Review by Frank Plowright
Of our regular cast, for around half the book this is primarily a solo outing for Deena Pilgrim, for reasons detailed in Supergroup. You should take a look. Really. Otherwise it’s the same smooth production that applies to almost all Powers material.
At issue on this occasion is a group of individuals with a shared belief that the preponderance of superheroes is subverting the natural social order, and with the know-how and motivation to act on their beliefs. Don’t feel too sorry for the late Omega 6, though, as he was a complete dick, but we can’t speak for other characters who shuffled off this mortal coil in distressing fashion.
Pilgrim is capable of carrying the story on her own, but for convincing procedural purposes writer Brian Michael Bendis has to introduce a new partner, and Detective Kutter never really works, despite a decent introductory sequence. He’s very much dropped in as a sounding board for Pilgrim’s rapid-fire dialogue, but the plot and characterisation elsewhere picks up the slack. A repeated technique throughout Powers is news and interview shows devoted to the superpowered, and readers will surely be pleased to see the sleazy Ted Henry back among other hosts.
After the surprising artistic techniques applied to the first couple of volumes, Michael Avon Oeming has settled into more traditional methods of storytelling, and his excellent stylised cartooning is fundamental to the look of the series. The colouring is now handled by Peter Pentazis, who maintains a regulated tone, but also opens the palette out slightly from the earlier work of Pat Garrahy.
Some might have a grievance that the status quo is relatively rapidly restored before we move into The Sellouts, and they’d have a point. On the other hand, firstly the series does change in meaningful fashion as it progresses, and secondly isn’t the team of Walker and Pilgrim what everyone really wants to see?
An enlightening and entertaining piece of bonus material is the two creators interviewing each other. There’s a greater honesty than might be expected.