Monday, 11 May 2015

Powers #2 - Icon Comics (Marvel Comics)

POWERS No. 2, March 2015
It really is exceptionally hard not to see “Powers” as little more than an enormous sales gimmick for this title’s adaption into an American online streaming television series. Certainly there appears little other reason for writer Brian Michael Bendis and “Marvel Worldwide” to distribute such distasteful poorly-written and dreadfully-drawn nonsense. Even if the New York City-based publishers are printing it under their creator-owned imprint “Icon Comics”; something which tends to lend itself to much more edgy mature adult-orientated content. 

Blatant advertising, such as this issue’s cover boldly declaring the programme’s broadcast date on Sony’s Playstation Network, is perfectly understandable given the series’ accomplishment and readers may even excuse the five-time Eisner Award-winner for furnishing them with excruciating detail about the development deal during the lengthy introduction to his letters page “The Line Up”.

But far less likely to be forgiven is the quality of the Cleveland-born author’s storyline for this book. It really does leave a lot to be desired and genuinely feels like the former “architect of the Ultimate Marvel Universe” has rushed this magazine’s script through in order to meet the television show’s debut. Why else would he spend five dreary dialogue-heavy pages simply explaining that the murder victim was a nice well-liked individual, and another six depicting Christian Walker being gratuitously mugged in his own apartment?

Sadly such a disheartening observation arguably gains even more weight when one considers the writer’s stilted monotone dialogue and his heavy overreliance on profanities. Bendis is infamous for his (mis)use of swear words in his magazines. But with this comic it would seem that whenever he was stuck giving one of his character’s something informative or meaningful to say, he mindlessly just gives them an expletive and lazily moves on to the next scene.

Tragically Michael Avon Oeming’s pencils would also seem to support this theory of ‘everything being done on the hurry up’, despite the fact that the periodical is being published as a bi-monthly. His tense front page illustration of Walker and Pilgrim is by far the best piece of artwork in this comic book, as the vast majority of his interior figures disappointingly resemble little more than stick-men with balloon heads and Chibi-like eyes. 

Admittedly there is a lot of raw power and energy on show when the American artist depicts the former homicide detective battling a crowbar-wielding intruder, and as such the frantic panic-filled fist-fight works well as a piece of semi-gripping drama. But the Eagle Award-winner’s awkward, even ugly-looking caricatures make it extremely hard for anyone to fully immerse themselves in the action; especially when the ‘cartoonesque’ figures are swearing all the time.
The variant cover art of "POWERS" No. 2 by Mike Allred and Laura Allred

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