REVIEW: ‘The Blue Flame,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Blue Flame #1

The Blue Flame #1 is written by Christopher Cantwell, illustrated by Adam Gorham, colored by Kurt Michael Russell, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. It is published by Vault Comics. By day, Sam Brausam is a blue-collar repairman. By night he fights crime as the vigilante Blue Flame, alongside his fellow heroes in the Night Brigade. But the Blue Flame is also a cosmic hero who travels the stars, fighting otherworldly threats using the special fuel he invented called Cobaltum. Realities blur as the Blue Flame finds himself standing trial-with the fate of the universe in the balance.

In the same way that Radiant Black acts as a homage to Tokusatsu shows such as Super SentaiThe Blue Flame serves as a homage to Silver Age heroes, including Green Lantern and Adam Strange. At least, that what it appears to be for half the issue. Cantwell applies the same mix of cosmic intrigue and down-to-earth know-how to Sam Brausam that he did to Iron Man, presenting a hero whose superpowers lie in his intellect. In both the cosmic story and the Earth-bound story, Sam comes off as a very approachable guy. His comrades in the Night Brigade have the same energy, especially the musclebound Feat and his girlfriend, Zola/Theia. Cantwell also blurs the line between both stories to the point where readers can’t tell what’s real and what’s fantasy-fully immersing them in the narrative.

Gorham and Russell manage to capture both the vast wonders (and horrors) of space and the more terrestrial domain of Milwaulkee, Wisconsin, with their art. The first four pages will especially draw readers in, as Gorham draws the Blue Flame streaking through a massive stretch of space. The Flame is depicted as a shining blue star crossing a fiery nebula and dusty grey asteroids, rendered in rich, vibrant colors by Russell. When the Flame comes into contact with a trio of cosmic judges, a bright blue light shines on him, bringing covers of old Superman and Green Lantern comics to mind. Adding to the Silver Age vibes, Otsmane-Elhaou provides a caption box that recaps the Flame’s origin, using massive letters for emphasis.

In contrast, the Earthbound sequences have a more grounded, tactile feel to them. The Wisconsin atmosphere is presented in various shades of blues, reflecting Sam’s alternate identity as the Blue Flame. The Night Brigade also has its own unique costumes, including Swiftbird, who has an avian-themed costume, and the mysterious Crimson Visage, who earns his name from his trademark crimson mask. The creative team also marks the difference between both stories with the setting; instead of a hi-tech base like Avengers Mansion or the Justice League’s Watchtower, the Brigade meets in a rec hall and worry about rent and what to order for pizza night.

The Blue Flame #1 presents a crisscrossing narrative that pays homage to Silver Age comics and sci-fi serials, setting up a mystery that crosses time and space. Comic fans old and new should give this title a read, as it presents classic tropes in a fresh new way. This issue has also raised a set of questions that will keep readers -and this reviewer hooked for issues to come.

The Blue Flame #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

 


The Blue Flame #1
4

TL;DR

The Blue Flame #1 presents a crisscrossing narrative that pays homage to Silver Age comics and sci-fi serials, setting up a mystery that crosses time and space. Comic fans old and new should give this title a read, as it presents classic tropes in a fresh new way. This issue has also raised a set of questions that will keep readers -and this reviewer hooked for issues to come.