Power Pack #6-8
Issue(s): Power Pack #6, Power Pack #7, Power Pack #8
The Power family has moved to New York, which means a new apartment and new schools.
It also means they're more in the heart of the Marvel Universe, and therefore the Pack meets Spider-Man, Cloak & Dagger, and Dragon Man in this arc.
Issue #6 is appropriately called "Secrets" and it's got the brothers and sisters of Power Pack breaking off into separate groups and going on their own adventures. The boys look for and successfully find Spider-Man...
...and the girls wind up rescuing Dragon Man...
...and "storing" him in their apartment building's storage garage.
Only later do they realize that they are all working towards the same goal: the criminals that created Cloak & Dagger have now kidnapped Professor Gilbert, Dragon Man's original creator, so that he can create for them an army of robots based on fantastical monsters.
Since they're robots, they're immune to Cloak & Dagger's soul-based powers, but the criminals' goal is to use the robots to take over the underworld as well as defeat the teen duo.
If there was any concern that this book wouldn't do as well in a more traditional super-hero environment, it's put to rest right away. It's a fun adventure story, and it's also handled as realistically as possible for a group of very young children. Spider-Man tries to send the boys home...
...and while his (anonymized) tale of Uncle Ben's death is very effective on the older, conscientious Alex, the younger Jack is extremely offended by the fact that Spidey treats them "like babies".
Later, when Katie blasts one of the monsters, she's horrified to think that she's hurt a living creature.
And in a parallel to that, Jack nearly kills the lead criminal...
...and as much as Dagger would like to see him die, she realizes that doing so would ruin the children's innocence, so she uses her light to restore him (to Cloak's outrage!).
Katie's infatuation with Dagger is well handled as well. It's always "Dagger, are you watching me?" as she uses her powers, and at the end, we get this:
Very well done.
Finally, all of Power Pack's exploits have to be timed around their parents' schedules, and in the end they get grounded for not being home when they're supposed to. The challenges of K-12 super-heroing!
Brigman's art is top notch. I really enjoy her facial expressions.
Alex figures out in this arc that he can use propellents to project himself so he doesn't have to rely on Julie to move around. He's a bit worried about the ecological impact, for which Jack of course calls him crazy.
Everything about this book is top notch.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: A newspaper article shows Spider-Man fighting the Hobgoblin (with no other context) In order for that to be current news, i'd like this to appear after Amazing Spider-Man #260-261. Cloak & Dagger appeared in both Power Pack and New Mutants during the same months, publication-wise (presumably to promote their upcoming ongoing series), but in New Mutants it's depicted as if they've been powerless for a while, so their appearance here should probably be after New Mutants. Power Pack #7 actually takes place the day after issue #6, so it could be broken up into a separate entry, but it works better as a story if we keep the issues together and no one has commitments elsewhere anyway.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAllison McCourt, Cloak, Dagger, Dragon Man, Energizer, Gee, Jim Power, John Rival, Lightspeed, Margaret Power, Mass Master, Mr. Diangelo, Professor Gilbert, Spider-Man
The title to #7 is probably taken from Nietzsche's essay "Man and Superman"; also the title of a classic Harvey Kurtzman early 1950s EC science fiction story.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 23, 2012 12:12 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed this apparently as much as I did. When these appeared in my neighborhood grocery store, the Spider-Man cover hooked me (I'd just found MTU #136 crammed in behind the magazines recently) and the story captivated me! I was just the right age, in the middle of the Power children. Would love to collect them all. Machine Man 2020 2 and 4 were sold there, too. Two stores in walking distance of my school and home with comics...my grades allowance had met its destiny!
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | July 3, 2014 6:28 AM
I was too old to be interested in Power Pack when it first came out, and honestly I still don't see the appeal, but I guess this is where Hickman was inspired to bring in Dragon Man along with Alex Powers in his FF run.
Posted by: Andrew | February 3, 2017 8:45 PM
What I like in this story is how visiting characters are not dumbed down like so often happens. Cloak & Dagger are themselves, and presented quite ruthless. It's only because they don't want to be a bad example for the children why they tone down their normal means. Spider-Man is also himself, his encounter with C&D is suitably tense and he reacts to pint-sized heroes as one would expect.
One thing which annoys me is how there is no coherency whatsoever on how Dagger's light projectiles work. Sometimes they're presented as inable to hurt non-living objects (like here) or even soulless beings or animals. In other stories, she is destroying robots or blasting through walls.
Posted by: Zartan | May 10, 2017 6:22 PM
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