by Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Michael Avon Oeming (Penciler/Inker), Nick Filardi (Colors).
The Story: The curious case of Extreme and his many, many pouches.
The Review: As a Screenwriting/Playwriting student at a university, I’ve always appreciated that the comics industry not only has room for a writer that has more of a naturalistic voice for dialogue and pacing, but also that his writing style has been embraced and led to such astonishing success. That said, I’ve started to feel that the delays with his creator owned books such as Brilliant, Scarlet and Powers are really starting to diminish my enjoyment of them.
I’m not assigning blame to Bendis, I’m not sure if blame for the book’s delays can be laid at his feet, whether its the demands of artists workloads or a confluence of events, what I do know is that when I opened this book I had no recollection of the previous issue. Despite being a tad foggy on the particulars of issue #8 I still found this issue to be a great read, other than the Retro Girl sub-plot that gets a little movement at the close of this chapter, issue #9 is business as usual for detectives Pilgrim and Walker as they interrogate 90’s throwback Extreme. The Hollywood setting of this arc really does play to the strengths of Powers VH1 Behind the scenes take on super-heroes behaving badly, as Hollywood is the epitome of celebrity excess, so to is the 90’s the epitome of super-hero excess. Bendis and Oeming tie these two elements together with their hilarious send up of 90’s extremism in the form of, well, Extreme. The former “mentor” of the teen super-group The Circle is suspected of having a hand in their deaths and this issue alternates between the detectives interrogation of him and the flashback sequence detailing their final, fateful mission.
The art in this book is some of the most idiosyncratic on the stands, Oeming excels at both the moody, shadowy interrogation room scenes as well as the bright, poppy, Kirby-esque invasion sequences, other than perhaps Mike Mignola or Chris Bachalo I’m hard pressed to think of any working artist that is more singularly unique than Oeming. His partnership with Bendis at this point is a well oiled machine, there is never a duff panel, never a confusing sequence, and the over-cross hatched double page spread this issue is hilarious.
I really hope that the next issue of Powers hits the stands soon, the writing and the art are great and a good reminder of how much of a breath of fresh air this series was when I discovered the first seven trades at my LCS. At times like these when the delays can cause confusion, I can see the appeal in going back to trade-waiting with this series but the simple truth is that these two creators are at the top of their game; I don’t want to wait. While it will be exciting to see what the duo do on The United States of Murder Inc I dread to think what adding another book to Bendis and Oeming’s workload will do to Powers shipping schedule, hopefully it won’t effect it too badly.
Stray Thoughts: As always Deena gets all of the best lines this issue. When Extreme states “I was their mentor.” she replies with “Is that French for something?” The back and forth in this series is fantastic.