Filed under: Comic Reviews | Tags: Alterna Comics, Billy the Pyro, Brad Burdick, Eddy Swan, Fabian Cobos
Alterna Comics brings us Billy the Pyro – the story of genetic experiments gone wrong & teen Billy caught in the middle with all the mood swings you can imagine.
Far from being a rip-off of any other fire-powered heroes out there – this is different as across these first 2 issues of the 4 parter we are steeped in the less than impressive life of Billy. Spending more time with his psychiatrist than his alcoholic father we see that life is pretty grim for our central character. The loss of his mother when he was young is given as the reason for this but we gradually get to see more glimpses of what happened to her as these issues continue. In the meantime we get to see Billy try to survive the mean streets where he lives as he dodges punches from his father, meds from his doc and muggings in broad daylight.
It’s the potential for being mugged that leads to an encounter with a homeless man/secret agent and Billy is soon on the run for his tendency to burn stuff……an encounter that leads to an actual mugging and the real catalyst for his powers being revealed. His shock & fear are quickly turned back into teen attitude as he acts out against the Dr’s & agents of GAPRI (Genetic Alteration and Pyrokinesis Research Institute)….who actually seem to be responsible for the powers he has. Turning against them and heading back into his grim life he’s soon dodging punches for the last time and at the midway point in this story there’s a refreshing lack of superhero bravado.
Billy’s life seems like a regular life and writer Brad Burdick seems to capture the stroppy teen side of Billy particularly well. Far from making him unlikeable he manages to make us give a damn about what happens to him and that’s part of the success of these issues. The other part is the artwork from Fabian Coros (illustrator) & Eddy Swan (colours) as they both work well to give the panels depth. High detail where it’s needed and simplistic, straight-to-the point moments to match the progress of the story & characters. Making that fire element glow and generate the heat and fear that you’d expect in the characters around it……great stuff. Superhero stuff is always going to be a gamble with the big publishers swamping the market with releases but there’s still a place for small press superhero titles when they match those publishers with quality writing & artwork. Some folks may not like the slow build-up in Billy the Pyro but I like that they’re taking their time with the characters & background story.
Issues #1 2 & 3 are available now through the Alterna Comics website or over on Comixology – with issue #4 due to hit on January 28th. There’s also a collected Volume 1 edition due soon that you can preorder now with Diamond code JAN15 0957.
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