REVIEW: ‘The Blue Flame,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Blue Flame #2

The Blue Flame #2 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. Following the aftermath of the first issue, Sam Brausam lies in a coma while his estranged sister deals with the traumatic news. Meanwhile, the Blue Flame is imprisoned on the planet of Exilos, which also happens to be the home planet of the Tribunal Consensus. There he is given an ultimatum: find a way to defend Earth to the consensus or see it wiped from the galaxy.

In its first issue, the creative team blurred the lines between both stories within the comic, never quite spelling out what’s real and what might be a dream. That ambiguity continues into this issue, with an even split between both stories. I’ll freely admit that I was more interested in the Exilos storyline, as I’m a huge sci-fi buff, but Cantwell’s script also managed to wring plenty of pathos out of the Earthbound sequences-particularly where Sam’s sister is concerned. Yes, it’s realistic that a “real-life” superhero would suffer injuries in their line of work, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a toll on their loved ones.

Cantwell’s script also takes a decidedly dour turn in the Exilos scenes, as the Blue Flame struggles to find a reason why humanity should be spared. Not only is it a contrast to the decidedly optimistic tone that franchises like Star Trek would take, but it also dovetails with the feelings of helplessness in the Earthbound scenes as Sam is hovering at death’s door. Cantwell had previously said that the genesis for The Blue Flame was born out of a feeling of helplessness due to current events in the 21st century-given how the last year and a half has gone I cannot blame him in the slightest.

Gorham and Russel’s art also adds to the melancholy, particularly in the Earthbound scenes. Russell applies a dark blue hue to most of these scenes, while Gorham illustrates Sam’s sister going through most of the same motions that he did in The Blue Flame #1. Gorham also illustrates parts of Exilos as a utopia of sorts, vast in scale and shining with golden light. This grandeur is somewhat undercut by the fact that Earth is on the brink of destruction and that the Blue Flame is imprisoned in what is essentially a prison planet. Also adding to the sense of unease are the alien creatures that act as literal judge, jury, and executioner; they are clad in white robes, and their speech balloons are squiggly and misshapen courtesy of Otsmane-Elhaou which adds to their inhuman air.

The Blue Flame #2 continues to blur the line between fantasy and reality, placing its protagonist on the brink of death in dueling stories. I’m not sure where the creative team is going with this concept, but they certainly have my attention and I’m curious to see where the endgame lies.

The Blue Flame #2 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Blue Flame #2
4

TL;DR

The Blue Flame #2 continues to blur the line between fantasy and reality, placing its protagonist on the brink of death in dueling stories. I’m not sure where the creative team is going with this concept, but they certainly have my attention and I’m curious to see where the endgame lies.