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The Five Fists of Science

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,243 ratings  ·  201 reviews
True story: in 1899, Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla decided to end war forever. With Twain's connections and Tesla's inventions, they went into business selling world peace. So, what happened? Only now can the tale be told - in which Twain and Tesla collided with Edison and Morgan, an evil science cabal merging the Black Arts and the Industrial Age. Turn of the century New Yo ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by Image Comics, Inc. (first published May 31st 2006)
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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 ·  1,243 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful reading!!!

Creative Team:

Writer: Matt Fraction

Illustrator: Steven Sanders


I read this book the very same day that I bought it (back then, on June, 2013).

I loved it!!!

It was a fun graphic novel to read. It seems that not much people know about this graphic novel and it is a shame since it's quite good.

The creative team of Matt Fraction, as writer, and Steven Sanders, as illustrator, is remarkable since they understand each other in how to present t
Tina Haigler
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Story: 4 stars!
Art: 4 stars!

This was an interesting premise. I love a good alternative take on history or historical figures. I really enjoyed the story and the art was really good. However, toward the end the art was too dark and without contrast. During the most exciting part it was difficult to figure out what was happening. I ended up just going by the dialogue. I had to deduct a star for confusion. Other than that it was a good story.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 10th anniversary edition just has a few pages of sketches and a new cover.

I liked the concept of having all of these historical figures in a comic. But I found the magic aspect "hokey" given that these were all men of science. I would rather see Tesla go up against Edison using some steampunky science stuff instead. You can see the roots of Fraction's writing style here but it's not fully formed yet. The story isn't nearly as engrossing as Fraction's Iron Man or even X-Men runs.

Received an
Amy Leigh
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly engrossing historical fiction, sci-fi graphic novel!
The art itself vas a very steam punk gothic look and its gorgeous!
I probably spent a good thirty minutes alone just flipping through it and admiring the art alone.

This is a young adult graphic novel but I appreciate the author tying in important figures from the past in such an engaging manner. It never was boring to me because so much personality was given to each character and having the real person's mini bio at the beginn
May 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
Given the premise of this book, I had high expectations for a historical-fantasy adventure. But this turned out to be an unfortunate example of a great concept ruined by poor execution. The basic premise is this: a group of inventors and industrialists (Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, etc) have begun to dabble in the dark arts and are planning to summon a Lovecraftian horror to devour New York City. (I have no idea why--the reader is given no insight into their actions.) Nikola Tesl ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comixology
This was one of several digital books I bought for my birthday and only getting to read them now. There was a Matt Fraction Comixology sale so I got a couple of them.

Five Fists of Science sounds like a Jonathan Hickman book, with alternate timelines and speculative fiction thrown into the mix but with the trademark Matt Fraction humor. Granted, it's an early Fraction work but several story beats that he utilizes are already in the work.

Steven Sanders is an indie superstar. I wonder when he's goi
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This short graphic novel is fun, sciency and awesome. Tesla is a "mad scientist" that creates a machine capable of destroying a great deal. Mark Twain markets it as a "peace machine". When there is a lack of buyers for this, Twain convinces Telsa to market it with stage showmanship. Hilarity ensues.

The plot thickens when some evil geniuses make a tower to summon black magic, and their leader is none other than Tomas Edison. Pod people, giant roots, and Leviathan tear up a bit of New York City.
I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

There wasn't necessarily anything I hated about this book, but the entire thing felt really rushed and fell kind of flat. Especially disappointing because I know what Matt Fraction can do and this is far from his best work. The premise has been done before - take some historical figures and have them battle it out with a mix of steampunk-science and magic - but it can still be entertaining if done well. This entir
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-books
I was a little confused the whole time, like there was something I was missing. It's been a while since I've had American history and I thought maybe there was something I was missing that I would have gotten if I was a little more up to date with the historical characters. I know about Tesla and Mark Twain but my knowledge of the others is vary basic and more than a little dusty.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Eh. I thought it was hard to follow. I'm not sure if it was the format or the context. I wanted to like it but it fell short.
Angela Blount
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets the wrong side of Hellboy in this steampunky twist on historical fiction.

I’ll admit that, in this reader’s mind, the premise alone started things out on a 5-Star note. Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain—real life friends and historical dynamos of brilliance in their own distinct ways, joining their forces of guile and wit in the name of world peace? Bring it.

This graphic novel starts out strong with a curious setup spanning multiple continents, and a dose of
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
The mental powers of Tesla combined with the wit and spin of Mark Twain equals a fun, campy adventure with steampunk and some themes of Cthulu. *Now* we know why J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie were so powerful, and Matt Fraction will have you know it's not just from their sunny dispositions. The narrative pacing of this story is irregular, and it can be a little jarring at first--the pages and panels jump around from scene to scene and if you aren't paying close attention, it's easy to get lost ...more
Matt Bromagin
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was kinda disappointed with this. I expected a lot more out of Fraction. Fraction made me like The Punisher and I HATED The Punisher. There was so much crazy over so few pages. The concept is a little tired. It's yet another piece of media that's jumped on the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter train. Tesla and Mark Twain team up to take down JP Morgan and Thomas Edison. Apparently Edison and Morgan worship Cthulhu...I don't know. There's a Yeti in there too. I feel like Fraction just said "Hey, ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: steampunk fans and fans of writer Matt Fraction
Recommended to Brent by: Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
Fun, yet way over the top. The fine art by cartoonist/co-creator Steven Sanders appears in muddy black tones for some Lovecraft-inspired scenes involving the protagonists.
This is sort of a Gilded Age version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or that sort of thing. Despite the really witty dialogue, I prefer the historical biographies of these characters. But, you know, this is kind of fun.
Mildly recommended.
Emily Brown
Feb 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
i like science...and this comic was dull. and at times made no sense because the illustration was vague and tried to imply what was going on.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sequential-art
Instantly forgettable. Given the subject matter and the characters, that's quite an achievement.
Megan Anderson
No lie, the best part of this book was definitely the artwork. It’s lush and beautiful. The lines themselves are like little sketches, and Sanders adds in little jokes in the back of several frames. The colors are vibrant, and they help set the mood for each scene.

It’s really too bad that the rest of the book is a mess. I’ve read several graphic novels by Fraction before, and this one seems incredibly weak in comparison. The premise is good—famous figures duking it out for the fate of mankind? S
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, gn, library
I liked the premise, and I wanted it to be good, but for a book about science, starring scientists, with science in the title, it was not very scientific. It was more about summoning horrors and battling them with giant robots. The plot went approximately nowhere, there was little character development (and what was there barely made sense), and both heroes and villains were fairly one-dimensional. But the art was great!
Jun 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Book club choice for June. To keep it simple, this just wasn’t my cup of tea and honestly, I just must not get it - or I missed something. Probably more my fault than the authors’. But, it was one of our club challenges and if nothing else, it got us out of our comfort zones and reading something different!
Matt Mitrovich
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the conundrums of alternate history is how does one balance the "rule of cool" with the demands for plausibility. Often when the author throws plausibility out the window it can hurt the story. Yet there are times when an author fully embraces alien space bats plot device and creates something extraordinary.

The Five Fists of Science is a steampunk graphic novel created by writer Matt Fraction and artist Steven Sanders. The novel follows a crime-fighting Nikola Tesla, a broke Mark Twain an
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
The Five Fists of Science infuses fun, science, mad characters and giant robots to create an extremely enjoyable steampunk-ish graphic novel. The creators, Fraction and Sanders, appropriate some well-known members of the Scientific, creative and political scenes to act out their wild tale that is only slightly based in fact. On the good side you have Mark Twain, the fast-talking, money hungry writer/salesman and Nikolai Tesla, the shy and quite scientific genius with OCD and Bertha Von Suttner, ...more
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
As a good, inquisitive American boy, I had a great love of Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb, the wizard of Menlo Park. The older I get, the more unsavory details I learn about him—his patent disputes, his dealings with early moviemakers. Last year, I visited the Nikola Tesla museum in Belgrade, Serbia, and learned about their dispute over AC and DC (the current, not the band). Tesla’s AC was much safer than Edison’s DC, yet Edison, due in part to smear tactic, won out.
The introduction to
Apr 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Ben Folds once stated "Sometimes you'll love the cover and that's precisely why you'll love the book." Sadly, this was not the case here. The notion of a graphic novel detailing Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain's creation of a giant fighting robot to bring about world peace through mutually assured destruction was interesting. Add in Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan, and other prominent financiers dabbling in black magic in an effort to control the world. How could it possibly go wrong? Apparently in every ...more
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
And now for something completely different.

Five Fists of Science is the story of how Mark Twain teams up with Nikola Telsa and Baroness Von Suttner to foil the evil machinations of John Morgan, Andrew Carneige, Thomas Edison, and Guglielmo Marconi. How to foil such an evil constortium of diabolical genusis? Why, through the application of SCIENCE! Science in the form of mecha, specifically. Well, just one mech, really. Ok two, but one is so small that it’s mostly there for a throwaway joke (“It’
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
A problem of high expectations here. Matt Fraction takes Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain, and several others to fight against Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan and others. Why? Because the latter group has decided to summon some Lovecraftian hell beasts for reasons that never actually explained. Tesla and Twain build a giant robot to combat this threat.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for mindless action with little or no reasons behind it but this just didn't do it for me. Aside from odd witticism from Twain no o
Lucas Brown
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
A vigilante Nicole Tesla & Mark Twain fight Lovecraftian black magicians and venture capitalists using giant mechs and carnival flimflam.

Sounds awesome, right? And it is. But it's completely let down by muddy, dark art that makes it difficult to see what's going on, a rushed pace that leaves no time for explanation, and character designs that are hard to tell apart (apart from the title pair).

Shame. It should have worked.
Steampunky adventures with Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla! This was fun, if not very complex or deep. Poor awkward, nervous, brilliant, neurotic Tesla--my favorite parts were anytime he was on stage. Since we seem to have everyone from Jane Austen to Abraham Lincoln to Oscar Wilde to Queen Victoria fighting crime/vampires/zombies these days, can't we get Tesla in on more of that action?
David Schwan
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Tesla and Mark Twain as a pair of down on their luck entrepeneurs devise a scheme to make some money. What they don't know is that Edison and the banker Morgan have evil plans afoot. The two groups and their plots meet with interesting results. The story is left in place where there could be future books.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The Five Fists of Science reminds me of Jonathan Hickman's more recent comic Manhattan Projects. It takes famous figures from American history and it weaves them into a crazy science-fiction story. I loved the concept and characters, but the slower pacing and the darker art style kept me from giving it 5 stars.
Matt Piechocinski
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I actually laughed out loud at a lot of Fraction's characterizations of Mark Twain. Great early stuff from one of todays most prominent comic writers. I wish he would stop writing lame-ass X-men, and pump out quality stuff like this.
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Get Graphic: #23 - The Five Fists of Science 3 7 Jul 29, 2018 01:55PM  
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #21 The Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction 1 1 Mar 08, 2015 08:39PM  

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"How he got started in comics: In 1983, when Fraction was 7 years old and growing up in Kansas City, Mo., he became fascinated by the U.S. invasion of Grenada and created his own newspaper to explain the event. "I've always been story-driven, telling stories with pictures and words," he said.

Education and first job: Fraction never graduated from college. He stopped half a semester short of an art

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