Power Pack #36
Issue(s): Power Pack #36
I've said before that Franklin Richards' appearances in Power Pack got me intrigued enough in the character that i stuck through lots of bad comics just hoping something cool would be done with him. I was already a fan of him at this point, but it was this issue that really set my expectations. It's a a Franklin-focused issue that also feeds speculation of The Twelve, and starts with Franklin having a precognitive dream of him being chased by a giant robot (Master Mold) because he's "the Twelfth".
He wakes up and finds that he's in Four Freedoms Plaza. It's pretty clear that Bogdanove started drawing this story before the recent shake-ups in the FF. The script adjusts to handle the changes well enough but this will cause a problem for placement. For now, though, when Franklin wakes up, he worries that the past few weeks of his life were a dream and his parents didn't really quit the FF and move with him to Connecticut and "nothing is diff'rint, an' they don't really want to be with me!!" and oh my god will someone give this poor boy a hug? But he realizes that only the robot part was the dream; they're just back at the 4FF plaza to pack up more stuff (same explanation given in issue #34, and based on my placement, it's perhaps the same visit; see Considerations below). His parents are getting ready to go off to a science conference, and Franklin worries that if he tells them about the robot, he won't get to be dropped off with the Powers family. So he decides that his dream "prob'ly wasn't even a really truly special dream anyway".
The Richards show up at the Powers' place with a (pre-mutated) Thing...
...and the Human Torch.
I've always had mixed feelings about the tech-talk between Reed Richards and Jim Powers. I used to think it was too a little too cutesy, but i actually kind of like it now.
You can see Franklin briefly reacting to his parents leaving him behind once again, but that's at least temporarily dispelled by the fun of having friends close to his own age.
Meanwhile, the Master Mold really is waking back up and repairing itself again thanks in part to a construction worker who finds his central unit and takes it home to tinker with it. While the Sentinel is waking up, we see some more information on the Twelve, including some additional members (Professor X, Psylocke, Mirage, Cannonball).
The mystery of how the Master Mold got this information on the Twelve is deepened when the robot has to adjust its chronometers to account for the fact that Franklin Richards is still a child.
It's said in the lettercol for issue #40 that the Master Mold's information comes from "exhaustive probability studies conducted by the people that originally built the Sentinels" but i'm not sure how well that squares with the "chronometers" and it's not the explanation that we'll eventually get.
We also see that Franklin Richards will grow up to be Ultiman and then The Twelfth. Franklin dreams most of this as well, and knows for sure it's for real this time.
So the next day, after mom and dad go to work, the kids go to Central Park and Franklin tells the rest of Power Pack about his dreams. And soon after that, the hastily rebuilt Master Mold surfaces.
The Master Mold identifies Power Pack as mutants, possibly an indication that it's still damaged (which also means we shouldn't trust its info on The Twelve).
Power Pack scrambles to hide Franklin and attack the giant Sentinel. Even though it's a robot, Alex again hesitates to use his new Destroyer powers, but Jack continues to be awesome with his Counterweight powers.
Franklin tries to contact the Thing and the Human Torch, but when he goes to them he sees that they are fighting Fasaud. So, inspired by the bravery of the rest of Power Pack, he sends his dream-self to engage the Master Mold.
Master Mold is programmed to recognize Franklin's powers, though.
The Master Mold then nearly squishes the rest of Power Pack, but it stops when Franklin draws its attention by throwing rocks. It instead goes to step on Franklin, but holds back. The reasons given are "a minor malfunction", "some hidden power in the boy", or "perhaps it is just the sight of the quivering child who stands prepared to take the blow that will pulp his little body". The Sentinel doesn't hold back for long, but it's long enough for Power Pack to rescue him. Then they engage in some teamwork, with Alex disintegrating the robot while Jack holds him in place and the others distract it.
Even that isn't the end, though, as it quickly rebuilds itself out of scrap. But Alex is fully charged...
...and this time he doesn't hesitate to blast it.
When it's all over, we see that its beeping central unit is still intact, unnoticed.
Well, as i said above, this definitely heightened my anticipation for the development of Franklin Richards and the Twelve storyline. Neither went anywhere, unfortunately. The Twelve storyline eventually gets done, years and years later, and not in a way that pays off for the hints given in books published at this time. Regarding Franklin, i eventually (and reluctantly) realized that they could never do a story about him growing up except in a What If or alternate future timeline (like the Days of Future Present annual event in 1990). Tom DeFalco will artificially age Franklin for a while, but again nothing hinted at here turns out to be relevant. Nonetheless, this issue shouldn't be faulted for creating intriguing hints that were never followed up on, and it is very nicely done, with a good dose of comedy, great human moments for Franklin...
...including his joy at being with a group of friends as well as a great battle with a giant robot. Jon Bogdanove shows that he can write Power Pack as well as drawn it.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Unfortunately, possibly because this may have sat for a while, it's got major problems in terms of placement. The Thing is not mutated, which means this has to take place prior to Fantastic Four #309-312. But Fantastic Four #312 was a Fall of the Mutants tie-in that takes place after X-Factor #26, and last issue (Power Pack #35, also a Fall tie-in) takes place concurrently with X-Factor #26. This problem is compounded by the Reference to the FF fighting Fasaud, but it's not the main point; even if Franklin was accidentally looking into the future or the past, we have the problem that the Thing is not mutated here after Fall of the Mutants. It's not uncommon for fill-in issues to take place out of publication order, and that's what i'm going to have to do here, but even that isn't clean. The Power Pack kids were grounded in FF #33 and their being grounded was a major plot point in #35. But the kids are allowed to go to Central Park without adult supervision in this issue. They mention the grounding in this issue as well, in the context of going on a super-powered romp when they first get to the Park: "I think we oughta cool it for a while, after the way we were almost caught by mom and dad and then grounded for a week". I guess if you are generous you can read that as them still being grounded, with perhaps special dispensation for Franklin's visit. So i'm placing this prior to Power Pack #35, and concurrent with Fantastic Four #308 (see the References for more on that).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showEnergizer, Franklin Richards, Gee, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Jim Power, Lightspeed, Margaret Power, Mass Master, Master Mold, Mr. Fantastic, Thing
There are a few ways to explain the difference between the original Twelve and the ones that ended up appearing in the later storyline. Mastermold was malfunctioning, so the files could be screwed up is the most obvious of choices. Or, Apocalypse was lying about his Twelve. Or, Sanctity got the list wrong when she put it into Master Mold's programming because she's from an alternate future, and her Twelve isn't the same as her own past's Twelve.
I never got POWER PACK, but I did get this issue for the Master Mold story. It went well with the X-FACTOR issues, I thought.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 2, 2016 2:25 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|