Five new posts means I get to pull over another oldie I liked. Unsurprisingly, it’s more Power Pack:
One of the greatest strengths of the work done on the Simonson run of Power Pack is the fact that the Power children were fully-developed, child characters. In letting the kids be kids, but allowing that children are more than a single archetype, Simonson also allowed the text itself to resonate with both adults and children.
I’ll put it anecdotally: I was somewhere between Julie’s age and Alex’s (10 and 12, if you’re keeping score) when Simonson’s run began. When I started reading the book, I remember loving the kids’ super-hero names. I remember my frustration that the kids kept forgetting to ask Friday for masks, or that all the adult super-heroes never seemed to take them seriously. They’d saved the world; surely they should get some respect.
Now? Let’s face it, “Mass-Master” isn’t really the coolest thing on the planet, not least of all because of some of the dirtier puns it allows. “Gee”? Seriously, no one thinks that pun is particularly amazing. And post power-switch: “Molecula, Mistress of Density”? Good god. Cheesemongery of the highest order.
That’s what’s so clever here, because even as I grew to realize how silly some of the names were, how absent-minded the kids were, how much they lucked into their victories, I realized that, too, was good writing. These are kids. Of course they’ll pick silly super-hero names. They couldn’t remember to bring their science projects to school; why would it be surprising that they couldn’t remember to modify their costumes?
Still, a part of me, that eleven year old who thought it was so amazing to fit right in the middle of the Power kids, still got a little frustrated when the freaking Warriors Three lectured them on responsibility. And that, too, was part of the work’s intent.
Power Pack are children. They act as stand ins not only to the children who imagine they might become them, but to the adults who imagine they might have been them. Children feel their righteous indignation; adults remember those feelings, remember being dismissed by adults–and, too, remember when those dismissals weren’t entirely fair. It resonates on an honest emotional level that gives credit to both the adults and the oft-dismissed children who encounter it.
Original version published at Trickle of Consciousness