10 out of 10
Powers is the brainchild of Brian
Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming (can’t forget Pat Garrahty, either).
Powers tells the story of a world where super-heroes exist with us. In fact
they’re quite common.
The first storyline in Powers is a
mystery: Who Killed Retro Girl? Detective Christian Walker is joined by a new
partner, Deena Pilgrim and they don’t hit it off right away. Walker doesn’t
want a partner and Deena is curious about the standoffishness of her partner.
How does he know so much about people with Powers. Is the rumor true, as one of
his suspect mentions that he’s ‘soft on guys with powers’? If so, why? And
who did kill Retro Girl? During the course of this investigation we’re treated
to cameos of several of the more outlandish characters in the Powers universe,
creator owned contributions from the likes of David Mack, Mike Allred and Erik
Larsen. There’s also, obviously, the question of just who killed Retro Girl,
how and why?
The series begins with a routine
scenario, or at least routine in the Powers universe. Detective Walker gets
called into a hostage situation where a man is holding his ex-girlfriend’s kid
captive. Walker of course saves the day and then is entrusted with the care of
the child since it was his collar. Maybe that exchange seems fairly simplistic
and maybe it doesn’t, but it’s the dialogue in those first few pages that
makes this book stand apart from the rest. Walker was at the movies when he was
called to the scene. Bendis and Oeming don’t just cut from scene A to scene B
without anything in between. From the moment Detective Walker arrives until the
moment the little girl is handed over to him the reader is treated to the most
free-flowing, realistic dialogue that we see in comics. Characters interrupt
each other in mid-sentence or go off on tangents about things not relevant to
the conversation. Touches like this throughout Powers is one of the reasons why
it becomes special. You feel like you’re witnessing a transcript of an actual
conversation and not just made up dialogue.
Of course, fans of Bendis are used to
this type of dialogue. I think we may have even started to take it for granted
after his work in Jinx, Torso and Sam and Twitch. In the world of Powers where
costumed heroes intermingle with ordinary police and your average citizen, the
realism stands out a little more.
A great comic wouldn’t be complete
without a great art team and Powers has that, too. Mike Oeming has
created/adapted a style that I haven’t seen in a book like this before. The
closest I could compare it to would be the comics based on the animated Batman
and Superman series, but Oeming somehow manages to take it a step further. While
the other titles have their art to an almost too simplistic level, Oeming makes
us feel like these characters couldn’t be drawn any other way.
Pat Garrahty is a pleasant revelation
to me. I’ve been a long time fan of Bendis and was familiar with Oeming’s
work from Ship of Fools, but I’ve never seen Pat’s work before. He does the
coloring on the book and it’s exceptional. He is able to convey the dark,
gloominess of the underbelly of the city while at the same time adding
brightness and vividness to the wonderful characters that call this their home.
When this team is on, they’re ‘on’. The book is starting to enjoy a lot of success.
Back issues are nearly impossible to find and a ‘special edition’ Trade
Paperback will be out soon. The TPB will enable people who couldn’t get their
hands on Powers before to get the complete first storyline in one shot and for
fans who’ve already gotten their issues, there are some extras like sketches
and alternate covers included.
reader is also once again treated to the famous Bendis letter column, so it’s
safe to say that Powers delivers from cover to cover. It’s the best new series
in comics and one of the best ongoing series out there, and from the looks of
things, it’s only getting better.
is available monthly from Image Comics. The official website for Powers is
www.jinxworld.com. You can find everything here from ordering information to merchandise to upcoming events and pop into the message boards for some of the most interesting conversations with fans and creators alike!
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