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Power Pack Issue Reviews: 6 / 15

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

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 Issue #23 Cover

Power Pack:
Issues 22-28

Cover, Issue #23, by Bogdanove and Wiacek, Copyright 1985, Marvel Entertainment Group.

22: Trapped! Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove. Inked by Bob Wiacek.

The tradition of so many Power Pack books -- the kids use their powers just for fun, or to get themselves out of small scrapes -- takes on sinister overtones here, as Queen Mother Maraud's Snark forces attempt to track the kids by the use of their powers. Maraud intends to use the kids in her upcoming battle in the Snark Wars (the wars of succession after the death of the Emperor.) In the main point of the issue, we see the relationship between Alex and Alison (is it "Alison" or "Allison"?) deepen, when Alex rescues his young love from a Franklin-predicted drowning in a sledding accident.
Rating: Three stars

23: Missing! Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove. Inked by Bob Wiacek.

Perhaps the saddest issue in the entire run of the series. Jim Power begins to realize that his children (now hurtling through outer space) have vanished. Franklin knows what's happened, but can't tell anyone for fear of having his powers discovered. Meanwhile, a battered, badly frozen High Snark Jakal is recovered from the North Pole, and tries to kill Katie out of vengeance. In a melee at the end of the issue, Jakal grabs an overpowered Katie; already thinking herself a monster, Katie panics and essentially explodes of energy. She then fries Jakal's hand and falls through the floor, into the catacombs of the Snark homeworld.
Rating: Three stars

When You Wish Upon a Star! Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove. Inked by Bob Wiacek.

Two words: Action-packed. Katie and Kofi's father, Lord Yrik (a friend of Emperor Bhadsha's, kidnapped by Maraud's forces), fight for survival in the underground caves of Snarkworld. Kofi is on the run in other underground caves, having also been kidna pped by Snarks. The three remaining Power kids try, unsuccessfully, to escape captivity. Jim Power, stumbling erratically through the city looking for his kids, is attacked by muggers (and saved by Cloak). Franklin, who still knows everything that's going on, leaves an explanatory picture-note (he can't write, you know) for his parents, and rides Friday into space to the rescue. This issue also features the first appearance of the Powers' healing powers, as Katie tries to heal herself. (Technically, we saw Julie's broken arm heal quickly in the very early run of the series, but this is the first time one of the Power kids deliberately tries to summon a "healing energy" of sorts.)
Rating: Three and 1/2 stars

Power Trip! Written by Louise Simonson. Art credit to Jon Bogdanove, Bob Wiacek, and Mark McKenna.

It may be the middle chapter of the Snark Wars, but it's a wonderful double-sized issue that stands, not only as a self-contained story, but also as one of the high points of the series. Jakal begins the issue with the gravity, mass, and acceleration pow ers, and looks awesome with them (his gravity power seems to always be on, and he's always pictured in mostly silhouette.) Franklin and the rescued Kofi attempt to save the powerless Powers, but are forced to save the Emperor instead to avert the Snark Wars. So it's Katie (who actually looks menacing on first appearance) who has to try to save the day.

When she loses her powers to Jakal, it starts the chain of events that lead to the first of the famous power transfers. Before the issue's out, Friday is destroyed (temporarily, of course), and the Snark Wars are averted for good. Jakal has his greatest moment when he reveals to the emperor that it was Maraud (Jakal's mother) who poisoned him; Jakal then says that his mind was destroyed by the Kymellian powers and offers his body to Bhadsha. The emperor's mind is transferred to this new, younger body, and Bhadsha stands at issue's end as the only truly noble, admirable Snark ever seen in the Marvel Universe. Sure, this is a long review, but it's a complicated, engrossing issue.
Rating: Four stars

Going Home! Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove. Inked by Bob Wiacek.

On the Alison/Allison question, Alex, who wrote "Alison" all over his notebook back in issue 18, now writes "Alex and Allison" with his new energy power. Go figure. Anyway, this issue is just cute; the kids go home, and their Snark escorts inadvertently g et into a fight with Cloak and Dagger (who've learned from Jim what's going on). Franklin and his father just pass each other in space on the way back; Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards finally interprets the note and takes the Fantastic Four to Snarkworld. The last two panels are priceless: the reunited Powers (and Franklin) try to decide what to have for dinner. Katie: "We had [burgers] the last time we got stole by aliens! I want pizza!" When Jim suggests his homemade lentil soup, everyone objects, except Franklin, who thinks, "Oh boy, my favorite!" Learn that line...it comes up again in later issues.
Rating: Three and 1/2 stars

Whose Power--? Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by Jon Bogdanove. Inked by Al Gordon.

Another of the more collectible issues: guest stars include Wolverine and Sabretooth, as well as the original X-Factor, and the Fantastic Four. But take away the guest stars, and the guts of this Mutant Massacre tie-in is a bit of a journey of self-discovery. Alex makes a big show of giving his glider-wings to Jack, who finds more practical applications for the gravity power. Alex is forced to deal with his own inability to use the destructive energy power that he often goaded Katie to use. And all the kids get their new names (except Jack, whose name seems to pop up out of thin air a few issues later).
Rating: Three stars

The Breakfast Club! Written by Louise Simonson. Penciled by Terry Shoemaker. Inked by Hilary Barta.

The Snark War saga finally comes to a close when the Fantastic Four encounter Maraud and her band in outer space. When the Snarks realize the heroes are looking for one of the kids who made their lives so miserable, they attack the Four, with predictably disastrous results. This issue mainly ties up the loose ends, even offering up a parentally-acceptable explanation for the alien kidnapping (the Snarks wanted the kids to bargain for the old matter/anti-matter converter.) Franklin is reunited with his parents, and the Powers and the Richardses form a solid friendship that becomes pivotal in later issues.
Rating: Three stars

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