Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Powers #1 - Icon Comics (Marvel Comics)

POWERS No. 1, January 2015
Possibly when it comes to reading comics there is an especially strong prudish streak inside me. For within mere seconds of opening this book, and catching sight of just the second panel, I was dishearteningly flipping back to the front cover looking for some sort of ‘Mature Content’ warning and remembering the ‘good old days’ of the Silver and Bronze Age when the Comics Code Authority forbade the use of all colourful metaphors.

Surprisingly there was no such cautionary graphic to be found. But there again “Powers” is part of the “Icon Comics” imprint, a trade name designed by “Marvel Worldwide” to keep certain ‘A-list’ creators working for the American publisher rather than have them take their creator-owned titles to a rival production company. And writer Brian Michael Bendis, winner of five Will Eisner Comic Industry awards, amongst many others, is most definitely an ‘A-list’ author.

Unnecessary profanities and blatant nudity aside however, this first in a new run of crime noir adventures concerning super-powered homicides also has the hurdle of a fourteen year-long backstory to overcome. Fortunately being previously oblivious to the ongoing series is not a barrier as the four-time Wizard Magazine award-winner has crafted an opening issue which requires no prior knowledge of the title’s earlier publications; significantly hefty though they are. Indeed it lands the reader smack bang in the middle of an arrest, as detective Deena Pilgrim repeatedly discharges her firearm into the 'backside' of the fleeing ‘power’ Red Wave.

From there Bendis provides us with a brief insight into the dark, lonely, perturbingly paranoid home life of our heroine before the police specialist, accompanied by her partner Enki Sunrise, faces the formidable challenge of capturing the killer of a yacht-full of rich socialites.

Sadly it doesn’t really matter how intriguing or enticing the plot to a comic is when the artwork is as abysmal as that drawn by co-creator Michael Avon Oeming. Definitely distinctive, the American illustrator can clearly draw extremely well when presumably given the time, as the slightly cartoony but eye-catching cover artwork to Issue One of “Powers” proves. But his interior pencilling is arguably beneath child-like, as his inconsistent characters lurch from panel to panel with stick-like features, over-sized balloon heads, and an awkward ever-evolving grasp of human anatomy. Certainly it is hard to fathom out how previous volumes were able to generate strong enough sales for Oeming to quit his job as a security guard and become a full-time artist.
The variant cover art of "POWERS" No. 1 by David Marquez

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