Comic book of the week: Powers #3

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An interesting week in comics this time around, not as many high-profile books as last week, but there’s a wide variety of good stuff. Usually, I favor the writing side of the comic book equation, but this week it was an artist that clinched the decision for top honors. My favorite comic this week was Powers #3, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

Powers takes a different perspective on the world of superheroes. Instead of flying through the skies with them, we see them from the seedy streets below. The comic follows homicide detective Christian Walker and his newest partner Enki Sunrise as they work murder cases involving superpowered victims or offenders. You can read the first few story arcs for free online here.

Bendis cut his teeth on crime books, from his independent days doing Jinx and Torso, to his time at Image Comics on the Spawn-spin-off Sam and Twitch. So he’s no stranger to the literary mean streets. Bendis is Marvel Comics’ top writer lately, but as is so often the case when creators are working on titles they own, he’s elevated his game above and beyond his normal work for Marvel.

Oeming’s has a cartoony-yet-gritty style that perfectly suits Bendis’ grim police procedural tales. He does a great job of manipulating light and shadow to create the perfect atmosphere over the city and its residents. He can draw everything from giant space battles to quiet conversations and make them equally gripping. In a business where far too many artists end up developing similar styles, Oeming is always unique. One look at his work and you can immediately tell it’s him.

This issue finds Walker and Sunrise fleeing from a powered murderer while trying to protect a young witness/potential criminal along the way. Bendis’ writing is great as usual, but Oeming is the real star of this issue. From the first page, he does a great job crafting an amazing car chase. It’s a testimony to his skill that he can portray something that is the very definition of movement and motion in a series of stills. His panelwork and placement sucks the reader into the story, almost forcing your eyes to go right where he wants them. The sheeting rain, gunfire and car crashes make for an incredibly dynamic issue that is a treat to read and almost a textbook example of how to do it right.

The fact that the issue is 41 pages with no ads is a nice touch as well and certainly helps with the overall flow of the book.

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