A hero's journey for a teenager who doesn't want to be the proverbial hero. A small town and small minds stand on the threshold of a frightening new world.
Life for the sleepy town of Madison is about to be changed forever, as are the lives of three of its everyday teenagers. As a dark secret from within a nearby military base comes to light, the mundane life of young Brian Shively is turned upside down. Not only does Brian discover he has abilities, but power that is beyond anything he ever imagined—for anyone, but especially not himself.
The fires of youth are difficult enough to balance, and although many believe they want power—a great power becomes an unwelcome responsibility in a life of a young man. Brian’s teenage desires are fairly typical—he wants to land a date with the prom queen, graduate high school, and satisfy his deep yearning to fit in somewhere—anywhere, even if in the world outside of his small hometown.
After the Fire is a graphic novel trilogy which follows the lives of three fairly ordinary teenagers, whose mundane existence is turned upside down in the aftermath of a top secret government experiment coming to be known. Thrust into an adventure they never sought, with power they are yet to fully comprehend—their story swells into an epic tale of tragedy, heroism and sacrifice.
Brian Shively, Keith Nance, and Heather Wilson are three childhood friends who long ago were bonded by their own "out of step" reality. Troubled at home, not fitting in any social clique at school—the three are struggling to find their own identities in the crushing inertia of a small, Midwestern town.
The most promising of the trio is Brian, an eager young man who (like most teenage boys) aspires to date the beautiful prom queen. He dreams of following in his late father's footsteps in becoming a pilot, and leaving Madison on the wings of greatness. His aspirations are often drowned by Keith's jaded reality as the friends share similar and often heartbreaking circumstances. Both are bullied at school, and their families destroy their dreams, and meet all aspirations with equal amounts of negativity and cynicism. The two have been joined at the hip since they were old enough to walk, and both possess a keen intellect and perspective. With the flood of hormones and the fires of youth at their feet, Brian and Keith are desperate to graduate high school, prove those who doubt them wrong—and free themselves of the shackles of their past once and for all.
As the onset of adulthood begins, Brian begins to experience strange and powerful changes: unusual bouts of superior strength, quicken gait, and laser fast reflexes. His abilities are finally realized one day while walking to school, when he is nearly hit by a car. Astonishing even himself, Brian averts death by leaping over 50 feet into the air. Amazed by his astonishing new abilities, Brian gets to school in high spirits—only to be faced with a horrifying hostage situation. Three maniacal students are holding a class at gunpoint. Out of sheer terror, the class complies with the gunman's demands. As the scope of Brian’s new powers come into focus, he quickly gains the courage to defuse the situation. In what can only be described as a blur of speed, Brian hurls through the walls with the dazed gunman in tow. Brian swiftly drops the gunman down upon the police barricade, quickly flying off before anyone can see who is responsible.
Landing atop a nearby warehouse, Brian now realizes the magnitude of his heroic deed. An unexplainable, seemingly magical—yet very real ability to travel by air, as well as the extraordinary strength to smash through walls. Ambition, joy, and exhilaration fill the young man's senses as the amazing feat headlines the news all across the area.
The ascent has begun. Lie for the sleepy town of Madison, Indiana stands on the precipice of being changed forever, as do the lives of Keith, Brian, and Heather.