This week’s must-have is the brilliant Powerplay by Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown. A lot of comics claim to have embraced the world of digital, but they only go as far as same day print and digital. The boys on Powerplay have taken it one step further and have actually designed the comic to maximise the iPad’s interactivity. Rather than the standard left to right scrolling of panels, Powerplay takes the panel by panel approach of ComiXology and takes it to its logical conclusion by getting rid of individual pages all together and just letting you scroll through one panel at a time. Now this might not seem the best way to read a book, but it’s been designed so that in key places in the story panels begin blend together to give it a simple animated feel which is just awesome. Check out the scene where Mac turns to gold and Kris cuts off his hair between panels 28 and 37 to see what I mean.
Because of this, you aren’t limited to a standard 20-odd pages and the story flows much more naturally from panel to panel and you forget about the need to go from page to page and just focus on following the story. Reilly Brown’s artwork neatly blends classic Marvel superhero stylings with some Manga elements but without going overboard on either and creates a solid hybrid style which really fits the story well.
Speaking of which, it would be easy to forget the story amongst all these fancy visual flourishes, but it’s a really solid opening effort from writer Kurt Christenson. Power Play focuses on superpowered kids who, instead of fighting crime, compete in an X games style competition. The first issue has all the standard origin stuff that you would expect from a superhero team tale, introducing you to the main characters, but it also has a really cool quirky edge that elevates it above the standard X-Men/Fantastic Four wannabes out there. The Games idea is a really good one and although most of the characters are your standard archetypes, lead character Mac and his new found ability to turn his whole body into whatever he touches – including gold and beer – is a definite winner. The supporting case with the mix of friends who are looking to support and exploit Mac and his newfound powers should set up for some really interesting story lines in the future and the enigmatic Gowanus Pete has the potential to truly steal the show as a completely original character. Can’t wait for issue 2 now!