been born in the 30s or 40s). So, then, I thought that the "nonfiction" room must have been an archive of Cortexiphan subjects, but this is not confirmed to be the case, either.
As interesting as I found this story to be, however, it got to be predictable near the end. As soon as Tom reads Elizabeth's future, about how she is going to be killed by a man that she knows, I thought, don't try to save her, because you're going to be the one that kills her! Of course, this is exactly what happens - the action that Tom takes to prevent Elizabeth's death is exactly what causesit, which is bitter irony if I've ever seen it. This story has so many unanswered questions, which I guess is good - what was the "nonfiction" room? Why were there books in there of people's lives, foretelling their futures? Is it a place where Observers store books that they have written about people (something that the guys with black coats really make me ponder)? If so, why are thesepeople important enough to document? Surely, they are not Cortexiphan subjects, because there aren't that many Cortexiphan subjects in existence. Why is Tom's book in flames at the end? What did Emerson know about the "nonfiction" room? How was he involved? Ultimately, I give this comic seven and a half nonfiction books, having enjoyed the second story much more than the first.