Review: Absolute Power #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Dan Mora
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Ariana Maher

Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd




Amanda Waller’s plan is enacted and the super powered beings of the DC Universe must pull together to save themselves.


Dan Mora has been on a roll the past few years.  He’s drawn Batman/ Superman: World’s Finest and Shazam! and now he can add Absolute Power to his credentials.  Mora turns in great work as one would expect.  It’s not hard to say this is the best thing about Absolute Power #1.  Mora captures atmosphere when necessary and depicts the super-heroic beautifully.  He captures the characters and the intensity of the moments.

It’s interesting to see so many elements of current DC titles playing into the plot: Failsafe from Batman, Brainiac Queen from Superman, Green Arrow teamed with Amanda Waller as seen in the Emerald Archer’s title, the nonsense Tom King has going on in Wonder Woman with Sarge Steel and the Sovereign.  Whether you like any of it or not, DC (and Waid) are making an effort to bring a cohesiveness to the fictional universe.  

Waid shows us glimpses of many DC characters that contribute to the scope of the story and it’s really nice to see Buddy and Maxine Baker together.  Mr. Terrific, Jesse Quick, Jade and Obsidian all make appearances.  Mr. Terrific is pushed closer to the front feeling like a top character.  

Absolute Power #1 bookends with terrible things happening to Clark and Jon.  There’s no doubt that the opening sequence of Superman being shot and falling from the sky is a great opening.  It lets the reader know that things are real.  Despite no one believing he’s really going to die (what exactly are the stakes for this series?), it’s an intriguing opener.  At the end of the issue, Jon finds himself in a bad spot and it suggests that there could be big changes for him.  It’s a great tease, and one hopes that it delivers.


Just as the effort that DC is making is genuinely appreciated, some of the lead ins to this series just aren’t strong enough to bring readers to this series.  Brainiac Queen from Joshua Williamson’s Superman and Action Comics “House of Brainiac” crossover is probably the strongest element.  Tom King’s Wonder Woman is a laughably bad series and the fact that it has to be mentioned here immediately takes away from what Waid is trying to do.

After reading Absolute Power #1, it does nothing to remove the general malaise I went in with.  There’s only so much status quo change that can occur in the DC Universe.  It’s been a long time since Crisis On Infinite Earths when it promised and delivered sweeping changes to characters and continuity.  We don’t really know where this is going, so it’s hard to get excited.  And that leads to the most intrinsic problem with this series.

Amanda Waller and the basic premise are just not interesting.  Mark Waid is a great writer with a huge body of work with several iconic runs.  Dan Mora is one of DC’s best artists working today.  Unfortunately, the premise of turning the people against the heroes is boring.  Ho-hum, call me when it’s over.  If we knew where we were going it might be more interesting.

Amanda Waller is not a compelling villain.  There’s nothing about her that makes me believe she’s a real threat to the heroes of the world.  The issue doesn’t do anything to make me feel like the citizens of the DC Universe have really turned against the heroes.  Tom King has made this same mistake in Wonder Woman.  This aspect just isn’t executed in a manner that makes me believe it.


Overall, Absolute Power #1 is a decent comic.  The art is great and Waid has some good moments.  He’s trying really hard to make this a big event with some startling moments.  However, there’s nothing behind them that is interesting enough.  DC’s events have struggled for a while, and so far this seems no different.  If you’ve never read a big comic event the execution will probably suffice, but when you’ve seen numerous events the big idea here just doesn’t hold one’s interest.  That said, I feel like the outcome of this series will result in a DC Universe with greatly reduced number of super-powered beings.  I’m imaging that not every character gets his or her powers back.  And, that’s where I think that last page with Jon Kent is leading.

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