TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO by JOHN BARROWMAN, CAROLE BARROWMAN, AND NEIL EDWARDS
Characterization
Art
Plot
Summary
John and Carole Barrowman deliver an excitingly dangerous story that captures the soul of TORCHWOOD.
93 %
Dangerous and Compelling

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TORCHWOOD originated as a television spin-off of the British hit series DOCTOR WHO. Since then, the franchise has been brought to life as radio plays, novels, and, of course, comic books. TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO and its predecessor, TORCHWOOD VOL. 1: A WORLD WITHOUT END take place after the events in the novel Exodus Code. I don’t think it’s impossible to enjoy the comic without having read the novel; however, it will definitely require some scrambling to orient yourself with the new Torchwood team.

Apocalypse? Again?

Would it even really be TORCHWOOD if there wasn’t a looming alien apocalypse? I think not. In TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO, the Torchwood team continues to race against the clock to stop the Navigators leeching the energy from the heliosphere to start life in new galaxies. Unfortunately, evil ex-time agent Karina throws a sizable wrench in their plans. She injects Hollis with a nano weapon that absorbs flesh and bone. Until Torchwood gives her the astrolabe she’s after, Hollis’ life is held hostage.

TORCHWOOD Vol. 2: STATION ZERO
Image from TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO, courtesy of Titan Comics

John Hart, never able to decide just how duplicitous he wants to be, betrays both sides angling for the astrolabe and makes a run for it. Fortunately, Dana and Vlad drag him back in. Meanwhile, Karina explains that while the astrolabe could destroy the Navigator’s weapon — the opsolarium — she intends to sell it to a third party that has other uses for the technology.

READ: Check out this ranking of DOCTOR WHO companions!

Fortunately, with the help of a loyal butler, Jack comes up with a clever plan to neutralize the threat of Karina. Less fortunate is that the Navigator’s are causing volcanic eruptions worldwide. It’s not quite the end of the world, but the A.I. — Shelley — discovers that the opsolarium is diverting massive amounts of energy beneath the arctic. A fun flashback to Jack’s time in the future reveals some truths about the danger, while in real time we learn about the significance of Torchwood’s young stowaway, Rona.

Artwork Outta This World

It’s always fun to read comics based on television shows or movies, as there’s an interesting blend between real likeness and stylistic choices. TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO is no different. While capturing the essence of recurring characters Jack, Gwen, and John, Neil Edwards also employs an edgier art style that uses rougher, less polished lines.

READ: Can’t get enough sci-fi? Here’s 2016’s best sci-fi comics!

Colorists Nicola Righi, Alberto Bugiu, Rod Fernandes, and Dijjo Lima balance light and dark excellently within the volume. Darker, cool tones are primarily used in the panels depicting the 21st century, on par with the color palette of the television show. Futuristic and otherworldly panels have brighter and more vibrant coloring, which only lends more to the fun of time travel.

TORCHWOOD Vol. 2: STATION ZERO
Image from TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO, courtesy of Titan Comics

There are countless intricacies in the artwork that I could gush about. For example, the motion blur in the panel above that makes the action feel immediate and visceral. The elements in this volume feel real and dangerous, too. Scorching volcanoes, unlikely weather, and sentient plants pop right off the page. I’m also a sucker for a good spacescape, and this volume certainly delivers.

Final Thoughts on TORCHWOOD VOL. 2: STATION ZERO

This comic, written by John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman, certainly exemplifies everything I’ve always loved about TORCHWOOD. It’s all high stakes danger and wild science fiction, combatted by a rough around the edges team led by their mysterious and devilishly flirtatious captain. If I’m wanting for anything, it’s deeper characterization from the supporting cast. The new team members don’t have their hooks in my heart quite yet, but let’s be honest, it’s hard to compare to the people Torchwood has lost.

Still, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to recommend this comic to TORCHWOOD fans. Though, while it’s certainly thrilling enough, it’s not a comic I would rapidly flip through. The plot can be a little complex, and it deserves to have some time spent on it. I’ve already reread the volume multiple times and discovered new gems and details. I can’t wait to see how the story continues to unfold in volume three!

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