Sidekick to Hero to God: Prince of Power #4 [Review]
Amadeus Cho finally got a chance to step into the spotlight with his own miniseries in "Prince of Power." Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, with art by Reilly Brown and Adam Archer, the series concluded with its fourth issue this week and set the stage for the upcoming events of the "Chaos War" cross-title event. Cho has been a great addition to the Marvel Universe since his introduction as Hercules' sidekick, and his brief run so far as a full-fledged hero has been a lot of fun. To be honest issue 4 was something of a letdown for me, not because it wasn't good but only because it wasn't at the same remarkably high level as the last two issues.
Issue 4 opens with Amadeus and Thor racing to stop Asgardian demigod Vali Halfling from finding the last ingredient he needs in a recipe to make a potion that will grant him godhood. As an added bonus, if Amadeus gets the potion first he'll be able to use it to find and rescue his lost friend Hercules. At the same time, Amadeus' on-again/off-again-due-to-threats-of-violence girlfriend Delphyne Gorgon has broken out of her prison in the headquarters of the Olympus Group and is going Die Hard on the underlings of Vali who've taken over Amadeus' company. Like the previous issues of "Prince of Power" and "Incredible Hercules" before it, the banter's quick and funny and the fights are as clever as they are action packed, but as an ending to the series it wasn't what I was hoping for.
My problems with the fourth issue come from the fact that as a resolution to the miniseries it feels abrupt. There are several ideas here that get brought up and concluded in a rushed manner. Thor's suspicions of Amadeus' desire for power is an intriguing concept that's raised and then pushed aside in three pages when it could have provided material for much more than that. Delphyne and Amadeus' reconciliation feels like it's happening sooner than it naturally would have because the plot needs them to be working together. And while Delphyne deservedly gets her own kick ass action scene, the cuts back and forth between it and Amadeus' final showdown with Vali break up the momentum of the book.
It's a shame that the climactic battle with a villain who Pak and Van Lente have built up into the sort of sneering jerk the audience wants to see smacked in the face with a shiny magic club isn't as exciting as Amadeus' fight with Thor in issue 2 or Thor and Amadeus' confrontation with Sekhmet in issue 3. My other complaint is that there isn't so much of an ending here as there is a cliffhanger leading into "Chaos War." That's certainly the norm in comics, but I'm such a fan of Amadeus and have enjoyed the series so much so far that I was a little disappointed with the lack of a more satisfying conclusion to his first solo adventure. Because aside from the ending this is a series that could be appreciated entirely from the first issue to the fourth by itself.
Overall "Prince of Power" has been a great series, and just because my favorite issues happened to occur in the middle doesn't stop me from highly recommending this one to anyone who hasn't read it yet. If anything, I'm only disappointed that there was clearly enough material here to spread it out and go for an issue or two longer. And while I wish the ending wasn't a last page reveal cliffhanger, I am already looking forward to the further adventures of Amadeus and Herc when "Chaos War" begins.