Human Torch #1 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Burn – Part One

Written by: Karl Kesel
Pencilled by: Skottie Young
Inked by: Joe Seung with Pierre-Andre Dery
Colored by: Studio F
Lettered by: Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Tsunami hasn’t hit me like a wave; it’s felt more like a lone ripple in the bathtub. Most of the series’ didn’t sound all that interesting, and the sheer magnitude of the launch made me less likely to buy any of the books. Yet I couldn’t pass up the Human Torch, at least the first issue.

Karl Kesel has told some great stories over the years, most recently his wonderful run of twenty-five issues on HARLEY QUINN. His work on Harley was hilarious at times; building great stories around a character that really shouldn’t have her own book. Yet I wondered if could he pull off a Torch solo series, especially with the anime-influenced artwork?

The story while not a work of art, was entertaining, and a good introduction to the type of guy that Johnny Storm is. I do have some reservations, however, about the first issue (arc?) taking place entirely in Johnny’s past. The story begins at the end of Johnny’s sophomore year of high school, just prior to the summer vacation where he gains his powers. The issue centers on his rivalry with student Mike Snow, an Olympic Wrestling hopeful. The plot continues into the next school year, when Johnny and Mike’s rivalry intensifies, leading to a “fiery” conclusion.

The art was a lot better than I had hoped. Not being an anime fan, I worried that the artistic style wouldn’t appeal to me. I must say that the cartoony images really grew on me as the issue progressed. I like the overall tone of his pencils, especially the facial expressions. Young’s work resembles Humberto Ramos’ pencils on Impulse, which in my opinion is a very good thing. I don’t recall seeing any of Skottie Young’s work in the past, but I hope he has a long run on this title.

HUMAN TORCH is a light, relatively cheerful read, in other words the type of mainstream comic that seems to get cancelled these days. I don’t know how many people really want to read the continuing adventures of Johnny Storm, and that’s the biggest hurdle the creative team has ahead of them. With some luck, TORCH will find an audience, in this dog eat dog world of comics.