Sunday, March 6, 2011

An old SF concept is explored in POWERS

from Powers vol. 3, number 7, ©2011 Jinxworld, Inc.
Powers is a comic you may not have heard of if your tastes run towards more mainstream books.  It deals with a pair of tough, no-nonsense cops in a large city whose job is to investigate crimes involving the large, unbridled population of superheroes and super-villains, "powers," in residence there.  Though many of the characters in the book look like traditional spandex-wearing types in other comics, it has a distinctively more mature bent in both story lines and language.

The creators of the book, Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming,  have explored the conflicts that would arise in a world where some have vast reality bending powers since its inception.  It could be argued that's the overarching theme of the entire run.  The current storyline, however, takes the theme into a straight up exploration of what happens when some of those with god-like powers actually claim to be gods.

from Powers vol. 3, number 7, ©2011 Jinxworld, Inc.
A team of powers calling themselves "The Golden Ones" claim to be gods of legend.  One of their number, Damocles, is murdered in a gruesome manner (standard in this book), forcing detectives Christian Walker, his partner Enki Sunrise, and his former partner-now-FBI agent Deena Pilgrim to interrogate Damocles's teammates.  The other Golden Ones show various degrees of disdain for the mere mortals who scurry around and involve themselves in the affairs of gods.

Meanwhile, the readers get some man-on-the-street perspective of the idea that people claiming divinity are walking or flying among them.  Of particular note is a monologue by a radio commentator who describes how he convinced his small son that he is a superhero, and uses that story as an analogy to explain why he feels it is ridiculous to accept the story that the Golden Ones are gods.

Not a new idea in comics specifically or science fiction in general.  The original Star Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonis?" dealt with it in the late 1960s...

As did Star Trek V: The Final Frontier...

but these always seemed to be half-measures.  They didn't dispute the claim of  the existence of gods, only that these weren't them.  Certainly, this was due to creative interference from the network or studio, as Gene Roddenberry was an outspoken atheist himself, but the messages were watered down, nonetheless.

Powers appears to be taking it a step further in stating that the existence of super humans is indicative of a universe without a god.
from Powers vol. 3, number 7, ©2011 Jinxworld, Inc.

This story still has a ways to go yet, so how this idea plays out is anybody's guess, but I like the frankness of the themes at play so far.

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