REVIEW: Powers #7

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Or – “Deena Returns…”


The last issue of Powers promised the return of one of the original cast members in a whole new role, as Detective Deena Pilgrim reappeared as a federal agent.  Of course, that was five and 1/2 months ago, so your memory might have faded a bit.  Given that this entire volume of Powers has been an odd one, will the reign of strangeness continue?

POWERS #7
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Michael Avon Oeming
Inks: Michael Avon Oeming
Colors: Nick Filardi
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Jennnifer Grunwald
Publisher: Icon Publishing
Cover Price: $3.95

Previously, on Powers: Walker Christian works homicide, but his curriculum vitae includes stints as a superhero, a two-fisted mystery man, and someone who is clearly not Conan the Barbarian enough to get sued by the Howard estate…  He is also a member of an intergalactic corps in the vein of the Green Lanterns or the Nova Corps, but doesn’t want anybody to know about that portion of his life.  When a power thought to be an incarnation of a legendary god-being turns up dead on Christian’s turf, things quickly escalate, gaining federal attention.  Luckily for Walker, the fed assigned to his case is none other than his former partner, Deena Pilgrim, who left the force a couple of years ago after a harrowing situation involving powered criminals and some bad apples…  Wanna bet things get complicated quick-like?

Sounds Like Some Pundits I Avoid On The Real News…

If you’ve ever read Powers, you know that it’s a very word-intensive book, and that panels can be literally FILLED to the brim with dialogue, tongue-twisting Kevin-Smith-type dialogue at that.  This issue starts with an odd sequence, as a television pundit discusses the death of superhuman Damocles, believed to be a lost ancient god.  I don’t know a thing about Brian Bendis religious beliefs, save that he was raised in a particular faith, but this sequence bugs the crap out of me, as the talking head explains in no uncertain terms that Damocles isn’t a god, because there IS no god, and the proof of that comes in the form of superhumans, the powers of the books title.  It’s an intentionally incendiary screed, and for all my issues with Bendis’ writing, I am chalking this one up to character-building rather than the writer’s voice in a character’s mouth.  Even so, it’s off-putting and sets the issue off on an unpleasant, disturbing tone.

But Deena’s Back!

As for the return of Deena Pilgrim, it reminds me of what initially drew me to this book, as her dialogue with Walker is quick, dirty and particularly fun throughout.  (“How my big shoes feelin’?”, she snarks at new partner Enki Sunrise…)  Deena quickly explains how she got where she is, why she’s back, and sends Sunrise and Christian out to investigate leads.  They end up talking to several god-like powers, members of Damocles’ former team, The Golden Ones, and each seems a little crazier than the last.  Artemis leads to Kronos leads to Castor, leads to Hecate (who reminds me quite a bit of a certain Neil Gaiman family of characters) before the detectives end up interviewing the victim’s mom and coming to a seeming dead end.  In what has to be seen as a mixed blessing, Artemis goes on the aforementioned pundit’s show to talk about Damocles and being a godly type, and gets murdered herself on national television, leaving us with our big-ass cliffhanger for the month.  The death itself is rendered in gruesome, loving detail by Oeming, and the art throughout the issue is in itself a big argument for why to read Powers.

The Verdict:  Still Not Quite Feelin’ It…

This isn’t a bad issue of Powers, by any means, and it has a bit of the trademark Powers spark in it, but for some reason I just wasn’t as taken in by the beginning of this arc as I was with the Retro Girl story or even the deaths of the FG-3.  I’m a bit bothered by the fact that I really enjoyed the backup feature (a preview of the coming “Takio” graphic novel from this creative team) more than the issue itself, and I’m not even sure why. The relaunched Powers started off strong (although the Screaming Eagles arc overstayed it’s welcome, just a bit) and several months gap between issues probably hasn’t helped, either.  Appearances by Calista (aka the new Retro Girl) make me think that this whole thing may give us more background on the nature of her abilities, leading me to think that I’m in the mood for less police procedural and more of the foul-mouthed wackiness that only Powers can provide.    Powers #7 isn’t bad, but doesn’t wow me, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall and reminding me of a horrible truth: I miss “Taint Punch.”

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Would you rather have a creator-owned book with an erratic schedule or less creatively challenging work-for-hire on time?