Art by Antonio Fuso & Pasquale Qualano
Titan Comics, out 3 August
There’s something strange in the neighbourhood… of Sully Bay…
You may well come to the end of this first issue of the Torchwood comic and wonder if it really is tied in to the gritty, grounded Torchwood series of audios that Big Finish have been releasing over the last few months. It’s certainly quite different in approach, much closer (perhaps not surprisingly) to the Barrowman’s last Torchwood story, Exodus Code, with promises of a global threat on the scale of Miracle Day, and Gwen and Jack reunited as soon as is feasible. (Which doesn’t fit – at least on the surface – with events in Emma Reeves’ audio story, if no-one else’s!)
The story has a very distinctive style – the one-line introductions for the characters is done in an almost sardonic authorial voice, for instance – and the art is very dynamic, with likenesses at times more impressionistic than others. It’s a tale told on a wide canvas, and Fuso and Qualano’s visuals are suitably epic for those scenes set away from Earth.
For those coming to it who haven’t had any contact with Torchwood since the broadcast of Miracle Day half a decade ago (almost to the day), this hits all the expected points – Captain Jack being suitably heroic and sexy, Gwen balancing her personal life with Rhys and her duty to Torchwood, hints of an alien threat (OK, by the end more than hints…). There’s always been something of the clichéd Boys Own comic book hero about the character of Captain Jack, but we’ve come to expect some depth from the franchise in the stories in the audio adventures (both BBC Radio 4 and Big Finish), and I look forward to those elements coming to the fore in the issues to come.
Verdict: In an interview about Exodus Code, the Barrowmans said for them Torchwood = “Jack + Gwen + alien menace” – and it’s that variant of the franchise we see here. 7/10