Happy Thanksgiving from the Power Pack
It’s Thanksgiving time again and in the tradition of the holiday, let’s talk about a Thanksgiving special. This year, I want to talk about Power Pack #19.
Power Pack #19- Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
Written by Louise Simonson
Pencils by Brent Anderson & Scott Williams
Inks by Terry Austin, Scott Willliams, & Sam De La Rosa
Colors by Janet Jackson
Letters by Joe Rosen
Things aren’t going great for the Power Pack
Things aren’t going well for the Power Pack (did it ever go well during Louise Simonson’s run?). Sure, they have defeated Kurse during Secret Wars 2, but at the cost of their mother’s health. Following the attack, their mom is critically injured, and an infection has set in. This causes the Power Pack’s father to spend most of his time at the hospital, leaving the kids on their own for Thanksgiving. It was the 80’s.
The Parade is the last thing on the minds’ of Alex and Jack. As whole, the Pack are all taking the stress of their mom’s in different ways. Alex and Jack are taking it in angsty ways and Julie is struggling to stay strong.
You can’t blame them, either. They aren’t sure how to feel about the whole ordeal. Alex especially. He is blaming himself for his mom being in the area of the attack and feels responsible for her state.
Thanksgiving Surprise Party?
As for the youngest, Katie Power? She is inviting all of Power Pack’s friends to a Thanksgiving dinner. We are talking about the Morlocks Annalee and Leach, Beta Ray Bill, Franklin Richards, Wolverine, and Kitty Pryde. The thing is that Katie’s plan is secret to the rest of the Pack.
In addition to the big Surprise Friendsgiving Katie is hosting, she is set to go the Macy’s Day Parade. The parade is all Katie wants to do because the “Balloons are so big it makes the problems seem so small.”
Before Katie can go to the parade, the surprise Friendsgiving is revealed to the rest of the Power Pack. Given the team’s conflicted feeling about having fun while their mom is struggling to survive, they don’t handle the news all too well.
Still, no excuse for Alex to be a jerk to her. I mean, Alex Power is a jerk in general but come on kid. You all are hurting. No need to lash out at your little sister.
Well, Alex and Katie go on their own ways in a fit of rage leaving Jack and Julie to pick up the pieces. They decide Alex can just be an angry teen for a bit and that Katie is more important. Plus, they know Katie went to the Parade.
Annalee Is The Worst Morlock
While the Power Pack is going through their issues, the Morlock Annalee is tormenting Leech and seals him in a crate to keep him from going to the Thanksgiving party. Annalee doesn’t want Leech nearby because Leech’s mutant-power cancelling power will interfere with her attempt to use her own emotion projecting powers to sway the kids into accepting her as their mother.
Note: This plan is only 7 months in real time since Annalee kidnapped the Power Pack.
Annalee is the worst and I hate her. Needless to say, Leech manages to get free and still wants to be with Annalee. Leech deserves better.
Panic at the Thanksgiving Parade!
That brings us to the parade. Katie meets up with Franklin Richards and Beta Ray Bill (in humanoid form) and all seems to be going well. At least, until Annalee shows up followed by Leech.
Leech’s appearance initially leads to him being confused as a Kermit the Frog clown, but things turn dark when Annalee unleashes chaos on the parade via her powers.
As the crowd turns into a riot to stop Leech, Katie takes advantage of the chaos to escape with Franklin Richards on the Mighty Mouse Balloon to try to visit the hospital, as Mighty Mouse was her mom’s favorite super hero.
Luckily, Beta Ray Bill saves them though as Katie nearly rams the hospital with the Balloon.
Teenage Angst Saves the Day
Elsewhere, Alex is being angsty on a rooftop when he runs into Cloak and Dagger. Cloak and Dagger talk some sense into Alex and remind him to be thankful for what he does have. From the rooftop, the three see the chaos of the parade breaking out. Alex quickly realizes it is due to Annalee and has Cloak help bring Leech to Annalee to stop the madness. Incidentally, since Leech doesn’t turn off Cloak’s powers it is here that proves that Cloak and Dagger aren’t actually mutants.
Once the pandemonium at the parade settles down, the Power Pack are reunited, and they all go back with their friends to have Thanksgiving. Annalee learns to accept Leech as a foster son, Leech gets his trademark look, and they all have a good time.
And oh yeah Kitty Pryde and Wolverine were there and yet didn’t really contribute much to the story but a nice sales bump. Oh well.
Thoughts on Thanksgiving with the Power Pack
Simonson Works Her Magic
Louise Simonson’s Power Pack is definitely a gem of the early 80’s Marvel line. Simonson knows how to write character drama and brings that emotional core to the story. As much as a dislike Alex, he feels very much like a real teenager given how much he blames himself for his mother’s condition and thinking everyone should be miserable because he is miserable. Doesn’t mean I have to like the character, though. Alex is the worst Power Pack Kid.
The stuff with their mom being really sick really resonated with me. When I was a young child, my mom spent extended periods of time in the hospital. One time in particular, I remember my dad being distraught and fearful for her death. I can’t imagine my dad somehow taking care of two kids and dealing with that thought. The moment when Dr. Powers confides in the oldest the truth about their mom just hit me hard. Simonson finds nuggets of real world connection in these fantastical stories and brings it to the forefront.
On top of that Simonson’s story is a well-paced 40+ pages and manages to find ways to incorporate the wide array of guest characters into one story. It may not all be perfect. Just look at Kitty and Wolverine. Kitty does learn a life lesson in forgiving her family thanks to the Power Pack.
Wolverine, again, gives a sales boost and style. Look at that ascot. Logs is serving looks this Thanksgiving.
The only knock on this issue is the art. Brent Anderson most have been rushed considering Scott Williams got pencil credit on top of the inking. The Inking by committee really hammers this point. There are moments in the comic where the kids like inhuman and off model. I cannot speak to the line quality given that this is a digital reproduction of an early 80’s Marvel comic. Those comics tend to look far different on their original paper stock. I can say it does look choppy in digital. It isn’t the worst comic art by any stretch of the imagination, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
Power Pack #19 is a heartfelt Thanksgiving comic, and the nature of Thanksgiving is central to the story and not just window dressing. Power Pack in general is a great little series and I found this issue in particular to be a worthwhile experience and possibly worth second helpings next Thanksgiving.
Links and Such
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Read last year’s Thanksgiving Special on Uncanny X-men #308