Written by: Chris Cantwell
Art by: Adam Gorham
Colouring by: Kurt Michael Russell
Letters by: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Vault

The first issue of The Blue Flame saw an attack on the Night Brigade and the crowd gathered at the Near & Far Classic Car Show in the Milwaukee Convention Centre, as the more cosmic version of Sam Brausam learned that it was down to him to prevent the ‘Tribunal Consensus’ from obliterating the human race if he can’t successfully argue for our continuing existence.

I feel like this issue might not have you scratching your head quite as much as the first did. There’s clearly something weird going on with Sam, but this issue feels a little more grounded. Although we see scenes with cosmic Sam learning more about the nature of the Consensus and beginning his research to defend the human race and answer the question “What can’t we live without?”. A Large portion of this issue is spent with Dee, a woman we saw briefly in the last issue as she told her boyfriend that she was pregnant, going about her day to day life as the news breaks regarding the attack the previous night and the identities of the Night Brigade are revealed to the public, and with it Dee’s connection to the larger story.

While Adam Gorham’s artwork kicked off the first issue with The Blue Flame travelling through gorgeous spacescapes, this instalment opens on the much more grounded routine of Dee heading to work in a Milwaukee supermarket. The contrast between the start of the two issues works really well, showing the range of Gorham’s art, and at the same time just how much Kurt Michael Russell’s colouring helps to set a different tone in the two different parts of the narrative. We all get some really interesting panelling particularly in those opening pages. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering is great throughout the issue and the variety of speech bubbles in this issue works really well, setting the voices of the members of the Consensus apart from the human characters.

The two halves of this issue really compliment each other, and although it feels like Sam trying to save the human race is the bigger story at play the more down to earth narrative of Sam, the vigilante, recovering from being shot feels like one of more understandable consequences. In a story like this I think it’s essential for the creative team to nail the more human moments, otherwise the storytelling can feel pointlessly unhinged. Thankfully I think Chris Cantwell is striking a really great balance in his writing, making The Blue Flame a must read series.

There’s two stories happening simultaneously throughout The Blue Flame and while at times their only connection seems to be that they share Sam as the protagonist, we do see some progress towards finding out how they’ll both connect in this issue. I’m looking forward to seeing how the two sides of the same coin come crashing together in the next issue.

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