POWER PACK #1 (of 5)/ Story by RYAN NORTH/ Art by NICO LEON/ Colors by RACHELLE ROSENBERG/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Katie, Julie, Jack and Alex Power have a secret. One not even their parents know about. They’re superheroes. As the Power Pack, they’ve fought evil, saved the world and even met Wolverine! Unfortunately, there are laws against kids being superheroes now, and it’s hard to be a good guy when you’re breaking the rules. Unfortunately, when their archenemy The Boogeyman comes back and endangers an orphanage, the Power Pack has no choice but to fight back!
I must admit to being largely ignorant of the Power Pack. Oh, I’d heard of them, certainly. And I knew they teamed up with Howard the Duck at one point. But I didn’t know much about them beyond the basic idea of them being one of the many Marvel Comics’ groups based around the idea of an underage superhero team, with the gimmick that they were all siblings. Thankfully, for those like me who know little about the how and why of Power Pack, the issue opens with a helpful retelling of their origin story, written and illustrated by Katie Power herself.
Ryan North was the perfect writer to bring the Power Pack back, having proven his ability to wring high drama out of silly concepts with his lengthy run on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. The Power Pack have distinctive personalities under North’s pen and, shockingly, interact like real siblings; a surprising rarity in many youth comics. Of course this is rated T for Teens so I’m not entirely sure this qualifies as a “youth” book, but there’s little objectionable material here apart from a little big of language, which is called out by the older Power siblings.
Nico Leon also captures the spirit of Power Pack well. Apart from the well-done “childish” artwork in the introduction, Leon sports an animated style with expressive faces and thin inks. This, teamed with the color art by Rachelle Rosenberg and the letters of VC’s Travis Lanham, results in a light, vibrant and bright-looking book that is friendly and easy on the eyes. Ironic given that the action of the book largely centers around a child-eating demon, but fitting nonetheless.
While this is intended to be the first part of a limited series, the quality of this issue inspires the hope that we might see more of the Power Pack with this creative team in the future. It’s not high art, but it is a fun read and those are rare enough these days to be nurtured. Highly recommended for the young at heart at any age.