Review: Torchwood #1

Torchwood_001_Cover_B_Photo_Will_BrooksCaptain Jack Harkness is back in Torchwood #1 as he and the crew of the souped up cargo ship Ice Maiden defend Earth from tentacle aliens beneath the sea. And along the way, his former Torchwood teammate Gwen Cooper and his lover turned nemesis John Hart make appearances that will hopefully end up being more than just fanservice. There are some fun bits of dialogue especially from Captain Jack as he continues to flirt with everyone in sight , but unfortunately John and Carol Barrowman’s plot is more of a series of “shocking” moments than a coherent story switching characters and settings after a few pages and never settling on one throughline.

Even though it’s only one issue, Torchwood is already tangled in a labyrinth of plots and subplots. Not including the cold open set on a faraway planet, no fewer than three antagonists are introduced, both the Scottish and Cardiff branches of Torchwood appear, and there also happens to be a stowaway on the Ice Maiden. The Scottish Torchwood subplot features a murder and Captain John Hart, but doesn’t really land because the characters are hastily introduced and not connected to the main storyline featuring Captain Jack and the Ice Maiden. It is nice to finally get a look at what used to be Torchwood Two. There isn’t really a cliffhanger as the Barrowmans introduce a pretty hilarious, yet creative threat for the crew of the Ice Maiden and Gwen Cooper, but let the issue wrap up in the middle of the battle.

Poor plotting aside, Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano’s art in Torchwood #1 is pretty easy on the eyes as they aren’t slavishly bound to drawing the likenesses of the actors John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Kai Owen. FusoTorchwood Preview 2 and Qualano use a more cartoonish style to add zest and energy to the action scenes where Captain Jack is jumping and teleporting all over the place. Their facial expressions are a little muted, but the alien designs are suitably weird and it seems like Fuso, Qualano, and colorist Marco Lusko are having a good time drawing ships, technology, and wide screen action that would bankrupt the BBC if they were filmed. Lusko also uses plenty of green to create a peaceful vibe in the scenes where Gwen and Rhys are chatting about finally having some time off from work and away from their daughter Anwen.Unfortunately, this idyll is short lived, but it’s nice to see these characters happy after they have been through so much pain and loss in the four seasons of Torchwood.

The plot of Torchwood #1 is pretty slapdash so far, but John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman have a nice handle of the characters’ voices and create an easy repartee between Captain Jack and his crew mates on the Ice Maiden as well as Gwen when she shows up. (Of course, he’s sleeping with the hunky weapons master and Cajun food chef.) Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano’s art isn’t spectacular, but it matches the chaotic feel of the story as well as bringing out little, yet important things about the characters, like Captain Jack’s ultra-confidence and Gwen’s love for Rhys.

Story: John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman Art: Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano Colors: Marco Lusko
Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’re a Torchwood fan; Pass if not.

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review