So often we get new adult versions of superheroes to give not only a different perspective on the genre, but possibly a new light on the horrific reality superpowers can bring. Considering how dark the world can be it’s a great way to ground stories and a cool way to reimagine heroes we already know and love. Often these series barely scratch the surface and promise more than they can deliver, but what about Billy the Pyro? Is it good?
Billy The Pyro #1 and #2 (Alterna Comics)
What we have here is a teenage boy with a deadbeat dad who lives on the wrong side of the tracks. The kid has an attitude, probably because his mom died during childbirth. Of course, his father resents Billy and blames him for his mother’s death. He’s even on special meds and sees a psychiatrist for his plentiful issues. Basically put, he’s living a crummy lifestyle and a boring one at that. The first issue brings all this to light, and I’ll admit, I was worried I was reading something all too typical in the comic world. When a mysterious man approaches Billy I was even more worried, but things quickly turned around. You see, Billy can control fire, or at least call it up when he gets upset.
The fact is though, I kept turning the pages because the narrative is so strong. We’re inside Billy’s head as he narrates his troubles and frustrations, and writer Brad Burdick does a great job with the cadence and voice of the character. So often characters narrate as if they’re speaking to the audience and know it, but here it’s natural and well rendered. The second issue opens with a great flashback sequence that’s paced incredibly well, and while the introduction of a mysterious corporation that has an interest in Billy’s powers may not appear to be the most original of concepts, it’s the character dynamic that keep things interesting. Billy is filled with anger and probably not ready to take on the responsibility of his powers and it’s thoroughly enjoyable to see what might happen next.
When reading this book I kept thinking of the Human Torch, naturally, but the thing is he got his powers when he was already older and with a chip on his shoulder. This book delivers a character with seemingly similar powers, but damn is his background a lot darker. That means an interesting concept is at play here, a kid who isn’t a hero or even very positive, and considering the powers he’s got his story has potential for some compelling storytelling.
The art by Fabian Cobos keeps things moving forward as well, with very good layouts and pacing. A lot of his panels reminded me of John Romita Jr. as they were compelling and good at capturing the reality of the moment. He has a style that’s 100% photorealistic, but has a weight to the characters that keeps them grounded.
Oh is that all?
Is It Good?
I had zero expectations but ended up loving every page of this series. Issue #3 hits in another month or two and I highly recommend checking this series out. Very compelling.