Nested deep inside Sony’s seemingly unending E3 keynote presentation on Monday was a little gem you might’ve missed: Sony has given the go-ahead for production on an exclusive series based on Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers comic series. If you don’t know why that’s awesome, read on and get yourself some enlightenment.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing about Powers, the celebrated comic series with Bendis handling the writing duties and fan-favorite Michael Avon Oeming handling the art. The series is a police procedural that follows the adventures of Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, two Chicago cops that specialize in cases involving superheroes, who are referred to in the series as “powers.”
The twist in the series is that Powers’ male protagonist, Walker, used to have superpowers himself. The series has been running since 2000, and it’s definitely a different take on superheroes from what you’ve seen in the Marvel and DC blockbusters of recent years. We don’t know exactly how Powers will translate to the small screen, but there are a few things we feel comfortable predicting.
It Will Be Epic, And We Don’t Use That Term Lightly
Powers follows Detective Walker from his earliest origins, and that goes a lot farther back than you might think. Walker’s a man that’s as old as man, really. The series may go as far back as the dawn of humanity if it hews as closely to the comics as Bendis would have us believe. And that ties into our next prediction.
It Will Be Shocking
In the letters section of Powers, Bendis often jokes about the gratuitous nudity series artist Michael Oeming puts into the pages. It’s not necessarily lewd, but there’s no shortage of flesh in the comic. One of the more shocking scenes is also one of its better ones, showing a proto-human Walker getting it on with other proto-humans. That largely wordless issue drew intense criticism from many fans, but it really showed the scope of Walker’s journey. We wouldn’t be surprised if the series started out with a similar 2001 A Space Odyssey-esque sequence.
There Will Be Blood
The other half of the “shocking” aspect of Powers is just how bloody the series is. This is Bendis and Oeming trying to take a “realistic” look at what the world could be like if there really were people running around at super-speeds, leaping tall buildings, and stopping moving locomotives with a single punch. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty.
You can probably expect a good deal of severed limbs, exploded heads, monkey faces melted off, and just about anything else you can imagine in terms of death and dismemberment. Very little as neat as, say, Superman breaking Zod’s neck.
It Will Be Sexy
Yeah, this kind of falls under the purview of “It Will Be Shocking,” but the sex merits its own separate mention, we think. Because sex.
Probably just about everybody will be all kinds of naked throughout Powers. There is tons of getting down, sometimes with superpowers being passed on in the process. Then, there’s the normal, everyday nakedness of people getting out of the shower, off work at the strip club, or getting their clothes blasted off by a death ray. You know, normal stuff.
It Will Be Foul-Mouthed
Sony’s new exclusive series will likely give HBO’s Deadwood a run for its money in terms of obscenities per capita, but Powers comes by its blue streak honestly. Again, it follows two Chicago cops dealing with a super-seedy underworld of gangsters, drug dealers, and other lowlifes with powers. There’s also the superheroes, who are usually no angels themselves.
Peer through the blue air, though, and you’re likely to find some terrific dialog. That’s been one of the mainstays of Powers, as Bendis does his best Aaron Sorkin impression day in and day out. So think The West Wing, but with tons more swearing and faces getting melted off.
It Will Be Ripped From The Headlines
Mid-East peace process, Vatican sex scandal, R. Kelly’s underage sex accusations: analogs of these and more will likely appear in the Powers series, as they’ve already popped up in the series. Powers takes a look at these real-world occurrences and tweaks them, imagining what they would look like if they involved people that could punch through walls or vibrate fast enough to become invisible. And that brings us to our last point…
It Will Have Some Novel Takes On Superheroes
What happens if Superman goes senile and longs for the simpler days of the past? What happens if the Fantastic Four are a bit more like The Fugees and break up? What happens if Thor decides he’s no longer subject to Earth’s laws? How do the gods react if we still try to enforce those laws on him?
These are the kind of things you can expect to see explored in Powers: issues that don’t just take for granted that everything will always be peachy once the people in tights show up.
Also, you can expect a good deal of the standard police procedural fare: overbearing lieutenants, annoying federal agents, departmental infighting, and so forth. We’re really expecting good things from this series when it debuts later this year, and you should be, too.
Powers will be hitting the PlayStation Network in December of this year. For PlayStation device owners already subscribed to PlayStation Plus, Powers will be free. Other users will get the first episode for free.