There are some basic spoilers in this review, so beware!
So… if you like space, high stakes, AND incredibly flawed, c-list, average heroes… this is the book for you!
This is one of those stories that had me at the beginning!
….then lost me at the middle…
...and got me again in the end.
We start with our hero, the self-proclaimed Blue Flame- he’s intelligent, powerful,
resourceful, but more than anything- he’s a sucker to his own pride. When I first started reading this, I got major Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, vibes. He’s flying through space, admiring everything around him- the vastness and emptiness included. Again, he’s admiring, but also cautious of all he sees. He goes to search this one planet that concerns him and ends up meeting a new alien species that, assumingly through technology, he is able to understand and communicate with. He admits he could’ve killed them, but he chose not to out of curiosity and.. Well, isn’t this another case of curiosity that killed the cat, huh, because the next thing we know- he’s going to trial? But for what? Why?
This is what hooked me at the start- the space oddities and the search for more! The real stakes of a “trial”. An impactful word, is it not? I HAD to keep reading. And as I did…
The issue lost me a bit.
It’s clear that we are not meant to understand everything happening, because next thing we know, we are on Earth, Milwaukee specifically, where everything seems.. fine- but there’s no clear indication of where this is in time. From here, it just gets messy.
We see Blue Flame being his normal human self, which is nice I guess- we love a C-list superhero we can relate to, right? But past that, we get introduced to characters that we aren’t sure of their identities, we get introduced to ALOT of other C-list superheroes at once that all already have set relationships with each other- it feels like I’m in the middle of a movie and missed the beginning of it! I get that writers will create disconnections at the beginning at times and create the connections to them in later issues, but this was incredibly drastic to me. Too much was happening at once. I started struggling to read the issue word for word and started low-key skimming.
HOWEVER. HOWEVER. Remember how I said it lost me and then got me back? Well, they did exactly what I mentioned earlier- as a one-second hail mary before the issue ended, they created that one connection I needed to get my attention again- they tied all the Earth shenanigans to the space trial shown at the beginning of the issue. Do I know how this connects yet? Do I understand how much time has passed between what happened on Earth and what happened in space? NO TO ALL YOUR HONOR. But- but, that small callback to the beginning at least gave me some hope that this will all make sense in later issues. Hopefully.
That said, I can’t say a hail mary at the end of an issue will sell me on this series (or any series,
for that matter). But what it MIGHT do is get me to read a second issue. Based on how fascinated I was at the beginning of this issue, I’m willing to give it a shot to see if it comes together more. It’s definitely something that caught my attention and one of the rare cases where, to me, the addition of more “real-life” factors actually takes away from the bigger story- the space trial. I really like what they are trying to do here and I hope that in later issues they are able to make enough connections to sell the story as a whole, not just different pieces.
The art complements the story well, in terms of using bright colors for the traditional superhero theme and the 80’s retro space travels. Honestly, I think much like the plot, the art compliments the moments in space better than the events on Earth. Not that the art looks bad all of a sudden when they are on Earth, but the art style definitely shines more at the beginning and end, when Blue Flame travels in space and we see the aliens.
I really enjoyed the general idea of a C-list superhero traveling through space and saving the world, while still being flawed like many of us humans are. That said- I’m not sure this issue was able to find that magic balance yet between the flawed Earth life that he lives (or lived?) and his fantastical life flying through space. I hope that as the series goes on, connections are created more effectively. If they are able to connect all of these elements well, I think this could be a fantastic series- but it’s not there yet.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi gives this:
2.5 out of 5 finger guns
(because I’m bi)
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