Power Lunch: Seconds is the type of all ages book I would expect every comic book shop to have on their shelves come Free Comic Book Day. If you want to get new younger readers into the superhero genre, this book does a really great job of introducing the “with great power comes great responsibility” theme that we’ve seen many times before.
This book reminds me a lot of the comic books I grew up reading, and I really enjoy that. The story’s hero, Joey, finds himself trying to stop a set of cheating twins from beating his school’s soccer team, but, like all new heroes, he is conflicted about using his abilities as he feels it would technically be cheating. With the help of his best friend Jerome, our two protagonists discover some new powers for Joey and win the game without having to exploit Joey’s power… too much.
Joey has a very interesting power set: he gains a different power depending on what he eats, and the only way to return to his normal self is to eat something white (along the lines of rice or milk). The powers he does gain are pretty standard; Joey turns invisible when he eats cotton candy, gains fire powers from pepperoni, and gets covered in a thick armor-like skin from eating peanut brittle. All of this is very similar to ideas we’ve seen before (think Dial H for Hero), but the concept of gaining different super powers from different types of food stands out on its own.
I’m really enjoying the characters in this series so far, and J. Torres does a great job with their personalities and dialog. Jerome has quickly become my favorite character – I got a kick out of his enthusiasm for Joey’s situation. It was heartwarming to see him want to help his friend out and keep his secret without there being some dubious plan involved – plus, he makes a really great sidekick. The journal that Jerome keeps depicting all of the different powers Joey has discovered is one of my favorite Jerome “moments”, and I loved the little touches added, from the hand drawn depictions of each power to the “for your eyes only” warning on the cover.
Dean Trippe does a great job and I really enjoy his art style. His work is very clean and the way he uses color to add extra detail to each character makes every panel really pop. Also, the way he uses simple backgrounds works well in drawing the reader’s eye to what the characters are doing and contributes well to the overall look of the book.
The character design from both creators is something that really stood out for me; both main characters match the archetypes of great hero-sidekick duos of the past. Joey has a very Peter Parker/Clark Kent vibe, and his personality matches perfectly. He’s the reluctant hero trying to figure out the extent of his powers, and he questions when he should be using them. Jerome is the Jimmy Olsen/Ganke (Ultimate Spider-Man) of the duo: his energy is only matched by his enthusiasm for his best friend’s situation. He also has some of the best lines in this book (e.g., “wine makes my Mom happy”). The dynamic between these two plays out well, and having some conflict between these two friends (Joey thinks using his powers in the game is cheating and Jerome thinks it will help out his teammates) was a great addition to what could have just been a simple all ages story.
Some readers may tend to look down at books that are aimed for the all ages demographic, but I’m really enjoying this series. It’s a very well done book and tells a great “done in one” story that is very accessible to new readers. It’s a real treat to read a superhero comic that isn’t tied down by years of continuity and reboots. Both Trippe and Torres have created a new hero that pays a nice homage to the past, but add some great moments that any young reader could relate to