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‘Power Up #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Some of the best stories have very simple beginnings. In Power Up #1, Amie seems almost okay with her life. Waking up late, going to the local mini mart for milk in her pajamas, working at a not-so-busy pet store, where her boss Karen takes the job far too seriously for Amie’s sensibilities. You can tell, however, that even though Amie doesn’t say it out loud, she feels something is missing. She isn’t as happy as she could be. She most likely agrees with her boss that she’s not living to her fullest potential. This marks the strongest element of the book, the dialogue and how the creators use the visual medium to say the things left unsaid.  Kate Leth (Adventure Time, Smut Peddler, Bravest Warriors) is simply a really good writer. Her dialogue is natural and unencumbered by pesky things like exposition. The characters speak like real people. We learn about them by their doing of things and reacting to others.

To juxtapose that is Matt Cummings' artwork (Bravest Warriors, Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return) which is unencumbered by reality. It has an almost childlike, manga-style quality, taking on an expressionism that borders on surreal, at times, but along with the realistic prose begins to feel just as real as anything else.

Amie’s life takes a sharp left turn, jostling everything into potential disarray when an unknown entity attacks the pet store while the boss is briefly out. Again, Leth shows her maturity as a creator by not allowing her characters to fall into obvious tropes. Karen the boss does really care about Amie, which is a nice reaction after her pet store has been totaled.

Other minor, colorful characters litter the book from people to animals, and they are all given weight and heft within the story. They are all there to strengthen Amie’s story, and Leth and Cummings are smart enough to know that in order to do that, they need to be equally as strong in how they appear to us as readers.

Normally, I don’t reveal so many story beats in my reviews, but the charm is in the reading of this and how it all plays out, which is a perfect read for young adults. Jjudging by the cover of the book, things haven’t gotten nearly as quirky as they intend to get, nor as epic as promised by the opening page which sets up the reason for Amie’s journey with a nicely played humorous note, which I won’t play for you here.

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