Review by Frank Plowright
Powers Book Seven has detectives Deena Pilgrim, Christian Walker and Enki Sunrise, transferred to the FBI, as all powers crimes are now considered Federal cases, and who has greater experience to offer? In Sunrise’s case it doesn’t really matter as she’s only seen enough for the volume to tick the box acknowledging the positive presence of a minority character. Her absence is a far larger problem than it may seem, because she’s the only lead character without super powers, and while that’s adjusted as this story progresses, for too long there’s barely any tension because Pilgrim and Walker are able to work their way out of everything.
The continuity pretty well picks up from the end of Book Six, with Walker having to make himself scarce, and Pilgrim the focus to begin with as we catch up with what she’s been doing during her absence. Brian Michael Bendis manages to make the sale of sperm from guys with super powers far more threatening than the bar joke it seems, while playing the disgusting elements for all the comedy they’re worth. Otherwise, though, his plot has too few surprises and swerves all over the place as if he’s not sure how to fill the page count, while serving up too much of what we’ve seen before. Oddly, though, two highlights are sequences we’ve seen before. Bendis is so good with dialogue his interrogation scenes play to his strengths, but even given they’re crowd pleasers these have freshness lacking from so much else.
It seems in places as if Michael Avon Oeming’s also beginning to tire of Powers because the layouts provided here aren’t as expansive and interesting as scenes he’s drawn in the past. He does enjoy providing a brief pastiche of early 1990s Image superheroes, supplying the wretched figurework and perspective associated with some those characters, but the sudden lapse into what’s essentially bad drawing isn’t given a context. Some readers unfamiliar with the parody may just consider these poorly drawn pages.
Because Bendis and Oeming are quality creators, they can still hit their marks when slacking off, so anyone coming to this content fresh does get a minimum level of entertainment. It just doesn’t match past glories. That being the case, perhaps the trade volumes of Powers: Bureau are a better bet.