Review by Frank Plowright
It’s not chance that Deena Pilgrim is cover-featured looking mysterious and enigmatic. She’s undergone quite the unpleasant transformative experiences in previous books, and these play into Psychotic. There are however, plenty of other choices to whom the title could apply as Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming take a look at the Ebay market for superhero accoutrements and how that might affect the pandemonium in the city.
There are problems with cops here, and with the code of blue, which in effect means that you back your fellow policeman no matter what they’ve done. Several cross the line, be it inching their toe over to running the complete marathon the other side, and there are repercussions later in the series.
The title notwithstanding, this is nowhere near as bleak as the preceding Legends, but those who’ve followed the series from the start will still have that constant unsettled feeling in their stomachs about a cast they’ve come to care for. After all she’s been through Pilgrim is now being tracked by a former boyfriend unable to accept their relationship is over, and Walker has a reluctant association with a new superhero in town with a very familiar costume. There’s also a fair bit of the story set in the past, characterised by the creators as black and white, looking in on Pilgrim’s earliest days on the force, and sections with what would technically be the deceased.
Oeming has opened out his art a little. There are considerably more full page and half page images in Psychotic than in your average Powers volume (if there is such a thing). He and Bendis also play about with police files about the powered, presenting them as if in a superhero encyclopaedia.
Powers is so consistently good that there’s possibly a tendency to under-rate it. Anyone sympathetic to crime drama picking up Psychotic without having read any of the previous books would probably be blown away by it. Yet, despite the character progression it’s doesn’t quite match the best the series has to offer. The series continues with Cosmic.