Written by Jonathan Ross. Drawn by Bryan Hitch.
Jonathan and Bryan’s got talent. Three hooves out of four.
Review of the Image Comics miniseries.
“What a dumb name for a comic,” I thought while I walked by the racks of my local comic book store. Despite the title, the name refers to a show that’s like a deadlier version of the Gladiators format. It wouldn’t surprise me if writer Jonathan Ross, a British TV talk-show host and comics fan, has watched the athletic game show.
Tommy and Bobby Watts are “Stoners,” people born when a giant glowing crystal landed in San Francisco. Unlike his twin, Tommy carries no apparent powers. Tommy Watts has a twin brother, Bobby, who died on the very popular contest of the powers-enhanced humans, America’s Got Powers.
One fateful day at the arena where Tommy works and the Powers show commences, antagonistic mech Paladins wield more force than ever upon the super-powered contestants. After a blast knocks non-powered and powered alike onto the battlefield, Tommy emits a giant glow that saves a life of a young Powers fan.
Tommy draws the attention of government officials and Professor Syell. Tommy is to fight on the next show, possibly Powers’ last if officials get their way. At first he resists to honor his mother’s wish to not join have his body scooped up by the Feds like his brother.
Bobby and other defeated contestants are placed in “The Infirmary” as their powers are keeping them alive but they remain in a coma. Mrs. Watts gets to see this Infirmary and is persuaded to allow Tommy to fight. Tommy may hold the key into figuring out the source of the super-humans’ enhanced skills.
VIDEO: Jonathan and Bryan being interviewed by RedCarpetNewsTV
Tommy, now named “Zero,” enters the contest with other potential heroes. This night, the contestants face off against the official government superhero team, including Quarterback, a strong guy who defeated Tommy’s brother Bobby. Meanwhile, a group of Stoners decide to break him free. What follows is an intense, but mostly one-sided, showdown.
Powers shows more creativity in its “new superhero” plot than latter-season episodes of Heroes and a typical episode of Alphas. Several panels spread out on both sides are an ambitious but not distracting layout.
The first issue is a bit rough around the edges with a few grammatical errors and less coherent battle panels. Everything becomes more assured afterwards. Hitch’s art in all issues are filled with bold expressions and a bright, but not gaudy, color palette.
Tommy Watts is a better-rounded character than Spider-Man’s new sidekick, Andy “Alpha” Maguire. While I couldn’t stand Alpha or his parents, I sympathized with Mrs. Watts and wanted to how Tommy’s journey will turn out. There are bits of media parody, romance, and teenage angst, but these elements fit the plot and don’t drag down the story.
I was pleasantly surprised at these three issues of Powers. Don’t let the Reality TV setting or the “newly discovered powers” plotting dissuade you from reading this six-issue mini-series. If you’re interested, see a preview of the latest issue.
Tags: Image Comics