Torch: Reclaim the Skies #1 Review (Kickstarter)

The character Torch Armstrong reaching out her hand

It takes a certain kind of courage to break out of your comfort zone, whether it's by using your flying car to escape alien police or launching a Kickstarter for your first full-length comic book (in the middle of a pandemic, no less). In a way, comic book writer A.J. Rojek and his creation Torch have something in common.

Torch: Reclaim the Skies
, Rojek's sci-fi comic that's about to launch its Kickstarter on January 19, is the story of the titular Torch Armstrong, once a child prodigy and the best star pilot in the galaxy, now retired and bored living off her pension with her younger brother Spark. When a misadventure in the city reawakened her thirst for adventure, Torch and Spark decide to run towards an uncertain future that's infinitely more exciting...and possibly deadly!

The first issue is some pretty good world-building. Alien overlords, a grimy cyberpunk future society, and an interstellar war that Torch was once proudly part of give Torch: Reclaim the Skies a lived-in feel. Rojek leans into Torch's nostalgia hard, with Torch often coming off as a reckless adolescent chasing after her old glory days. But then you get hints of something deeper and more personal in play, and you can't help but feel that there's more to this abrasive personality than meets the eye.

Artist Tom Hoskisson and colorist Daniela Barisone bring the world of Torch: Reclaim the Skies to life in all its Blade Runner-esque glory, with vibrant colors and great sequential storytelling that make it one of the better-looking indie comics I've come across so far. When Torch looks up to a sky filled to the brim with stars (rendered with much love by Hoskisson and Barisone), that pure longing she has to go back up there bleeds out of the page, and that feeling makes you want to know if she succeeds in doing so.

Torch: Reclaim the Skies is shaping up to be a really fun comic book. In these uncertain times, sometimes being fun is often enough. It also helps that the first issue does what even mainstream comic books often fail to do: tell you a complete story in 20 or so pages while getting you to not only care about the characters, but to also make you want more.

Click here to go to the Torch: Reclaim the Skies Kickstarter page. And go support indie creators whenever and however you can!

Advanced Review Copy was provided for review.

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