Review: Fire Power Vol 1: Prelude & FCBD #1
While I'm not the biggest Kirman fan, I don't entirely hate his writing. I can find his plotting to be repetitive and his scripting to usually fall somewhere between the scale of bland to stiff, but sometimes when he's on he's on. And much like the work of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, if he's collaborating with certain talents then the work can certainly be elevated. Chris Samnee is most definitely one of those talents.
I've been a big fan of Samnee's for a while now and I can't get enough of his work. His crisp lines and tight compositions make for some clean and engaging storytelling. Stylistically he's reminiscent of Alex Toth and David Mazzucchelli, which is a very aesthetically pleasing combo of styles if you're trying to get on my good side. So basically, even if Kirkman's scripting wasn't on point for me I'd be checking this out.
The core story is fairly simple; guy finds hidden monastery of martial artists, trains to hone his skill, searches for the truth about his parents, master the fire, blah blah blah. It's all stuff we've seen before, but the pace is brisk and the scripting has the right amount of beats while inserting plenty of humor. The main character Owen is a pretty straightforward protagonist who is thankfully not a token white dude so we avoid that cliched Danny Rand action. He walks that fine line between identifiable hero and bland average guy, but he serves as a good foil against who should be the real star of the story, the sassy Master Wei Lun.
Without too many spoilers, some stakes are set that tie into the revelation of who his parents are, and then you get ninjas. The action is definitely where both Kirkman and Samnee excel as it's really well paced and has some great fight choreography to it.
After the climax of our main arc, we suddenly get a 15 year cut and Owen is living a happy-ish life in a suburban home, with the inevitable teaser of his past coming to haunt him. In the form of ninjas.
I'm suddenly getting flashbacks to the original Ben Edlund Tick comics.....
So that wraps up the OGN, which I'll say is worth it as it's just $9.99 for 153 pages with no ads. Plot wise there's nothing special but it's presented in an entertaining way, so the major draw and payoff for me is the art.
This leads us to the FCBD special, which is interesting in that while I think it probably reads ok on its own without the OGN, it definitely benefits the reader to have started with the OGN.
The story picks up pretty much moments after the end of the OGN and sets up Owen's current life with his wife and children. The main focus on all of this is a family and friends BBQ that the script uses as a quick means of exposition to catch us up on the immediate timeline.
A character from Owen's past does pop up though and is seeking to draw Owen back into his old life, revealing a few details about what may have happened during the 15 year jump.
Again, it's all fairly familiar material but it's well executed. We're left with the door being opened between both of Owen's worlds and new dangers coming, including that same darned ninja who was stalking him earlier.
I'm really tempted to never read the rest of the series because I'm created my own fanfiction where the ninja never actually does anything. Like, wouldn't it be better if it's just always stalking him, but never acts? And the rest of the series was basically just a sitcom about this guys normal life? Except for that darned ninja, stalking him in the grocery market......
If you're looking for a fairly fun action series, you could do a lot worse and you'll have some fun. It's definitely worth checking out to just see a amazing draftsman and artist shine as Samnee is just constantly putting out amazing work.