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Josh Reviews Powers: Volume Five!

I am having a great time re-reading Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s wonderful comic book series: Powers!   Click here for my first overview of Powers, from back in 2010.  Click here for my review of Powers volumes 1 & 2, here for my review of Powers volume 3, and here for my review of Powers volume 4, Powers: Bureau. 

After the twelve-issue Powers: Bureau series, the series relaunched again with a new #1, beginning a fifth volume.  Powers volume five was great, and I enjoyed those issues thoroughly.  I look back fondly on the first two volumes of Powers, and perhaps the series no longer has the same spark of originality and surprise that those early runs did.  But the seven issues of Powers volume five were as much fun to read as ever.  Unfortunately, the series ran into publication problems with this volume, which was produced during the life and death of the Powers TV show.  After issue #8, the series vanished, right smack in the middle of a story.  I trust that Powers is not dead, and that Mr. Bendis & Mr. Oeming will return to Powers eventually, but this long wait is really trying my patience.

The new #1 kicked off with yet another new status quo for the series.  (I love how the series continually shifts and changes, as the characters live their lives and go through different shit.)  Deena is rich after writing a tell-all book (presumably exposing the secrets she learned at the end of Powers: Bureau — though wasn’t Deena already rich from the police settlement she received at the end of vol. 2?), while Walker is in hiding.

This new #1 also kicks off with another great Powers murder case: a new Power has murdered a famous billionaire along with everyone else on his yacht.  Who is this new Power, and why/how did s/he kill everyone on board that boat?  This is a great set-up for a new Powers story.

Mr. Oeming’s artwork is, again fantastic,  I’m running out of superlatives to use in praising his work.  Right away in issue #1 he’s dazzling, with his gorgeous rendition of the catastrophe on the yacht… and then an amazing double-page spread off the new Police HQ and all the crazy goings-on within.  And, wow, all eight issues of volume five boasted a spectacular cover.  Mr. Oeming has cemented himself as one of the best cover artists in the business.

I liked the new characters, such as the giddy female medical examiner and the stern new Police Chief, Conway.  I also enjoyed seeing familiar faces like Enki Sunrise and Captain Cross back in the story.  I really liked seeing Sunrise and Pilgrim as partners in the first few issues of this run, before Walker got back into the game.  I’d love to see more of those two paired together!  As for Captain Cross, I’d missed him in Powers: Bureau.  I wonder if Captain Cross being an important character on the Powers TV show inspired Mr. Bendis to bring him back into the comic book series?

Issue #7-8 seemed like the start of a fascinating new story, digging deeper into Walker’s backstory.  I was pleased and unsurprised to see Wolfe again.  Wolfe has a large place in the Powers backstory, as established in the classic “Forever” story, but he hasn’t actually appeared in the comic book all that much.  But the character was a HUGE part of the Powers TV show, where he was played by Eddie Izzard and was the major villain of season one.  So I’m not surprised that Mr. Bendis decided to bring Wolfe back into play in the comic.  This is an exciting development, and I loved the time these two issues spent fleshing out more of the backstory of these characters.  It’s a surprising twist to see Wolfe acting friendly to Walker!  I’m eager to see where that goes.  I loved seeing Walker interacting with Lange (who was exposed as a villain at the end of Powers: Bureau), back in her super-heroine days.  (And I laughed at Wolfe’s failure to remember the name of Lange’s bald, short partner — it’s become a running joke that this character has never gotten a name!!)  And, of course, it was great seeing young Triphammer and Retro Girl again.  Issue #8 gave us a scene I’d never expected to see — the first meeting of this era’s Walker and Retro Girl!  I can’t wait to see where that goes!

Will we ever?  The series cut off mid-story and left me with so many questions.

What was Deena going to confess to the FBI back at the end of Powers: Bureau?  Will we ever find out who Sunrise was reporting to about Walker?  I’d also love to learn more about her personal life — what’s up with the young boy she’s been mothering, and is she still with that lame boyfriend?  We need to catch up with Erika Broglia and Agent Meltzer (both of whom were last seen in Powers: Bureau #6).  When we saw Agent Lange in issue #8, I got hopeful that we’d eventually learn more about her — is she actually a villain as the end of Powers: Bureau indicated?  (Issue #8 suggests that perhaps she was undercover!  Or was that a feint all along?)  And what about Calista??  The last page of Powers: Bureau left her in a bad spot.

Aaargh, it kills me that thus series has been cut off midstream.

I am encouraged that it’s been announced that a new Powers graphic novel is in the work.  But where will this graphic novel pick up the story?  It’s hard to imagine that a Powers graphic novel will start right in the middle of a story, where issue #8 left off.  Will that story-line ever get concluded as planned?

It’s frustrating right now, as a big Powers fan, but I trust Mr. Bendis & Mr. Oeming and I hope that, sooner rather than later, we’ll have lots more of this great comic book series to enjoy.

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