Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Power Pack #63 One-Shot Review)

Zero-G! Lightspeed! Mass Master! Energizer! They were once the worlds Youngest Super Hero Team, so WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Writer: Devin Grayson
Artist: Marika Cresta
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Cover Artists: Mike McKone and Rachelle Rosenberg
Variant Cover Artists: June Brigman & Nolan Woodard, and John Tyler Christopher
Publisher: Marvel Comics

What You Need to Know:
Siblings, Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie Power discover an alien has crash-landed near their home. As he lay dying the alien warns them of the threat of the energy source their scientist father has developed. its the same source that destroyed his planet, and now he is being followed by another alien race who mean to utilize its destructive power. The dying alien transfers his amazing powers; control over fundamental forces, between the four children. Alex was gifted control over gravity. Julie received the powers of acceleration and flight, Jack became the master over mass, and Katie discovered she could control energy.


Power Pack Vol.1 #2, 1984


Together, and now calling themselves Power Pack, the children defeated the aliens and continued on adventures for several years, many times swapping powers amongst the four. After some adventures outside of the team, and several more years later, each sibling has slowly moved on from super heroics to live a “regular” life.


Power Pack 4-issue Limited Series, Nov. 2000


What You’ll Find Out:
The story opens with Katie Power in a Junior High Magnet School, in New York City, specifically, a writing class. The bell has rung, and the young teens head out, followed by shouts of reminders of assignments due. But Katie is asked to stay behind by her teacher. She wants to discuss Katie’s speculative fiction assignment because she thinks she might have struggled with it.


Her teacher begins to read the story of a feverish and sick Katie, on the hottest day New York had ever seen. We see, via footnote, that the story takes place at the time of Pack Pack issue #42. Of course, the teacher does not suspect that Katie is actually drawing from memory, and not imagination. Here, begins the clever, split-page envisioning of the accounts; the teachers’ vision, stripped of details and odd because of it, and Katie’s who paints a much more colorful canvas of thoughts.


Stopping to discuss the the strange prose, which the teacher has assumed is being written from the perspective of a 5-year-old (the age Katie was at that time) we see that it was an attack by Power Pack’s demonic nemesis, Mr. Carmody, aka, The Bogeyman. Once the teacher encourages her to change her writing style to include more creativity, including making it a superhero battle, then Katie perks up and doesn’t hold back on the details.


At this point, Carmody needed a host body to possess so he chose Alex, the oldest of the young heroes and they are forced to fight their brother.


Katie is the one that gets through to him and helps save the day. But at that moment, when her teacher inquires about Alex and his whereabouts, shes reminded how much she misses her big brother, who is off-planet with the Future Foundation.


What just happened?
I only ever knew of Power Pack whenever they made a guest appearance in one of the books I was collecting at the time. They had enough association with two favorites, The X-Men and The Fantastic Four that I felt I knew enough about them to pick up their book. I was at that age, the early teens and felt the book was “for kids”. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Marvel Legacy One-Shot, but it has pleasantly surprised me!

Devin Grayson writes an entertaining story here because she writes Katie’s “voice” to be very true to someone that age, early teens. You “get” her angst; not only having to stay behind after class, but she also feels she has to dance around the details of the events she is “fictionalizing” all the while not realizing she’s missing the point of the lesson completely. Thankfully her teacher takes the time to help her flesh it out and we are treated to an adventure untold up until now.


The Bogeyman, Mr. Carmody, is a truly terrifying character, something definitely not “for kids”. And the panels of a possessed Alex are perfectly horrific enough for me to care about Katie’s brother as she re-tells her story.


So by the end, I’m right there with Katie, but missing the team I just read about and wanting more!
Marika Cresta beautifully illustrates this issue with a style slightly reminiscent of cover artist and teen hero specialist, Mike McKone, and former New Mutants Vol. 2 cover artist, Joshua Middleton. If the creative team of Grayson and Cresta were to be announced for a new Power Pack series, I would buy it!

tumblr_oz37dsJRgJ1tw1idro2_1280 copy

Rating 9/10
Final thought: A very solid, single, issue that has me wanting more! I hope people pick up this well-crafted book!


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