The 13 Frights of Halloween- X-Men and Power Pack #1
Welcome to The 13 Frights of Halloween, the series where I share 13 comics that are spooky, creepy, unsettling, and much more. In this edition, we are going to take a look at a more light-hearted tale of when someone crashes a costume party with X-men and Power Pack #1
X-Men and Power Pack # 1
Written by Marc Sumerak
Art by GuriHiru
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Jack Power Is the Best At What He Does and What He Does Is Be Terrible
It’s Power Pack! The family team that consists of Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie Power. The siblings all have unique abilities courtesy of an Alien Visitor (it’s this whole thing. Don’t worry. Not that important here). Either way the family is visiting a fall festival complete with a costume contest.
Jack Power enters the contest as Wolverine and is a total jerk to everyone but especially his little sister Katie Power. The Power kids all take turns being a jerk but Jack definitely takes more than his lion’s share of reps. Don’t worry, he gets humbled by the fact that every kid is dressed like Wolverine (which is an amazing panel of some deeps cuts. Look, Dark Claw!)
Either way Jack is a jerk and causes Katie to run off to the woods where she runs into the real Wolverine. After a commotion breaks out in the woods, the rest of the Power Pack goes out to find Sabretooth is also lurking in the shadows.
It’s up to the Power Pack and Wolverine to take down Sabretooth! And is Jack going to win the Costume Contest?!!
Light-Hearted Halloween Tale
In the mid-2000’s, Marvel was pushing several different evergreen all-ages comics designed to be printed in digest forms. One of these series was Power Pack and during this push, Marc Sumerak got to write the bulk of the Power Pack mini-series from this era.
X-Men and Power Pack is a series of one-shot stories each featuring an X-man of note. This one happens to feature Wolverine (a real no-brainer for many reasons. Sumerak focuses on providing a comic that is continuity light (we aren’t getting call backs to Wounded Wolf) but still captures the dynamics of the family. The Power Pack kids first and foremost. They act like kids. This is one of the reasons the 80’s comic series was so successful. Sumerak delivers that and then some.
The personalities of the characters are balanced with jokes and suspenseful moments. There is tension in the book. Sure, the stakes are obviously lower than a typical Power Pack comic, but there are still stakes! Sumerak’s deft touch here makes it easy to see why he wrote most of these series.
And Introducing—Dark Claw?!
Sumerak frequent collaborators during this run were the art team GuriHiru—Chifuyu Sasaki (Pencils and Inks) and Naoko Kawano (colors). Together they make this delightful art team. Current readers may be familiar with them from Superman Smashes the Klan or It’s Jeff! Either way they bring this clean art style that is timeless. They utilize a cel-shaded style that looks great and likely reprints in digest better than most art styles.
What I truly love about GuriHiru’s art is the fact the Power Pack looks like actual kids! This is one of the things that artists struggle with the most when drawing the Pack. The impact and emotions of the characters work best when the kids look their ages. Jack is a jerk here but it’s a lot more excusable when you see he’s roughly 9 years old and most 9 years olds can be real jerks. These are kids with big emotions in small bodies who just happen to have superpowers. GuriHiru gets that.
Then there’s the visual details in their work, be it the Wolverine costume party, kids freaking out over Sabertooth being chained up in a Motorcycle’s sidecar, or just stitching up Katie’s shoulder ruffle after it gets ripped in the opening scene of the comic and keeping up with that throughout the rest of the issue. Seriously, that Wolverine party scene is great. The only thing missing is the Fang costume. Yet, given that Laura Kinney was running around in that costume in Uncanny X-Men at the time, I’ll let that slide.
X-Men and Power Pack #1 is a fun and lighthearted Halloween story that captures the spirit of being a kid. Sometimes kids are mean, but at the end of the day, they love each other. I highly recommend the entire Power Pack All-Ages digests from this year. They are a delight. You can find them on Marvel Unlimited, ComiXology, and your local book store.
For more of The 13 Frights of Halloween, click here.
Want to read about that time Power Pack invited everyone to Thanksgiving? Yes, you do.
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