A new cop show with superheroes from a new source for scripted television, Powers premieres on the PlayStation Network starting this week. It’s based on the justly-acclaimed Powers comic book series by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming. It’s a lot of fun, fast-paced, and full of vivid characters.
In the world of Powers, a portion of the population has superpowers of various kinds, and those folks use them for good and evil. Some also lose those powers, or choose not to use them. One of these is Christian Walker (District 9’s Sharlto Copley), who used to be a hero called Diamond, but is now a big-city cop. He’s partnered with Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), an equally tough customer, but not one who’s ever had superpowers.
Walker is a hardboiled tragic hero, someone who’s lost his powers but uses his knowledge of his former life to help defend ordinary citizens from villains of all sorts. These include Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) as weasely supervillain/gangster Johnny Royale, and Eddie Izzard as the charismatic mass-killer Wolfe. Walker cannot escape his past, which includes an emotional history with Retro Girl, played with customary firm control by Michelle Forbes.
Bendis helped write the series, as has producer — and excellent thriller novelist — Charlie Huston. (Read Caught Stealing and The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of the Dead as soon as possible.) The scripts have a clipped terseness that keeps the material from becoming melodramatic. You may find the tone of Powers similar to that of, say, Gotham, but I already like Powers more — instead of waiting around for Bruce Wayne to grow up, or some punk to grow into Penguin-hood, Powers gives you the slam-bang superhero action you want, as well as the hard-boiled tone many cop shows aim for and seldom attain.
The premiere episode of Powers is streaming free on PlayStation.com and on YouTube. Subsequent episodes will be available to PlayStation customers, or to anyone for a fee.