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Power Pack Issue Reviews: 15 / 15

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

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 Holiday Special Cover

Power Pack:
The Holiday Special,
and the New Warriors

Cover, the Holiday Special, by Brigman and Richardson, Copyright 1991, Marvel Entertainment Group.

Holiday Special: Small Changes. Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by June Brigman. Inked by Roy Richardson.

There's just one mistake in this issue: Jim Power never actually gained super-powers, but the Elan disguised himself as Jim (for no apparent reason.) Other than that, this special manages to, in effect, "reboot" the team, and bring everything back to the way it was before Higgins' misguided attempt to make the team more "edgy".

Julie begins to figure out that there is no logical reason for Alex to turn into a Kymellian, any more than it was logical for her parents to behave the way they did. This realization is bad news for the Technocrat, the Kymellian responsible for creating that species' artificial homeworld. In this revised version of issues 50-62, the Kymellians didn't simply "forget" who they were, as the Numinus suggested, but were forced into an artificial world so the Technocrat could control them.

When the Kymellians returned to a normal world, it broke the Technocrat's control; he knew the only way to regain it was to destroy the Kymellians' new world and put them all back aboard a satellite. The most efficient way to do this: the old matter/anti-matter converter. With the Whitemane clan the last custodians of the formula, the Technocrat's best bet was to try, again, to take the formula from Jim Power's mind. So he kidnapped both parents (presumably around issue 52), and, later, Alex, when Alex began to realize his parents were acting so abnormally.

The Technocrat used pseudoplasm replacements for the Power parents, and, later, for Alex; that's a controllable lifeform that replicates a creature onto the molecular level. Only, in Alex's case, the pseudoplasm broke down, and reverted to the original Kymellian form that the Technocrat had selected for his pseudoplasmic servants.

That's just the first 8 pages of the book! The rest of the book pits Power Pack against the Technocrat and Queen Mother Maraud, and spotlights the team's discovery that they can switch powers anytime they want to. Note, though, that Alex is always either in earshot when someone wants to switch a power, or he gives the orders to someone to switch powers.

There's much more plot than we're capable of going into here; if you can find this book, just enjoy the complete revival of the original team (and team spirit), and don't be fooled by the team's discovery at the end that they can no longer switch powers; this is meant to permanently put an end to the Power Transfers, but it's also the key to Alex's return to comics approximately three years later.
Rating: Four stars

Current developments:

During the "Time and Time Again" saga, running through the comic books "New Warriors", "Nova", and "Night Thrasher", Alex Power was recruited to join a new team of New Warriors, since the old team was missing and scattered throughout time. So, in New Warriors 48, Alex utilizes his previously-secret ability to conduct a Power Transfer by himself, to steal everyone's powers and help the team. His outfit for the occasion, presumably provided by Elsewhere, was a variation on the old Power Pack outfits, with a jacket featuring each of the four power logos.

Alex was eventually let go from the New Warriors, and gave the powers back to his brother and sisters in New Warriors 51. He reveals that he can initiate a Power Transfer because he's the oldest, and his body has begun changing to allow him to do that. Alex says, "I won't take them again, Jack. Scout's honor."

However, when the New Warriors call on Alex again, he takes the identity of Powerhouse and steals his siblings' powers for good. This effectively ruins his family life; the other Power kids, no longer able to trust their older brother, do everything they can to make his life miserable out of spite.

I don't have all of Alex's New Warriors appearances yet, so I am soliciting recommendations and plot synopses.

The latest developments come in New Warriors 75, the last issue of a comic that departed too soon. The Smartship Friday has been shipnapped, and is nearly destroyed in the process of saving humanity, yet again, from the threat of the Dire Wraiths. Friday barely survives, but the ordeal leaves Alex thinking that, if it were Power Pack in action instead of just Alex, that team probably could have found a way to make sure nothing happened to Friday in the first place. (Note: although it wasn't "just Alex" -- it was almost the whole New Warriors team -- we see that no member of the team cares for Friday nearly as much as Alex. Alex was the only person really trying to think of a way to spare Friday from destruction.)

Although this would seem to indicate that Power Pack is coming together again, it will probably happen "off-panel". My personal theory? The Powers will get their original powers back from Alex, become a happy family again, but stay out of the spotlight, and maybe out of superheroing altogether. The kids look too much like mutants, and the Marvel Entertainment Group plans on making life very, very difficult for mutants. It's not the sort of world that can support the Pack, and I think the Marvel Universe, and its followers, are poorer for it.

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