Current Reviews


Power Company #16

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2003
By: Ray Tate

"Hostile Takeover Part One: Taking Stock"

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Tom Grummett(p),Prentiss Rollins & Al Vey(i),Ro & Bleyart(c)
Publisher: DC

Well, I just learned that Fox is cancelling John Doe. The series was inventive and enjoyable with excellent production values, top-notch stories and acting. The same can be said about Power Company. What's interesting about this issue is that it feels like twice the book that it was.

Normally episodic stories diminish the meat, yet the nonlinear Frasier motif instead makes the tale or tales by Kurt Busiek and Tom Grummett even more substantial. The book opens with Bork's resignation. The scene itself is fairly shocking especially given Bork's want and in fact need to be on the super-team. What will happen? Will he turn back to an easy life of crime?

The scene shifts back to where the previous story left off. In the aftermath of Dr. Polaris' attack, all of the members of the firm--including the Manhunter--help the victims. There's a lot of irony here. Very few books bother showing heroes saving lives. They seem intent on simply showing Spandex at war. Busiek realizes that the whole definition of heroism is saving lives, and he embeds within these rescues tantalizing foreshadowing of the story yet to come. Grummett's artwork works so well for such scenes. He embellishes caring to the heroes' faces as they assess the casualties and their actions as well as those of the traditional rescue workers are all anatomic not to mention quiet when compared to the "louder" super-hero fare.

The story cuts to the fate of Firestorm. The characterization is just brilliant, and Mr. Busiek shows how different the mind-sets of the characters are. Ronny Raymond exhibits the depth and growth you expect him to have; Firestorm though being a relatively new earth-one hero back in the day is far older and more experienced now if his history holds. Some of his adventures with the Justice League have been rendered dubious, but most of his solo adventures should remain intact.

While Mr. Busiek is way more comfortable dealing with Marvel's history, he usually does not embarrass himself with DC's various cosmologies. As the story segues to Witchfire discovering her nature, Mr. Busiek makes a smart move by finding one of DC's magicians that others have not touched. I believe this one is a Wolfman creation from the pre-Crisis. His dialogue and observations fit the characterization, and he looks much better under the guidance of the Power Company artists. He almost looks Kirbeyesque; although Kirby had nothing to do with his conception.

The colorist is a bit confused with the next vignette's star character, but Mr. Busiek once again shows how this type of story should be done. He doesn't just provide a legacy and one that is unexpected. He explains why the legacy exists and why it's so important.

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