Fire Power Vol 1: Prelude
SERIES PREMIERE! ALL-NEW series created by ROBERT KIRKMAN (THE WALKING DEAD, INVINCIBLE, OBLIVION SONG) and Chris Samnee (Daredevil)! Owen Johnson's journey to China to learn about his birth parents eventually leads him to a mysterious Shaolin Temple. The students there study to rediscover the Fire Power, the lost art of throwing fireballs. A power they claim will be needed soon to save the world. Will Owen Johnson be the first person in a thousand years to wield the FIRE POWER?
With the release of Fire Power, a new original graphic novel from Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee, we are launched into a brand new series of mystic forces to explore the origins of a new hero, Owen Johnson as he seeks to uncover the secrets about his lineage. It’s a stylistic take on the “man out of culture” trope that pushes it in interesting new directions, especially with a cast of characters you just don’t want to leave by the story’s end.
Centered around an intense training regime at the Temple of the Flaming Fist, Fire Power wastes no time in getting right to the heart of the story. This yields both positive and negative results, as it gets readers right into the good stuff but it also loses some of the original flair right in the early pages. A man lost on the mountains who stumbles upon a Temple full of secretive warriors studying a lost technique certainly feels like something we have seen before. In this, the premise just comes off as a bit weaker. But similar to Kirkman’s rather successful previous project The Walking Dead (you may have heard of it), which took a familiar theme in zombie apocalypses and gave it a fresh new approach, Fire Power feels like it has the potential to elevate the trope into a character-driven spectacle with just the right amount of heart and action.
Comics are hard enough to bring to life, but rarely are creators given an opportunity to flesh a story out as much before a #1 issue than what we see in Fire Power. Along with the original graphic novel, there was a free comic book day release as well, all serving to build anticipation and excitement for the debut of Fire Power #1 which kicks off the ongoing series. The depth this provides is undoubtedly appreciated and the efforts make more sense when we reach the final pages in the prelude graphic novel. However, the substantial world building that occurs shouldn’t be mistaken for the whole story, there is a lot still to learn about both Johnson as well as the Temple of the Flaming Fist and what it all means in current events. What we are given so far, is a curiously intriguing origin that does a lot of great things to keep readers hooked and asking questions.
The story comes alive thanks to Samnee’s incredible visuals punctuated by Wilson’s sometimes surprisingly vibrant colors. This is an aesthetic that is very different from other projects Kirkman has worked on, but it fits the tone of the story and does some wonderful things adding distinction to the sometimes familiar nature of the story. The blend of cultural elements such as fashion and music into the Temple of the Flaming Fist, utilizing the magnificent Master Wei Lun, is ultimately my own favorite aspect of the story. It toys with the notion of cultural assimilation in a modern world within the trope of a man out of culture in ways that help to give it a new perspective. The design choices help to push the story out of the mundane and into the realm of exciting potential.
With Rus Wooton absolutely nailing the lettering, the pacing and flow of the story is remarkably enjoyable. It’s quite a large book but I never found myself fatigued or waiting for things to end. As we follow Owen during initiations, training and even a climactic battle that acts as a catalyst for the main dilemma in the story, it becomes easy to fall into the lore and want to learn more about the lost arts and whats to come. This is the hallmark of quality storytelling and something Kirkman is quite masterful at. The premise might not be as strong as I would’ve liked, but the page turning quality and the ability to keep readers coming back for more is every bit as prevalent in Fire Power Vol 1: Prelude.
For those interested in a brand new series with a deeply intriguing world to jump into, Fire Power is a great choice. There are problematics with the timing of a man out of culture for sure. But it’s also handled with surprising tact, making it a story that feels like it is easy to enjoy. The main character might be a bit bland at the moment, but considering just how much world building lore and excellent character work from everyone around him, it’s just a matter of time for Owen to find his footing. As a prelude, the original graphic novel accomplishes everything it set out to do, giving an interesting origin in a world ripe with storytelling potential. I know I’ll be there for the release of Fire Power #1 and hopefully after reading Vol 1: Prelude for yourself, you will be too!
Fire Power Vol 1: Prelude accomplishes everything it set out to do, giving an interesting origin in a world ripe with storytelling potential. It has the page turning quality to keep readers hooked and feels poised to deliver on the promise of so much more to come.
Fire Power Vol 1: Prelude: I Have Come to Learn
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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