Power Pack #42-43
Issue(s): Power Pack #42, Power Pack #43
These issues begin Jon Bogdanove run as a writer-artist on Power Pack, although you can see from the art and ink credits on this issue that deadlines were likely a problem, and we'll see lots of fill-ins as we go forward. These issues tease a major change in direction, with Power Pack's parents learning that they have super-powers, and a suggestion on the cover of #43 that the kids will be shipped off to Xavier's Scool (a possibility that had also been raised in the lettercol in the past). But the situation will be reversed in issue #44 (which is not by Bogdanove and which i'm covering in a separate entry due to the timing of Inferno events), so it turns out that what i thought (in realtime) was a pretty significant event is actually just a false alarm. The circumstances here do allow Bogdanove to go crazy artwise, but we're really at the point, if not well beyond it, where only obsessive completists need to go further with the series. I, of course, am an obsessive completist, and there actually are still some points of interest to come, but the series could have ended here and no one would have complained. The lettercols at this point are loaded with people talking about the fact that the book "has fallen into a decline" and has looked like "the person drawing them didn't care".
All that said, as an Inferno tie-in, these two issues are pretty good. We start with a follow-up on Carmody, who was dropped into Limbo by Magik two issues ago. Since he failed to live up to his promise to N'astirh to deliver Earth babies, N'astirh says that we must make "alternate arrangements", and he begins to chew away Carmody's humanity.
Back on Earth, a good depiction of the Inferno-as-NYC-criticism (note also the reference to the greenhouse effect, which we also saw (or "will see", by publication date) in Daredevil #262.
All the Power kids are sweltering in the heat and with fever, and therefore all the kids except Julie have their shirts off. There's even a "full frontal" image of Katie that i'm not including. Of course she's five years old and there's nothing at all sexual or inappropriate about it, but it's very unusual for American entertainment to show even very young girls without shirts on, so it struck me as weird and made me uncomfortable.
It's no wonder the kids are sick since, as that first panel of New York City shows, there is raw sewage in the streets, and soon it's coming into the house as well.
And meanwhile, Carmody, released from Limbo, roams the streets...
...and we eventually get the full reveal.
How this guy never teamed up with Sugar-Man, i'll never know.
With the exception of Bogeyman's release, everything in the story so far fits the first stage of Inferno where inanimate objects go out of control. And then we see the transition to the second stage with Magik forcing her way from Limbo, which is what leads to actual demons coming to Earth in the other books.
The situation in the Power apartment continues to deteriorate...
...and eventually they decide to leave the city. But they're attacked by Bogeyman in the elevator.
And while the kids heal themselves for the fight, Bogeyman reveals to their parents that they have superpowers.
Bogeyman runs off with the parents, and the Power kids openly discuss killing him.
When they catch up with him, they find that he may look solid but he's actually squishy and gross.
The Power kids are also diverted by the demons (one of whom looks like the minor demon Crotus that Bogdanove was drawing in X-Terminators but there's no confirmation of that) that are now attacking the city.
During that fight, Alex develops the ability to fire off multiple smaller fireballs at once.
And a little later, when they are back to rescuing their parents from the Bogeyman, Julie develops the ability to generate a bubble cushion, similar to what Whitey did in their first appearance.
The kids eventually get Bogeyman on the ropes...
...and Alex is ready to kill him, but his father talks him down.
And Margaret references the conversation she had with Julie back in Power Pack #5, where she told her that she'd love her even if she could fly.
Carmody is disgusted by all this hippie lovey-dovey stuff...
...and he winds up jumping off a building when faced with the truth of what he's become.
The initial reaction from the parents is actually done well, with Bogdanove having done his research and using past storylines to support their behavior. It would have been nice if it had continued like this. But there's a shift at the end. The kids say they are going back out to help the city with the rest of the Inferno craziness, and the parents are initially shocked to that, which makes sense, but as they let the kids go anyway you can see that they have become unhinged.
It feels like a shift in tone, and it looks like Velluto art, so i'm wondering if this is an editorial change from Bogdanove's plot, which may explain why issue #44 (which is billed as "Revenge of the Boogy Man part 3" even though he's no longer in it) is by a different writer. In any event, i'm pausing here since next issue takes place towards the tail end of Inferno stage two.
Carmody was a great anti-mutant (facts be damned) ass of a character, and Bogdanove captures his personality here really well with his rants about hippies. I still find it ridiculous that a regular guy could eventually become so obsessed with a single family and eventually become an actual demon. It's not a problem with this story since it fits well enough with the larger Inferno event; it's just indicative of how in a comics universe everyone eventually becomes a super-character.
Carmody will return in the 1990s Luke Cage series, which was written by the assistant editor here, Marc McLaurin.
A scene in issue #43 sets up the upcoming return to space adventures by showing that the Smartship Friday has not yet been repaired and indeed is faltering.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The beginning of issue #42 is not labelled a flashback, but it seems as if it is taking place directly after issue #40. Issue #41 was a fill-in so most likely the scene wasn't intended as a flashback. But it must be, since at this point N'astirh has to be on Earth and can't have gone back to Limbo to turn Carmody into a true Bogeyman (and furthermore the New Mutants' appearance here must take place after New Mutants #71 which must take place after Power Pack #40). The rest of issue #42 takes place during X-Terminators #3/New Mutants #71; we actually see Magik forcing her way through the portal from Limbo.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showBogeyman, Byrel Whitemane, Cannonball, Energizer, Friday, Gee, Gosamyr, Jim Power, Kofi, Lightspeed, Magik, Margaret Power, Mass Master, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), S'ym, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane, Yrik Whitemane
FNORD - there's a word missing here (and a grammatical mistake - the i in i'm should be I, since I'm being really specific):
Also, when you say "I still find it ridiculous that a regular guy could eventually become so obsessed with a single family and eventually become an actual demon.", that's exactly what happened in the Spider-Man titles during Inferno. Hobgoblin becomes fused with a demon at this time.
Posted by: clyde | August 27, 2014 4:13 PM
Also, the demon that FNORD said resembles Crotus talks in the same mannerism that Crotus talks with.
Posted by: clyde | August 27, 2014 4:17 PM
Thanks Clyde, i've added the missing word. Ziggy's Rule of Humble Pronoun Usage is in effect here, though, and i never capitalize my first person pronouns unless they're at the beginning of a sentence.
I find Jason Macendale's trajectory less ridiculous since he was already the Jack O'Lantern and the Hobgolbin before becoming the Demogoblin, whereas Carmody starts off as just a regular middle manager with no reason to be involved in super-stuff. But i can concede it's a fine point.
The counter-argument against that being Crotus is that he says "master" without a lisp unlike his usual "mawthtur". But we'll see Crotus cured of his lisp by Cloak and Dagger #4 so maybe he's in a transitional state here.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 27, 2014 4:55 PM
It's not the clearest drawing but I think that may be Gossamer grabbing the demon that's clinging to Wolfsbane's back in the panel with the New Mutants. You don't have her in the "Characters Appearing" list.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 26, 2014 12:28 AM
Whoops, I mean Gosamyr.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 26, 2014 12:32 AM
I agree. Added Gosamyr. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 26, 2014 7:54 AM
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