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Fire Power

Fire Power by Kirkman & Samnee, Vol. 1: Prelude

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ALL-NEW series created by ROBERT KIRKMAN (THE WALKING DEAD, INVINCIBLE, OBLIVION SONG) and Chris Samnee (Daredevil)!

Owen Johnson's journey to China to learn about his birth parents eventually leads him to a mysterious Shaolin Temple. The students there study to rediscover the Fire Power, the lost art of throwing fireballs. A power they claim will be needed soon to save the world. Will Owen Johnson be the first person in a thousand years to wield the FIRE POWER?

160 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2020

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About the author

Robert Kirkman

3,030 books6,334 followers
Robert Kirkman is an American comic book writer best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Invincible for Image Comics, as well as Ultimate X-Men and Marvel Zombies for Marvel Comics. He has also collaborated with Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane on the series Haunt. He is one of the five partners of Image Comics, and the only one of the five who was not one of the original co-founders of that publisher.

Robert Kirkman's first comic books were self-published under his own Funk-o-Tron label. Along with childhood friend Tony Moore, Kirkman created Battle Pope which was published in late 2001. Battle Pope ran for over 2 years along with other Funk-o-Tron published books such as InkPunks and Double Take.

In July of 2002, Robert's first work for another company began, with a 4-part SuperPatriot series for Image, along with Battle Pope backup story artist Cory Walker. Robert's creator-owned projects followed shortly thereafter, including Tech Jacket, Invincible and Walking Dead.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 173 reviews
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,542 reviews12.9k followers
March 14, 2020
A cliched American martial arts student with a cliched mysterious past treks through the cliched mountains to find the mystical Order of the Flaming Cliche. He begins his cliched training with Master Cliche to learn how to cliche.

How familiar are you with the kung fu genre? Have you read Marvel’s Iron Fist and Doctor Strange comics? Seen Kill Bill, the Doctor Strange movie, Kung Fu Panda, and the movies of Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow and Donnie Yen (and those are just the ones off the top of my head)? Then you’ve already read Robert Kirkman’s latest, Fire Power, which is just Kung Fu Cliches: The Comic!

The cast are all stock characters: cliched protagonist student, cliched master, cliched love interest (But we can’t bone, it’s forbidden! Guess what they do?!), cliched rival, cliched bad guy. The story is cliched: the protagonist trains for most of the book, then fights the bad guy. It’s such a boring read - Kirkman brings nothing new to the table and seems content to endlessly riff derisively. At no point is any of it entertaining.

Chris Samnee’s art is tremendous and he manages to draw action so convincingly that you can almost see the drawings move - they’re that good. And it’s a good thing too, not just because the art is the only thing that’ll hold your attention, but because this is a martial arts comic so there’s lots of action. Basically, without Samnee, this comic is completely ignorable.

Not that I would say it’s worth checking out anyway, unless you’re a Chris Samnee fan, because the first volume of Fire Power is one long tedious yawn.
Profile Image for Chad.
8,135 reviews906 followers
March 26, 2020
Robert Kirkman and Chris Samneee bring old school kung fu movies to comics. Yes, Kirkman brings along all the cliches of the genre along as well but this was enough fun to look past that. Orphan Owen comes to a Shaolin Monastery located atop an icy mountain. He's learned everything he could learn from all other masters. Now he's here to join the Flaming Fist clan. There's a lot here that will remind you of the Dr. Strange movie or Iron Fist (especially Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction's run) and particularly the old school Shaw Brothers films.

Where the book really shines is Chris Samnee's and Matt Wilson's art. Long passages of the book are wordless leaving Samnee alone to further the story though his dynamic action sequences. He really knows how to make a page some to life. My one complaint would be that since everyone's bald, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of who's who. That being said, Samnee is talented enough for all the characters to have different enough facial features to distinguish them. It's just the far away or side profile shots that occasionally left me confused. That being said there's enough flying kung fu action in this to keep me very happy.

It's certainly an interesting approach to release an entire graphic novel as a prelude to a new series. Because the book ends 15 years later into what will presumably be the first issue of the ongoing series.
Profile Image for Paul.
2,309 reviews20 followers
November 4, 2020
The story in this graphic novel is just OK. It's actually pretty derivative; it's basically two parts Iron Fist, two parts Daredevil, one part Kung Fu Panda and five parts every cheesy martial arts chosen one movie you've ever seen. That sounds harsh but it's true. That being said, I did still enjoy it, despite its unoriginality.

The artwork, on the other hand, is absolutely beautiful. I love Samnee's work and would read the telephone directory if he was illustrating it. His line work is just perfection and his storytelling skills are unsurpassed. So, despite being unenthused about the story, I'll be carrying on with this book for the time being just on the strength of the artwork. With any luck, the story might improve now the origin is out of the way. We'll see.

Story: 2 stars
Artwork: 5 stars
Overall: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because I'd give the artwork 6 stars if I could.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
September 23, 2020
When Owen Johnson finds his way to a mysterious monastery in the Himalayas, he finds himself studying kung fu and looking for the secrets of his past...

Chris Samnee is one of my favorite comic artists so I dove into this one knowing almost nothing about it other than it had something to do with kung fu. Honestly, it seemed kind of Iron Fist-y at first glance.

The writing is nothing spectacular. This thing is packed to the brim with kung fu tropes and feels like a hundred other kung fu stories. However, Chris Samnee's art is gorgeous and Matt Wilson's coloring does a great job setting the tone. I'll be grabbing the next volume when it drops.
Profile Image for Robert.
1,604 reviews106 followers
April 11, 2022

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Alexander Peterhans.
Author 2 books193 followers
March 8, 2020
So! A new series by Robert Kirkman! And this one gets its first volume before the series has even started! As I understand it, this volume (which, as you might've noticed, is conveniently called Prelude) is a big 160-page issue #0, and the "real" monthly comic starts going after this book has been published. A bold move on Image's part, especially when you think about all the Image series that have been prematurely cancelled over the years.

Anyhoo- this prelude tells the story of Owen, a Chinese orphan adopted by Americans, who finds an almost unfindable monastery in the mountains (in China, I think?) because he wants to know more about his birth parents. Turns out Owen is good at martial arts, and this monastery place is all about getting even better at martial arts. There's even a requisite old teacher guy, whose dialogue is a mix of funny quirks and clichés. To be fair, a lot about the monastery and this volume's story feels clichéd.

There's even a bit of romance, and for one hot minute I thought our Owen was falling for another male student, and I thought "oh, that's refreshing, a gay relationship, and their gayness isn't a thing, they're just gay and falling in love" but then it turned out the other student is female. Boo. Almost..

There is a lot of he-is-The-One-ness about Owen, which made me roll my eyes, but this is just the prelude, so maybe that aspect evens out in the main series. And that's what I kept thinking - oh this is all a bit clichéd, but maybe in the main series.. so I guess we'll have to see.

Hope they keep the bad guy, though - it's more or less Glenn Danzig.

(Received an ARC through Edelweiss)
Profile Image for Corey Allen.
219 reviews11 followers
October 26, 2022
This is the prelude, and for that it's pretty good. It's essentially setting up the rest of the series. It's not anything revolutionary, but its a fun time.

Owen, a orphan, has always wondered where his parents really were. So once he is old enough, he travels from temple to temple, trying to find something that could lead to there past. That leads him to the Temple of the flying fist. Where he meets Master Lun. Before, I continue, I just wanna say how much I loved Master Lun. He was hilarious! Anyways, Master Lun teaches him the secrets, of kung fu and fire stuff, and some family secrets get spilled along the way.

Like I said, it's a fairly simple story, but for a prelude, it does a great job of setting up the story. And, OH MY GOSH, the ending was incredible. I loved the big finale battle, and then the plot twist. (I don't know if you would call it a plot twist, but I couldn't think of anything else.) The finale battle felt like an ending to a manga volume. I loved it. The art was, also amazing, and matched the Kung fu style they were going for.

Here's to hoping my library has the second volume!
Profile Image for James DeSantis.
Author 18 books1,135 followers
April 24, 2021
Kirkman releases another solid though not amazing book post Invincible/Walking Dead.

This time it revolves around Owen, a Asian American who comes high up into a secret temple to train and learn his place. This is actually a "Prelude" to our main story it seems as this is basically all his training. It's very old school Martial Arts clichés thrown at you left and right but with some great art, cool fight scenes, fun dialogue, and a intriguing ending it did start to build up some momentum for me and I want to check out volume 2.

A 3.5 out of 5.
Profile Image for Molly™☺.
583 reviews22 followers
February 15, 2022
A very solid start to one of Kirkman's latest additions. It's not the most original backstory, feeling rather reminiscent to other martial artist origin stories. That being said, Kirkman offers a nice blend of humour and action to make up for the conventional story. The main characters are memorable, and Owen is a fun protagonist who is clearly set up to be the one. With dragons, magic (?) and a lot of martial arts, it's a nice series to sink your teeth into if you enjoy Kirkman's other projects.
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
5,549 reviews197 followers
September 3, 2020
A straight-up riff on Marvel's Iron Fist, this is a fast and entertaining read as Kirkman and Samnee slap a cheesy martial arts movie onto the pages. It has all the authenticity and some of the problems of Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, but its over before you can dwell on it too long or deeply.
Profile Image for James.
2,366 reviews55 followers
August 22, 2020
Ahh I enjoyed this one. Reminded me of growing up watching those old Shaw Brothers kung fu movies. Our main character, Owen, has been sent on a quest to find this temple. Once he finally makes it there, the head master, Wei Lun, challenges him to a fight to test his abilities. Owen passes and is allowed into the temple where he starts to learn more than just kung fu. This was a lot of fun, some cool revelations and a very nice ending. Glad I decided to pick this one up.
Profile Image for Lashaan Balasingam.
1,389 reviews4,619 followers
January 12, 2023
It somehow felt completely uninspiring, from its characters to its world, everything felt cliché and never does anything find its footing. Then again, the artwork makes it fun to get through but I can't say that writer Robert Kirkman found a goldmine with this idea of a series.
Profile Image for Roman Zarichnyi.
469 reviews32 followers
May 6, 2022
​​Оригінально комікс «Сила вогню» (2020) від авторської команди, у яку входять сценарист Роберт Кіркман та співавтор-художник Кріс Самні, є графічним романом (таке собі серйозне словосплучення) або ж простими словами — ваншотною історією, яка займає орієнтовно 160 сторінок і не містить розподілу на випуски. Як виявилося пізніше, він визначив початок серії й дістав офіційну лейбу першого тому. А наступні арки вже випускалися випусками, які відповідно збиралися в томи. Отже, про ж ця серія й перша сюжетна арка загалом…

Комікс розповідає історію Оуена, китайського сироти, усиновленого американцями, який знаходить майже неприступний і таємничий монастир у горах Китаю (надіюся це був Китай), тому що хоче дізнатися більше про долю своїх батьків. Виявилося, що Оуен добре володіє бойовими мистецтвами, і це місце — створене для того, щоби стати ще кращим у бойових мистецтвах. Є навіть необхідний стариган-модняк-вчитель, чий діалог є сумішшю кумедних примх і кліше. А його відсилки на кінострічку «Малюк-каратист» Гаральда Цвара чи музичний гурт Radiohead, додають ще більше незвичності в цю історію.

Хоча тут розкидані звичні кліше про школи бойових мистецтв, які автори постійно кидають ліворуч і праворуч, але з чудовим малюнком Самні, крутими сценами бійок, веселими діалогами, дрібкою романтики, таємничими кланами та інтригуючою кінцівкою — сформували ті складники, які спрацювали на відмінно особисто для мене.

Я проковтнув цей комікс менше, ніж за годину. Легко сприймається, швидко та весело читається. Та ще і Кріс Самні разом із колористом Меттом Вілсоном вважаю справилися досить добре із художньою частиною. Мені сподобалося, беріть і читайте.
Profile Image for Subham.
2,636 reviews67 followers
February 1, 2021
This was such a great volume! It focuses on Owen as he goes to a temple of the flaming fist to find more about his parents and he discovers Master Wei Lung there and from him he learns of the order and martial arts- kung fu and the secret of the dragon and his master before him and the legendary firepower, while there is a lady named Ling Zian but also an enemy in Ma Guang and they face off and its an interesting set of events and its cool seeing him train, play, train again, go bald, become a proper martial artist and then learn about his parents and their connection with Scorched Earth Clan and then yep when the SCE attack he defends it as their warrior and its epic, I love the whole feel of it! Then 15 years later and we pick up with his present life! The series started off really well and sets up a lot of mystery and seems to be the next big hit for Kirkman! And Samnee's art is gorgeous and just a marvel to look at!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,383 reviews223 followers
December 2, 2020

Lots of easy fun and accessible entertainment, especially for those who were raised on martial arts movies. It's cliche but it makes fun of itself. I devoured it in less than an hour. Easy, quick to read, and fun.

Count me in for more :)
Profile Image for Sara.
912 reviews19 followers
November 13, 2020
For anyone worried about what Robert Kirkman would be doing after The Walking Dead, fear no more!

Fire Power follows the story of Owen as he searches for answers to who his parents are. He has sought knowledge at temples around China before landing at the Temple of the Flaming Fist, where he meets master Wei Lun, a hysterical and wise old man who is trying to relearn the power of the Fire Fist. At the temple, Owen meets Ling Zan, a sympathetic lady who shows kindness to Owen when none of the other disciples will. At the Temple, there are several mysteries, including a dragon guarded 24/7, and a Scorched Earth clan determined to free it. Owen shows his ultimate loyalty during a conflict with the Scorched Earth in the Flaming Fists' mission to keep the dragon contained. At the end of the novel, we flash forward 15 years, where the rest of the this story presumably will happen.

I got some definite Iron fist and Doctor Strange vibes throughout Owen's training at the Temple, and I really enjoyed the whole thing. Master Wei Lun is absolutely hilarious, and I actually laughed out loud several times through this volume. But, holy time jump, Batman! I was IN that story between Flaming Fist and Scorched Earth, so much so that I forgot to really come up for air. Then, we jump 15 years into the future and leave it on a crazy cliff hanger! I can’t wait for volume 1 to actually come out. This might be a comic that I actually collect in single-issue format.

Image rates this for Teen, and that is perfectly fitting. There is some mild language, and a bit of violence with some blood, but not a ton of gore. This story so far would be fine for middle school and high school audiences.

Sara’s Rating: 10/10
Suitability level: Grades 7-12

This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss. This graphic novel will be on sale April 5, 2020.

Read more graphic novel reviews at www.graphiclibrary.org.
Profile Image for Will Robinson Jr..
850 reviews16 followers
September 9, 2020
Was really excited to get my hands on this book. I am a big fan of the martial arts in film and in comics. I have not really dived into Kirkman's previous work but was sold on this series by Chris Samnee's art alone. Ever since I since I saw his artwork in Daredevil & Thor I just don't want to miss his work. Samnee's style has a timeless quality. It reminds me of Bruce Timm & Darwyn Cooke's artwork.It has a retro feel but messes well with contemporary writing. First, the book is looks great and really elevates this martial arts tale. The colorist Matt Wilson did a great job here as well. Kirkman does write a at times cliche by the numbers kungfu tale but the book is still just a fun read. Owen's character's struggle really resonated with me. The humor does not take away from the serious moments here. The most incredible surprise to this book is that this was only a prelude and we have not really gotten to the main story yet. But Kirkman has done a phenomenal job in setting up the world and the main conflict. The fact the book ends with a time jump has really exited to see not only where Owen is going but where he has been. I really can not wait to find out what has happen to all of Owen's friends in the clan of the flaming fists. This was really just a tease in what I hope is going to be an amazing martial arts epic. I hope Samnee is staying on art duties throughout the whole series. This is a great team on what hope becomes my favorite indie series. Do yourself a favor and please check out Chris Samnee's amazing artwork on the following past series: Thor the Mighty Avenger, Vol. 1, Daredevil, Volume 1: Devil at Bay, & Black Widow, Volume 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Most Wanted.
February 19, 2020
I’m happy to say Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee have created something special here. We haven’t really seen martial arts comics on the market since the early 80s and this will fill a void you might not have even realized was there.
Part Avatar: The Last Airbender, part Dragonball, and a whole lot of classic Shaw Brothers martial arts movies combine into a new epic by the creator of The Walking Dead and wonderfully choreographed and illustrated by Chris Samnee. This book gives the entire backstory of the protagonist leading into the monthly series. It is a great first chapter and I’m looking forward to following the continuing saga of Fire Power.
Profile Image for Dakota Morgan.
2,455 reviews33 followers
March 24, 2021
After wrapping up The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman probably earned the right to make the ballsy choice and call the first volume in a series "Prelude," basically promising that it's going to be another long-running smorgasbord of characters, twists, and two-page action spreads. I'm absolutely here for it.

Yes, yes, Fire Power is 100% derivative of Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and probably hundreds of other adventure stories. "Orphaned boy makes arduous trek to ancient city in the high mountains, learns secret martial arts, might be the chosen one." There's a sarcastic Yoda figure, a one-note love interest (Who I initially thought was a man! Coulda been great, sigh), and a one-note rival within the monastery. There's also a villain who is a mix of Shredder and Winter Solder .

So far, so bland. But Kirkman is a master of pacing and Chris Samnee is a master of action scenes (and carrying the story through multiple dialogue-free scenes). Fire Power is engrossing, even when it's a cliche. I can't wait for more, especially with the closing reminder that this has all been a prelude to
Profile Image for Connie.
1,491 reviews25 followers
August 28, 2021
I own this book.

I accidentally read the first issue of this comic series before reading the prelude so I missed out on a lot to do with this world and these characters. Basically, Owen is a young man in his 20s who has sought out temples where he may find links to his parents and he has finally been led to the temple of The Flaming Fist where he hopes to find the truth about his family. This temple studies to rediscover the lost art of the Fire Power, which is claimed to be the power that will save the world from those who seek to destroy it. Can Owen be the one to harness this power? (Spoiler: yes, or else this wouldn't be a series lbr).

This story ends with the temple being attacked by the Scorched Earth clan who Owen was told his parents had defected too and had never been heard of again. He uses the Fire Power to save his clan but then it moves to 15 years later and Owen is in his suburban home with his family, having left it behind him. This book gives a good background to the story and overall, gives you a feel for the characters. I can tell this is going to be a longstanding favourite of mine.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
July 4, 2020

Cliched but I really enjoyed this!! Has everything youd expected but its just pure fun. Love Samnees art!!
Profile Image for Craig.
2,198 reviews26 followers
October 11, 2022
Not a bad start to this series (though I guess I'll have to read more to see where this goes), though the story is filled with all the cliches of martial arts movies good and bad. The artwork is decent though nothing all that spectacular. I guess I'm interested enough to try another volume...
Profile Image for Jake.
362 reviews4 followers
March 15, 2020
Hearing the hype around this was a concern. But after getting some background knowledge on the martial arts world brings in some clarity. Rather than just making this what fans want Iron Fist to be it's a story of how martial arts can enrich or ruin someone. For some the ability to fight is just a means to an end. For others it's their entire world. Which is why when something comes to disrupt it, people feel the need to step in at all costs. But some people take that to extreme measures, only because they are still lost in the world and prefer to stay in the journey. But the journey itself must not be the end all. Without a direction, people will just end up more lost than they thought. Sometimes the answer's right in front of them, even if it's not what they're expecting.

All things considered, this is how an origin story should be told. Not a long series of issues, but a compelling case of establishing character and where they come from.
Profile Image for Bon Tom.
856 reviews58 followers
October 8, 2021
Best fun I've had with comics in quite some time. Super amusing martial arts theme that plays with all the cliches it could have thunk of, and it does so with great humor, warmth, and hints of of deep friendship (or something more?) that's developing between characters (some of them, at least). Totally looking forward to the next book, this was a real, unadulterated pleasure to read.
Profile Image for Michael J..
738 reviews18 followers
September 2, 2020
Robert Kirkman does it again! Not only is he an idea factory for compelling comic series, but he's also a skillful writer who knows how to pull readers into his imaginary worlds almost as soon as they begin reading. Quickly, he manages to evoke enough interest to keep readers turning the pages until a particular chapter, or issue, or trade paperback is finished.
A big reason is the creation of such admirable and lovable characters. The first eleven pages are a caption-free, dialogue-free depiction of one man's quest to climb a sky-high snowy mountain - - beautifully rendered by the stylish and uncomplicated art of Chris Samnee. The campfire scenes tell us just enough to know that Chinese American orphan Owen Johnson is on a quest to learn about his birth parents. He becomes a student at a Shaolin temple where students strive to rediscover a lost Fire Power. He makes friends and enemies, begins a troubled love affair, and develops the power needed to allegedly save the world. With an economy of words (with some exceptions in the few expository scenes) the expressive art of Samnee reinforces the story. A particular favorite are the fight scenes.
Owen learns of his origins and his true parents, and the Fire Power is awakened within his core. It's a satisfactory finish that seems more complete than most comic series. However, there are so many questions still unanswered and more of Johnson's background and the struggles of his parents are yet to be told (although I'm sure Kirkman won't leave us hanging forever).
The final pages flash forward to fifteen years later as Owen is now a married man, father of two, and living a seemingly quiet life in the United States. Until he gets a reminder of his past and a call to return to China.
This is a great beginning to a series that looks to be more involved and engaging than outward appearances. Too many readers may dismiss this as just another Iron Fist / Karate Kid spin-off and that would be a shame. Recommended.
Profile Image for Benji Glaab.
569 reviews49 followers
November 22, 2020
I'm in!!! As a total package and based on my enjoyment this is for sure a series I'm going to be buzzing about. I loved the monastery setting and Kung-Fu vibes. The action sequences were excellent. The schools master was entertaining with his infatuation of western mainstream ie his Nike shoe collection, and IPod listening. This was so good I had entirely forgotten this was a prelude and we were in for a 15 year time jump and setting change. Now I guess there will be lots of dual time lines and filling in of holes.
Profile Image for Peio.
115 reviews8 followers
March 3, 2021
Lento para lo normal en un cómic de acción (apenas pasan dos cosas en las 150 páginas), pero es tan “mi mierda” que no he podido dejar de disfrutarlo un segundo. Llevo dos días haciendo poses de kungfu mientras ando por mi casa, así que esto debe haberme gustado.
Profile Image for Beelzefuzz.
624 reviews1 follower
July 18, 2020
Iron Fist's introductory episodes with some comedy and a peppering of Airbenders. Uninspired retread of too many other things.

The last 5 pages seem to say none of this book is indicative of the actual series, but maybe Kirkman is duping me into reading more of his Iron Fist fanfiction? I will probably read the next few issues and decide if it should all be fireballed.
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