Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1
Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Art by Reilly Brown, Terry Pallot, Jason Paz and Val Staples
Lettering by Simon Bowland
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
Forget Cap, Thor and Iron Man for a second -- because the real winner this week is Amadeus Cho, the Prince of Power.
A one-man Heroic Age in and of himself, it's clear that this kid has a bright future ahead of him -- and with the creators he has working for him, who wouldn't? For fans and new readers alike, this is a fantastic first issue that hits the ground running and never stops. It's funny, flippant, and runs circles around 95% of the books this week just on sheer character alone.
Seriously. Go get it. It's far and away my pick of the week.
You wanna hear more? That's cool, I'm happy to tell it -- Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente pack so much story into this book, I had to flip through it twice to realize it wasn't more than 22 pages. The pacing is also really strong here -- there's just a real rhythm here, with a lot of pages ending on really clever notes that just make you marvel in appreciation while you move ahead.
But what I think impressed me the most out of this was the fact that Pak and Van Lente set up Amadeus' new status quo -- "Angsty Brooding Teen Genius Billionaire Mythslayer. (Try to feel sorry for him.)" -- in such a way that really stokes the imagination, that gives Amadeus really a whole world of stories to work with, just as a solo character. Just reading the story, you feel like these are two pros who are at the top of their game, and even more importantly, having a blast doing it. You can't ask for more than that.
And Reilly Brown -- jeez, somebody must have been eating his Wheaties, because this goes way beyond his previous work with iHerc team on the "Thorcules" arc. His work, combined with inkers Terry Pallot and Jason Paz, looks a little sketchier than before, but I think that actually works in his favor, as the characters and his layouts move with astonishing speed. The very first splash page -- triumphantly screaming with the sound effect "REBOOOOT" -- just draws the eye in a circular motion, with word balloons and action travelling along the arc of Amadeus' mighty mace. In a lot of ways, Brown's evolving style is looking like a mix between David Lafuente and Oliver Coipel -- meaning I could eat it up all day.
That's not to ignore the rest of the creative team, who really push this book to be all it can be. Colorist Val Staples really makes the images flare up -- even characters that are wearing earth tones like brown and green stand out, which really surprised me. But letterer Simon Bowland (as well as his editors, Mark Pannicia, Nathan Cosby and Jordan D. White for OKing it) really deserves a round of applause -- I've heard of explanatory captions not interfering with the story, but this is the first time in a long time I've actually seen these captions supercharge the reading experience, with curved arrows pushing your eye as they keep you informed. Just a bang-up job.
I could go on, but this is a book that needs to be experienced rather than dictated. Let's just say this -- if you're still missing Incredible Hercules, rest assured that Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Reilly Brown and company have a suitable replacement that doesn't ever drop the ball. A book that'll leap off the stands and mug you with a mighty "KRAKABATHROOM," if you read any comic this week, make it Prince of Power.