Powers #1

"Powers" returns for a third run, complete with a new status quo. Detective Christian Walker now shares a squad car with a new partner, ex-Internal Affairs Detective Enki Sunrise. Given the events of past "Powers" storylines, you know that the partnership will have some friction. That characterization gives the book heart, as well as an extra layer of tension and complexity. It's not simple and one dimensional, either. While the two might bicker and quarrel, Walker shows a different side to the rest of the squad room. Besides the foul language, graphic-yet-silhouetted sex scenes, and superpowered beings doing crazy murderous things, there's a strong core of characterization at the center of "Powers" that I fear might sometimes get lost.

Bendis structures the issue smartly, opening on action to introduce us to Walker's new partner in a way that shows you who she is, instead of telling you. There's dialogue afterwards to help explain the tension and relationships further, but the reader rockets through those first pages like the opening of a Bond movie or a Chuck Dixon comic. Credit also has to go to Michael Avon Oeming, who stages everything so well, never losing the reader with crazy panel layouts in lieu of solid storytelling. No two pages are laid out alike; Oeming likes to stretch "Powers" a little further than his more traditional work. There are a couple of double page spreads, but they're positioned correctly so as not to confuse. When he does go crazy, it's with a wink and a nod, such as the issue's sex scene, with a particularly relevant act happening at the crux of the "V" shape.

Meanwhile, we have a new superpowered murder, of course, which brings Walker flashing back to his days in, basically, the Powers version of The Rat Pack, where he wasn't always such a nice guy. It's a cute concept with some nice moments gleaned from the history of the Rat Packers. At the very least, it's not 20 pages of monkey fornication, right? Colorist Nick Filardi gives the flashback scene a nice golden glow to help separate it from the darkness and moodiness of the present day storyline.

The much-lauded "Powers" letter column returns in all its glory, running on for five text-packed pages in glorious black and white. Bendis spouts off in an interview reprinted from CBR, recaps his recent comic releases, and gives smart alec answers to crazy questions.

"Powers" comes back to life with a fresh start (and 30 pages of story!), easily accessible to any reader who'd take the time to open it up. For long time readers, the new status quo is an interesting one, and the hints from Bendis that Deanna Pilgrim isn't gone for long certainly casts a shadow over the opening storyline that'll be fun to watch play out. Bendis, Oeming, et. al. haven't missed a beat. While "Powers" was absent from the scene in recent months, it's great to have it back, hopefully freed from some of the production issues that plagued it on the last go-around.

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