Current Reviews


Powers #33

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2003
By: Cody Dolan

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Avon Oeming

Publisher: Image Comics

He told us to trust him, and I didnít listen. After the primate-palooza in issue 31, I ranted and raved that Bendis had lost his mind, that I had just wasted $3, that I was sickened by the depraved monkeys, and that I could see no way for this creative team to redeem itself. I couldnít believe how far Powers had fallen, given that every issue has been excellent. Three words summed up #31: graphic monkey sex. Those three words do not a good comic make, no matter how funny monkeys may or may not be.

After issue 32, I started to come around. Hooray, there was actual dialogue! Hooray for human interaction! Sure, the guy on the cover looked like a Conan the Barbarian knock-off, but there proved to be more going on in-between the covers, and I was intrigued. I started to notice how close Gora resembled Christian Walker and how the final fight in that issue was a mirror for the fight in #31. Iíve started to see where Bendis was going with this, and truth be told I got a little excited about the next issue.

In this issue, there are no more hints, no more beating around the bush, and (for better or for worse) no more monkeys. The scope of the story stands revealed, and I find myself truly impressed and in a kind of awe over the story the team is telling. Iím one cynical man, so admitting that is no small feat for me; I genuinely think this might be one of the more important superhero stories not told in an established universe. The scope of this story is Crisis on Infinite Earths big, but at the same time Bendis doesnít get caught up in any cosmic or galaxy spanning adventures. Whatís left is a decidedly Powers storyline; superheroes from the perspective of the everyman.

Bendis has deconstructed one of the modern tropes of superhero storytelling, namely the origin story, and all the clichťs that come with it. While you could call the heroes in this story mutants since they appear to have been born with these abilities, but since they donít really have a genetic stock from which to mutate, this designation doesnít apply. What I mean by this is that mutants, in the Marvel Comics sense, are humans that have a gene not found in those humans that came before. Given that Walker and some of his compatriots have been since the dawn of time, the word mutant doesnít fit. The idea that their powers didnít come from a radioactive spider or some fancy jewelry should lead to an interesting examination of that type of comic book genre. In addition to that, the fact that Walker lost his powers relatively recently opens up a can of worms that this arc will hopefully answer.

This isnít a big enough of a complaint to merit the deduction of a full bullet, but Iím a little tired of being confused every other page when I read this book. There are too many instances when I donít know whether or not to read across both pages or read one, then the other. The fault here lies with Oeming (I think) as in both cases his panels usually end at the middle crease rather than overlap, a sure sign that weíre supposed to read across the pages.

In any case, Mr. Bendis, Mr. Oeming, I am truly sorry for having doubted. You two could create a comic in which stick figures curse at each other while fling their own feces, and Iíd buy it. I have learned my lesson, and promise to never doubt you again. Now, do you think you could get these issues out on some kind of regular schedule?

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