Fire Power #1 is one of the best comics I’ve ever read about domestic life in the face of secret and mystic power. Issue #2 shows those powers off, and incredible fighting abilities, with a large chunk of the book focused on action and nothing more. It’s likely a big reason why this issue came out the same week as the first, since it shows off a ton of action when issue #1 held back a bit with the fighting.
This issue opens with 14 pages of action and no dialogue. That’s a lot, though it doesn’t feel like it’s overdoing it thanks to some genius choices to take your breathe away. Artist Chris Samnee and writer Robert Kirkman have concocted a lot of great ideas to mix up the action when this book opens.
At the end of the last issue, protagonist Owen Johnson realized an assassin was in his bedroom. This issue picks up there, as he attempts to thwart the assassin while not waking his wife and kids. The fight takes place around the bedroom, down the hall, and comes close to waking the family. The scene is enhanced thanks to Owen’s desire to stay quiet, which includes catching a glass of water before it tips. It adds a layer of danger on top of the whole being killed part.
This leads to an interesting bit of family time for Owen as we learn his wife may not be in the dark like the first issue led us to believe. Once again, Kirkman shows this family unit is tight and healthy. The final scene helps convey the impending danger (or maybe it’s aid?), which builds on the cliffhanger well.
The action is incredibly fluid and natural. Samnee adds little details to draw the eye and inform us of movement, like when Owen tries to grab a door and a curved line helps show the door turning. Owen’s body control is also impressive thanks to how Samnee draws his poses.
This is, however, a fast-paced issue to the point where it feels like it’s over before it starts. I mentioned in the issue #1 review how the domestic life is amazingly interesting, but here there was a lack of danger and action. Comparatively, this issue is heavy on action and light on character work. This would have worked even better if the first issue was extra-sized.
When read in one sitting, which was likely the intention of the creators, these two issues are incredible. As standalone books, they don’t quite feel like perfect books. Don’t get me wrong, this issue is great on its own, but I was left wanting.
Similar to the last issue, color artist Matthew Wilson helps define a room with color. Much of the book takes place inside at night — not an easy thing to add dynamic range to a scene, but he continues to do so across the book. There is a red visor on an enemy that helps draw your eye in the fight scenes and remind us the bad guy is very bad.
Fire Power #2 is a good issue that helps build on the first issue and set up the series as a whole. The action is intense thanks to little details and the desire to stay quiet while death is on the line. After reading the first two issues, I’m sold on this series and can’t wait to see how Kirkman and Samnee develop the characters and the family’s place in a very complex and mysterious world.