I jumped right into the newly released Torchwood #1 from Titan Comics with absolutely no preparation. It’s been awhile since I visited the intrepid Cardiff Torchwood Three crew, so I’ll admit right up front that I was very happy to immediately encounter a “Previously on Torchwood” page as I opened the issue.
Owen, Toshiko, and Ianto are still dead? Way to hit me with the depressing reminder there, Mr. “Previously On.” Gwen and Captain Jack are still separated, stubbornly ignoring that it’s clearly their destiny to tackle all the universe has to throw at them together? Well, that’s to be expected, I suppose. Jack is romping around on an interstellar ice-rigging ship that’s been souped up with alien technology. Naturally.
And that’s pretty much all the set up we get as we flip the page straight into a cold-open revealing Jack surrounded by a menacing field of snake-like aliens with eyeballs at the end of their tentacle bodies. It’s a fitting Torchwood creepy-crawly and a fitting way to open, with Jack surrounded by peril, attempting to hold his own against overwhelming odds. Cue a teleportation rescue via alien sea vessel, and we’re launched into the thick of the story (Stories?) that will apparently be making up this new series.
I’ll admit that at this point I found myself a bit bogged down in the sheer number of storylines, locations, and character introductions thrown at me. We pinball around from the alien planet to a beach in Wales to the hold of the Ice Maiden to the Scottish Highlands, then back to another beach in Wales, a Norwegian coastline, and then finally back to the Ice Maiden.
Along the way, we meet Jack’s crew-mates (complete with apparent new romantic partner for Jack), the requisite innocent bystander who will apparently get pulled into the Torchwood universe for this adventure, a bed-ridden “poly-math” and his caregiver, a seemingly random sea monster, a pack of ninjas on flying jet-skis, and, if all that weren’t enough, an artificial-intelligence avatar named “Mary Shelley.” Oh, and the always entertaining Captain John Hart is joining the fray in typically enigmatic fashion.
Of course, Gwen’s always sidelined husband Rhys ends up abandoned and alone on one of those beaches.
If that sounds exhausting, I can assure you it was. With so many opening moments packed into one issue, I’m left with very little I can say about the storyline at this point. Although, ninjas on flying jet-skis sounds fairly hopeful. The highlight of this issue, in fact, was the consistent stream of witty character description bubbles. Taken altogether, they give me hope that once the story gets some traction, there will be a fair number of interesting, new characters to sink our teeth into. (Pun intended. Remember that random sea monster? Yeah, those teeth.)