Story: A group of college students impersonate Powers in a live action role playing game, breaking the laws that prohibit non-Powers from wearing costumes. When several of them are murdered, Walker and Pilgrim get the case. The trail leads to a long inactive former associate of suspected criminal Johnny Stompinato. The detectives’ efforts to enlist Stompinato’s cooperation go seriously awry, threatening the investigation and Pilgrim’s career.
Review: The second Powers collection is an interesting follow-up to Who Killed Retro Girl? The aftereffects of that story still clearly linger over the entire city, and the roleplaying imitators open up an interesting perspective on how regular humans make sense of a world with superhuman beings floating around. One of my favorite exchanges in the series actually covers that topic and takes place in this story, as Walker and Pilgrim banter about the nature of time and subjective sensory perception. But Bendis makes it a lot more entertaining than that last sentence might suggest.
The Stompinato subplot, however, has a seemingly abrupt resolution that threw off the pacing of the story a little bit for me. There is a very good chance that the sudden turn of events creates an ambiguity that will play a significant part in future stories, and so I can understand why Bendis takes the approach he does. But the price for that future payoff is the immediate derailing of what I thought was a fairly dramatic crisis for the police. In the context of the overall series, this is probably worth it, but it does make this particular volume seem a little less substantial than it could be.
Oeming’s art is just as successful here as it was in the first volume; there’s little for me to add. This collection includes an interview with the artist, as well as several unused cover sketches and designs.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencil and Ink Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Color Artist: Pat Garrahy
Letterers: Garrahy and Bendis
Genre: Crime fiction / Superhero
Length: 112 pages
Publisher: Image Comics