Today comic books are no longer a children focused media, with gritty adult rated t.v shows, teen aged blockbusters and sexual harassment in every office. They are big buisness and yet “won’t someone please think of the children“, because all their getting is a bunch of cartoon series, where if they ever get good get cancelled oh and Big Hero 6. To find something aimed at kids comics we’re going to have to go all the way back to 1991 with t.v’s
For those who don’t know the name Power Pack don’t fret for a voice over is here to explain who, what, why, when and who. Okay maybe just what. See we open up on a voice over from “Cosmos” with a mysterious voice over telling us how he was looking to pass on his tremendous powers to a righteous soul and instead settled for four pre-pubescents. Why children? Who knows. But apparently we’re bored of him now so on to the wacky home life shenanigans of ‘the Power Family’.
We find that they’ve just moved into a new neighbour hood, presumably after their powers went out of control and totalled a city block. Here therefore they must lay low and keep their powers to a minimum, not even using them to save a school bus of drowning kids. Only instead using them to get books out from under fish tanks, rescue retainers from the drain and tidy their room.
The kids and their powers are fairly simple to grasp.
Alex is the token nerd and has the power of telekenisis, Jack is the cocky one and has the power to shrink, Katie is the kid of the group and has the power of uh power and Julie is the girl and has the power of tired old internet memes. Together they will face such trails of going to school, meeting members of the opposite sex and exploring haunted mansions.
If you thought some of the early nineties comic book adaptations were embarrassed to be tied to the funny books then you haven’t seen anything yet. No costumes, no villains in fact you could probably drop the name and powers and you would struggle to tell the difference. Now I get that stuff like Jack’s cloud based abilities might be too much for a Saturday morning live action budget, even today but if you’ve going to do a comic book at least try. The plot, instead, such as it is involved Jack making friends and going with them to the “local haunted house”. There he sneaks in via shrinking under the door, apparently impressing his two new friends who don’t even stop to think that he may have just walked off and broken a window, and simply unlatched it from the inside. They find that this is the house of ex-Doctor Morbius aka Orson Wells, here portrayed by a painting and a tape recording. They swipe his head piece to the staff of Ra and head off home only to find the thing cursed. When the sky turns an interesting shade of purple and voices cry out in the middle of the day they realise it might be best to take it back. Thus Jack, Alex and Katie take the amulet back while Julie has the vitally important job of doing the chores around the house so they don’t get in trouble.
They bust in, zap a zombie, stagger around lost for a bit before sticking it back on the picture and calling it a job well done and that is the entirety of ‘Power Pack’. Oh there are a few bits like impressing pre-teen girls with your knowledge of Newtonian gravity and the like but nothing worth your time. Not that the plot I laid out for you was worth your time, nor the acting or effects, heck this whole review isn’t worth your time so just stop reading now, okay. Good job I told you that before you wasted your time ‘eh?
For those stubborn souls still here, in case you can’t tell this is a pretty big miss. It’s flat and boring and even bearing in mind the time you can guess why it didn’t get picked up. Now there’s hope that Marvel might do better next time though last I heard ‘The Power Pack’ was one of the few titles Marvel isn’t actively pursuing at the moment. Though all you should probably take from this is that they can’t really do any worse than this.