Alex Zalben and Gurihiru provide an all ages story about the pending loss of a loved one and the measures the Power kids will take to make things better. Their grandmother is lying in a hospital bed, terminal, but still aware of her surroundings. She informs the Power children of her situation which, naturally, puts the kids ill at ease as they try to determine how to make things better. A nurse provides the Power Pack with a nudge in a different direction as Julie Power is given a book about Norse mythology.
That book leads Julie and her siblings on a quest to find Thor. Their search -- in classic comic book fashion -- leads them to a team-up with the other prominent all ages team from Marvel, the Pet Avengers. Zalben handles both teams very well, and the interaction between the two provides some light-hearted, entertaining moments, especially the old gag of animals speaking, but humans only hearing animal noises.
From the introduction of the Power Pack on the opening spread to the "Told ya so!" ending, this is the way to handle an all ages read. There are levels to the story that can be appreciated from the basic quest to save Grandma to the mysterious identity of the nurse.
The story would be quite capable in prose, but the art by Gurihiru is manga-influenced enough to be completely approachable and to feel nearly timeless. There are points, such as the children waiting in the waiting room, that are better left unlettered. The images tell the story, and any reader capable of telling time is sure to be able to relate to what the children are going through here.
For an all ages read, this story is packed full of information, but manages to maintain a brisk pace while engaging a large segment of the Marvel Universe. I've never invested much time (and certainly very little, if any, money) into "Power Pack," but I know enough about these characters to be able to enjoy this story with the added information this issue provides.
This issue is rounded out with a story by Colleen Coover of the Power Pack and their babysitters. "Stuck" watching the Power kids, Johnny Storm calls in a favor from his old pal Hercules. Never did I think I'd see Hercules bust out the Crayolas alongside Katie Power, but it's right here.
While this is not essential reading, it is a nice reprieve from Marvel's current Deadpoolapalooza. Thor doesn't appear in the pages, but this issue still carries itself magnificently despite. Next issue will start to answer some questions and maybe even clue us in as to who the nurse is. I have my guess, but I wouldn't put it past this team to deliver a surprise or two in the course of this story.