The Brian Michael Bendis comic hit, Powers, has gotten its own series and plays exclusively on the Playstation network. Beginning its run in 2000, the comic brought us a world where superheros are just a part of the backdrop, but still fill the non-powered with awe, wonder and, sometimes, terror. It was a grounds-breaking idea that revolutionized how we looked at the supers genre. And, although I must confess to having never actually read the comic, I couldn't help but be aware of its existence and know of its profound impact on the comics industry.
Now, in hindsight, having watched this first episode, I am regretting having never picked it up. I was sold on the story so much that I will probably pick up the series from the beginning. Although, I realize that the translation from illustration to film is always a dicey one. I would be interested to see how the hardcore POWERS comic fans will respond to this.
But, until I read it myself or get feed back from the fans, all I have is the first episode of the series that was released on Youtube and all over the internet, no doubt to engender interest. And I think it will do just that.
Be careful. It starts slow as most pilots do. We have to ease into who these people are and what they're struggling with. This is not some Pollyanna world Bendis has dropped us into. It's raw and very real. Inside the story, we get to experience this through the eyes of the inserted newb character Detective Deena Pilgrim who comes to replace the main character, Christian Walker's partner who has just died. Right off the bat the series gets its hands dirty and bloody. This comic offering seems to be full of the gritty details of life. The first episode alone shows a beheading, a suggested sex scene(nothing graphic) and a man getting his brains bashed against a stone pillar. So, be advised, this series is not for the faint at heart or little kids.
That being said, it's real. It brings a sense of credibility to the story and to the series. Sure, you have people flying around and shooting lightning and fire from their hands. But you see these people as people and not some cookie cutter, generic super suit. Detective Walker makes that clear early on while dealing with the new Detective's starry eyes and a whole pack of wanna-bes and groupies who worship the POWERS as rock stars. From beginning to end, this is a story about what real people would do with super powers and I applaud Bendis' creation and Playstation for choosing to produce it.
Now, I said it starts slow, but I must encourage you to stay with it. If you stay with it till the end, I guarantee you it will be worth it. As the first offering reaches its climax, you will be drawn into the lives of these characters. You will want to see and know more about them. And, the best part, you will care about them and, maybe, even relate. You will find someone in this story to like and want to follow.
Some of the best things about this episode besides Bendis' great characters and, hopefully, the adaptaion, is the portrayals of the main players in this story. Sharlto Copley who I last saw in Elysium, plays the main character Detective Christian Walker who, before he lost his powers (more about that in future episodes) was the famous superhero DIAMOND. He brings us a convincing tortured soul who has lost friends and loves as well as his powers. How he lost them and the possibility of getting them back will be worked into the story as well. Should be interesting. And Copley sells it the whole way. Totally different than the character he played in DISTRICT 9 or as Chappie in his latest big screen offering.
The other stand out actor is one of my personal favorites, Eddie Izzard. You know when you keep having to struggle with yourself to decide if it's him or not or you find yourself googling IMDB that the actor has done a superb job in becoming his character. That's the way it is with Izzard and his violent, psychotic character, Wolfe. You find yourself cringing from the first time you see him in the flesh. And I do mean in the flesh. Of course, there is no serious nudity, but he is in the raw. And RAW is the best word to describe this animalistic killer. The relationship between Det. Walker and Wolfe will be what drives the story to its bloody end. Take my word for it, Izzard is a must see in this episode.
Other great performances were brought by Susan Heyward (The Following) who portrays Walker's new partner, Detective Deena Pilgrim, who helps see all of this through new eyes and deal with all of the BS of the Powers with a nice touch of sarcasm. Playing the part of presumed dead villain, Johnny Royale, Noah Taylor gives a nice offering, but I'm hoping to see more out of him in the future. Another actor we will probably see a lot of is Michelle Forbes whose performance of Mitch Larson in THE KILLING was amazing. She's playing Retro Girl, an old school Power who has a past with Det. Walker/Diamond, but may have a rough future ahead.
All in all you should watch this episode. If you don't get drawn in and want more, I'll be astounded. And, like I said, watch the WHOLE episode to the end. Of course, the main problem is the platform. Thank God I have a Playstation. But, if you don't, I'm not sure how you will see this unless you torrent it or wait for them to release it on Netflix or Hulu. If I didn't already own a PS3, this one movie isn't enough for me to go out and buy a Playstation alone. But, if Sony keeps bringing series like this to the platform, maybe, in time, it will be a great selling point.
See the first episode in its entirety below!