cover image POWERS VOL. 5: Anarchy

POWERS VOL. 5: Anarchy

Brian Michael Bendis, . . Image, $14.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-1-58240-331-1

This strong collection explores questions raised decades ago by Alan Moore and Frank Miller: how would ordinary citizens feel about sharing their world with people who have superhuman abilities? And what responsibility accompanies extraordinary power? Multiple award-winners Bendis and Oeming have some original answers, beginning with their choice to tell the story from the viewpoint of police officers who are trying to solve the murders of a string of superheroes. With their limited human abilities, the detectives are hard-pressed to figure out the seemingly irrational behavior of the murderous vigilantes. Their investigation forces them to sort through wads of nonsensical ramblings in hopes of finding a clue, but readers will soon realize the killers are in fact giving pointers. In the world Bendis and Oeming have created—where detectives are dismissed from the force for giving interviews about corruption in law enforcement—how can anyone trust people who claim power? What if we're letting our lives be controlled by unworthy self-appointed guardians, superbeings wearing masks? The nature and legitimacy of authority is the real issue here, as experienced by a couple of do-gooders who are just trying to keep the peace. Oeming's loosely brushed art is scrupulously streamlined into what looks like storyboards for a TV cartoon, but that works well with Bendis's convincing script. It would be unbearable if the action were depicted more realistically, since people are killed or severely injured throughout this story, and Bendis and Oeming have created real people whose pain matters. (Jan.)