POWER PACK #1, available from Marvel Comics on November 25th, brings the titular, super-powered siblings back together after years of fighting solo across time and space. This time their biggest threat is the US Government. Written by Ryan North with art by Nico Leon, this first issue in the series finds the kid team caught up in the Outlawed event when all they want to do is kick butt.
Ryan Stegman’s cover work for this inaugural issue is generally good. Katie Power is the focus of this cover, and that’s reflective of the internal story. With Katie and Julie fully powered up, they provide some strong visuals to leap off the cover. I would have liked to see more energy in the composition because it lacks oomph.
Shenanigans. North’s story is best summed up as Brady Bunch-style shenanigans. The kids get together after several years apart, fighting evil. It’s their parent’s wedding anniversary, but they do the best to sneak out of the house to fight a villain terrorizing an orphanage.
The lies and excuses they tell to sneak away from their parents are amusing but ridiculous. The dynamics of the kids feel very natural for siblings. And the strangely naive reaction of the parents to their ridiculous excuses is humorous. For the most part, it works as a quirky little book.
That said, what doesn’t make sense in this book is an overly long crayon story at the beginning where Katie imagines telling their parents about their lives as superheroes. Katie is depicted as somewhere in the 8-10-year-old age, but her crayon drawings and manner of speech are closer to a pre-schooler. It’s really offputting. Either the artist totally missed the mark on drawing Katie too old, or North’s writing completely misunderstands how a 10-year-old speaks, draws, and behaves. It’s difficult to look past this misstep when Katie is the central character in this issue.
Nico Leon’s art style was an excellent choice for this book. Lon uses diffuse lines and curves to give every character and setting a softness that feels like a cartoon without being cartoonish. It makes the book very accessible for younger readers, and it plays up the silly tone very well.
In addition to the excellent lines, Leon demonstrates remarkable use of acting through body language. Jack, in particular, is slouching, grinning, fist-pumping, and high-fiving at every opportunity. Even when the kids aren’t fighting or doing anything heroic, Leon uses body language to instill a constant level of action throughout.
Rachelle Rosenberg is a perfect colorist for Leon’s art style. The shading is bright and sunny on every panel to set a consistently cheery mood. I often point out artists using deep, dark shadows to amplify drama, but it can work equally well to use bright light for cheery energy. Rosenberg pumps up the cheer to add a light-heartedness to an already fun story.
VC’s Travis Lanham’s lettering is clear and well-paced for a fairly light issue. I enjoyed the fact that Lanham took the opportunity to inject a little fun into this issue with dinner table sounds like “SMOOCH” and radio musical notes. Lanham had some fun with this issue, and it shows.
POWER PACK #1, available from Marvel Comics on November 25th, is a light and cheery start for the super siblings’ return. Despite Katie’s bizarre characterization, the action is fun, and the family interactions are amusing. The bright art pulls it all together. POWER PACK #1 is a recommended read.