Powers 6: The Sellouts – Brian Michael Bendis

WOW! I don’t know if I can get away with a one word review but nothing really describes this volume better than wow! Complete with exclamation mark. Ummm, wow! My mind is still reeling from this tour-de-force. I think Bendis has started channelling Robert Kirkman as that is the biggest rug-pull I have felt in ages.

It all starts with a sex-tape and it feels very much like Garth Ennis’ The Boys. It’s got that greasy, dirty feel. But there is the whole whodunit and you have no idea whodunit. We are all so postmodern that it’s normally easy to sniff out how these things work out. There is even a butler if you want the easy collar. But you don’t know who or more importantly why.

Everything appears so normal. I remember thinking that Powers had found its groove. It had stopped innovating and struggling against trite convention and settled into something predictable. Then BOOM! Literally boom. You have to flick back a couple of pages to make sure you didn’t miss something. The art goes haywire, the plot explodes and you plunge sickeningly downwards in a spiral towards a terrifying conclusion. You literally flip from murder mystery to literary Armageddon. To be fair this theme (and I don’t want to give it away) has been explored before by many great writers but its appearance is so shocking and unexpected and so well executed that you think maybe Bendis has claimed the top spot from the others before him.

The art is great. It starts off comfortable and familiar and then goes all epic. Literally within a page turn your eyes pop out on stalks and shit hits the fan. There are some very atmospheric and creepy panels as lone characters explore the darkness. There is a brilliant flashback story where the art changes to mimic the 50’s comic book styles but with liberal use of the f-word. There are some nice little mocked up web pages and TV broadcasts and the boom is fantastic.

Apparently this isn’t the best storyline as we already had it in volume 4. Maybe it is time for a recount. This packs a huge punch and the last line, the line that foreshadows the next volume makes your mind flipout! It might just be hysteria but I am going to give this Double Thumbs Up!

220/145

Tomorrow: Powers 7: Forever – Brian Michael Bendis

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