Power & Glory
by Howard Chaykin (Dynamite, 2008)

Maybe Howard Chaykin, who has proven himself time and again to be a talented writer and illustrator, had this idea for a comic-book miniseries, and maybe he took it to an editor at Dynamite and pitched the story. And maybe, just maybe, the editor said it sounded like a swell idea for a book, and he asked Chaykin how many pages he required to tell the tale. "Oh, I don't know," I imagine Chaykin responding. "How about 200 pages? Maybe 300 to give it a proper ride."

"Write it," the editor no doubt replied. "But let's keep it short."

Power & Glory is built on a cracker of an idea. The government creates a superman -- A-Pex, the American Powerhouse -- but the high-powered hero proves mentally and emotionally unsuited to the task of handling his new role in the world. So, fearing embarrassment if their flop becomes known, the government hires someone else to provide the actual behind-the-scenes heroism, while A-Pex puts on a good show for the cameras.

Of course, the hero and the heroic facade don't like each other very much.

There's so much potential here it screams for a longer-running series, but instead it's crammed into four measly issues, collected here along with a later holiday special, and the end result is a mess. Not because the story isn't built on a solid foundation, but because Chaykin doesn't have enough pages to finish construction.

We never get to know these people, who they are or why they act and react as they do. We never get to see the working relationship develop and evolve. We never get the sense that Chaykin has actually managed to tell the story he wanted to tell.

It's a rushed job of unrealized potential, and that's a damn shame.

review by
Tom Knapp

16 May 2015

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