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Power Pack Classic - Volume 3 Paperback – March 23, 2011
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Even after all these years, I still consider Power Pack to be the best kid superhero team going (and, yes, I know how terrific the Runaways are). POWER PACK CLASSIC Vol. 3 collects POWER PACK #18-26 and THOR #363. As usual, Simonson has the Pack bumping into plenty of guest stars, most of whom assume a mentoring or big brother/sister role over the kids. Going by the internal time line, it's only been months since the Kymellian alien "Whitey" (not really his actual name) bestowed incredible powers on these four young whippersnappers so that they can save the world. Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie (a.k.a. Gee, Lightspeed, Mass Master, and the Energizer) are doing their best to balance their fledgling superhero careers with the more mundane kid stuff like school, young love, and sibling squabbles. They're also keeping their powers a secret from their parents.
The SECRET WARS II tie-in (issue #18 and THOR #363) features the Beyonder - who, in trying to understand humanity, transformed a bitter foe of Thor's into a single-minded, near invincible, armor-encased force of destruction. The enraged Kurse rampages thru New York City, crying out for Thor to come out and fighty fight. Power Pack gets into combat mode, and it suggests just how formidable these kids are that they stop Kurse by dropping a friggin' building on him. But it's a temporary respite, and Kurse soon frees himself. This next time, it takes the combined efforts of Beta Ray Bill, Power Pack, and the Pack's guardian, Thor, to put Kurse down. Meanwhile, the Beyonder susses out the meaning of irony. The final page of THOR #363 also features the origin of froggy Thor.
I love it whenever Simonson devotes an issue to one of them "A Day in the Life" stories. One such, the Thanksgiving issue, is terrific. In it, Katie had invited several folks - most of them of the metahuman persuasion - over for a Thanksgiving get-together, except that she did this behind her siblings' back. Mr. Power, by the way, is keeping his wife company at the hospital. Things get out of control when Morlocks - who were on Katie's guest list - disrupt the parade.
Mrs. Power's fate is decided on Christmas eve, when Death comes calling for her. Can the New Mutants and the Pack foil a gaggle of goblins' plan to mystically relocate Manhattan to Limbo? And if you know your New Mutants circa 1986, then you can probably identify the one New Mutant who stands a chance at foiling Death.
The Pack's main adversaries, the reptilian alien Snarks, take center stage for the three-part epic "The Snark Wars." The kids are captured and taken to Snarkworld where their powers can be stolen away. But these kids are so badasss that, even without their powers, they're able to confound the insane Queen Mother Maraud and her plan to dethrone the rightful Snark emperor. This arc also explains the whole super-power switcheroo that the kids were subjected to. And it's cool that the biggest hero to come out of all this is the team's youngest, newest member, Franklin Richards, who, around this time, went around as the dream-seer Tattletale.
June Brigman established the artistic aesthetics of the series, and it bummed me out when she left. But John Bogdanove and Brent Anderson are outstanding artists themselves, and their styles complement the fun tone of the series. The kids look like kids, and sometimes it's very hard to do that (just check out John Byrne trying to draw kids). Somewhere in these pages, you'll also run into Cloak & Dagger, Wolverine and Kitty Pryde, and Spider-Man, as well as regulars like the teleporting Kymellian runaway, young Lord Kofi, and, of course, the lovable smartship Friday.
The only downside I can think of is that Alex maybe takes his whiny, guilt-trip having, brat act too far. Other than that, it's all gravy.
Unfortunately, as with most kids that age, my copies of the comics got so well read (and poorly kept) they quickly disintegrated.
Now, I can reclaim a little bit of my childhood with these new Power Pack graphic novels of the classic series.
Though, there were a few filler issues that I remember disliking when I read them originally.
They even include an issue of Thor where the two series overlapped and crossed over.