Torchwood #1 Review & SDCC Panel Recap
The adventures of Captain Jack Harkness and the Torchwood Institute continue in an ongoing comic from Titan Comics. This continuation of the Doctor Who spinoff is written by Carole Barrowman, with story heavily influenced byCaptain Jack himself, John Barrowman. Art by Antonio Fuso (G.I. Joe: Cobra, Drive) and Pasquale Qualano (Batman ’66, She-Hulk).
Doctor Who for a more adult audience, a team of misfits defending the earth from extraterrestrial threats, ninjas on flying jetskis, and giant sea monsters. With influence from Barrowman himself, expect an authentic continuation of the Torchwood story.
Torchwood #1 is mostly setup for later issues, but returns with the same jokes and personalities fans grew to love. References to previous stories (like a quick fly-by from Myfanwy) demonstrate a dedication to canon and continued character development.
The Whole Story
For those unfamiliar with the story of Torchwood: In 1879, after meeting The Doctor, Queen Victoria established a clandestine group to protect Great Britain from extraterrestrial threats. The Torchwood Institute eventually grew into a large organization with multiple branches spread across the British Empire. Captain Jack Harkness, former time agent and temporary companion to The Doctor, led Torchwood Three, based in Cardiff. The team primarily guarded the planet from threats by the Cardiff Rift — a wormhole open to all of spacetime, where extraterrestrial weapons, creatures, and anomalies could pass through into our world.
As a spin off of Doctor Who, the Torchwood television series spanned four seasons from 2006-2011. Also within canon are a series of 19 novels and a series of audio dramas by Big Finish productions. Torchwood #1 is meant to occur after the 19th novel, Exodus Code, and in parallel with the ongoing audio dramas. At SDCC 2016, Barrowman promised the stories would converge in a really exciting and big way. (Barrowman also mentioned that Russell T. Davies, the show’s creator, gives his blessing to each issue. Could this mean we’ll see his involvement later down the line?)
Operating within canon and continuity, Torchwood HQ is now aboard the Ice Maiden, a Helicarrier-type ship that operates in stealth. It currently houses all of Torchwood’s equipment and creatures, and Captain Jack continues to collect items scattered around the globe after the Institute’s disbandment in 2009. The team currently has three captains, and each will represent an arc in the story. As for tone, Carole Barrowman described the series as meaning to have “Jack’s humor and be a bit sexy.” Which, if Torchwood #1 is to be any guide, they’ve nailed. We can also expect big alien threats and attacks, as the team is no longer ruled by the budgets of television. (Flying jet-skiing ninjas being the result of Barrowman being told he can do “whatever he wants” in the comic. He’s also since bought a jet ski in Tardis blue.)
Additional important news to note: John Barrowman is currently in talks with the BBC to bring back the show. At Comic-Con, Barrowman urged fans to view the comic as a gateway for bringing Torchwood back to television. So, if you’d like to see the show return, be sure to purchase a copy!
There may not be any bigger fan of Torchwood and Captain Jack Harkness than John Barrowman himself. And who can we expect to be a better authority on Jack than the man who plays him? With Barrowman at the helm, the return of Torchwood should be a truly exciting and authentic adventure.
Fans of Torchwood must definitely pick up what promises to be an exciting new adventure of the Torchwood team (and as a means to bring Jack back to TV). For non-fans: while the issue does provide a nice entry point & summary of the story thus far, it may be slightly confusing. Consider waiting to see the story develop in issue #2 before picking up a copy.
Purchase Torchwood #1 from your local comic shop on August 3. Alternatively, you can support Nerdy Show by pre-ordering online from Amazon & comiXology.