The Powers That Be #1
Written by: Vince White
Art by: Vince White and Warnia Sahadewa with Larry Stroman
Published by: Power Comics

I recently reviewed C.H.E.S.S. #1 (you can read that review by clicking here) and mentioned that the book was part of a larger shared universe called The Powerverse. The man behind bringing all of these independent characters together under one roof is Vince White. What I truly failed to grasp with C.H.E.S.S. #1 is that these characters featured in The Powerverse have already had adventures in their own titles – some of them for many years. All of these characters are now being merged together into The Powerverse. This is better brought to light while ready The Powers That Be! #1 where I saw some familiar faces including Jay Piscopo’s Sea Ghost and Andre Batts’ Dreadlocks (who was featured in the Red Anvil crossover War of the Independents with my own superhero Quik). Bringing all of these characters together is just a magnificent idea and, if it is successful, could push many of these indy characters to a whole new level in the comic book world.

The Powers That Be! #1 acts like a primer for this whole universe. It explains how all these characters from different comic universes are now able to interact with one another while introducing the readers to these characters that you may or may not know. Nearly all of these characters will be in their own new books under The Powerverse’s banner. I will say that this issue is very dense and crowded. The word dense is not a negative connotation. Powers writer/artist Vince White has a ton of ideas here and the reader is tossed right into the deep end of the pool without the swimmies on. I tried to think if telling this sort of story would be better over something like 4 issues or if throwing everything at the wall in the first issue is best. I’m going to say that one issue is great. Get the ball rolling quickly, get the reader introduced to the characters and concepts, and launch the universe. There’s all the time in the world to go back later and fill in the pieces.

First off there is a one page introduction that kicks things off in grand fashion. We are introduced to one of White’s characters Will Power and this single page is drawn by Larry Stroman. I love Larry Stroman. I LOVE him. I can talk until I’m blue in the face about how much I loved his work on Alien Legion and X-Factor alone. Dude is a legend. Snagging him even for just one page is phenomenal.

Following this intro we next meet a giant god called The Storyteller who tells three young kids stories. The next story he explains to them is how there were many universes but the barriers between these worlds had dissolved. That’s how it became The Powerverse.

After the origin of the Powerverse is told the reader is then thrown right into the action with a bunch of different comic characters in a training room a la The Danger Room. It seems like the man calling the shots is a bald guy named Director Key – he is very aware of some upcoming danger that I assume could destroy The Powerverse. I say bald leader guy you probably think Professor X but this dude seems pretty damn cool. He’s sporting a ginger Van Dyke and a killer cyborg arm. He seems pretty badass in my book. But Director Key seems uncertain if the small amount of heroes he brought together can do the job.  Key, along with Dreadlocks, seem certain they may have to scour other universes for heroes who can also join in to stop this looming threat.

After a quick reintroduction to White’s character Will Power, who joins this massing force, the rest of the comic breezes through introducing a massive amount of characters that will a part of this team they are calling Powers That Be. Well that or they will be doing so in their own Powerverse books. I’m not too sure of the game plan as I’m just reading through the comic but I’ll safely assume that it may be both. Some with their own books, some who may just be in this team book.

This book reads at a very rapid pace. It almost feels too fast. The characters are introduced so quickly and by the next page we are already on to meeting even more new characters. This goes on and on. Reading-wise I felt a bit strange because it felt like I was always missing something so I actually reread the book a few times. After reading it a couple times I thought the issue to be quite solid.  My conclusion is really what I said a few paragraphs ago. Introduce the concept, introduce the massive amount of characters, launch the universe, unleash the bad guy, and fill in the other parts of the story as these books move along. I mean look at this Powerverse line-up of books.

It is amazing. When was the last time you saw an imprint with this many books launch? Granted they aren’t all coming out in the same month into comic book stores everywhere. White is bringing together a whole bunch of indy creators and asking the fans to help out via crowd-sourcing. You know what’s good about that? Well – you answer to no one except the creators themselves. You can run the universe as you see fit. Lastly the fans of the books keep these books going. I personally find that quite exciting. I hate invoking the 80’s or 90’s once again but I really used to love the imprints like Ultraverse, New Universe, Milestone, Impact Comics….any of those shared universes that would just launch with a huge bang. The title of this book alone brings back fond memories of Broadway Comics. Out of these different imprints came various degrees of success. These books had to answer to editors with an agenda, had to work within the budgets they were given, and usually had talent jumping on and off a title. Here? This is the creations of these creators. Those creators are working within the storyline of this shared universe but they really have so much at stake because they own their own characters. On top of that if their book is wildly successful it probably means other Powerverse comics will be successful as well.

I’ll still say that The Powers That Be! #1 is a dense read. But as it is kicking off this amazing idea it is also a must-read. There’s a whole universe coming that is unlike anything out there in indy comics right now. This book is to be celebrated. The writing is good, the art is great, and it promises so much more in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Welcome to the Powerverse everyone – it looks like we are all in for an amazing treat. Sit back and enjoy the ride. To all you creators? Best of luck.

RANK: A

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