C.H.E.S.S. #1
Written by: Alfred Paige And Alex De-Gruchy
Art by: JC Fabul, Jorge Cortez, and Bryan Afrel Magnaye
Published by: Power Comics

The first thing I thought of when I saw the cover of C.H.E.S.S. #1 was that the top section of the cover totally reminded me of all those imprints they had in the nineties like Impact Comics or the Ultraverse. It so made me totally nostalgic. I used to love when comic companies used to put everything plus the kitchen sink on their covers. The cover also tells me that C.H.E.S.S. is an acronym that stands for Command Headquarters of Espionage and Strategic Strikes. That tells me they REALLY want to use that name for an acronym. It reminds me of the exchange between Agent Coulson and Pepper Potts in the first Iron Man movie.

Coulson: I’m Agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Pepper: That’s quite a mouthful.
Coulson: I know. We’re working on it.

The inside of the book truly reminds me of a G.I. Joe for 2017. This team feels gritty and a bit more violent. With some kickass costumes and cool team codenames it really has that G.I. Joe feel with maybe a splash of Youngblood thrown in for good measure.

The story here is pretty straightforward. A weapons manufacture sells his wares to the highest bidder but has a kill-switch installed in every piece of weaponry and machinery they produce. After some of his weapons are destroyed, the CEO of the company making the weapons decides to use the kill-switch on those he thinks screwed him over. That is truly unlucky for some mercs currently using the weapons because when the kill-switch was activated they were knee-deep in a fight against a group of heavily armed insurgents in the gorgeous city of Ramadi, Iraq.

This leads the CIA right to the doorstep of C.H.E.S.S. Their mission is to go have a little talk with this CEO, dig into his operations, then, if needed, cause some major damage.

The C.H.E.S.S. team is made up of operatives that include Pinpoint, Blowtorch, Airborne, Footpath, Infrared, and their team leader Heart. Along with a CIA spook, the team heads to Japan where they aren’t exactly warmly welcomed by those they are there to investigate. When the C.H.E.S.S. team jumps into action? Well things get a bit bloody. Definitely not your average episode of G.I. Joe.

This issue has a lot going on and they have to introduce all of the players at once.  This is because the book isn’t about the formation of a team but to send an already put together team out into the fray. The book introduces the six members of C.H.E.S.S., their boss, the CIA guy, the bad guy, and the bad guy’s crew. The only characters who really get some exposition are Pinpoint (who doesn’t seem to happy being a part of this team) and bad guy Takashi Nakadai who runs the Conflict Technology Solutions corporation. Beyond that it is basically introduce characters, introduce plot, and let the fighting begin.

When the fighting starts? Our new favorite team comes out fighting with guns, swords, and robots. As I previously mentioned these guys don’t play around as some of the would-be bad guys find themselves with a bullet to the head or flamethrower to the face. Don’t Mess With C.H.E.S.S. – that should be your t-shirt right there.

The team itself seems pretty cool. You have Blowtorch who is a guy that constantly wears a mask on his face no matter where he is. In a briefing? Mask on. On a plane? Mask on. In battle? Mask on. They don’t show him taking a bath but I’m sure if he did he’d have the mask on. He reminds me of Snake Eyes. Maybe he’s horribly disfigured under that mask. That or he just thinks he looks cool.  I once wore different color Chuck Taylors because I thought I was cool.  I…..was not.

There’s also a guy who we are told is a robot. I’m not sure if he is full robot or cyborg or whatever. His name is Infrared and he certainly seems all business. He’s a Diehard type though I think Diehard was at least a lot more human. I guess we’ll see as we go along what or who exactly Infrared is.

This first issue is a solid start for C.H.E.S.S. with its fast-paced, action packed story. Again – there isn’t much in the character building department but hopefully, as the issues go on, we’ll get a chance to know the team. As the plot did draw me in I am certainly looking forward to whatever is coming next for the C.H.E.S.S. team.

I want to touch on the artwork for a second. I’ve taken a look at artist JC Fabul’s artwork and it is fantastic. The man has some serious talent. But in this book I’m not sure if he didn’t put the same level of detail into his work or if some of his pencils were just lost in the inking/coloring process. Either way I would hope that the book will really show off what Fabul is fully capable of in the upcoming issues.

C.H.E.S.S. seems to be just one title in a massive independent collected universe which is where the Powerverse comes in. It looks like there may be twelve (if not more) comic books on the way that are some how connected. That’s a pretty massive undertaking for a company that is trying to create their books through crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter. Best of luck guys – hopefully you are able to fund all of your books and kick this universe off in a big way.

All in all I thought C.H.E.S.S. #1 was a good introduction to this team. I certainly hope with future issues we can get to know this team before they go off on their missions taking down the bad guys. I also hope that Fabul is taken off the leash to make this book look like a million bucks. If you are fans of the independent comic shared universes of old then this debut of the Powerverse is definitely for you.


There currently is a Kickstarter going for two other books in The Powerverse.  If you want to check that out you can click right here…!!!

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