Robert Kirkman and Image Comics have had a longstanding relationship since 2002. The duo are largely recognized for the massively popular The Walking Dead comic book series which spanned across 193 issues from 2003 to 2019. Of course it led to the hit television series of the same name as well as various spin-offs and video + mobile games. Despite their long history together, Kirkman and Image have not produced other hits to the degree of The Walking Dead. There is one exception so far, which is Invincible, a comic about a teenage superhero named Mark Grayson who is the son of Omni-Man, the the most powerful superhero on the planet. The series began in 2003 and ended in 2018, spanning 144 issues. An animated TV series is in the works, and is set to air on Amazon Prime this year. I know many people have an Amazon Prime subscription, but what are the odds a majority will actually watch the show? I earnestly hope for its success, as it would only help comics overall.
Hoping the 27th time's the charm, Kirkman and Image Comics are debuting a blazing new comic book series titled Fire Power with Kirkman at the helm as Creator/Writer, alongside Co-Creator/Artist Chris Samnee. The latter is a renowned, award-winning artist of his own accord. Samnee is widely known for his work on the Daredevil comic book series with Marvel. Together, Kirkman and Samnee are giving it a go with Fire Power, a visually unique comic about Owen Johnson, a young American man searching for The Temple of the Flaming Fist. Fire Power Volume 1 is a hearty graphic novel that will be the prelude to the run of the comic's singles, which will be available in early August.
Owen travels through the beautifully harrowing Himalayas only to arrive at the feet of Master Wei Lun, not the monk he was surely expecting. Wei Lun is clearly a fan of western culture, rocking a green bomber jacket, headphones around his neck, a fitted blue cap, and a pair of red and white Air Jordan 1s. Wei Lun is the cool, impish master we all wish we could have. Someone to smack you upside the head when you're not reaching your fullest potential, but also someone who cares enough to take you under their wing. Anytime the master is around, the story is automatically ten times more interesting. This character is truly a driving force and one I hope to see more of when the single issues go on sale.
There is a reason for Owen's travel. He isn't trying to become the best martial artist known to man; he just wants to know about his past. After traveling from temple to temple over many years, Owen lands at the Temple of the Flaming Fist for answers. Much like other martial art comic stories, he also finds love and an enemy within the community, while still having to prove his value to the temple. These are classic tropes usually met with a yawn, which is a bit surprising coming from Kirkman, but Samnee's art pulls you into the story. The art is smooth, almost fluid, with vibrant and dark colors flowing cohesively. Nothing is garish. What is in the light and not blended into the background is important. What remains in the shadows is equally important. Samnee and colorist Matt Wilson provide the visual story in a way that almost makes text unnecessary.
While at the temple, Owen must overcome many obstacles in order to come out the other side in various ways. It is important to prove that he is not his ancestors, he is his own man with an immeasurable ability no one can deny. By the end of the novel, we are brought into the present day life of Owen. What he has become is a bit shocking, considering where his story ends at the temple. Many questions arise and the answers are sure to follow when the single issues are released. I strongly encourage you to pickup a copy of this feast for the eyes. The story is intriguing, and this will be the best preparation for a sure-to-be hit series.
Fire Power Volume 1 is published by Image Comics and is available on July 1, 2020.