Power Pack #1 Review

by Charles Martin on November 25, 2020

Power Pack #1 Review
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Nico Leon
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics

For decades, Power Pack has been one of the most endearing oddities on the fringe of the Marvel universe. The core premise and the character designs strongly announce the title's 80s pedigree; this is clearly a comic designed for kids growing up on a steady diet of Saturday morning cartoons.

Yet the x-factor that has given the Pack its great longevity is that the books are always plotted and scripted in a way that welcomes older readers. Dark twists, high stakes, and real emotion are the hallmarks of the best Power Pack comics.

The first issue of this new miniseries slides smoothly into place as another engaging all-ages adventure. The only real drawback is that it takes a "ground zero" approach that favours readers who are entirely unfamiliar with the team. That translates into a slight shortage of overall plot development in this issue.

But if you need a primer on Power Pack, this issue is terrific! It opens with their origin story, retold in adorably juvenile comic strip form. This is the work of Katie, the youngest Power sibling.

Completing the scene-setting, the first proper scene involves her sister and brothers talking her out of presenting this comic to their parents, who are still oblivious to their kids' heroism.

They'll go on to duck out of their parents' anniversary dinner when their old nemesis, the Boogeyman, attacks an orphanage. They treat him to a straightforward thumping, but the final scene has one last surprise to spring on them. I won't spoil it -- though the cover kinda does that -- but I will say it's an outstanding and logical use of contemporary continuity.

First things first: This comic is bright. Rachelle Rosenberg is to be commended for her fiery colour work. Julie's rainbow trail, sometimes dimmed in prior appearances, is up to full nuclear intensity here. And the world around the Pack is vibrant as well, brought to life with warm pastel colours and lots of ambient light.

Nico Leon's clean, minimalist drawing style is perfect for the subject matter, sketching the kids clearly and emphasizing their youth by keeping their lines strong and simple. The big action fight scene is possibly a little too dynamic, with great character poses but a slight risk of losing the flow of the story. Overall, though, the visuals are terrific.

Ah, but as suggested above, the script is where the magic really needs to happen in a Power Pack comic. And Ryan North waves a very effective wand over the dialogue and Katie's narration. It's natural speech enhanced with a finely-tuned dose of comedy.

The plot is a very straightforward affair, but by leaning hard into its simplicity, the script turns potential disappointment into absurdist brilliance. The Boogeyman wants to attack an orphanage? Meh, it'll serve its purpose. The Boogeyman loudly and repeatedly screaming that all he wants to do is eat some orphans in peace? Brilliant.

Power Pack #1 gets off to a slightly slow start thanks to being very thorough in introducing (or re-introducing) the team to its readers. Make peace with that, though, and you'll also find it thoroughly entertaining. Witty writing and gorgeous art serve to make this a delightful first act.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
A radio delivering plot exposition is forgivable when the writer goes the extra mile to make it ridiculous and hang a lampshade on how convenient it is.