I used to be into Brian Michael Bendis work. I really like Goldfish and Jinx. I think Torso is one of his best. His run on Daredevil was more than great and I love Powers. Today, his writing style evolved in a way that I find irritating, too much mannerism and it’s never as clever as it seems to think it is. Anyway, we are here to speak about Powers, the comic books, not that horrendous TV adaptation with Sharlto Copley – Let’s hope that thing will be forgotten as soon as possible.
What is Powers about?
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, Powers is a superhero noir comic. You know, it’s like a noir crime drama set in a world with superheroes. It tells the story of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, assigned to investigate crimes involving ‘powers’ – people with superhuman abilities. Turns out that Walker used to be one of them, but he lost everything and became a cop. And now, he is working with Deena Pilgrim. She kicks ass and takes names like almost nobody else in the comic universe, just so you know.
They started to work together on the famous Retro Girl case, a murder that will define their lives, even if they don’t know it yet.
How to read the Powers comics?
The publishing history of Powers is almost chaotic (chic?). Everything started at Image Comics in 2000, but when Bendis role at Marvel began to grow, Powers followed him and became one of the first series published by Icon – the created owned imprint by Marvel for Marvel authors. The problem is that Bendis started to work on so many books that Powers publication slow down and became erratic. It still is today.
I recommend to read Powers in order. Even if each story-arc contains a full story, the characters really evolve in each book, so the continuity is important. The Forever story-arc is the only one you can read when you want. It’s Walker’s origin story.
- Who Killed Retro Girl? — Walker is introduced to Pilgrim as they investigate their first case, the murder of a popular superhero named Retro Girl.
- Roleplay– Walker and Pilgrim investigate a series of murders at a college campus. All of the victims dressed up as superheroes.
- Little Deaths – Walker and Pilgrim investigate the death of Olympia, a renowned superhero with a controversial sex life. This TPB also contains a stand-alone short story in which Warren Ellis follows Walker on the job and the first Annual in which a superhero who is arrested for murdering a supervillain.
- Supergroup – Walker and Pilgrim investigate the death of a member of FG-3, a trio of a federally employed superhero team. The investigation leads to dramatic consequences for Walker.
- Anarchy – Pilgrim and her new partner investigate a series of superhero murders being committed by a group claiming inspiration from the killer of Retro Girl. Walker gets involved when the leader of the group is arrested and asks to talk to him.
- The Sellouts – Walker and Pilgrim investigate the murder of a member of the disbanded yet popular superhero team Unity. This will lead to major changes in the law in order to ban the Powers.
- Forever– An exploration of Walker’s past as a hero, from his origins to the loss of his powers. Can be read before or after, but it’s better at that point. It’s the end of the first volume of Powers.
- Legends– After The Sellouts, Walker and Pilgrim must deal with the consequences of the new law and Pilgrim end up in a really bad situation.
- Psychotic– Walker and Pilgrim investigate the murders of the Blackguard and his nemesis.
- Cosmic– Walker and Pilgrim investigate the death of a man who is a member of an alien organization called the Millennium Guard.
- Secret Identity – Walker and Pilgrim investigate the murder of Strike, the husband of Queen Noir, the leader of a team called ‘The Heroes’.
- The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time– There is ‘Powers Virus’ on the loose and Pilgrim is the primary suspect. Walker attempts to discover the source of the epidemic while Pilgrim does her own investigation.
- Z – Powers Volume 3 starts here, a year after the end of the last arc. Walker has a new partner Enki Sunrise and they investigate the murder of Z, an old acquaintance of Walker, during World War II. Pilgrim is now a member of the FBI’s powers task force.
- Gods – The members of The Golden Ones are targeted by a serial killer and the mother of one of the victims wants revenge. Everybody is in danger, the world will never be the same after that, especially for Walker.
- Powers Bureau: Undercover – ‘Powers: Bureau’ is basically Powers Volume 4. Walker and Pilgrim are now federal agents and they are dealing with the biggest powers cases in the country.
- Powers Bureau: Icons – A new super team with a secret emerges. Pilgrim and Walker must face new dangers that could bring their friendship to an end.
Brian Michael Bendis left Marvel to join DC Comics and took Powers with him. There’s a new collected edition, but also an end.
- Powers: The Best Ever – This original graphic novel is the finale to the Powers saga, collecting for the first time issues #7 and #8 ahead of the never-before-published ending to Bendis’ iconic POWERS series. This includes a look back at the cult-classic TV show, including an exclusive look at the third season that never was, and an all-new series-spanning retrospective interview with Brian Michael Bendis!
Powers: Jinxworld Editions
As I was saying Brian Michael Bendis left Marvel to join DC Comics. He started publishing new collected Editions of Powers under his imprint Jinxworld.
- Powers: Book One – Collects Vol. 1 #1–11, the complete Powers comic strips from Comic Shop News, the Powers Coloring/Activity Book.
- Powers: Book Two – Collects Vol. 1 #12–24; Annual 1.
- Powers: Book Three – Collects Vol. 1 #25–37.
- Powers: Book Four – Collects Vol. 2 #1–18.
- Powers: Book Five – Collects Vol. 2 #19–30.
- Powers: Book Six – Collects Vol. 3 #1–11.
- Powers: Book Seven – Collects Powers: Bureau #1–12.
- Powers: The Best Ever – The finale original graphic novel.