Do You Know the Legend?
Vince White's The Legend of Will Power an independent comic distributed as part of the Primal Paper imprint. The fifth of the six issues of origin story arc of The Legend of Will Power is now available(get your copy here). Vince has coined a term for his style of comics as 'mainstream independent'. It has all things people love about independent comics, fresh new stories and characters, but the production value of a mainstream comic.
Disclosure: Issue 5 was the issue that I edited and provided some dialogue for.
The Story So Far
William Power is a all-star high school quarterback, dean's list student and son of one of the world's greatest Applied Physicist, Professor Jonathan Power. Professor Power is an inventor and CEO of Power Industries. An incident with one of Professor Power's latest inventions the Matter Density Converter would change the fundamental properties of the universe itself.
Will wakes up 30 years in the future, he finds out that the world around him has weaken and only he remains the same. He has become the densest thing in the universe and with great density comes a whole slew of amazing Unpowers. These Unpowers are normal senses and abilities that Will has in a universe that is 1000 times weaker than he is. Will is soon attacked by the technological base mercenary, Payday and finds out about one of the more disturbing aspects of being the densest thing alive. With the help of a time traveler, Will dubbed 'Time Guy', they were able to defeat Payday.
Dr. Nod, the current head of Power Industries, and trusted friend of Professor Power, suggested that Will go to a secret lab located in Antarctica to help shed some light on what may of happened to his father. Chief Lee, the head of Power Industries security, escorts Will to the lab in one of the company's aircraft. Will is met by the teen super group, The Action Pack, who were guarding the location. After managing to get pass The Action Pack to get to the lab, Commander Frame, of the government special force unit, October requests to speak with him.
Will finds out about the Ascension Group the people behind the attack on him at Power Industries and were the cause of the incident that altered his world. Its not long before Chief Lee comes looking to bring Will back home, only to be attack by the Ascension Group's latest agent, Perhistoria.
Will finds himself about to confront his biggest challenge yet, the mystical priestess, Prehistoria and her animated portal, The Cave. Will is not alone in his endeavour, he has also fighting by his side are two government supergroups The Action Pack and Cryhavok.
Legend in Action
The book is setup with a prologue, the main story, an epilogue and in some issues a special features like Doctor Nod's Laboratory. These features are reminiscent of the old cartoon shows like GI JOE's Knowing is Half the Battle segments. Only in these strips the topic being covered is physics. What is truly impressive is how concepts dealing with physics and quantum theory are made accessible to the reader throughout the comic and in these segments. The comic actually teaches you science which is very cool. This is something that is often overlooked about comics, the fact that they can be used as a platform to educate as well as entertain.
The prologue is used as an introduction to set up events that are occurring in the future or the past. Some of these are providing a glimpse of how powerful Will is to become and other show the events that shaped his life. The prologue in issue five provides revelations about Will's father and is truly a pivotal moment in the series. The epilogue is following the story of Will's best friend, Abbot, and what happened to him after the Matter Density Converter was activated in Professor Power's lab. This story has great importance to the main storyline and is an origin story in its own right.
From the beginning this story has been a joy to read. Will is a very likable character. He's modest, good natured and grounded. He reminds you of how superheroes use to be, before the gritty and edgy period took hold of the comic industry. Due to the success of stories like The Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns the lines between superheroes and villains began to blur. I also like the fact that Will is a young African American teen. With the lack of characters in the comics that represent people of color this was great to see.
Seeing a positive representation of a young African American youth that isn't angry and is doing well in school is something that I really like. As much as I respect the work that was done by Milestone Comics my biggest problem was the dark nature of their stories. I really couldn't identify with many of the characters. Some were gang members, another was so conservative that it was off putting and finally a brilliant inventor who was trapped in a situation where he was at his employer's mercy. Just a bit bleaker than I prefer with my superhero comics.
Will has been on a whirlwind rollercoaster ride of an adventure these past five issues. He has been a strong POV (point of view) character for the reader to follow as the events of the story unfold. Through the whole story so far he has stayed positive and always concerned about others around him. There is a lot happening and Vince seems to be juggling all of these story elements with the skill of an expert carnival performer. The story has been building up and the final issue of the arc is poised to be amazing. Vince's storytelling abilities are excellent, from the way he setups the scenes in the panels to the way he seamlessly integrates nonlinear story elements without disrupting the flow of the narrative. I have reread these books many times finding things I missed in the previous readings and Easter eggs that are hidden throughout the books. It is one of the things that I really love about this series.
I would also like to add that these books are kid friendly. I have read the first issue to my kids ages 3 and 5, Will Power is now one of their favorite characters. Will is an excellent role model for kids, kind, modest, level headed and cares about others, like superheroes are suppose to be. I truly think this is a book you should checkout. Great story, art and educational content. It feels like a throwback from the golden age of comics or part of a new renaissance in the medium. Will Power's legend is one that you should really get to know. As Vince would say till next time, Be Powerful.