I read the newest issue of Powers last night. I know from talking to some friends that not everyone thinks that Powers is still the solid book it was in its heyday. Some people think that Bendis lost the fresh edge and take on Powers that he had years ago, and that now the book doesn't read the same. I'm not sure that I feel the same way. I still enjoy Powers for its slightly more realistic take on how the US might respond to the open existence of super powers. The fact that they are generally outlaws and that there is a special division in the police department assigned to specifically deal with them remains a setting that I enjoy. The book, for me, remains a mixture of the super-hero genre with the crime noire genre, and is accented by what I think is great dialogue.
I read this issue and I don't see why anyone would ignore what is clearly a very unique super-hero book. This new series seems to be setting the stage for us to learn a whole lot more about the primary character, and just how long he's been around as a Power. We see that he was young and active in the World War, which has now brought Nazis into the story, and we already saw that he was involved in the mob scene back when Las Vegas was really starting to come into its own. How far back does the story of Christian Walker go? Could he be the original Power? Just some speculating. I don't really have any insights to tell me that Bendis is heading in that direction, but I am intrigued by where he is heading.
I think this is a post-hype success. Some people got off of it when it got too popular, citing a failure to continue to deliver its pre-hype success, but I disagree.
Moving away from Bendis and back to Ellis, I also read the second issue of his five part series Supergod. The tale is a hardline condemnation of human research into genetic engineering laid over top of a series of cultural observations about how certain nations might envision the idea of creating their own super being / deity. The result, as we see the story through the eyes of a narrator in Britain who has more than his share of good laughs at the Americans (Ellis seems to do this a lot I think) appears to be Armageddon. We are seeing/hearing the stories that lead to the final days of mankind on Earth, and what we are privy to is a complex series of experiments as countries like Russia, England, India and Iran engage in the most lethal and insane arms races ever conceived.
Its too early for me to tell you if I like the story or not. Right now it is reading a lot like Warren expounding his political views on other nations, and not enough like a story. That said, I'm going to read it through until the end, because Ellis has earned that much respect from me.
Before I go for today (it's short, but I've got the flu) I need to clear something up; The Joker is not a villain.
Obviously he gets a lot of press as the man most people believe to be Batman's arch-enemy (they're wrong) and as such is widely regarded as a villain. He isn't. Sure, in some stories he comes across as as scheming, manipulative bad guy, but he only really rings true when people get that at his core he is quite simply......insane. The man is evil manifested in the form of a man who has completely lost his touch with reality and is incapable of perceiving the world as it actually is. This removes him from any dialogue about him being a great villain, because all great villains have a single trait in common; they think they're good guys.
Lex Luthor believes himself to be the pinnacle of human genius, and that Superman is a threat to the world.
Ra's Al Ghul (who IS Batman's arch-enemy) believes that he is destined to save the world from mankind.
even Victor Von Doom believes that he is the rightful ruler of his people, and that the American super-heroes are pursuing a vendetta against him.
The Joker? All he thinks about are whether or not Cheerios should be sqaure, and why Batman doesn't love him. He's frickin' nuts. He may be the most psychotic character ever. He could argue for a place in the upper echelon of evil. But as villains go, he lacks, I think, the cognitive recognition of purpose to be a great villain.