http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/powers_449.jpg
[[caption-width:323:To protect and serve... in a world of capes.]]

''See MagicAndPowers for the similarly-named index page.''

Somewhere tonight in the back alleys of this big, bad old city, a {{superhero}} and {{supervillain}} are going to fight. One will win and one will lose, and maybe die in the process. Or the body of a famous [[TheCape Cape]] is going to be found under mysterious circumstances, with no sign of how they were killed. Or a trio of superpowered {{mooks}} will commit a crime. And somewhere, some poor schmoe of a cop is going to be woken up to investigate the whole thing, type up all the reports, and realize that he's not being paid nearly enough for what he's doing when he faces down a villain who [[ImmuneToBullets just laughs at him when he draws his gun on them]].

A minor DeconstructorFleet taken to [[TheAgesOfSuperHeroComics Super Hero Comics]], ''Powers'' looks at the world of superpowered crime, life and death through the eyes of two [[{{Muggles}} non-powered]] detectives who investigate crimes committed by and related to superheroes and villains. These investigations frequently lead Detectives Christian Walker, (who at one time was a powerful superhero before losing his powers prior to the start of the comics) and Deena Pilgrim, (a spunky female partner with very serious anger and control issues) into the seedier side of superpowered life, sex, messed up group dynamics and relationships, and the culture that surrounds it, including everything from trashy tabloids obsessed with the Powers to the bureaucratic nightmare that lies at the heart of the multiple government agencies they often have to deal with.

This one is probably not for the kiddies, as nudity, death, foul language and brutal, crippling beatdowns are guaranteed in virtually all of the (so far) dozen paperback collections.

Written by Creator/BrianMichaelBendis and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming.

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!!This graphic novel series provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Normal, Deena; [[spoiler: superhuman, Calista after becoming Retro Girl.]]
* AGodAmI: What happens when a Superman {{Expy}} decides this? Nothing good, that's for certain. Zora could be an extremely literal take on this trope; by rejecting religion and basically deciding to worship herself, she gained EnlightenmentSuperpowers, or so she claims. She's really an [[Really700YearsOld immortal]] who's been around for millennia, but it is entirely possible that's where her powers come from.
* AnyoneCanDie: Causes genuine drama.
* BadassNormal: Christian and Deena in spades. [[spoiler: Until Christian gets his powers back by way of Millinium Corps and Deena gets them by Bug.]]
* BareYourMidriff: Deena, who wears "these little belly shirts."
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Averted.
* BerserkButton: For Christian, it's disrespecting the memories of Retro Girl(the dead one) or Zora. For Deena, it's when people interfere with their cases.
* BewareTheSuperman: Most of the time, this isn't too big a problem, but [[spoiler: Supershock, the Superman-analogue]], goes off the deep end and nearly causes a [[{{Incorruptible}} Plutonian]] or [[{{Miracleman}} Kid Miracleman]]-like world disaster. He "solves" the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by annihilating the entire area, melts the Pope and does a number of other deeds that they can't directly attribute to him because he can only be observed if he wants to be.
* BlackComedy: They're homicide detectives, it's pretty much a given.
* BoldlyComing: In one volume, a woman with a healthy sexual appetite contemplates what would happen if humanity ever did encounter aliens. For herself, she figures she'd fuck one of them. Just to say she had, if nothing else.
* BoyishShortHair: Deena's iconic hairstyle.
* BuddyCopShow: With Christian (mostly) as the straight man and Deena as the snarky comedian.
* CallBack: [[spoiler: When a sickened Calista collapses in Walker's apartment at the end of ''Bureau #8'', she's in the same position that Janis' body was found in at the beginning of the series.]]
* TheCameo: Back when it started at Image, many indie comics characters like ComicBook/SavageDragon, ComicBook/{{Madman}} and the Atomics, ComicBook/{{Shadowhawk}}, and JoeQuesada & Jimmy Palmiotti's ComicBook/{{Ash}} made cameos. A Powers short story published in an Oni Press special even revolved around finding out who killed Madman, and featured appearances by everyone from ''Mage'' to ''ComicBook/{{Kabuki}}'' to ''[[ComicBook/TheAdventuresOfBarryWeenBoyGenius Barry Ween]]'' before revealing that the culprit was none other than [[spoiler: a living planet that bore absolutely no resemble to [[Creator/JohnByrne a certain comics creator]].]]
* CaptainErsatz: Tons of them.
** Supershock (Franchise/{{Superman}} and [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Doctor Manhattan]])
** Triphammer (IronMan)
** Diamond (a fusion of Franchise/{{Batman}} and Franchise/{{Superman}})
** Queen Noir ([[ComicBook/TeenTitans Raven]])
** Retro Girl (GoldenAge {{Supergirl}})
** Red Hawk and Wing (Franchise/{{Batman}} and Comicbook/{{Robin}})
* ChekhovsGunman: Calista. Going from [[ConvenientlyAnOrphan Conveniently a]] HeartwarmingOrphan in the first volume to a TroubledButCute teen who is now [[spoiler: Retro Girl II]] in the second.
* ClothesMakeTheSuperman
* ComicBookTime: Walker and Pilgrim rarely look any different throughout the first volume, and except for Walker's retirement and Pilgrim's medical leave, there are no firm lengths of time given. Then by issue #1 of volume 2(the ''Legends'' arc), readers once again meet Calista, the little girl he helped rescue way back in issue #1. Turns out she's now working in a record store, and she states that it's been six years since she met Walker. WordOfGod says that ''Bureau'' is eleven years after the start of the series, making her seventeen and Deena most likely in her mid-thirties.
* ComicBookTropes: Most of them show up at some point or another, mostly to be spoofed, subverted, or deconstructed.
* CompellingVoice: Ultrabright's main power is the ability to make any man who hears her do whatever she says. [[spoiler: She's ultimately the only person capable of stopping Supershock after he loses it.]]
-->[[spoiler: '''Ultrabright:''' Geoff, you're just a man. Just a man. Listen to me. Listen to my voice. ''Cease to be.'']]
* ConspicuouslyLightPatch: Calista [[DiscussedTrope discusses]] this in the very first issue.
* ContagiousPowers: Deena secretly becomes exposed to some after being tortured by The Bug (she manages to turn them around, melts him, blows up his gang and keeps it a secret). They also slowly eroded her sanity because the next person she kills (her ex-boyfriend, who literally backstabbed her) is killed in what could be called a fugue state where she doesn't show a hint of emotion until long after the deed is done. [[spoiler: She gets better.]]
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Deena. [[spoiler: When Supershock goes nuts, he takes her into space and exposes her to hard vacum, then kills her and resuscitates her three more times, ''before'' literally removing her heart and keeping her alive to see it in his hand. Yeesh.]]
* DeathGlare: Christian and Deena both do this on occasion.
* DidIJustSayThatOutLoud: Deena has done this on a few occasions, usually when she's exhausted.
* DirtyCop: Several of them; one of the biggest ones was Deena's own captain back when she was a rookie, much to her shock and disillusionment.
* DrivenToSuicide: Olympia's wife shot herself after news of his death.
* EnlightenmentSuperpowers: Zora; at least, that's what she claims.
* EvilPowerVacuum
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: As Diamond, Christian had long hair. When he lost his powers, he cut it short and has kept it that way ever since.
* FemaleMisogynist: Deena describes herself as such. True enough, she rarely gets along with any woman. Of the three most prominent in ''Bureau'', she actively dislikes Sunrise, doesn't care for but respects Lange, and her sole good relationship is with Calista.
* TheFogOfAges: Walker and the rest of his group(such as Retro Girl, Zora and Billy Mace) can't fully recall most of their past lives.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: At the end of the first story arc, Calista tells Walker that she had a dream where Retro Girl spoke to her and helped her catch the killer. Years later, guess who becomes the [[spoiler: new host of the Retro Girl powers?]]
* GenderBlenderName: "HER name is Harvey?" "Hey, ''I'' didn't name her."
* GirlishPigtails: How Calista wears her hair as a little girl. As a teenager, she wears it down, but puts it in pigtails again [[spoiler: when she's in costume.]]
* GoodCopBadCop
* GreenRocks: One of the reasons the muggle cops have any chance against villains is because of the technology that cancels out powers. ([[{{MST 3 K Mantra}} Don't think too hard about how that would work]]).
* HeroesWantRedheads: Olympia's affairs have red hair, while his wife is blonde. He too is blond. Each of them had different reactions to the news of his death.
* HeroicBSOD: Walker's reaction to Zora's death; Deena's reaction when she realizes she murdered her ex-boyfriend; Cross's reaction to one of his detectives getting killed in the squadroom.
* HollywoodHealing: Averted; injuries take time -- sometimes a ''lot'' of time -- to heal. For instance, when Deena tangles with Supershock, Ultrabright rescues her, but she's then in a coma for several months.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Walker is nearly a foot taller than most of the other characters and built like a tank; Deena barely comes up to his shoulder and is so slender that Walker probably outweighs her by 150 pounds.
* ImportantHaircut: In a flashback. Officer Deena Pilgrim had longer hair(about shoulder-length) her first day on the job, but in a tussle with a power, he grabbed her by the hair and swung her around, pulling enough strands out to make her scalp bleed. She cut it short soon thereafter.
* InnocentBystanderSeries: How it starts out, but Deena and Walker eventually become much more than mundane cops. They both do their best to keep it hidden, though.
* InternalAffairs: Deena starts getting investigated, ''right'' after she just killed her ex-boyfriend. It's for the shady death of a criminal in a much, much earlier case, but the close timing is all too inconvenient.
* {{Irony}}: Every time Wolff attacked Walker over the millennia, he would become angered that Walker had usually forgotten about him in the interim. When he breaks out of prison to try and kill Walker one final time, he is momentarily amused by the fact that ''he'' has now forgotten just ''why'' he wanted to kill Walker in the first place.
* ItsPersonal: Walker obeys Millennium's restrictions on the usage of his powers -- to only battle interstellar threats to Earth -- even when a god is destroying Chicago. Then his pregnant ex-fianceť is killed in the attack and he [[PreAsskickingOneLiner literally says "Fuck 'em".]]
* JumpedAtTheCall: When [[spoiler:Calista]] gets [[spoiler:the powers of Retro Girl]].
* JurisdictionFriction: Cases are often taken away from Pilgrim and Walker by the Feds. The one they interact with most, Agent Lange, was an old cohort of Walker's, but now she's doing things "by the book". After [[spoiler: becoming an FBI agent, Pilgrim]] will throw her weight around, but mostly lets the police do their thing, as she remembers how much it annoyed them when Lange did it. Left by the wayside by the beginning of ''Bureau'', as the surviving members of the main cast are now Federal agents.
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:By the time of the most recent volume, a big chunk of the secondary cast is gone or missing in action]].
* MasterOfYourDomain: during the ancient-times-flashback story arc, there was an OldMaster (Chinese, no less) with exactly this superpower.
* MsFanservice: Pilgrim. Putting aside her proclivity for wearing "little belly shirts", Oeming rarely goes an entire arc without showing her either topless or completely nude.
* MySecretPregnancy: In the first issue of the ''Bureau'' arc, Deena and her partner got some [[{{Squick}} Powers semen spilled onto them]]. He ended up dying as a mutant EnfantTerrible ripped out of his gut, but Deena was cleared by a doctor. But when she and Walker catch the guy who was dealing the stuff, he spooks Deena into going back and seeing the doctor again. So she does, and is ''very'' surprised to find out that she's now pregnant. Like much else in ''Powers'', it ends badly.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: An enraged Deena delivers an epic one to Harvey in the ''Anarchy'' arc.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Averted; the very first time the coroner meets Deena, he and his assistant assume her attitude is because she's "O.T.R."(on the rag), and when Deena is later infected with the powers virus, she passes off a momentary surge as cramps.
* OddCouple: Walker and Pilgrim.
* OutWithABang: Olympia.
* PapaWolf: Captain Cross. He does not take kindly to his detectives being in jeopardy.
* PastLifeMemories: Walker and Billy Mace only remember bits and pieces of their [[Really700YearsOld millennia-long lives.]] [[spoiler: Zora]] remembers more of hers, for some reason.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Deena and Christian initially didn't get along that well, but after over ten years of working cases together, it's clear either of them would do anything they could to help the other.
* PowerDyesYourHair: Possibly; at 7, Calista had black hair. At 17, it's blonde, and neither Bendis nor Oeming have said if she bleaches it or its part of her [[spoiler: inheriting the Retro Girl powers.]]
* PowerLevels: Although with only nine (known) levels it doesn't go overboard. Except in the case of [[spoiler: Supershock]] who was practically omnipotent, but classified a 9 just so people wouldn't freak out.
* PowerNullifier: See GreenRocks above. Rinse, repeat.
* PrecisionFStrike: Despite the [[ClusterFBomb fairly liberal use of swearwords]], especially from the cops, some of them are perfectly placed:
---> '''Walker:''' No.
---> [[spoiler:'''Satan:''']] No, what?
---> '''Walker:''' No. I don't believe anything you're saying. I don't think you are who you aren't saying you are. And fuck you.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: Both played straight and averted; sometimes it's the 'small hole in the head', other times...well, other times there's not much of a head ''left''.
* [[PurelyAestheticGlasses Purely Aesthetic Goggles]]: Both modern-age Retro Girl's wear these when in costume, [[spoiler: though in Calista's case, they seem to be more for disguise]].
* [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld Really Three MILLION years old]]: [[spoiler:Walker, and a number of other superheores. Walker and Wolf appear to have gotten the raw end of the deal on this one; it's heavily implied that they were truly immortal and alive for most of that time, while the others were mainly [[{{Reincarnation}} reincarnates]].]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: [[spoiler: Supershock]] to Deena, after he goes totally batshit insane.
-->[[spoiler: '''Supershock:''' I tried so hard to be there for you. To serve you. I tried so hard to make sense of you and what you needed from me. I wanted to be there. I wanted to serve. But then it occurred to me -- I asked myself the incredibly ''obvious'' question: why am I so much ''more'' than you? Why are you so ''small'' and I am so much ''more''? I then realized that I am not your servant. I am your king. I am not ''yours''. You -- are mine. To do with what I please. I bring you life, I bring you death, I control everything around you, and everything ''inside'' you.]]
* {{Reincarnation}}: How Retro Girl has existed throughout time; her powers and some of her memories pass to a new person upon the previous ones death.
* ReincarnationRomance: Walker seems to have hooked up with Retro Girl and Zora multiple times throughout history, [[spoiler: though before Zora's death, they were serious enough to have gotten engaged.]]
* SamuraiPonytail: Janis(the murdered Retro Girl) favored this style, and at least two of her previous incarnations did as well. [[spoiler: Calista]] avoids it and goes with Girlish Pigtails instead.
* SlutShaming: Inverted, Deena is immune. She likes sex, and will talk a great deal about liking sex, without caring who hears.
* SpeakingLikeTotallyTeen: Calista does this a lot, to Walker's annoyance.
* StockSuperpowers
* SuperPowerMeltdown: [[spoiler: How Benmarley and Boogie Girl of the government-sponsored FG-3 team die. Ex-member Wazz starts to go the same way, but kills himself to go out on his own terms.]]
* SuperRegistrationAct: As a result of the events at the end of the first volume, the second starts with a repeat of the first volume's end report--a presidential order that all super heroes need to be registered. The authorities are just ''sane'' in this milieu - they treat it no differently than a driver's license. Then, later, in a panic, the President gets Congress to declare the use of any powers illegal. Most people quickly come to realize how ''idiotic'' this is, because it prevents law-abiding superheroes from doing their thing, but ''does nothing to actually stop supervillains''. It's similar to Prohibition: a law that empowers ''criminals.''
* TabloidMelodrama: a ''constant'' theme is about the attention/obsession everything from trashy tabloids to two-bit political commentators would have for superpowered figures, and how that works to screw over their normal lives.
* TakeThat: A particularly epic one against John Byrne, which was the page image for SmallNameBigEgo.
* TeleportationSickness: Deena sees some seriously messed up things as a homicide detective and never gets sick. But even the mere ''presence'' of a teleporter arriving or departing in her proximity is enough to make her puke.
* TheChosenMany: The Millennium Corps (the in-universe ShoutOut to GreenLantern). [[spoiler:Walker becomes the newest one of them while investigating the death of the most recent one.]]
* TheStoic: Walker.
* TheVirus: Part of a major story arc.
* TimmStyle: Oeming's art is a modified version; he began drawing this way while hoping to be hired on the ''Batman/Superman Adventures'' comic.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Between lesbian superheroine Crystal and the sexually frustrated Queen Noir. Crystal mentions she had a sex dream about Noir, Noir nearly acquiesces, then she departs. Upon arriving home, Noir [[ADateWithRosiePalms fantasizes about having sex with Crystal]]. Gloriously averted with Christian and Deena, who are PlatonicLifePartners.
* [[WhamEpisode Wham Issue]]: After years of dancing around it, the end of the ''25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time'' arc revealed that Deena [[spoiler: actually '''did''' kill Johnny Royale]].
* YouCantFightFate: Walker's [[spoiler: pregnant fianceť Heather]] leaves him because she sees visions of her death right before an apocalyptic battle. The visions weren't ''exactly'' correct, but enough of it comes true that it's obvious she was right.
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