Or – “All-Ages Should Mean ALL Ages…”
For quite a few years now, I have been a fan of Bendis & Oeming’s adults-only title, ‘Powers.’ When the news came that they were writing an all-ages book, I was skeptical, but issue #1 was an interesting exercise in storytelling… As for #2, your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Previously, in Takio: Taki and Olivia’s mom insisted that the girls spend as much time together as possible, driving both girls insane, but also placing them together at the time of the accident that gifted them with tremendous superhuman powers. Now that they’ve discovered great power, harnessed great responsibility, and had some great fun, can they save the world and still be home in time for dinner?
The issue opens with Taki and Olivia flying over the city, following the teen hero rules of “patrolling” the city. There’s a really fun dynamic between the sisters, as Olivia complains that someone needs to clean off the top of the bridges and buildings, while her big sister tries to rein her in. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a really believable young character (certainly not as far back as Katie Power in ‘Power Pack,’ but it really seems like it sometimes) but Olivia reads very much like the actual eight-year-old girl that runs around my house and breaks stuff. Of course, when Olivia breaks stuff, she does it with KUNG-FU TELEKINESIS, one of the greatest super-power names of all time, and the girls barely manage to save a boatload of strangers from drowning. The usual “Can these be REAL superheroes?” cliche is played straight here, and actually works within the framework of the story. Oeming’s art is as good here as in Powers, but with some very subtle changes (and some amazing coloring) completely transforming it to fit with the adventures of our younger protagonists.
BAD THINGS A’BREWING.
I still haven’t gotten my hands on the graphic novel that tells us the full story of our heroes’ origins, but I suspect that this issue’s subplot tells us all we need to know, as a company called Globosurge is conducting ugly experiments involving human test subjects, and there’s even a little fighty-fighty between a monstrous test subject and yet another super-powered girl named Kelly, the daughter of one of Globosurge’s scientists. There’s an unpleasant turn of events, and the issue ends with Taki and Kelly setting off on an adventure, leaving little sister Olivia behind, which I’m sure will have unpleasant consequences down the line. The story is reminiscent of Silver Age Marvel, with uncomplicated plotting and good dialogue throughout, and shouldn’t be dismissed as a “kid’s book.” Though there aren’t the murders, curse-words and ultra-violence of Powers, the same compelling story-telling remains, and this issue is a fun read.
THE BOTTOM LINE: TRULY ALL-AGES STUFF.
When I was young, I found most of the things aimed at “readers my age” to be banal and insipid, and often ended up out of my depth with things like Jaws or The Godfather. Takio is a story that I think would appeal to kids who like comics, as well as those of us who keep getting accused of adulthood. Takio #2 is a fun ride, echoing comics long-gone with skill and cleverness, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. If you’re tired of the shared-universe madness, but still want to read Bendis, I highly recommend this one.
About Matthew Peterson
Were pop culture a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Matthew still enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear. Surprise. Ruthless efficiency. An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture. And a nice red uniform.