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Power Pack Issue Reviews: 10 / 15

Author: Dan Wilson and Brian Alan Smith
Updated: no later than 1998

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 Issue #44 Cover

Power Pack:
Issues 42-45

Cover, Issue #44, by Bogdanove and Barta, Copyright 1988, Marvel Entertainment Group.

42: Revenge of the Boogyman. Written and penciled by Jon Bogdanove. Inked by Stan Drake.

For Simonson, he was the Bogey Man. For Bogdanove, he's the Bogeyman, Boogy Man or Boogyman...we just have to accept all these changes and move on.

Anyway, I have a real love-hate relationship with this issue. It's one of the most memorable of the series' run, but it's just so horrifying when compared to the rest of the series. Carmody continues his descent into Limbo from issue 40, where the demon N'Astirh decides to turn him into a demon by "chewing away anything human". Carmody makes it back to Earth, kills a few people, then stalks Power Pack. Meanwhile, the Powers are suffering the effects of Inferno, including: sewage from the faucets; a bathroom coated in mildew (which grows fast enough to climb onto Alex's legs); and even a demonic radio. The issue ends with the kids revealing their powers to their parents. It's a milestone issue, but it's a very tough read.
Rating: Three stars

Revenge of the Bogeyman Part II: The Bogeyman Must Die. Written by Jon Bogdanove. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove and Sal Velluto. Inked by a staff including Stan Drake and Al Williamson.

Yes, even the titles are spelled differently. Too much happens in this issue to describe: Julie and Alex get new variations on their powers, the demonic Carmody kills himself, the city is devastated, and the Power parents are, perhaps, even more devastated, thanks to their unwillingness to accept their kids' powers. Meanwhile, Bogdanove begins setting up the upcoming Kymellian space epic. A great final panel where Jim and Margaret cry as their kids leave to save the city, almost makes up for the heavy-handed nonsense of Carmody, a grotesque white blob, going on about his lousy childhood.
Rating: Three stars

Revenge of the Bogeyman! Part III: "What Price Victory?quot; Written by Julianna Jones. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove (inadvertently credited to June Brigman.) Inked by Hilary Barta.

This episode proves frighteningly close to the old "It was all a dream!" cliche. But, we're given a reason to want to erase the parents' discovery of their kids' powers: their minds simply snap. Margaret curls up and sings a lullaby to a baby doll, and Jim's mind locks into a self-perpetuating circle of anguish over not being fit parents for super-heroes, and the lack of childhoods super-heroes have. But everything is saved when Mirage creates Power kid duplicates, and concocts a story to say that the New Mutants took the Powers to protect them from Carmody. The parents believe this, thanks largely to the mind-altering powers of New Mutant Gosamyr, and everything is back to normal by the end of the issue.
Rating: Three stars

"Who am I This Time?quot; Written by Julianna Jones. Penciled by June Brigman. Inked by Hilary Barta.

Since the rest of "Childhood's End" ended with the Power kids staying children, it's up to this tacked-on epilogue to provide some sort of...well, childhood-ending. This issue succeeds, and its Judy-Blume-nature is a welcome relief from the nightmarish demons of the last three issues. Julie gets the spotlight, as she graduates from elementary school, has a birthday (she's now 11), and goes on her first baby-sitting assignment. Sure, it sounds excruciatingly dull, but, for people who'd been following the team for the past five years, it's a wonderful read, especially when you add June Brigman's penciling. Brigman, a series founder who left too early, would not return until the Christmas Special years later.
Rating: Three and 1/2 stars

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