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Old 01-27-2010, 02:37 AM   #1
WyldeMan45 WyldeMan45 is offline
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Oct 2008
Western Washington
Talking Brian Michael Bendis' "Powers" adapted for FX Network

Just read this blurb over at darkhorizons and was a little intrigues as FX always has such excellent programming. So I did some Wiki research and posted below. Just know there are SPOILERS ahead -

Comic writer Brian Michael Bendis' "Powers" is being turned into a pilot for a possible series on the FX network. The series focuses on detectives who handle cases having to do with "powers," or people who have superpowers. "Journeyman" creator Kevin Falls will co-write the pilot with Bendis.

Here's what I found on wiki about the comic's run:


Powers is set in a world where superpowers are relatively common but not mundane. It follows the lives of two detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, police officers in a Homicide department devoted to cases that involve "powers" (people with superpowers). Walker himself used to be a costumed superhero named Diamond, but became a police officer after he lost his abilities. Though stripped of his powers, he still retains his contacts within the superhero community, even becoming engaged to an ex-colleague, who is later killed. In later issues, Walker is offered the chance to become the world's latest secret Guardian as part of The Millennium Guard, a secret group of intergalactic guardians, accepting the responsibility and the powers that come with it.

Deena Pilgrim, his partner, is also hiding at least one troubling secret. She contracted superpowers during a fight with an underworld thug named the Bug, an event which she kept under wraps. As a result of this, she unintentionally kills her abusive boyfriend in self-defense, and hides the evidence, although coming under investigation by Internal Affairs. However after a series of events involving Retro Girl going undercover, Triphammer cures Deena and she is no longer under the scrutiny of I.A


In an extended interview reprinted in Powers: Psychotic, Oeming and Bendis name several films and TV programmes as having been inspirational in the visual look of Powers. These include:

* Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-99)[4]
* Taxi Driver (1976)[4]
* T-Men (1947)[4]
* Traffic (2000)[4]
* Visions Of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)


The look and style of the "Powers" world

Bendis cites two images produced by Oeming (one for Bendis' Jinx, and one for David Mack's series Kabuki) as originating the - then experimental - "Powers' style," and "inspir[ing] everything in [Powers]." (Indeed, Bendis and Oeming's first collaboration was "Mall Outing" in Jinz: True Crime Confessions. It is included in Little Deaths "for Powers completists and curiosity's sake." Oeming writes that the style developed from his "trying to get work on the Batman Adventures stuff," and says that he talked with Bendis about doing "a crime book... [in] this particular kind of style... this Bruce Timm-ish/Alex Toth kind of animated [style]." Initially, Oeming wanted to do Powers in black and white, but Bendis convinced him otherwise; similarly Oeming shied away from the superheroic aspects, wishing to focus on noir crime, but was talked around.

With the basic style decided upon, the two began to flesh out the look of the series, one "key element" being the "juxtaposition of noir and superhero images." Bendis writes in the 'Sketchbook' section of the Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? TPB that "one of the rules of film noir is that the city itself should be considered a lead character." To this end, he "made" Oeming watch "Visions of Light" a "documentary by the American Cinematographers Institute about the art of lighting in film," which he saw as important to the feel of comics also.

Oeming has noted that, although seen as an overtly 'cartoony' style, "[i]n general kids don't like the art in Powers," which helps sidestep potential problems with the more 'adult'/mature nature of the comic not being aimed at younger children. His position on possible censorship is simple and straightforward "[w]e don't have it in books, so we don't need it in comics."


Oeming writes that both he and Bendis "do a lot of research" for their projects, and that before he began "Powers I went to the local police station and... got to do ride-alongs. Met the captain [and] took extensive photo reference of all their equipment." (c.f. Issue #7)

Plots, themes and purpose

In conversation with Oeming, Bendis opines that, after "decid[ing] on the story, I start questioning what the purpose of it is." Suggesting that this is not a widespread practice, he stresses the importance of authors "ask[ing] themselves why they are writing what they are writing [since a story] needs to say something other than just being cool." Sometimes this means that "the theme can derail the original story and take it in another direction."[9] Oeming counters that in his own work, he tries to "either have the meaning and build the story around that or have a cool story with no meaning and then find that meaning and go back and work it in."

Powers, Oeming says is "a superhero universe seen through the eyes of the police... [as] observed by the media" and everyday individuals. Bendis' intention was to view the "cliches of the superhero genre through the harder eyes of the cops," but with the added layer that (echoing "Behind the Music") "every arc has some footing in a famous rock star story." Bendis' scripts are often compiled from "a list of scenes," eschewing "the big exploding ending" in favor of a "character-driven or psychological ending." Indeed, in experimenting with plots, the duo swiftly moved beyond 'mere' police precedurals (despite those being both creators' "favorite stories"), constantly pushing each other creatively in new ways.

The End

Bendis has a "POWERS idea-list" and the two have "enough stories left in [them], and... the audience to keep the book going" for a while yet. Both have repeatedly stated that they "know the ending," not in terms of time frame or issue number, but as a final act of closure, having "promised to never write or draw Powers beyond the amount of fresh ideas" they have.


Despite the high mortality rate, there are several recurrent characters in Powers beyond the main two. Oeming has praised Bendis' writing in giving a "real depth" to even minor figures, writing that he particularly enjoys Bendis writing "a character as an ******* and then we [the reader] learn they are more valiant than most of the [other] characters."[9]

Major characters

*Christian Walker - Homicide Detective for the Powers division. Veteran cop Walker was previously a power before losing his abilities. There are many things about him that are still coming to light (such as his extreme longevity and immortality - "a history that may stretch back to the beginning of humankind"). His contacts with the "Powers" can be both a help and a hindrance to his investigations. Despite his longevity, he "still doesn't know how to communicate", being "locked up in his own brain" in the words of Oeming.

*Deena Pilgrim - Beginning as a rookie, Pilgrim started off as a lowly police officer on the streets of the Powers city. Pilgrim started out as the partner of the corrupt Captain Adlard (who worked for Mama Joon, a powerful crime boss). Adlard was murdered seven years prior, timing this just before Deena's transfer request to work with Walker as part of the Powers Homicide department. Not much else is known of her past, and she harbors a number of secrets. Deena's character is based in part on Bendis' wife, and partly on Oeming's, who are "both kind of rambunctious, funny, and constantly say[ing] stuff that is shocking." She was rated as the 24th best comic book character by Empire Magazine.

Supporting characters

* Retro Girl - The first arc details the death of Retro Girl (first name Janis, last name unrevealed), a popular and powerful super-heroine. Retro Girl is in fact a legacy of women - with or without powers - who are continuously reincarnated. Walker has met several incarnations in his lifetime, but he has only vague recollections of them. The latest incarnation is Calista, a young girl he saved.

* Captain Cross - Head of the Department, he has known Walker since the 80's during and after his stint as the super-hero Diamond. They met when Diamond helped him with a case, the exact nature of which has still to be revealed. It has been noted that Walker's job might be a gift from him.

* Detective Kutter - Deceased. Bendis once explained that at least one of his characters had to be an id. Kutter is it, rude, crude and at times interfering, but despite his coarse personality he was a good detective, who merely was "constantly saying inappropriate things." He was killed during the "Legends" arc when an apparently dead power decapitated him.

* Triphammer - Real name Harley Cohen, an Iron Man-like character, he chose to disappear after the events of "Who Killed Retro Girl", in which he kills the man who has been targeting powers and was responsible for the death of Retro Girl. He briefly reappears in "Supergroup" after having had extensive plastic surgery, and in "The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time" he develops a cure for the Powers virus. He is the inventor of the "power drainer", a device capable of temporarily neutralizing the abilities of super-powered individuals.

* Calista - Her character traits are allegedly "based on Mike Oeming."

* Zora - Deceased. A power, like Christian Walker she appeared to have immortality, but unlike him, she possessed a greater capacity for memory. She and Walker knew each other for years but according to her, for much longer since the time of Ancient China. They were shortly engaged before she was killed by a government-created power known as Boogie Girl who went insane. Zora claimed that her abilities came from her complete lack of belief in all things spiritual and her acceptance that she was her own God.

Last edited by WyldeMan45; 01-27-2010 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:48 AM   #2
Moefiz Moefiz is offline
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Holy Crap of my favorite comic book series from the 90's.

FX is just the place for this.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:49 AM   #3
WyldeMan45 WyldeMan45 is offline
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Oct 2008
Western Washington

Originally Posted by Moefiz View Post
Holy Crap of my favorite comic book series from the 90's.

FX is just the place for this.
FX has yet to let me down, I know they want to have new programming running every week of the year by next year and with Sons of Anarchy, Damages, It's Always Sunny, the upcoming Justified, and this, they are definitely on the right track. I'd add rescue me but we all know that is coming to a close real shortly.
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