Billy frustrated me in the first two issues, because the chip on his shoulder was the size of planet Earth; however, his interest in how G.A.P.R.I. may be related to his mother and his pyrokinetic abilities finally allows our protagonist to let down his guard a little. For me, issue three’s Billy is still an angry young man, but he is asking questions and trying to learn rather than just pushing the world away. It may be that he’s finally allowing himself to hope that he’s found a place he can belong or maybe the plot’s moved forward enough that Billy’s character becomes more dynamic. Readers get revelations about G.A.P.R.I.’s not-so-savory past, an introduction to a possible teammate/love interest, and a fun sparring sequence that doubles as bro-bonding. Overall, issue three is just more fun, because the world has brightened for our reluctant hero. The tone of later volumes may vary some with the crisis revealed in the final pages, but we’ve moved away from the “Billy’s life is grim and depressing” genre.
I noticed immediately that G.A.P.R.I.’s headquarters are brighter and more colorful than Billy’s previous world. While the artwork continues to be fairly simple, the scenes of sculpted bushes and inviting benches make it clear that this place is welcoming. I also loved the sparring sequence thanks to the intriguing suits and great use of whatever technique creates Billy’s fire effects.
Issue #3 of Billy the Pyro reminds me of the beginning of a series like The X-Men or another great superhero team comic. The action has arrived, and I’m excited to see where things may go. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it just whets my appetite for more of Billy and G.A.P.R.I.’s adventures. I think we’re heading toward something very intriguing, and I look forward to more installments.
4.5 Fiery Fists of Training out of 5