The second issue of the third volume of “Powers” is an entertaining comic, but is a step down from the stronger first issue, as Bendis and Oeming devote much of this issue to a fight during World War II between the Daring Eagles and a giant Nazi robot instead of the mystery at hand: who killed Z, the former Daring Eagle and friend of Detective Walker? Instead of a simple flashback, the battle seems like padding. Entertaining padding, but still padding.
Given that most of this issue is devoted to that World War II fight, there isn’t really a lot to this issue and, yet, it still receives three-and-a-half stars, because that fight is very well done by Bendis and Oeming. One of the biggest criticisms about Bendis is his weakness is staging action scenes in comics, but this issue should counter that claim as, working with Oeming, the fight here is paced extremely well and flows from one piece of action to the next with no problems. All of which is impressive given the nature of the fight; a group of superheroes taking on a giant robot isn’t necessarily going to lend itself well to an extended action sequence given the limited movements of the robot.
Oeming’s art really steals the show here using double-page layouts well to create a very fluid flow to the storytelling, while also giving the action a larger, more epic feel than using single-page layouts would. His thick, cartoony lines also lend themselves well to this sort of action, seeming like the sort out of a cartoony… until they let forth one of the numerous swear words that Bendis has them say during the fight. Granted, many refer to what the Daring Eagles want to do to Nazis and you’d be hard-pressed to find many that disagree.
Despite that fight sequence taking up much of the issue, the case regarding Z’s death does advance in some significant way as Walker also gets accustomed to working with his new partner. Beginning this third volume with a case that sheds light on Walker’s past is a smart move by Bendis and Oeming, and is paying off as we get a fuller idea of who he is, beginning with the opening pages that show him even further back than World War II.
One of the best parts of this issue is watching Walker trying to justify the post-war behavior of himself and his fellow Daring Eagles while also not revealing himself. By modern standards, working for the mob like they did is wrong, but his talk of it being another time rings true somehow. It’s strong character work by Bendis.
While new readers may come to this book expecting lots of police action, this issue breaks from that element of the series for much of it, delivering old school superhero action that’s very well done. Too much of the issue is given over to that without much actual payoff, but it’s still quite entertaining. And the issue ends with a fantastic cliffhanger.