The first two issues of Fire Power read like an excellent, oversized issue #1. Maybe that’s why Image Comics released them on the same day. Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee have introduced us to an incredible new world, even though it may have many of the tropes we’ve seen in other stories like Iron Fist and Karate Kid. It’s the perfect balance of mystery, martial arts, and domestic living. In the third issue, it’s time to bring the kids up to speed on self-defense, Kellie goes to work as a police officer, and mysteries await where you least expect them.
This third issue is a good blend of what made the first two issues so great. It weaves in casual domestic life, like getting the kids up for school and walking the dog and showing us the daily jobs of Owen and Kellie. All this while there’s still a bit of martial arts prowess in everything they do. Samnee is very good at showing the weight of a character in a scene, which we can see when Owen leaps a fence for his lunch break at the top of a water tower, or how Kellie can so quickly stop a criminal from escaping. These characters are lighter than air and it’s cool to see how effortlessly they move. They don’t just know how to move and fight but seem to do so on another level.
A key scene where this is present is midway through when Owen takes the kids to the backyard to teach them how to defend themselves. It’s cool to see how Samnee and Kirkman select close-ups of foot position, hand position, and the like to convey the very specific ways you can prepare yourself in a fight. Soon though, Kellie comes home and spars with Owen. It’s nice to see how good she is at fighting as she can clearly defend herself when necessary.
Full disclosure: I have not read the prelude graphic novel, so when the book abruptly switches to what I assume to be a flashback I was a bit lost. The threat is obvious and it does set some characters up, but I was kind of lost.
Fire Power #3 also gives us key information about Owen’s past. There is a lot of pain and anguish he’s no longer part of that adds additional weight to his current life. He’s essentially living peacefully with the perfect family and safe home, but that life of fire and fighting lingers and may never go away. As we know from fiction, it likely won’t, and knowing that adds a sense of dread into the story. Colors by Mathew Wilson add to this, which show off perfect blue skies, beautiful purples gracing the morning, and a sense of cleanness that brings another level of peace to the book.
Rus Wooton’s letters continue to impress too. The word balloons and text are all hand-drawn, which adds a light, airy feel to the book. Bolded shouting isn’t overly done, further making it feel natural and less obvious. The dialogue by Kirkman helps add to the light and relaxed feel too.
Fire Power #3 is a comic that is lighter than air yet tension lingers on the fringe always. This is a story about starting over and trying to make a new path while the past continues calling. When there is no punching or kicking this book is incredibly relaxing, really bringing you to peace. In many ways, Fire Power is recommended reading for anyone who likes a relatable tale with sublime martial arts and a story with plenty of soul.