Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Closing Thoughts: Powers: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time

Pages: 200
Pages so far: 5147
Pages/book: 367.64

I tried to get the first collection in the Powers series and thought I had, but the library's online catalog was less than accurate, so instead I got Volume 12, which collects Powers #25-30 and Powers Annual 2008. So, fairly new. Fortunately, the "Previously in Powers" page at the front of the book does a great job of getting you caught up, so I was able to figure out what was going on, and I never felt particularly lost (save for a really long section of the book about cavemen. No clue what that was about)

Anyway, to review: Powers is a comic book by popular comics writer Brian Michael Bendis. This is kind of his grittier indie-esq project (as opposed to his mainstream work with Marvel). The concept is simple and intriguing: a couple of detectives who investigate superpower-related homicides. And the story for this particular book wasn't too bad, either, with one partner trying to find his on-the-lam former associate, who's been infected with something called the Powers Virus. The virus is passed from person to person and infects the victim with lightning-based super powers before eventually killing them. Add to the mix there's at least one killer targeting people with the Powers Virus, mostly young women, and the killers' victims basically disappear, and no trace is ever found.

All right, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with the book on the whole. The story wasn't bad, and I do like the concept, but the book is really just raunchy. And I understand that you're going for the gritty crime-scene, street-level feel with this project, and sure, I can appreciate that, but come on. You've got every character in the book dropping F's and C's and GD's just for the heck of it. Obviously, if you look back on my reading list thus far, you'll discover I've really got no qualms with rough language when it fits the story of the character, but in Powers it felt like Bendis simply had no imagination and wanted to throw those words in wherever he could for the purpose of saying, "Look at me! I'm being edgy! We're cussing!" It felt juvenile and really detracted from the effectiveness of the language and the story.

My second problem was with the artwork. I liked the coloration, and I liked the textures, and I liked the angular, geometric emphasis throughout the book. Furthermore, I appreciate comic book artistic style of idealized human body shape. It's almost classical Greek in theory, and it's not meant to be realistic but fantasy, so I don't usually have a problem with it. However, the art in this book was, on occasion, practically pornographic. And not "just" in the club scene, so it can't really be argued that it's an integral part of the story. More often then not, it was completely unnecessary and, again, distracting from the story and the high caliber of the artwork.

So I hate to sound like a conservative curmudgeon, but it felt like the book lacked any semblance of good taste, and a great idea with a decent story gets lost in the process.

1 comment:

  1. What some people never seem to learn is that the mature reader isn't the one who accepts everything, but the one who is wise enough to discern what is praiseworthy and what is garbage and then gravitate toward the good.

    So what some would accuse as curmudgeonly, I call wise.