Pick of the Week

08.08.2007 – Powers #25

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Creators – Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Avon Oeming
Coloring – Nick Filardi
Lettering and Production – Chris Eliopoulos

Icon/Marvel Comics – $3.95

What a ridiculously good week for comics. What a ridiculous number of comics that I whittled my stack of 16 down to, it made this Pick very difficult. And yet somehow at the end of the selection process, I’m staring at Powers. Again. But then again, it seems we’ve settled into picking this comic once a year, so here’s the 2007 nod to the book that everyone at iFanboy loves. Even if it took nearly 9 months for 4 issues to come out.

It’s not a surprise that as Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Avon Oeming get more successful and get more work (such as the Avengers books for Bendis, Omega Flight and the Mouse Templar for Oeming) that the production of Powers would waver. Trust me, I know how when you’re reporting to an outside “boss”, your own personal work/projects are the first to suffer. But after listening recently to the latest edition of the Word Balloon interview with Bendis, I’m pretty sure they’re aware of it as well and are taking the steps to rectify it as best as they can. And how they’ve decided to rectify it, I find fascinating.

While they acknowledge the shit production schedule, they claim to be making it more regular, and monthly again. For that, we’ll see. But in the wake of books like Fell and Casanova with their lower price point and less pages per month, Bendis and Oeming have gone in the opposite direction moving the book up to 40 pages and increasing the price to $3.95 per issue. Normally I don’t look at the comics price, but many people do, so I try to put myself in their shoes. Is the extra dollar worth it? Absolutely. The production on the book is stellar, the paper quality is great and there’s 40 pages! Some Marvel/DC books are $3.99 for just 22 pages! So Bendis and Oeming are definitely doing the right thing in this department. With issue #25, these changes come into affect and it’s immediately noticeable, so enough with the boring parts, let me explain why and how this book made my Pick.

Along with the wavering production schedule, I felt that the recent story arcs had wavered a little bit too. We’ve discussed it before, and asked if the stories were a bit stale. If they were kind of going in circles, and looking back on the past arc, I think they were. The comic, which tells the story of homicide detectives Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker in a world with super powers, led its main characters down a slippery slope for the past couple of years. Where we left off before issue #25 (and the beginning of a new story arc) Pilgrim has gained super powers that she cannot control, has killed people, kept it a secret and internal affairs was starting to investigate her. Walker on the other hand, who used be a super hero, has gained cosmic level powers and has taken the mantle of Earth’s protector. Those are pretty big things, and I felt as if they were kind of shoved to the side of the previous story arc(s), not being as fully explored as they should be, rather they felt somewhat tacked on. Issue #25 picks up 8 months after the last story arc and we come to find out that those aspects of the characters are now pretty much the main story points, with Pilgrim missing for 8 months and Walker knee deep in his earth protection duties as ell as his duties as a cop.

What I was most impressed with was how the art and the story immediately put us in the place we needed to be for the plot. Subtle touches like Walker’s hair being different and him seeming thinner. His visual appearance suggesting exhaustion due to the constant double duty he’s been pulling for 8 months. There were also little writing touches that made us understand that time had passed but without hitting us over the head with it. It’s this elegance of storytelling in the way Bendis and Oeming work together that makes this book one of my favorites.

The art in this issue completely blew me away. There are several different sequences, such as when the person Walker is questioning in the beginning of the issue recounts what had happened to her as we see it visually in a stunning six page sequence, that are just amazing show pieces. And in a stroke of genius that reminds me of Madman #3, we see an amazing sex scene with Walker and his girlfriend that spans two pages and 60 panels. Really amazing and detailed, but in a good way. It’s this expanded approach the art that I really appreciate the decision to expand the page count. I definitely picked up on the feeling that they were feeling crammed in by the usual 22-24 page stories and with the extra pages, we’re given expanded more dynamic art sequences such as these. If this truly is the case, then the next few issues should worth reading.

With this issue they also changed colorists. Now I don’t want to say the previous colorist was bad, because he wasn’t, but there was something about the difference of the colors used by Nick Filardi that deserves mention. On some of the sequences, the art jumps off the pages and I think it’s due to the colors. There’s a vibrancy there that wasn’t as strong previously. It could have to do with the printing/paper quality, but you can definitely sense a difference and I really like what I saw.

It’s easy to criticize Bendis and Oeming for the crappy schedule they’ve kept in this past year, but it’s obvious the amount of love and care they put into this comic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if its the one comic they care about the most. I find it hard to believe that it’s been about 8 years of Powers. If any book marked the current “age” of comics we’re in, I’d nominate Powers without hesitation and with it’s 25th issue on its second volume, it’s great to see that it can still be an amazing book and keep evolving to one of the most unique comics on the market.

Ron Richards
Is pro “doin’ it”
ron@ifanboy.com

Did you read Powers #25?
Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!

Lost in a sea of comics this week I counted down the criminal skrulls that had yellow rings, but ultimately it was Powers that got me excited about comics this week. So read on for your yearly dose of Powers love.

Comments

  1. only read green arrow year one so far. I don’t get powers but have been meaning to pick up trades.

    Green arrow was alright though

  2. Could not have agreed more. Walker’s fight with the aliens was great, the 8 month jump really helped push the story forward, and the colours were noticeably great. I really hope it’s getting back on schedule, because with this issue, it’s a good time to be excited about Powers again. You picked the lame cover, though, Ron.

    Also a great week for Fables/Jack of Fables readers, where we got to see the stories intercept in such a funny way. And in Green Lantern #22…STUFF HAPPENS. Big stuff that I don’t want to have to wait 4 weeks to see more of!

  3. I like’d Black Adam, but it was a light week for me.

  4. So far I’ve only read Star Wars Legacy #15. For any of those familiar with the story this was the big reveal of the identity of Darth Krayt. I was very suprised and very impressed. I was ready to be let down and have it be something like “Obi Wan’s long lost son” or something dumb like that. Really great expanded universe story here that you don’t have to have read all the other books and stories leading up to it. Though I do suggest starting at #1.

    My comic reading has definetly taken a back seat as my wife finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows and now it is my turn.

  5. Harry Potter? loser.

    OOO Wait I read it too
    And it was great.

  6. Ron, I’m so glad you picked Powers as your POW. It’s my favorite title. Bendis out-does even himself, and Oeming’s art is incredible. It’s one of the best comics in print.

  7. I only picked up New Avengers and a tpb. I like that Might and New are being done in very different styles, but Bendis is overduing the thought balloons in MA. I want some crap to start happening in both books.

    Get to the Skrulls, I don’t want any more bullcrap with “are you a skrull?” and get it over with with “Ultron”. We already know from other books that Tony is coming back, so wrap it up already.

    i used to think Bendis was definite money, but since the demon baby bullcrap arc in DD he has been hit or miss.

  8. Great review Ron, Powers is my favorite Bendis book and often gets overlooked, but damn if it’s not near perfect! A great issue that deserved the higher quality paper, cover and page count. i can’t wait to see where we go with the next issue since this story has been building for sometime.

    PEOPLE, READ THIS BOOK!

  9. So this was my first time ever picking up Powers. I’ve been curious about the title for a while though, but when I wanted to buy it they were in the middle of an 8 issue arc or something like that(which if you were saying it had been stagnant recently it was probably because Bendis had “Ult-Spidey-Clone-Saga” syndrome again).

    After being very anxious to read it and almost buying the first volume in hardcover at the convention last month, I finally got issue #25 and the verdict is: I LOVE IT, I LOVE POWERS, I LOVE BENDIS, I LOVE OEMING.

    I also love how heavy the book was, and since it was Icon I knew that it was no ads, ALL STORY. Its so nice being able to go through a book uninterrupted.

  10. I have a Powers related question and this seems like a good place to put it. I have the first Powers Hardcover, and really liked it. I heard on the Worldballoon Bendis Tapes that Vol. 2 is not out yet. But I swore I saw it in a store around the same time I bought Vol. 1 Is it possible? When is it coming out if it’s not already?

  11. at the end of the issue Bendis always plugs his upcoming stuff and he said that vol 2 hasn’t been released but they will be resoliciting it soon

  12. Due to a hiatus from comics and a serious lack of investment capital, I have been unable to jump onto the Powers train. But I have deeply desired to do so. I will say that I absolutely love Oeming’s work, especially his recent Cross Bronx mini. Ron, you may want to check and see, but maybe the colorist they used on this issue was from that mini. I just remember the drawings popping off the page with their vibrancy. I would do it now, but I’m at work and don’t have my books in front of me.

    I have yet to read my books this week, so I’m sure later on, my name shall appear once again. Yahoo!

  13. Ron, you may want to check and see, but maybe the colorist they used on this issue was from that mini.

    It is the same guy.

  14. I would have to say this past week was All New Atom. Great story telling and art work. I would have to say about he whole skrull shit better be good. Civil War sucked. I don’t want to see superheroes act like cops for the U.S.? Skrulls…. if they all are skrulls i will stop reading marvel comics until they send me a apology for house of m (lying saying everything will change… guess what nothing changed), Civil War (you killed Captain America… in a time of war? Blow me.) and not having any logic FOR killing a character and bring them back 5 times with no explanation. thanks for listing to me complain… i don’t have anyone to talk abou this with… i am going to pick up powers thanks guys love the pod casts.

  15. Batman 667 was a very solid issue. This international league of heroes somewhat intrigues me…and it definetly feels like Clue the movie with the heroes in the big mansion trying to figure out where the Black Glove is.

    Omega Flight 5 was dissapointing. I bought all 5 issues of this limited and expected better things from the run. The characters are intersting and I found that they had definetly grown on me. But now what?

    I still have a handful of books to go. Really looking forward to Green Lantern 22 and Green Lantern Corps 14 (I missed the first printing). Hopefully they won’t dissapoint.

  16. Only read half my stack this week. But so far, Daredevil #99 literally left me gasping on my toilet seat!

    They haven’t killed Milla yet, but YAY for Ox & Mr. Fear, talkin’ OLD SCHOOL BABAY!!!

    Woot! Woot!

  17. Green Lantern #22 was my POW; so much action happened and I loved every minute of it!

  18. Oh shite, did I miss Green Lantern this week?

  19. Green Lantern was very good. This whole Sinestro Corps War is really awesome. Between that and how well he’s handling Justice Society of America Geoff Johns is definitely taking care of business. With all he’s done is doing and is getting ready for I don’t know when he gets a chance to sleep.

  20. Just got done with my stack. I was really impressed with this week. I would have to say that Batman #667 was definitely my pick this week. The story was a lot of fun, and the mystery behind everything is really, really intriguing. The art was really good, except for a few places where it looked like J.H. Williams couldn’t decide whether to pencil or paint certain scenes.

    Both Brubaker efforts were great this week, although I’m not sure how I feel about Mr. Fear in Daredevil. I’ll be honest…I have zero background on this dude. It’s like Brubaker made the villain Paris Hilton in my mind. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes. Oh, and as a long time Daredevil reader, I think I can safely say I can’t wait for Milla to die. Seriously.

    Green Arrow #2 was great. Art was awesome, and I can’t wait to see Ollie beat some ass.

    Nova #5 was nothing short of super badass and takes a close second to my pick. God, I don’t think this series can get any better. It’s just so good and so much fun.

    Everything else in my stack (Punisher, Countdown, Boys, New Avengers, Hulk, Dynamo 5) was decent to really good, but it was still a very satisfying week. Now, if I can just find time to read my backlog of trades!

  21. Sure, you can enjoy comics when you are 55. I’m 55. I’ve been in & out of comics many times over the years. Bendis and Maleev; Brubaker and Epting got me back in a couple of years ago.

    I sold my complete run of Daredevil for party money in 1980! I bought Daredevil #4 on the rack at the newsstand. Don’t sell you favorite run no matter how much you want the money. It’s not worth it. Sell everything – but keep your favorite run.

    Powers is one of the best. I bought trade #1 and the then current issue and started reading the trades. I’m waiting for the last trade (#10, I think) to come out before I read my growing stack of single issues. What’s taking so freaking long on that trade!?

    My son just left home for college. He went to his local shop and subscribed to B.P.R.D, Hellboy, and Daredevil. He shares my love of great comic art and story telling. It makes a father proud.

  22. The irony of Don’s statement is when i moved back to my folks house, my Dad started reading whatever trades i had lying around. I would start finding them around the house. My Dad is 55. He has, at this point been through hellboy, sin city drizzt, sandman, powers, watchmen, DKR DK2, all the greats. I am just glad he does not touch the long boxes. I am just anal enough that it bugs me when he does not put them back in order.

    Josh/Conor/Ron–How about a post about average age of your listeners? Or even the average age of the average comic book reader? (assuming a safe definition of average comic book reader could be discerned)

  23. I can tell you anecdotally that we’re all over the map. Mostly men, but a larger percentage of women than you’d think, and the ages are all over the map, from 10 years old to at least 55. And Don isn’t the only one here that age either.

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