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The Fragment! The Cambridge File Embraces its Colourful, Frenzied Nature

Adam Falp is rapidly carving out a distinctive voice for himself with his vintage and schizophrenic style of small press comics and there’s little that I’ve read recently which feels as twisted as The Fragment! The Cambridge File. The sequel to his earlier one-shot The Fragment!, this two-part spy-fi comic goes the extra mile in embracing a vibrant insanity. The Fragment! The Cambridge File takes its inspiration from the likes of The Prisoner, The Saint and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and follows the grim adventures of super spy Thomas Locke.

It’s near-impossible to read The Fragment! The Cambridge File in a linear perspective. Locke himself suffers from dissociative identity disorder, causing him to shift personas throughout the story. This plot by Falp results in a zigzagging narrative that gets stranger and stranger with each turn of the page. Following on from 2018’s The Fragment!, but designed to be read equally as a standalone comic, The Cambridge File sees Locke escaping from a mental institution to extract revenge on those who’ve wronged him. Throughout this 28-page story, Falp flings a story at the reader that bulldozes expectations and is simply flat-out bonkers, which Falp himself gave some warning of back when we interviewed him during the Kickstarter campaign for The Cambridge File.

Locke’s schizophrenic personality injects itself into the very story, with perplexing yet engaging results. With The Fragment! The Cambridge File, you’re not quite sure how the story is going to climax. There’s a simple revenge story at heart here, but Falp executes it in a merciless and almost comically odd fashion that makes for a curious reading experience. Written and drawn by Falp, with letters by Mike Stock, twisted shapes and glossy colours populate The Cambridge File. Falp fashions a vintage American look for a British-esque spy-fi sort of comic. The warped art style gives The Fragment! The Cambridge File the distinct feeling like we’re viewing this comic having consumed a vast quantity of psychedelic substances, and is all the more enjoyable for it. The perfect match of mad art and unpredictable story-telling gives the comic an invigorating sense of fun.

Comics rarely come crazier than The Fragment! The Cambridge File. Its fusion of American and British cult spy-fi and comics aesthetics make for a compelling package of bizarre action and adventure. Even if the comic itself requires a few readings to wrap your head around what’s just occurred within its 28 pages, that’s part of the point with The Fragment!. Even with multiple readings, the comic still leaves you in the dark, somewhat. The sheer, colourful weirdness of the comic, however, ensures that this is an enhancement and not a hinderance.

You can discover more about The Fragment! and Falp’s other work from Good For Nothing Comics. Did you back the comic on Kickstarter earlier in the year? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

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Fred McNamara

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