Power Pack #11-12
Issue(s): Power Pack #11, Power Pack #12
The Packs then follow a stray cat into the storm sewers and get themselves into serious trouble as the water rises.
In addition to the risk of drowning and disease, they also encounter a pack of alligators, some of which are wearing collars.
Indeed, it turns out the alligators are someone's property.
The Pack children left their schoolbooks in the in the sewer, so they're forced to go back in later that night. That puts them up against a group of Morlocks.
So far, other than Callisto's inner circle (Sunder and Masque), Caliban, Leech, and the Healer, the Morlocks have basically been a faceless horde. It was never even really clear to me that they were even definitely mutants, despite dialogue sayings so. But here we meet a diverse group of mutants with actual powers.
In order to make these guys a challenge, their powers are actually useful. Considering the number of Morlocks, it might make sense that most of them, like the mutants at Heartbreak Hotel in Beauty and the Beast, shouldn't necessarily have powers that would make them X-Men material. If all the Morlocks had powers like the ones we meet here, having a group of them living outside the law underneath Manhattan would be an extreme threat that kind of justifies programs like Project: Wideawake. I think the Morlock concept wasn't really explored properly in the pre-Mutant Massacre days.
But anyway, we've got Piper, who controls the alligators and bats of the sewer...
...Erg, who can absorb energy (including Katie's power ball) and shoot it through his eye...
...Tar Baby, who is sticky...
...Ape, who can change his shape, but has trouble coming up with ideas on his own...
...Beautiful Dreamer, who has the power to alter people's memories...
...and Annalee, who is an empath.
Annalee was mentioned previously, in Uncanny X-Men #193, when it was announced that her children were killed. Because of her uncontrolled ability to overwhelm her companions with the emotions she feels, Callisto has forced her and the other "Drain Dwellers" above to reside with Leech, who cancels out their powers. The other Dwellers want to capture Power Pack as replacements for Annalee's children. Masque is in on the scheme (which is against Storm and Callisto's orders about attacking the surface world), and intends to Morlock-ify Power Pack's faces after Dreamer alters their memories.
Luckily for Power Pack, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, and Lockheed are also in the Morlock's alley to give a message from Storm to Callisto...
...and they happen to bump into the Dwellers and choose to investigate.
During the subsequent fight, Julie learns what happened to Annalee's children and tries to get Annalee to adopt Leech instead. But she rejects Leech due to his appearance (which is a little odd, considering Masque's intentions for the Pack children). Leech at least winds up with the stray cat that got Power Pack into this mess, anyway.
The X-Men decide not to tell Callisto about this incident, which will turn out to be the wrong move because, as we'll see in the follow-up story in X-Men #195, Annalee isn't ready to give up on this idea just yet.
Brigman continues to add some real humanity to this series. Her facial expressions are great, as seen above in Julie's reaction to Alex possibly making her flying ability redundant, or when Alex is debating the morality of stealing some extra fire extinguishers to rescue Julie and Jack...
...or when Julie and Alex are reconciling at the end of issue #11 (and unknowingly destroying the communicators on their costumes as well, as we'll learn later).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: There's enough space between the end of issue #11 and the beginning of issue #12 for Power Pack's mom to have found out about the cat they rescued. At the end of issue #12, Nightcrawler says that they'll phone Xavier in the morning to tell him about Power Pack, suggesting that he's still on Muir Island per the events of New Mutants #26-28. The arc ends on something of a cliffhanger, to be concluded in Uncanny X-Men #195.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (2): show
Annalee, Ape (Morlock), Beautiful Dreamer, Caliban, Callisto, Energizer, Erg, Gee, Leech, Lightspeed, Lockheed, Masque, Mass Master, Nightcrawler, Piper (Morlock), Sunder, Tarbaby
Some letters in New Mutants suggested getting the Power Pack kids over to the X-Mansion, but I guess the powers at Marvel resisted that for a while.
DC had a Beautiful Dreamer in its Forever People title in the early 1970s, but at this point she hadn't been seen for a while. The Forever People did come back in a mini-series in 1986 or 1987 so I'm not sure what happened to Marvel's version(assuming she survived the Mutant Massacre).
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