Posts Tagged ‘power pack’

I have issues

February 4th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

Last Defenders 3-6
Teen Titans 13-15
Echo 1-6
Wolverine: Logan 1-3

The Last Defenders got a lot better as it went on. I liked how Nighthawk tried different line-ups until he found one that worked, even if it didn’t include him. I can see this continuing on as a series, with a team on the run from the authorities, kind of an A-Team, always one step ahead. It had a bit of a NextWave vibe to it, with a little bit of Exiles thrown in. It really feels like a prelude to something else, with Yandroth playing a bigger role down the road.

Going on with team books, I’m still catching up with the 2003 series of Teen Titans. We’re running up to Infinite Crisis in a couple of trades, which is where I started reading the series regularly. A few of the subplots allude to the upcoming events; the main story in this three-issue arc covers Gar Logan’s temporary cure of his green hue, but at the loss of his animal powers, of course. Entertaining, but to be honest, I was more interested in the asides with Wonder Girl, Superboy and Tim Drake (formerly Robin–this is where Spoiler took over, just prior to War Games). How do you stop being a super-hero? The Loners touched on this with Julie Power trying to give up being Lightspeed (something I’d like to see more of–someone should write a Power Pack All Grown Up comic–maybe I should!) I should look for the Robin issues that tie-in here.

Terry Moore’s foray into the super-hero genre is good so far, but he seems to be taking his sweet time in getting anywhere. I’m not sure I could handle reading these in single issues–it was much more satisfying as a trade, although only sort of, because after six issues, it seems like we still haven’t really gone anywhere. The crazy homeless guy seems a bit of a stereo-type.

Brian K Vaughan wrote a sweet Logan story here. It’s short, it’s beautifully illustrated, and fits in well with the Wolverine: Origins series, although not officially a part of that. While Wolverine is far too overused as a character (I wonder what would happen if there was a year-long hiatus of using this character), I’m enjoying these little chapters in his life. It’s reminding me a lot of what’s going on with Iron Fist, where we get a window into the past, and the stories are very self-contained.

Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.

September 16th, 2008 by jason

I’m reading the recently published first trade paperback from the Geoff Johns series, his first comic work, according to the introduction. Collecting the first 8 issues from 1999 and 2000, it introduces the character of Courtney Whitmore, the new Star-Spangled Kid, who went on to be a member of the Justice Society, in the relaunch of JSA, also written by Johns.

My introduction to the character was in trades of JSA, and I didn’t know too much about the character, or her stepfather, the man in a tin can, Pat Dugan. DC really likes their legacy characters, at least within the last 10 to 15 years, and really likes pairing them up with younger, newer versions of their legacy characters. Pat used to be Stripesy, the sidekick to the original Star-Spangled Kid back in the Golden Age. In this series, he plays the begrudging mentor to young Courtney as she develops her super-hero persona and skills, thanks to the cosmic converter belt formerly owned by the original Kid. I say begrudgingly because he claims to not want her adventuring and that he’s doing his best to prevent it. If that’s his best, I’m surprised she didn’t start going to JSA meetings right off the bat.

I’ve only read the first few issues in the trade so far, but they’re fun. You can tell that Johns is hitting his stride, and setting things up for some wacky happening ahead. So far this is written very much in what I remember Young Justice to be like, and in fact they appear in a one-page cameo, where Robin discusses possibly recruiting her to be on the team. This, along with Young Justice and Impulse, seems to be courting a teen comic reader, and most probably teen girls. It was launched when Buffy was in full stride, and Veronica Mars was still a few years off. It’s very light-hearted, and Lee Moder and Dan Davis’s art is cartoony without seeming childish. Along with fighting super-villains, she’s dealing with being the new girl at school, getting braces, and handling her mother marrying her step-father (the latter, handling poorly).

When I started reading comics seriously at age 12 or 13, I remember my favourites being Power Pack, New Mutants and New Teen Titans, and I think that might’ve been because the characters were closer to my age. I like that Marvel and DC are trying to find younger readers with their Marvel Adventures and Johnny DC lines, but I didn’t feel like the three comics I mentioned were written for me because I was a kid. They were part of the same universes, they interconnected with big named characters, were part of crossovers, and fit into the bigger picture. I think Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. is a great comic to get younger readers, probably of the middle school age introduced to comics. It’s fun, the writing so far is great, the art is accessible, and there are cameos by other characters, without it feeling like you have to know right away who they are. It’s a taste of other corners of the DCU, kind of a sign at the amusement park telling you there are more rides in Adventureland over this way. All fourteen issues have been collected in two trades, which I found at my local library.

Power Pack tv pilot

May 10th, 2008 by jason

It seems like at one point or another, just about every super-hero has had some sort of film or television appearance.  And if it’s something that never actually aired on tv, you can bet that someone made a pilot for it that never went anywhere.  Just recently, I got the opportunity to see something I had been trying to find for years, the unaired live action Power Pack tv pilot.  Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie might’ve had their very own tv series, had this show impressed some execs just a bit more.  Judging by the style of the show, they were going for a Saturday morning, or mid-afternoon show, seeking the coveted Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers audience.  What they made, though, was a little closer to Small Wonder.  Most people might say that’s a dis, but at the time, I loved Small Wonder.  And I can see me back then, eating this up with a spoon.  However, being made in 1991, the producers missed the Small Wonder boat by a few years.  Not enough action for MMPR, too young for Saved By The Bell, I’m not sure which fan base they were really going for here.

As far as the story goes, the origin is similar.  The kids still got their powers from an alien named Whitemane, the powers are mostly the same, but they’re not super-heroes.  They don’t fight Snarks.  Their parents know about their powers.  And most of the situational plot comes from not letting the neighbours know about their powers.  They’ve just moved to a new town, and they get a lecture from Mom & Dad about how important it is that they fit in here, so no using powers in public.  Their powers are similar to what they have in the comics, with some twists.  Alex is pretty much the same, Julie is super-fast, but couldn’t fly (at least not in this episode–she does pedal a bicycle at superspeed with the rainbow trailing her), Jack appears to only be able to shrink, and Katie…well, she has some sort of energy powers, but I have no idea what they are.  What was shown in the episode was her creating a glowing globe in her hand, and releasing some sort of energy at a ghost, but not explosive energy.  Plus she doesn’t have to “charge up” by disintegrating matter.

The production quality was that of a pilot, never meant to be aired.  The producers were trying to sell the episode, so the effects are pretty dicey.  The background music during the beginning was from Beetlejuice and in one scene, the radio is playing New Kids on the Block.  I can’t say I blame the executives from giving this one a pass, but I’d like to see what could’ve been had the show been greenlit. It wasn’t unenjoyable, but it was a little bit closer to Alf or Bewitched than it was to the Marvel comic that meant so much to me as a kid.