With Spotlight all caught up on here until I finish the next chapter, I think we’ve taken a sufficiently-long break from Power Pack that I can post some more of this stuff. :)
I’ve previously discussed Power Pack’s wholly believable childishness. One of the many ways this expressed itself was in their complete inability to keep their “secret identities.” They kept forgetting to wear or have Friday make masks, kept forgetting to use their super-hero names when in costume. Really, anyone and everyone they ran into wound up knowing who they were. Except, that is, their parents.
“I can’t tell my loved ones” hi-jinks are, of course, a staple of super-hero comics. But Power Pack, it seems, had a little help. Jon Bogdanove revealed, just before leaving the series, that after Power Pack’s return from the Snark Wars, Margaret and Jim Power had been subjected to a “mindfix” by Kymellian healer Yrik. The process left the parents highly suggestible when it came to their children’s excuses. Of course, it carried with it the danger of mental breakdown in the face of the truth.
(I realize I’ve mostly been talking about Simonson’s run on the book, but I’m willing to bet this is an element Simonson either meant to play with or of which she approved. After all, when she came back to retcon the entire Higgins run out of existence, she made sure to explicitly retain the mindfix.)
Now, given that loved ones buying implausible excuses is par for the course in a super-hero book, why the need to introduce a secondary science fiction element to explain such antics in Power Pack? I think this comes back, again, to the underpinnings of the book, of Power Pack as a group of children facing the realities of an adult world.
One of those realities, one that none of us can ever escape, is that we will always be our parents’ babies. It doesn’t matter how old we get, how much responsibility we take on, how many times we save the bloody universe, we’re still children. Their babies. No amount of evidence will ever truly change that, and forcing the issues is, well, never pretty.
Power Pack is a book about children entering into an adult world. In this case, “adult” is represented by the super-hero world of the Marvel Universe. Power Pack’s networking within that community explains their general failure to maintain secrecy there. When you get right down to it, you want respected adults to know who you are. But no matter how many people Power Pack know, no matter how many admirable saves they make, Power Pack’s parents, through no fault of their own, will always see them as their babies. The mindfix here is the super-science trapping that matches the other fantastic elements overlaying the books tale of the journey into maturity.
Original version published at Trickle of Consciousness