Overview

Return to Powers

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Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming are bringing back Powers with a new number one and a promise of a regular schedule. And this time, they mean it! Really!

When Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming began planning Powers, the idea of a police procedural set in the world of superheroes was a novel idea. By the time the first issue hit stores, Alan Moore’s Top 10 was already on the stands and Brubaker and Rucka’s Gotham Central was due to arrive several years later.

All three were similarly themed, but had significant differences. Top 10 was about a police force comprised of superpowered individuals. Gotham Central was about the Gotham City police force and their dealings with the mostly non-powered members of the Gotham rogues gallery. Powers, however, was a combination of the two. It dealt with normal cops who had to investigate crimes in the superhero community.

It had more in common with Hill Street Blues, Law & Order, and Homicide: Life on the Streets than any comic book on the stands. It was gritty, grim and as realistic as any cop drama dealing with costumed superheroes could be.

For Bendis, it was a doorway series between the crime comics he was writing—titles such as A.K.A. Goldfish, Fire, Jinx and Torso—and the superhero books he wanted to write. And for Oeming, whose most notable work was on DC’s “Big Book of…” series, it gave him a chance to work with his friend Bendis on a story with noir overtones.

The story deals with two detectives by the name of Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim. Walker is an ex-hero who joined the police force when he lost his powers. Pilgrim is his rookie partner, a tough as nails female detective.

The series began at Image Comics in 2000 and ran for 37 issues. Over that time, the detectives investigate their fair share of homicides, sex scandals and conspiracies. It was a look at the seedy underbelly of being a superhero, and the stories were filled with humor, violence and shocking twists and turns. The series even featured comic book writer Warren Ellis as a guest star, which should go to show you the “anything goes” nature of the series.

Powers acted as a shot in the arm for both Bendis’ and Oeming’s careers. Bendis moved on to Ultimate Spider-Man and then to writing practically every Marvel comic that has been released in the past 10 years. Oeming also branched out into writing, working on Thor, Red Sonja, and many others.

Due to Bendis’ success at Marvel, the tandem moved the series to Marvel’s new creator-owned imprint, Icon, in 2004. This volume of the series ran for 30 issues. However, due to the increased amount of outside work both men were receiving, the publication of the series was sporadic at best, with numerous delays experienced along the way. It took over four years to complete those 30 issues.

This week marks a reboot of the franchise, and this time all involved are promising a strict monthly schedule. While the schedules of Bendis and Oeming haven’t gotten any less busy, one can only assume they have a stockpile of issues built up so they have a little slack in case their other projects take them away from this one.

There has been a lot of changes since the series started. Walker has been chosen by the Green Lantern-like Millenium Guard to become the secret protector of his region of space. Pilgrim had contracted a deadly Powers virus that gave her electricity-based powers, powers that she used to kill her abusive boyfriend. Cured of her disease and free from an Internal Affairs investigation in her boyfriend’s death, she is taking some time off. Walker’s new partner is Enki Sunrise, a woman who Walker is hesitant to trust but has to because of the nature of their jobs.

Powers is one of the best books of the new millennium and one of the best of all time. If you are late joining on the Powers bandwagon, you have another chance tomorrow to jump on board. Don’t miss out.

Also out this week:

Thor Giant Size Finale:

When J. Michael Straczynski announced his recent spate of DC books several months back, you knew that it would be only a matter of time before he left Thor behind. His work on bringing the character back into Marvel continuity was a resounding success, but his workload over at DC meant that he would have to leave it to other creators to pick up where he left off.

But he couldn’t leave without tying up loose ends created during his run. They get tied up here in the giant-sized special. You will find out what the Asgardian relocation to Latveria will have in store, and where the road will take Balder the Brave and the Earth-born Bill. With Loki and Doctor Doom working their own agendas regarding the Norse gods, don’t expect a happy ending.

J. Michael Straczynski (W), Marko Djurdjevic (A), Marvel Comics, $4.99. Special.

The Tick #1:

Spoooooon!!!!!

There might be quite a few of you out there that are wondering why I am yelling the name of a kitchen utensil out loud. But there are many of you out there that know exactly what I am saying—the Tick is back!

Created as a mascot for a Boston, MA area comic book store, it became one of the most popular parody comics of all times. The Tick has had a number of series’ and spin-offs, a Saturday morning cartoon and a prime time live action TV show. And now, New England Comics is bringing the big blue bug back for a new series. If you have never read an issue of The Tick before or have been a fan for 20 years, you need to pick this issue up. 

Benito Cereno (W), Les McClaine (A), New England Comics, $4.95. Ongoing Series.

 Jericho Season 3 #1:

A new trend in comics is having TV series continue on in comic book form, picking up where the TV series left off with a brand new “season”. Joss Whedon is the poster boy for this trend, as his Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have had additional seasons in comic book form. Now, another cult sci-fi show joins in the fun.

Jericho was a show that had a loyal audience, yet one too small to garner any significant ratings. It told the tale of a small Kansas town reeling from the dropping of 23 nuclear weapons on American soil. It was a survival story that turned into a conspiracy thriller and when it was cancelled, it held the promise of a civil war about to start.

Well, fans of the series can now see that civil war as this series picks right up where the TV series left off. 

Dan Shotz, Robert Levine &  Jason M. Burns (W), Alejandro F. Giralbo (A), Devil’s Due Publishing, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

The Goon #33:

We here at Guiding Lines keep telling you how great this series is. Eric Powell, being the nice guy that he is, keeps giving new readers plenty of opportunity to jump on the series. But not as many as new readers come on as they should. And this, my friends, is a crying shame.

Lucky for you, Mr. Powell is generously giving you yahoos another chance to jump on board. As part of Dark Horse’s “One-Shot Wonders” event, he is presenting us with a special, stand-alone issue of the series. What is the issue about? Well, we really don’t know because the powers that be are being a bit secretive about it. But all you need to know is that whatever the story will be, it will be great. So, get to buying!

Eric Powell (W/A), Dark Horse Comics, $3.50. Ongoing Series.

Immortal Weapons #5:

Marvel had a crazy plan. It would take one of its lower selling titles, put it essentially on hiatus, and replace it on the schedules with a tie-in miniseries. The miniseries, starting with a new number one, certainly would experience a jump in sales. And if it could hold on to those better sales and gain some momentum, when the series it replaced came back, it would be to a bigger audience.

The company did that with the Immortal Iron Fist and it didn’t quite work out the way they planned. The first issue of Immortal Weapons actually sold less than the last issue of Immortal Iron Fist. And now, the miniseries is ending and it looks like the regular series might not ever be restarted. Sometimes gambles pay off, sometimes they don’t.

David Lapham (W), Arturo Lozzi (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Final Issue.

###

William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Vanessa. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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