Review by Ian Keogh
Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee introduced Fire Power with an original graphic novel, Prelude, and with Home Fire the series moves to collections of serialised comics. Prelude was fun with some great art, but too derivative overall. However, Kirkman’s exorcised his martial arts homage and this is more creative. It’s also the case that while a few minor points are made in Prelude, it’s equally possible to begin Fire Power here and fill the few small gaps.
Owen Johnson has left the life he wanted fifteen years ago behind him. He retains his martial arts skills, keeps fit, and can still construct fireballs from the energy in the air, but he’s now a family man who sells antique furniture. While there’s a suspicion that Samnee could make interesting looking comics from that career, it would be for a very select audience. Far more compelling is martial arts action with Owen facing off against ninjas in his house, trying to see them off without his family waking up.
For those who have read Prelude Kirkman reveals why Owen left the Himalayan martial arts school all that time ago, and confirms his views about corruption are entirely well founded. This is in what’s a more energetic outing with greater suspense. Families feature strongly in most of Kirkman’s action stories, and apart from anything else it’s because there’s tension generated by threats to innocents in a way it’s not by someone attacking Superman. Owen is attacked several times, and the domestic setting gives an authentic real world danger, while having someone performing martial arts wearing their civvies is unusual. By the end of Home Fires his world has been effectively re-shaped and the foundations of his beliefs are shaken.
This is a stronger outing than Prelude, not least because the killer chapter-ending cliffhangers are back, and there’s now a sense of a series going somewhere. Flame War provides the escalation.