Powers: The Bureau Vol 1 (2014) Review

Powers

STORY BY Brian Michael Bendis

ART BY Michael Avon Oeming

COLORS BY Nick Filardi

LETTERS BY Chris Eliopoulos

It’s part welcome back partner part crime involving kidnapping women. We are quickly reintroduced to Power’s veterans Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker before Bendis throws us into batshit crazy hijinks that makeup the Power’s world. Bendis seems to always shine the most when he is able to cleverly take familiar and ridiculous themes from popculture or other lore and twist them into a different direction. This story arc is no different. We discover that someone is knocking up women, and sometimes men too, with power super sperm which forces them to incubate a kryptonite infused xenomorph which births like one can imagine. Yep, if you’re thinking WTF?, you are a normal human being. However, that’s part of the writing style Power’s readers love about this series.

Powers is a great companion to the super hero world because Bendis builds its foundation and humor off of asking what it would be like to live in a world of superheros. However, this isn’t a nihilistic Moorian take. Instead Bendis will ask questions like,”Would Superhero Groupies buy Power’s Sperm off the Black Market so they can have Power babies?”, or “Can undercover cops exist in a world with psychics?”.

Furthermore, the readers couldn’t ask for better characters to guide us through this world. Each panel gushes with humor because of the Agent Pilgrim’s foul mouthed quips and Agent Walker’s stonefront sarcastic retorts. Their banter combined with Pilgrim’s neurotic personality and Agent Walker’s sordid Power’s backstory fleshes out their dynamic personalities, and it’s a consistent pleasure to see how the agents will handle each new situation.

Because Oeming’s minimalist art style has flourishes like deep shadows and sharp and defined lines which creates a noir tonality, it perfectly compliments the crime procedural theme. The style could be compared to Batman: TAS with the coloring opting for gold rather than blue tones. Also, Oeming’s artwork is also just as over the top as the plot. Each fight scene is godly and brutal, each power ability is eery and luminescent.

There’s never a dull moment in this series. Each twist or new plot point will make any comic book lover smile and soak in the gritty behind the scenes take on living in a powers world. If the reader isn’t laughing at the human element, they are mesmerized by the incredible action from the Powers.

 

Grade: A+

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Marvel Knight’s X Men (2014) Review

marvel-knights-x-men-crop

Writer: Brahm Revel
Cover Artist: Brahm Revel

In a bayou town, children are going missing or dying, and the next victims may be two mutant children. This is the psychic dream of Rachel Summers which kicks off a mysterious road trip down to the south with Wolverine, Rogue, and Kitty who’re strangely motivated to discover the mystery behind Summers precognition.

The characterization of the three X Men felt forced. They lacked depth and through this five issue run remained flat and lacked any evolving depth or logical reaction. This may be do to the fact Revel prefers to come up with stories and work characters into the plot. However, this approach can trivialize the cast and in this case make them borderline incompetent. One of the new mutants, Nora, can cause the people around her to manifest memories of the people from their past. This becomes awkward when the X Men have to fight these manifestations. Furthermore, although pain forces Nora to stop these manifestations, nobody seems to remember this fact for the whole rest of the story. It’s a plot device that makes the story become weighted down and convoluted.

There was one fight between Wolverine and a memory of Sabertooth which was embarrassing . As Sabertooth is threatening to kill a child mutant, Wolverine states that’s out of character for even Sabertooth. Yet, Sabertooth is dressed exactly the same as he was during his Mutant Massacre time. That’s an odd oversight considering a lot of this story is supposed to focus on the character’s memories of other people. Did Wolverine forget that Sabertooth killed many mutants of all ages and kinds? If so, then why is Sabertooth even here? When Professor X shows up and starts preaching a holy ghost message, the story’s lack of focus almost becomes unbearable. In addition, there were quite a few grammatical mistakes in the dialogue. Although some of it could be seen as some type of uneducated dialect, there are other parts which were almost indecipherable and clearly lacked words.

Not only did Revel write the story, but also he managed to draw it as well. That is pretty impressive considering the art style was pretty consistent and he obviously has practice at drawing a wide range of X Men characters. Although it took sort of minimalist comic strip approach to the overall look, it still had quite a bit of detail that grabs your attention from panel to panel.

Although Marvel Knights are supposed to be read as an indie form of Marvel, this run’s lack of editing, polish, or oversight reflects poorly upon the larger editorial staff of Marvel. Yes, it’s commendable to give indie artist and writers the freedom to realize their Marvel story. However, some of this story could have been reigned in and edited down or at least proof read. Not every Marvel Knight story is going to be a Cinderella story, but Marvel could at least try to prevent some casualties. Overall, the story lacked a significant amount of focus and somehow became a borderline PSA about drug addiction and finding healthy ways of dealing with loss. Hey, Marvel has produced much worse PSA’s during the 80’s and 90’s which covered the same material, but at least the readers knew what they were getting into back then. Regardless, it’s remarkable Revel was able to juggle the writing and artwork for this five issue run, and hopefully we can at least see some of his art-style come back for some more.

Uncanny Avengers Season 2 18.Now (2014) Review

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Writer

Rick Remender

Artist

Daniel Acuña

Uncanny Avengers season 2 isn’t a very good jumping on point for new readers. Once again, Marvel Now’s accessibility idea of each number one being a great starting point isn’t realistic. Of course, after the phenomenal pull no punches Ragnarok Now, Remender never had a chance. This story takes place after Earth had been destroyed and all the surviving mutants created a Planet X utopia. See what I mean? The majority of this issue is a blockbuster chase scene between mutant Avenger Havok and the overly large mutant Blob which is set in a glossy futuristic utopia. However, Remender slowed the pacing down by mixing Havok’s letter to his daughter Katie with the poorly written word vomit of the Blob. Maybe it would have been better to world build Planet X with the letter before jumping into the action, especially since anyone who is trying to jump on may need a minute or two to find their bearings. This tonal inconsistency is distracting, and it’s better to ignore Blob although ignoring the pursuer in a chase scene defeats the needed tension to make it work. In fact, it’s also hard to digest how The Blob is even able to run and somehow keep up with Havok. Maybe Remender wanted to shake things up by adding new b list characters to the mix, but there are many others who would’ve worked better.

The artwork is computer glossy with cell shading. The artist really missed the chance of creating a mutant built world. Instead of keeping the sterile utopia look which has been used countless times, it would have been really interesting to see a world that represents the crazy powered mutants who inhabit the world. Then there’s the last three pages of the comic. The art took a more sketched and less polished approach complete with sloppy coloring. Instead of finishing the story at the end of the chase, they jammed three incomplete pages for a cliffhanger finish. The tonal inconsistency and the lack of plot progression or world building really made this first issue feel like a phone in. Hopefully, the next issue will have a little more focus. Until then I recommend new readers skip this one and pick up the trade or issues of the Uncanny Avengers: Apocalypse Twins saga.

Link

PPF 3/26

This week, we discuss, Avengers AI, Infinity: Heist, Daredevil, Thor chapter 1, Iron Patriot, Conan the Barbarian, Thief, Final Fantasy X HD, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Divergent, Nymphomaniac, Haunted House 2, X-Men, and more

Magneto #1 (2014) Review

ImageThe introduction to this series in Uncanny X Men, left me feeling polarized if the solo series would be worth the money. After reading this first issue, it seems that introduction was a false start and the creative team, Bunn, Bellaire, and Walta have ironed the kinks out. In fact, the story in UXM isn’t referenced other than the location. The issue starts with a wide eyed gap jawed witness describing a confrontation with Magneto. After working a job for so long, the witness explains it becomes more like being on auto-pilot. You forget to think about actually doing each step. He compares this to watching Magneto. It’s like Magneto is on autopilot when he’s killing somebody. This analysis nailed on the gritty art style and the impaled silhouette shows this is indeed a fresh take on Magneto. This is no longer the Terrorist Magneto or the Romantic Erik. Instead, this is an amoralistic and burnt-out Magneto hunting anyone who has killed or tortured mutantkind. However, his trail of death attracts a new confrontation with sentinels.

The art style is kinetic and sharp. The hyper-focus attention to detail becomes most powerful at the police station. The action combined with heavy internal monologues of a self loathing crusader is gearing up to be at very least an entertaining read. Many comic book writers often re-energize their favorite characters with a gritty anti-hero spin. For Magneto, many have actually done the opposite. For several years now, the fallen mutant leader has silently stood in Cyclops’ shadow. It’s time to strip Magneto back down to his roots. He is, after all, Marvel’s top Anti-Hero and Villain, and with this explosive series and upcoming movie is perhaps what this titan needs to be pulled back into the spotlight.