I think I have discovered what, in my mind, makes a good comic book. It is being surprised. In many books, movies, stories you can work out what is going to happen. In most cases you are right. What I like is when the writer pulls the rug completely out from under me. That is what Bendis does well. Like the best tricksters he has not done it in a while. Maybe I am so comfortable in the Powers universe that I have been lulled into a false sense of security. The previous two volumes have all been intimate, personal stories of characterisation. That is what you are expecting here. You get that but you get so much more. Deena and Christian get some real stark choices about their futures and you can’t wait to see what’s next.
It is not all rosy however and there is a technique that didn’t sit well with me. Many authors have a lot of powerful points to make about the society we live in. They deliver truths that most of us chose to ignore. The skilled authors such as Swift and Orwell blend this invisibly into the story. Bendis has done this expertly in the past but now chooses a different take. Every few pages (once an issue maybe) the Powers story will stop and we will have a few pages of a stand-up comedian or comedienne delivering a straight to reader tirade about how rubbish an aspect of the modern world is. This really disrupted the flow for me. I pretty much agreed with everything they, and by extension Bendis, said but the delivery was too jarring for me to appreciate. I have the same reaction to other authors such as Alan Moore using this technique so it’s probably me. But he is being innovative and I have loved all his new ideas to date so I can’t criticise. I would prefer he failed to hook me than dumbed things down and didn’t challenge me.
The art is of course superb and Oeming gets a chance to let rip with hallucinations, dream sequences, alien worlds, other dimensions and explosions. There is nothing here including my earlier objection that does not deserve a Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Powers 11: Secret Identity– Brian Michael Bendis