Power Up #1
Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Matt Cummings
BOOM! Box is such a great imprint. For real, BOOM! Studios made an excellent choice in bringing this section of their publication to life. With tons of wonderful titles such as Giant Days, The Midas Flesh, Teen Dog, the imprint is truly enjoyable for people of all ages. Power Up adds another title to the library of hits as it successfully spins a tale that everyone will have fun with. The series is written by Kate Leth who has also worked on Edward Scissorhands, Ink for Beginners (see my write up here), Bravest Warriors, Adventure Time, Fresh Romance, her webcomic, Kate or Die... all kinds of stuff. She has a pretty nifty podcast as well: check it out! Matt Cummings is the artist on this comic. He has also lended his talents to many a Cartoon Network comic including Regular Show, Bravest Warriors, Adventure Time, and Steven Universe. Check out more of his art as well as his awesome Kickstarter by clicking these underlined words!
Long ago there was a prophecy stating that "four warriors will champion us into a new age". Now in the present, it begins to come true. Amie, an animal lover and pet store employee. Has a less than lucrative but mostly enjoyable normal life. That is, until some crazy, impossible shenanigans go down while she is at work, leaving her and a goldfish very confused. What is this curious power that Amie is experiencing? Who are the other two warriors from the prophecy? Why is that gentleman on the cover wearing a skirt? I honestly do not know, but am so pumped to find out.
Leth provides a likable and understandable character in Amie. With everything from an obnoxious boss to monetary issues, she is believable and grounded (which I'm sure will change a bit as her abilities manifest). Amie also has a cheery disposition cementing how impossible it is not to like her just from this first issue. We also catch glimpses of the other three characters which will form this group, but in a way that gives you the smallest bit of info just to wet your appetite. By focusing on primarily Amie, the reader gets to see things from her perspective, giving her even more depth, but not so much as to put off some of the younger readers. Speaking of younger readers, the dialogue in this story is incredibly successful at being accessible. This is a story that I look forward to reading to my boy, as it is right up his alley. In many similar stories I could see the prophecy business being a little heady for the kid, but ending in a punch line it is really just a starting gun for the enjoyable story in the following pages.
Cummings has a vibrant, illustrative art style that tosses explosive color bursts into each panel. I found the character models to be somewhat reminiscent of Rintaro's Metropolis in a strange way, primarily in the unique hair styles, eyes, and noses. That being said, the style is still very much his own, providing the readers cartoon visuals which keep the story's tone and atmosphere in check. As the story progresses and we see the first action sequence, the tone shifts entirely into a whirlwind of highlights and accents to show the strength of those fighting as well as their intimidating antagonists. I know I touched a little on faces earlier, but I've got to say, all of the expressions in this story are priceless. From the simple frown to the over exaggerated shock, each of these characters exhibits great emotion. The pet store manager, Karen, is one of the best examples, throughout the story you can tell just from her face that she obnoxious. These expresions project feelings in a really palpable way, and that's greatly appreciated. Finally I would like to say that Cummings draws the best facial hair in the business. For real, these dudes look killer.
Power Up debuts it's six issue arc in an entertaining way, with something in it for everyone. With the humor that folks have come to enjoy, sci-fi/fantasy elements which we all love, plus a whole mess of originality, BOOM! Box has another great title on it's hands! Leth and Cummings both have styles which mix perfectly, and the result is a must buy. The first issue of Power Up came out just this past Wednesday, July 22nd and costs only $3.99! Get it!