The BookshelfSeries and volume: Powers Vol. 1
Title: “Who Killed Retro Girl?”
Edition reviewed: Icon (Marvel) hardcover, 2011
Collects: Powers #1-6 (single issues published by Image, April 2000 to October 2000)
Synopsis: Detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim must investigate the shocking murder of a legendary superheroine, Retro Girl.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Review: It’s hard to remember how groundbreaking – and necessary – Powers was back in 2000. For much of the ’90s, comics were out of sorts; story had taken a backseat to (often awful) art. Writer Brian Michael Bendis proved to be a powerful antidote to that trend. Powers’ basic concept – think Law & Order: Superhuman Crime Division – was compelling, but it was Bendis’ execution of this mashup that made this series a revelation.
The series’ unique look was inspired by the same kit-bashing ethos. Michael Avon Oeming’s kinetic cartooning draws on cinematic storytelling and xerographic repetition to provide a distinctive artistic foundation. Spot blacks and noir-influenced shadows blunt the traditional comic-book palette, completing a rather striking visual brand.
Powers was at the vanguard of a new wave of creator-owned comics. It remains a historically significant book – one that holds up remarkably well in collected form today.
File under: Superhero/crime noir mashup
POWERS VOL. 1: “Who Killed Retro Girl?”
Published by Icon (Marvel) and © Jinxworld, 2011
Cover by Michael Avon Oeming (designed by Patrick McGrath)
Extras in this edition: Powers comic strips from the Comic Shop News, script to Powers #1, sketchbook material, cover gallery (including preliminary sketches and unused covers) and a guide to cameo character appearances.