Marvel’s Powerless

Earth 40081, as told from the perspective of Dr. William Watts, has become a confusing place since he has awakened from a three-day coma. He recounts vivid dreams he’s had in his coma and it confuses him of what is real and what isn’t.

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Written by Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson and penciled by Michael Gaydos, Powerless is a six issue series that ran from 2004-2005. It tells the story of Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, and Logan but not as you know them. The story is set in a universe where there are no superpowers.

Right away the characters are presented in a way that they are distant from themselves. They act exactly the opposite way the reader expects them to. This awkwardness, at the same time, distances the readers from the main characters. Initially the story plays on the confusion of the reader to create a connection with the protagonist, Dr. Watts.

The series does become more interesting a main conflict and plot is introduced in the succeeding issues. By the fifth issue, however, the story is still partly building up the story; I half-expected the ending to be rushed and unsatisfying. On the contrary, the sixth installment tied up all three characters’ stories well while revealing a fairly surprising twist. The writers used cliffhangers and unexpected twists effectively to pique the interest of any long time Marvel fan.

The art is dark and gritty throughout the series, supporting the deep and high-tension story line. The comic does a great job of solidifying a world where our favorite protagonists existed without their superhuman capabilities. The six-issue read is definitely worth a go. It is something refreshing without being too different from your action-packed usuals.

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