The presence of these two superb artists is enough to persuade me to pick up this extra issue of Marvel’s most frustrating super-team. Frustrating? I reckon that’s a fair way to describe a group containing some of Marvel’s most powerful, experienced and charismatic characters, which never hits the heights it should.
I had mixed feelings approaching this one. On the one hand, I love Bendis & Maleev’s run on Daredevil, and will therefore be keen to read anything else they do. On the other hand, Moon Knight. A very Batman-style superhero with more explicitly stated lunacy, often expressed in simpleminded split personality terms, and without an interesting history, strong villains or a supporting cast anyone cares about.
The first in a series of graphic novels by the team behind Powers. It’s smaller than comic format, hardback, 96 pages. The story is about two young sisters (7 and 13), who bicker with each other in convincing style, and then gain superpowers in an accident, the first people in their world to do so.
Powers was always a winning idea: ordinary cops investigating super-powered crimes. By now, Bendis has raised the stakes some, in that our pair of cops are investigating the death of the demigod Damocles.
Like the first issue of Avengers vs New Ultimates, this has a Death of Spider-Man banner; at least this comic has Spider-Man in it, and I suppose this story actually is the lead-in towards that death. Certainly the threat level is vast enough, since it involves some artefact with wishing powers, with no implied limits on it – maybe that level of danger will in due course drag in the big teams.
There’s a lot to be said against Brian Michael Bendis’ writing, and I’ve said most of it already; his overrated, sprawling style has become the industry standard, padding out storylines endlessly to fill the all-important Trade Paperback, with a multitude of costumes all saying the same ‘cool’ things in exactly the same voice, characterisation being subverted to a plot point or a ‘witty’ punchline.
You can’t deny that at times Bendis is keen on LONG conversations with very little happening. He defines the tendency towards ‘decompression’ – which means telling stories that in years past would have taken one issue over six issues.