“I’ve learned all I can… down there.”
The problem with launching a new series is that it’s extremely hard to get new readers invested in a new character and story over just one issue. Even a writer as prolific and popular as Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead amongst a ton of others) has to come up with new tricks. So instead of releasing six monthly issues and then collecting them into a book (when some titles may find themselves cancelled due to poor sales by then anyway), his newest series has been released as an original graphic novel first, after which subsequent issues will follow.
Reading very much like an origin story for a superhero, Fire Power (Image/Skybound) is an action-adventure series revolving around martial arts and ancient mystical powers – think Iron Fist without the millionaire inheritance. Kirkman has said that he was aiming for an 80’s style lightness of touch and was drawing on some familiar sources, and yes, the troupes are played with including a trek across snowy mountains to the temple, an old master who wears a baseball cap and sports trainers and listens to Radiohead, a bully who takes an instant dislike to our hero, meditating whilst balancing on poles, some shaolin-style basketball. And it all leads to big invasion and mass smackdown which leads the way for forward time jump to the present where the comic series will follow on.
A former Daredevil artist, Chris Samnee has an assured eye for capturing dramatic poses and the sense of movement for martial arts.
Note: The intention was to release the first issue proper as a freebie for free comic book day. Thanks to the pandemic FCBD didn’t happen as comic shops were closed, so instead, for a limited time, each graphic novel comes with a copy of the next issue