Fire Power Volume 1: Prelude

by Jess Roth on May 05, 2020

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colours: Matt Wilson
Letters: Rus Wooton

If there's one thing I've learned from reading the first volume of Fire Power, it's that sometimes-- despite the childhood lesson not to-- you absolutely can judge a book by its cover. Not that that's a bad thing! Fire Power, the brain child of industry vets, Kirkman and Samnee, is a lushly-coloured martial arts masterpiece that tells the story of Owen Johnson, a man who has trained all over the world, scaled mountains, braved avalanches, and probably faced wild boars (I don't know, I'm just spitballing. Sounds like something he would do) on a quest for deeply personal answers that a therapist would love to untangle. Owen finds himself inducted into the Order of the Flaming Fist, a martial arts group that can harness the power of fire to do cool things like cook their rice and melt ice blocks. Somewhere in her new woodland home, Elsa quakes in fear.

Now, if you're thinking that this sounds familiar: that's because it does. Fire Power relies heavily on your nostalgia (whether you grew up bedazzled by the kung-fu flicks in the 70s and 80s, or you're too young for that and your scope of reference only extends as far back as Avatar: The Last Airbender, or that Karate Kid remake we don't talk about) as it hits all the familiar beats you'd expect, with Owen going from Outsider to Chosen One with the assistance of a sassy old mentor real quick. There's also your typical "forbidden romance" between Owen and another student. There are no surprises there.


Just because you know what's coming, and it gleefully jumps into one cliche after another, doesn't mean it's not fun as hell to read. At this point in his career, Kirkman is a master showman. He knows what he's doing, and people who have read his previous work will implicitly trust his expert storytelling. It sets up a lot of cool future plot threads while keeping you immersed in what's currently happening in the story, and it's a beautiful book. Seriously. Samnee is one of my favourite artists, and pairing him with Matt Wilson for this book was nothing short of genius. Wilson's palette choices make the characters pop and emboldens the story's beautiful backdrop.

Is Fire Power the greatest thing ever? Not yet, but it also doesn't seek to reinvent the wheel. For what it is, it's a lot of fun, and if you're looking for a new quarantine read that won't send you spiralling into an existential crisis, Fire Power is the one you want.

Our Score:


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