In the world of
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
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!
Copyright©2000 Andrew Goletz