Monday, August 31, 2015

Review - Power Cubed #1 (@DarkHorseComics)



"Note to self. Do not use the internet to find henchmen."

The saying goes that with great power comes great responsibility. It's generally applied to youths who find themselves suddenly able to do things they previously weren't able to and it's a sound bit of advice. It's advice that Kenny Logan could take to heart in Power Cubed #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The book is written and illustrated by Aaron Lopresti.

What if you had a piece of technology that created anything you could possibly want, and all you had to do was imagine it? What would you wish for? For Kenny Logan, his first wish is to survive his eighteenth birthday! His unique matter-reinterpreting device has attracted the attention of a bumbling Nazi scientist with plans for world domination and an elite government agent who is hell bent on acquiring the device to stop an alien invasion at any cost.

It's readily apparent from the start that Power Cubed #1 is something of a superhero origin story that demonstrates Spider-man as its most obvious influence. Kenny has issues with his father that are typical of any teenager, but they're exacerbated by the fact that his mother passed away and his father is something of a scientific genius. Much of the issue is spent establishing this backstory for the characters, prepping the reader for what's to come. Because the majority of the issue is set-up, the pacing feels a little uneven, as Lopresti moves along relatively slowly at first, only to really speed things up towards the end in a bid to further the series. By the end of the issue, Lopresti has clearly established the world he's creating and the stakes.

There's a newspaper strip vibe to the illustrations, as Lopresti's characters boast features reminiscent of a different era. Kenny's father looks like a 60s era father, Doctor Cruel looks like a prototypical villain from an old-school Captain America book and the other characters fall somewhere in between. There are some pretty intense full-page spreads, where Lopresti gets a chance to flood the page with all sorts of creative characters and beings interacting with one another. Seeing the Power Cube in action is pretty imaginative, as Lopresti creates things that blend in well with the surrounding environments. The color palette is pretty muted for the most part, but it does manage to show off some primary colors quite vividly.

Power Cubed #1 doesn't attempt to shy away from what it is: a superhero origin story taking a page from the older Marvel playbook. Kenny and Doctor Cruel will square off against one another at some point and the Power Cube is something that a lot of people want to get their hands on. Lopresti's script is pretty straightforward, checking off all the boxes needed for pitching Kenny as an unexpected superhero. His art is up to the task of handling the action, offering a somewhat nostalgic take on the futuristic events. Power Cubed #1 is an interesting read that knows where it wants to go.

Power Cubed #1 is in stores September 23.

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