Welcome to Indie Friday, a segment in which I review awesome self-published/independent comics and graphic novels. This week’s pick is the first issue of Power Play. In the illustrator’s words, it was “created with a digital format in mind, and tells a story in a very innovative way.” I couldn’t agree more!
Power Play was created by the dynamic duo of Kurt Christenson, writer, and Reilly Brown, artist. Now, if you’ve followed my site, you probably know that I’m already a big fan of Reilly’s work; he’s illustrated some of my favorite Marvel books, and draws one of the best Deadpools I’ve ever seen. So when I met him at Philadelphia Comic Con last yearand heard he was working on his own comic, I was excited! So excited, in fact, that I registered on Comixology just to purchase the first issue– priced at a very reasonable $1.99, who could say no?
Take note that Power Play is only available online. It takes advantage of the digital realm in a way I’ve never seen before, playing out almost like a little movie complete with transitions and suspense that is up to the reader to break with the press of a button. For me, this was all facilitated by Comixology’s unique interface. Having never used Comixology to read a comic before, I found Power Play’s layout to be an amazingly fresh approach– while it still gave me the familiarity of reading a physical comic and flipping pages, it somehow amplified the qualities that make comics great by focusing on single panels and creating genuine excitement and tension through the read. It’s something you have to try out to understand!
The story centers around a group of teenagers gifted with superpowers, who battle each other in the heart of New York City for the title of competition champion. I may be showing some bias here, but I love that this all takes place in my home town. The Big Apple seems like the perfect setting for such a wild, adventurous, and (maybe literally) out-of-this-world group, and it warms my heart to see some of my favorite landmarks pop up in the pages. Even one of my most frequented comic shops, Forbidden Planet, makes an appearance! Not to mention that one of the characters is an NYU student… Bobcat pride!
Each “power player” is introduced with his or her own little scene and caption, a setup that is both convenient and fun. With such a variety of personality types in the characters, everyone is going to be rooting for a different favorite to win the game (and you can bet that I’ve already picked mine). I don’t want to spoil too much, but the super powers that these kids display range from ice-conjuring to… well, whatever Gowanus Pete (see left) classifies as. Of course, the best part is seeing these super powers actually clash: the battle sequences are top-notch, with Reilly’s art carrying a lot of Kurt’s witty writing. Speaking of wit, humor is a very big element throughout the story, which makes this a light-hearted book. Even so, I would recommend this title most to audiences that can fully appreciate the humor of… well, college life, and all that entails (you guys know what I’m talking about).
Power Play #1 really does feel like it’s setting up the basics for what promises to be a fantastic series. I’m genuinely left wanting more. Thankfully, the creators have made full use of the Internet and all its glory– Power Play has its very own Tumblr that you can follow for updates, contests, and more. Reilly and Kurt both have Twitters, as well. And if you’re eager to dive right in, you can even read a FREE preview on Comixology with issue #0. Come on, man, free preview! And the first issue isn’t even two bucks! Stop reading this and go read that!
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