Review by Frank Plowright
One of many admirable aspects of Powers is the way the series progresses through time, and is acknowledged as doing so. It’s been several years since the events of volume one, Who Killed Retro Girl?, and over a year since the events in The Sellouts. The previous Forever dotted about through time.
For a fair portion of that period Deena Pilgrim has been recovering, and not on active duty. She returns to a very different world where all powers are now outlawed, and a police force that strained to cope with the villainous users are now also tasked with apprehending those whose intentions are more helpful. Among them is a seemingly returned Retro Girl. Previously ridiculed villains are now considered genuine threats, and new super-powered thugs are manifesting in quantity. The pull on resources of an already over-stretched police department is compounded by the expectations of a new Police Commissioner, himself a former superhero.
There is an explanation for the newly appearing super-powered characters, and it’s not very pleasant. In fact, some pretty horrible incidents have occurred throughout Powers, but Legends is the bleakest book to date. That’s not to say that it isn’t a compelling and well-paced read, with a spectacular finale, and interesting threads feeding back into the revelations of Forever. For all the darkness, Legends is about hope more than anything, the hope of rescue, the hope of protection and hope for the future.
Michael Avon Oeming and colourist Peter Pantazis have reflected this in the art, which switches from dank and gloomy to bright and suburban with the turn of a page. The art, though, and an occasional piece of dialogue is affected by something that’s been a relatively minor production problem throughout Powers, yet has a greater impact here. Much more of note disappears into the central binding as art prepared for the original flatter comics reading across two pages in landscape method hasn’t been adequately re-formatted to prevent this. On one occasion Walker is explaining the current threats to Pilgrim, all illustrated, and one of them appears as little more than an ear, a cheek and part of bald head.
Much that’s occurred in Legends has consequences for the next several volumes, starting with Psychotic.