cover image The Blue Flame: The Complete Series

The Blue Flame: The Complete Series

Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham. Vault, $19.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-63849-106-4

Cantwell (Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body) digs into the mythology of superheroes, wrapping his investigation in a science-fiction skin and themes of hope and redemption. The script pits the physically and emotionally damaged Sam Brausam—formerly known as superhero the Blue Flame—against his family, friends, and future. Sam’s struggling to repair his life after a shooting that left him disabled and killed every other member of his superhero team, the Night Brigade. Now he’s forced to plead for the defense of the entire Earth in a galactic courtroom. If he can’t pull himself together and shake off his own self-destructive tendencies, not only will his pregnant sister and her fiancé be forced apart, but the entirety of humanity and the planet will be destroyed. Cantwell, cocreator of the TV series Halt and Catch Fire, develops strong characters and works them at a crackerjack pace, with a countdown clock insistently ticking (though a last-minute plot twist seems straight out of The Incredibles). Art by Gorham (the Jughead: The Hunger series) straddles the fantastic and the mundane with everyman-to-hero character design and imaginative cosmic scenery, enhanced by Kurt Michael Russell’s vivid coloring. It’s a thought-provoking saga that transcends the usual genre cliches. (May)