Michelle Metcalf gave up the last thing she had to lose—her secret identity. But will taking that step be enough to get revenge on the man who killed her husband and kidnapped her son? Or will she have to go further? Spoiler alert: she’ll have to go further.
COMICONWith only a few exceptions, superheroes with secret identities have become passe. The world now knows that Clark Kent is Superman and Tony Stark is Iron Man. Sure, Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker have their alter egos, but they are now more the exception that the rule. Torrent reminds readers why those identities are so important – and a mainstay of superhero stories for decades. When a would-be sidekick reveals to villain Skelton that Michelle Metcalf is the hero Crackerjack, Metcalf’s world is turned upside down. Skelton has her husband killed and kidnaps her son. (...) Writer Marc Guggenheim pulls off this monumental shift in the character with aplomb. At the same time, he manages to manipulate readers’ feelings about Crackerjack. We like Metcalf when we first meet her, then feel sorry for her when she suffers such tragic losses. We start rooting for her revenge, but soon are repulsed by the level of violence she descends in to. Like Metcalf, Guggenheim pulls no punches. Artist Justin Greenwood follows suit on each page. We see typical, low-key scenes in the police station and the DA’s office and then later incredibly violent panels with blood and brain matter smattered everywhere. It’s a complex visual and emotional journey, yet one that the creative team makes easy to follow. Rico Renzi’s colors add significantly to the mood. Metcalf has come a long way in only three issues, and there’s a lot more to come for her. Is her descent into darkness permanent, or will she eventually come to her senses and revert to her old ways. If you think the answer is obvious, consider that this creative team likes to surprise its readers. And we all benefit from that.
The Super Powered FancastThe Story: Guggenheim takes the story to some even darker places than previous issues and all of it works. The action is thrilling and the drama is compelling. I enjoy the revenge elements of the plot, but there is humanity in the character and her struggles. She knows she’s crossed the line and what she has to lose because of it and that interpersonal conflict makes the story enjoyable and engaging. The Art: Greenwood delivers some great action, visual thrills and a level of violence that brilliantly showcases the dark road Michelle is taking.
Lyles Movie FilesWriter Marc Guggenheim is locked in with the pacing of this issue shifting from a more judicial red tape perspective to a hardcore graphic violence bodies hitting the floor story. Artist Justin Greenwood’s style might lack polish especially in the more action heavy moments, but the liveliness he brings to each panel compensates for any layout challenges. Greenwood is conveying the superhero turned vigilante shift very well with subtle changes in Michelle’s movements and posture. Colorist Rico Renzi keeps the pages popping with sharp, stunning colors and Keith Wood puts the right emphasis on the words giving the script a relaxed conversational tone. Torrent continues to be a welcome addition to the Image Comics roster thanks to a creative team that hasn’t wavered from its unique perspective to a somewhat familiar origin story.
Comic Book RevolutionAs the solicitation teases Torrent #3 focuses on what happens when Michelle Metcalf reveals that she was the superhero Crackerjack at the end of the previous issue. The life Michelle previously knew is completely gone now. With that Torrent #3 explores what that means for Michelle, who built a whole life in and out of being a superhero. Given the scope of this story Marc Guggenheim and Justin Greenwood are building Torrent to have more of an episodic structure. There is certainly the overarching narrative of Michelle dealing with getting her revenge on her nemesis, Skeleton. But rather than go with the typical three to six issue comic book storytelling structure Guggenheim and Greenwood are taking more of a TV show approach. (...) Making Michelle’s arc in Torrent #3 strong is how Guggenheim adds real world rules that don’t break this superhero reality. There are aspects that Michelle run into that you would expect from whenever dealing with cops and lawyers. These realistic elements make Michelle’s decision in what direction she goes on as Crackerjack have greater weight. This leads to an ending where you are left wondering what it will mean for the future of the Torrent Universe. Michelle’s arc is complimented by how Torrent #3 continues to develop Skeleton as the big bad of the series. Guggenheim is giving Skeleton a Wilson Fisk Kingpin vibe. This type of persona works well with the direction the story takes in this issue. Skeleton’s decisions lay the foundation for a larger mountain for Michelle to climb than she previously saw. Greenwood and Rico Renzi’s artwork was solid as always. They work best in getting across the emotions Michelle and others are feeling at different moments in Torrent #3. This makes the entire narrative of the story have greater weight as the change in approach by Michelle as Crackerjack is something you understand. Torrent #3 does an excellent job at showing the ramifications of a superhero revealing their identity come with a lot of complexities. Those complexities create a greater investment in Michelle Metcalf’s journey as her world has completely changed. If you are a superhero comic book fan make sure to pick-up Torrent. It’s a can’t miss comic.
ComicBook.comWhile Torrent #3 is still overwritten and relies too much on some really bad tropes, this issue is a marked improvement from the previous two issues – at least in terms of the writing and story. The art is still not great, but it's also just the style of the issue now so it is what it is. When the system fails her, Michelle again takes things into her own hands and honestly, it's pretty interesting, watching the system laid bare like that for a few pages. There's a harsh reality there that really comes up off the page before the story slides back into its cliches and tropes. At least Michelle is starting to be just a little bit less of a caricature in small moments this issue. It feels like a shift in a better direction.