Power Button, The First Invasion Review

By | Tuesday, December 19, 2023 Leave a Comment
After a pretty impressive breakout comic called The Secret Voice, for the last several years, Zack Soto has been working behind the scenes as an editor at Oni Press. He recently quit, however, in order to return back to making comics himself and his first published work since then came out last month: Power Button Volume 1: The First Invasion.

Eleven year old Truly Thursday are quadruple platinum rock stars, but while they're working things out with their marriage, Truly is staying with aunt, uncle, and cousin Kaz. Not surprisingly, she's not terribly happy about the whole situation but her mood improves when she and Kaz stumble upon the previously hidden secret lair of Kaz's parents, who apparently led a much more adventurous life (think: Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider) prior to his birth. Things get really strange when they uncover a pair of braclets that seem to have some kind of from-beyond-this-planet types of power. But it's not long after that the Earth is attacked by aliens and they accidently discover how to use the braclets to summon Trinn Cyclo, an Omega Knight, who manages to pretty much single-handedly fend off the invasion. The book ends with Trinn worrying about the inevitable next attack.

Oh, also, there's a talking anthropomorphic cat that runs a lighthouse. He seems to be wholy unique (as in, there are no other talking animals on the planet) but Kaz's family just calls him Uncle Lucky and doesn't pay much attention to him.

The book has a lighter tone than other work I've seen from Soto. It's aimed at a younger audience than the pre-Oni work of his I've seen, so it doesn't come across as dark as you might expect from an aliens-trying-to-conquer-the-planet story. Trinn seems to fight the good fight just because it's the right thing to do, and the evil aliens are invading mostly just because the alien emporer is trying to keep his younger brother busy and out of his hair.

While Soto still displays his fairly unique and distintive style of illustration -- which I honestly don't have a reasonable adjective to describe if you haven't seen it -- but I did pick up hints of Jack Kirby that I hadn't really seen in his work before. Primarily in some of the aliens, two of whom seem to borrow some costume nods from Mr. Miracle and Big Barda. And Trinn seems to have both Kirby and Sal Buscema influences as well.

It's perhaps also noteworthy that Kaz has leber congenital amaurosis, meaning he's about 70% blind. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've seen a comic character depicted with a not-at-the-full-extreme disability. Kaz is blind for all intents and purposes but his eyes still work somewhat. Like a person who uses a wheelchair, but can still stand and perhaps take a few steps. It's a form of inclusivity that not only speaks to those who aren't fully able-bodied, but also everyone else who doesn't know that "disability" doesn't necessarily mean "inability." I do quite like that approach.

The book is fun overall. There is a fair amount of setup here for several elements that will hopefully pay off in later volumes. (I don't know how many Soto might have planned or what tenative schedule he might be on.) I like Soto's work in general and it's interesting to see him tackle a different genre and audience than what I've seen from him before. He does a good job with this story introduction, I think, and I'm curious to see where this heads.

Power Button Volume 1: The First Invasion is out now and retails for $17.99 US. It's published under the Graphic Universe imprint of Lerner Publishing.
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