Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

05 June 2009

Powers, v. 12: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time

Collects: Powers #25-30, Powers Annual 2008 (2007-8)

Released: February 2009 (Marvel / Icon)

Format: 200 pages / color / $19.95 / ISBN: 9780785122623

What is this?: Deena Pilgrim’s mysterious powers finally are explained and her storyline ends.

The culprits: Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming

(While researching this review, I was poking around Jinxworld, Bendis’s site. Somehow, I ran across the Bendisizer — I don’t remember how I got there, and I’ve lost the URL. Anyway, the Bendisizer recasts any text put into it into Bendis-flavored text. There’s even three settings: Low Bendis, Medium Bendis, and Entirely Verbalized Pauses. I selected the “low” setting because anything greater would result in an incomprehensible review; it promised not to use explicit obscenities. Also, I admit I cleaned up the result since I didn’t have the heart to leave in all the misspellings and grammatical errors that comprises Powers’s writing style.)

So this is the direction they decided to go, huh?



You’d think that — I mean, really, now — you’d think Bendis would be able to figure out a better ending for this storyline. I mean, writer Brian Michael Bendis had — what? — four years to figure out what was going to happen. And artist Michael Avon Oeming can plot, too — he’s not a halfwit with a sharp pen. Well, not just a halfwit with a sharp pen.

Four years. And this is what we get.

For f*#@’s sake.

Powers, v. 12: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time coverPowers, v. 12: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time is disappointing, to say the least. I’ve had trouble keeping interested, with all the, you know, delays. The delays were — let’s be honest: they’re embarrassing for a job that you actually get paid to do. I know, I know, Bendis and Oeming have better things to do, but I’ve been waiting for v. 12 for a while now, and I thought the delays meant Bendis and Oeming were working hard on making a quality product. Instead, Bendis was working hard on his Avengers projects and Bend-overs24 and Oeming’s working on whatever Oeming works on.

But I kid Oeming. I’m sure he wasn’t working on anything.

In short, at the end of Powers, v. 11: Secret Identities, Det. Deena Pilgrim, infected with a virus that gives her powers and apparently some sort of insanity, freaked out and disappeared when she saw her partner, Det. Christian Walker, had been keeping his own powers from her. Rather than see any of the interesting fallout from that development, v. 12 starts eight months later.

Hey, those eight months don’t matter. I’m sure — I mean, who cares? Really.

Walker’s got a new partner, Pilgrim’s unraveling from the effects of the virus, Internal Affairs wants to nail Pilgrim (wherever she is), and the virus is starting to reach critical mass, as the infected are using it as a weapon against underage girls. Walker, saddled with a new partner, investigates, and Pilgrim traces the killers as well as her condition steadily deteriorates. I guess “deteriorates” — she looks like hell. That has to be bad, right?

And, of course, everything comes out OK in the end. Not for — the dead girls, they aren’t OK, but everyone else. Not to burden you with spoilers, but — well, this TPB came out four months ago, and the single issues four months before that. So: Spoilers. Yeah.

Triphammer — remember Triphammer, been seen once since the first TPB? Red armor, pain in the ass? Of course you do, he’s f*#@ing unforgettable — cures the virus, just as it is about to overwhelm everything. Didn’t know Triphammer was a brilliant f*#@ing biologist? Neither did I. Neither did anyone. But that’s OK. You don’t — I mean, who looks a gift cure in the mouth? And Pilgrim, cured, is absolved of all the horrible things she’s done. Just like that. Even gets a $3 million payoff from her employers to go away forever.

And then — big reveal! — her big regret is killing some scumbag years ago. The readers had forgotten. Mostly, yeah, I know you didn’t forget. But did you care? I mean, really? No. We’d all moved on. That was — I mean, look, it was ancient history, and no one cares about ancient history. Ask somebody if they care about Hannibal invading Greece with elephants, and they’ll tell you to go f*#@ yourself. She’s not haunted by killing her ex-boyfriend, because, hey, he was creepy. No loss there. And her brother, the until-now-unmentioned minor superhero? Just a blip on the radar, baby, and then he’s f*#@ing gone. Killing his adversary is a momentary thought. No, shooting someone — someone she killed long ago, and for all we know never crossed her — never even entered her mind since then …

I mean, we’ve never seen the murder affect her. She must have been hiding it well. Some people — you know some people are like stone outside. And inside, when they know readers are looking in their head. They don’t show anything.

Who’s killing the dead girls? Some random people with the virus. Supposedly, they’ll be legally absolved as well, but they ain’t Deena Pilgrim, so f*#@ them. Who cares? Sure, the dead girls — the dead girls are dead, though. They don’t start too many arguments.

As a side issue, no one asked for a sequel to the monkeysex issue from v. 1 of Powers, but we got it anyway, in the reprinted Powers Annual 2008. I mean — don’t get me wrong, your science teachers must be very proud of you and your knowledge of comic-book evolution — but no one liked it as anything more than a joke the first time. We sure as hell didn’t want to see it again.

And the title — cute. Nice joke. Must have knocked them dead on the playground, but this is the big leagues, Bendis. Try something that actually had something to do with the story next time. I mean, I know you’re busy deciding who gets to abuse whatever female reserve Avenger you have “respect” for this month, but see if you can buy an assistant editor to do it for you. They work for sandwiches and comp copies, right?

I admit Oeming’s gotten off lightly on this one. He has — I guess you’d say tics of his own, although I like his style usually. But there’s no — I don’t have much to say about his work this time. Since this will be my last volume of Powers, I have to say I won’t miss his unnecessary double-page spreads. I have a lifetime — I’ve been reading from left to right on a single page my entire life, and when it becomes a guessing game as to whether I should read both pages or just one at a time and I guess wrong, well, I’m not going to blame myself. Half the time it takes me an entire issue to figure out I made a mistake. Of course, if there was any action on the page, it would help me decide, but instead it’s Bendis’s disjointed — OK, punchy dialogue. I think — really, it could be read in any order and come out all right.

I sincerely won’t miss the double-page, 5x7 panel (per page) sex scene. Because — no offense, that’s the least interesting sex scene I’ve ever scene. What’s the purpose? Really? No purpose? It’s not relevant or interesting or sexy — for … Why? Does Oeming have a fetish for miniatures? Is there a minisex Internet community or something?

Goodbye, Powers. I’ve been reading since the beginning, and I’ve excused your foibles. I can’t any more. I’ll miss the three or four issues Bendis and Oeming put out a year. But it’s kinda appropriate: Bendis and Oeming have better things to do, and so do I.

Rating: Half Marvel symbol (0.5 of 5)

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Blogger Erik said...


I haven't read a rant like that in ages. Very unlike anything else of yours I've read. Truly awesome.

You made my day. Thank you!

3:44 AM  
Blogger Raoul said...

Thanks. Although the way you expressed it makes it seem like "awesome" is unlike anything else of mine that you've read.

Still, I'm glad I made your day.

4:15 PM  

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