REVIEW: ‘FirePower,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

FirePower #1

FirePower #1, written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Chris Samnee, colored by Matt Wilson, and lettered by Rus Wooton, is published by Image Comics underneath their Skybound imprint. After the events of the prequel graphic novel, Owen Johnson has started a family and has attempted to live a normal life. However, one of his old friends from the Temple of the Flaming Fist approaches him for help.

The interesting thing about FirePower #1 is that there isn’t much martial arts action. The biggest event that happens in the issue is a cookout that Owen hosts for his friends and family; the first half is dedicated to said cookout. Yet this manages to showcase the life Owen has built for himself and his family. It also helps humanize him, which Kirkman excels at.

Most of Kirkman’s previous work, particularly Invincible and The Walking Dead, often takes a trope and turns it on its head. He continues this tradition with FirePower; though Owen is called upon to help save the world, he rejects it. He’s built a new life with his family, and he wants to preserve that life. It’s a far more relatable goal than the “you’re born to save the world” tropes that most martial arts stories use.

Kirkman also knows how to play to his artist’s strengths. Samnee makes all of his characters feel like actually distinct people; kids look and talk like kids and adults look and talk like adults. He even has Owen’s dog Peanut Butter begging for treats and shuffling around the house as a pet dog should. Samnee also excels at selling his character’s emotions via facial expression. A good example is on the final page when a rival ninja has snuck into Owen’s house. The first panel shows Owen asleep. Then the second panel pushes in on his mouth curling into a frown. Finally, the last panel shows his eyes snapping open as he gets ready for battle.

FirePower #1

The entire book features fluid movement like this. Characters actually feel like they’re jumping or running. Samnee is helped in this regard by Wilson’s colors which help set the mood. The cookout features bright, summery tones; it made me long for the days of family cookouts, especially in these times. Subsequently, scenes set at night are shaded in black and dark blue which feel rather foreboding.

The only problem with the issue is that much of the series’ backstory was told in the graphic novel. In order to get the context for Owen’s martial arts skills and past life, you’d have to pick that up to get the full story. As a result, the first issue doesn’t feel entirely friendly to new readers.

FirePower #1 flips the “chosen one” trope on its head beautifully, thanks to some amazing art and a solid script. While I do wish the issue was a bit more friendly to new readers, I highly suggest reading it and the graphic novel for the complete experience.

FirePower #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

FirePower #1
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TL;DR

FirePower #1 flips the “chosen one” trope on its head beautifully, thanks to some amazing art and a solid script. While I do wish the issue was a bit more friendly to new readers, I highly suggest reading it and the graphic novel for the complete experience.