REVIEW: Powers #11

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Or – “I Suspect A Clearing Of The Decks For the Next Incarnation…”

As long as there have been superheroes, there have been the superheroes who are deities of one sort or another.  But seldom has anyone really delved into what the ramifications of associating with those sort of mythical creatures might be…  For Christian Walker, it gets ugly.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

POWERS #11
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Jennifer Grunwald
Publisher: Icon/Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.95

Previously, in Powers:  Christian Walker used to be a superhero.  Now, he’s a homicide detective, specializing in cases focusing on “Powers.”  His former partner, Deena Pilgrim, is now an agent of the FBI, butting in on his jurisdiction.  His current partner has only just given up trying to prove the Walker is once again active as a power himself.  (He totally is, by the way.)  While investigating a series of deaths involving a group of self-professed demigods, The Golden Ones, Walker has gotten tied up with ancient creatures beyond human understanding, and the wrath of one of those deities is about to be brought down upon his head (and the heads of EVERYONE in Chicago.)

DIDJA EVER SEE ‘DEEP IMPACT?’

It’s kinda like that, on a much stranger scale, as a massive tidal wave strikes Chicago, causing mass devastation in seconds.  Retro Girl and Triphammer are our POV characters for this portion of the fight, and Bendis does his usual magic with their interactions, as Trip forces her to stay focused on the greater issues at hand.  Oeming has a slightly caricaturish style, but it lends itself very well to the wide-screen destruction that we see in the beginning of the issue, and I have to say that I’m highly impressed with how well he gets across the suddenness of the attack and the aftermath.  Back at police headquarters, Walker Christian is surprised to find his former fiancée has teleported into the building, saying she closed her eyes and wished that she was with him seconds before.  There’s some of Bendis’ trademark awkward conversation, as Enki Sunrise (having just finally accepted that Walker was no longer Diamond) suddenly realizing that he does have powers after all.  Walker comes clean to everyone, explaining how his new gig comes with rules, how he is only to fight when the Millennium Guard tells him to, and never on Earth…  “$&@# ‘em,” he snarls, transmogrifying into full uniform and flying off into the night.

BUT WHAT OF THE SURVIVORS?

The issue sees a lot of changes in a short space, as fiancée girl (whose name escapes me) is taken out of the picture, Triphammer and Walker quickly get back in their old fighting routine, and the cops of the Chicago P.D. try to deal with casualties.  The rest of the issue burns a little too fast for me, as Trip and Walker fight off a giant humanoid creature who reminds me somewhat of Galactus, with an ambiguous ending for each of them.  We time-jump forward to find that the entire Powers Division has been shut down, and all powers-related cases bumped up to federal jurisdiction.  Of course, with that many cases suddenly opening, the entire division (including Enki, Deena and their Captain) is essentially roped into government service under the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  As the issue ends, Walker and Triphammer are still MIA, and we get a big preview of the new era of Powers (Powers: Bureau) in the near future.  I have been puzzled by the Golden Ones arc for a few issues now, feeling that it is oddly padded in terms of storytelling, even for Bendis, but it seems clear that the setup was to enable this huge, world-changing moment for the characters, and create a fresh slate for Bendis and Oeming to write on.

THE BOTTOM LINE: WELL DONE, BUT IT FELT A BIT ARTIFICIAL.

The cynical part of me is bothered by the way this arc came together, especially after the extended delays with Powers while the creators tried to get a television series off the ground.  Enki Sunrise, for example, is still kind of a cypher to me, and I can’t figure out how Deena Pilgrim went from her exit from the series (short version: having murdered Johnny Royale, she was given a huge check and forcibly retired from the police force) to working for the Feds.  The creators at least don’t make any pretense that Walker Christian is dead, even at the character level, which I appreciate, given his presence on the cover of the Powers: Bureau #1 preview included in the issue.  Powers #11 has to work a little too hard to clear the decks for my tastes, but does it with style and sets up the new series with an intriguing premise, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  In terms of independent comics, Powers is one of the oldest I read, and can be one of the best when the creators are on their game, so I’m happy to see them enthusiastic about playing with some new toys…

Rating: ★★★½☆