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

This issue takes place seven months after the events we’ve seen in the last two issues. On Earth Sam is recovering from being shot. He’s struggling, dealing with being partially paralysed and depending on crutches to get around, drinking too much and relying on his sister Dee and her partner Mateo for help. We also catch up with Sam’s cosmic counterpart, on a two day break from trial preparation as he travels around the solar system he’s been limited to.

I feel like this issue does some great character work across the board; for Sam on Earth we see the tragic figure he’s become since he was shot, but we also see how he’s undertaken the mission of building a case for humanity’s survival. Which gives us a clear indication of the connection between the two versions of Sam we’re seeing, though we still don’t know the full extent. We’re also given some insight into Dee and Mateo, the time jump meaning we’re now in towards the end of Dee’s pregnancy and the couple are spread thin between work and helping Sam out. 

On the cosmic side of things we see Sam’s concerns about what happens to his home planet if he fails in his defense of the population. More than the people, he seems under a wave of melancholy over the thought that Earth itself would cease to be. We also get a little more insight into Yarix and, while he isn’t able to provide much of an answer as to why he was allowed to live when his people were wiped out, it builds some intrigue towards his character and backstory.

The Blue Flame is another book that’s leaving me short on words when it comes to new ways to explain just how good it is. I feel like the entire creative team is on top form here. Adam Gorham’s artwork captures the duality of Sam’s story brilliantly, his physical struggle on Earth playing so well against his mental struggle to prepare for the trial of all humanity. Kurt Michael Russell’s colouring adds a tremendous amount to this and to the shift in tone between the two drastically different settings. I feel like Chris Cantwell’s writing is very much to my taste in this issue, the range of emotions and depth within the character work feels in the same vein as Jeff Lemire’s Royal City, as Cantwell creates so much empathy for each character.

I feel the two sides of The Blue Flame are slowly coming together, and while I’ll be pleased to get some answers and an understanding of the bigger picture, I feel as though there’s still plenty to be explored in this story. However, as the next issue seems to be the only one solicited The Blue Flame might be ending sooner than I’d like.

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