Power Pack #9

Issue Date: 
April 1985
Story Title: 
Fish Tale

Louise Simonson (writer), Brent Anderson (guest penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Pat Blevins (assistant editor), Carl Potts (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

A fishing trawler picks up a strange creature - unbeknownst to them, a Xanthian Boulder Crusher, this one called Snake Eyes. Several weeks later, Power Pack meet up with the alien space ship, Friday, and they reveal to the space ship that their grandfather is taking them to the aquarium, where a large sea snake is being housed. Friday informs them that it looks like a Xanthian Boulder Crusher, before taking up residence in his / her new home - the Hudson river. En route to the aquarium the next day, Katie tries to learn how to play her grandfather’s oboe. At the aquarium, they see the snake, seemingly asleep, and soon discover an exhibit housing various aquariums - where Friday had snuck into, pretending to be a submarine. Later, Katie is practicing the oboe, when Snake Eyes wakes, and the savage alien proceeds to hypnotise as many people as it can, while thrashing about, puts many lives in danger. Power Pack, although worried about their secret identities being exposed, do what they can to stop the snake and save the civilians. Friday joins in on the action, rescuing Energizer and Mass Master after Snake Eyes puts them to sleep. Gee manages to de-gravatize Snake Eyes, and Lightspeed flies them out over the ocean, where they drop Snake Eyes into the water. Soon, Power Pack are helping any injured civilians around the aquarium, when they are visited by Marrina, formerly of Alpha Flight, who reveals her recent encounter with Snake Eyes. The children find their grandfather, who suffered no injuries, and decide to meet up with Friday and Marrina later to find Snake Eyes and stop him once and for all.

Full Summary: 

Several miles off the coast of Maine, a small fishing vessel reels in its latest haul. ‘Holy cow! Jim, what is that thing?’ one of the fishermen calls out. ‘I dunno! I never seen nothing like it’ Jim replies. A third fishermen declares that whatever it is, it is struggling like it is going to rip the net in two. Suddenly, the creature is placed on the deck of the vessel, and it breaks free of the net. ‘Its eyes!’ one of the fishermen exclaims as the large pink cobra-like snake leers down at the crew, and they fall asleep. Up on the bridge, the captain glances out the window and sees the snake - ‘What in -?’ he shouts, before he falls asleep thanks to the creature as well. As he falls over, he accidentally hits the lever for the foghorn, and on the deck, the large serpent extends upwards, but hits its head on a steel pole, knocking itself out, it collapses on the deck. One of the crew unaffected by the creature calls out to the captain, asking him why he hit the fog horn, but he gets no response, and when he looks down and sees the sleeping serpent, wonders what is going on around here.

Several weeks later, in the Manhattan apartment of the Power family, in the early hours of the morning. ‘C’mon, Jack! Wake up! It’s after midnight! Mom and Dad’re asleep now, for sure!’ Alex Power whispers. ‘Huh? Oh! It’s you, Alex! Okay! I’m ready! Let’s go!’ Jack whispers back, but Alex tells him that they cannot go without the girls. In the bedroom which Julie and Katie share, only Katie is fast asleep, as Julie huddles under her covers with a flashlight, reading. ‘Okay, man! Let’s go wake ‘em up!’ Jack declares as he turns to mist, and seeps through into their room by going through the crack under the door. Jack returns to his human form, and grabs the cover from Julie and to cover his naked body. ‘Wasting batteries again, I see! What’d mom tell you about staying up late reading?’ Jack exclaims.

Julie takes flight, her rainbow effect trailing after her and exclaims ‘Jack Power! How dare you come clouding into my room and -’, but Alex enters and shushes his sister. ‘Keep it down!’ he tells her, asking if she wants their mom and dad to come rushing in and see her flying around. ‘That’d end tonight’s expedition for sure!’ he points out. ‘Yeah, and all our expeditions! The last thing we need is their finding out we’ve got powers!’ Jack exclaims, while Alex hands him a pair of shorts to put on. Julie complains to Alex that Jack should not have used his powers and sneaked into her room, to which Alex whispers that neither should Julie have used her powers. ‘We’re a team, remember?’ he states. Alex goes and picks Katie out of her bed and reminds his siblings that Whitey came from space and gave them their powers so they could save the world, not play babyish tricks on each other. ‘Alex! What -?’ Katie asks, rubbing her eyes. Alex tells her that everything is okay, that he has just de-gravitized her.

‘C’mon! Let’s give the command and get our costumes on!’ Alex orders, and an instant later, their colorful costumes materialize. ‘Yeah! And get out of here!’ Jack declares, while Katie remarks that it was nice of Friday to make them these costumes. An instant later, the young heroes fly out of the bedroom window, Jack in his cloud form, Julie with her rainbow streaking behind her, and Alex carrying Katie.

When they land at Riverside Park, Katie begins calling to Friday. ‘We’re here!’ the girl shouts. An instant later, the spaceship called Friday emerges from space, and Julie tells Friday that they missed her, asking if it was lonely in space without them. ‘Well, it was a bit dull’ Friday replies, to which Alex asks Friday how he would like to live in the Hudson River. ‘The…Hudson, Alex?’ Friday asks. ‘Sure! Nobody’d find you there and you’d be close by! It’d be real interesting…!’ Alex exclaims, assuring Friday that the river has been cleaned up. ‘You could study the fish and stuff. The papers say all sorts of weird ones are appearing’ Alex explains.

Alex holds up an advertisement with a picture of a large snake: ‘Just look at this sea serpent they’ve got in the aquarium on Coney Island’ Alex remarks, handing the paper to Friday, he adds that Gramps is going to take them to see the snake tomorrow. ‘Gramps?’ Friday asks. ‘Mom’s dad! We’re meeting him after orchestra rehearsal! He plays the oboe!’ Alex declares. Julie adds that Gramps is a fish nut, and Jack remarks that there is a big display of all kinds of different submarine vehicles. Suddenly, Friday announces that the “serpent” looks like a Xanthian Boulder Crusher. ‘A what?’ Alex asks. Friday displays a projection of the serpent on a monitor, and explains that the Boulder Crusher is a sub-intelligent creature, alien to this world, with a flute-like piping and extremely limited language.

‘The Kymellians…’ Friday begins, to which one of the children exclaims ‘Whitey’s people?’ Friday replies ‘Yes! And the race who built me…’ and explains that the Kymellians make translation . Command devices keyed to the Boulder Crusher’s nervous system, and adds that he / she has heard some Boulder Crushers can actually be controlled through this, although that seems unlikely. Friday continues, remarking that if this is one of them, then the children must never look at it in the eye, as its gaze renders its victims unconscious, before it devours them, and few creatures can resist its spell. ‘But why am I telling you this? Boulder Crushers come from half a galaxy away!’ Friday exclaims, declaring that this must just be an Earth serpent that simply resembles a Boulder Crusher.

Friday moves over the Hudson River while the children watch, and Friday tells them that their aquarium sounds like fun, and he / she had best be going now, so that they can get some sleep to be awake for their visit. ‘I only wish that I could join you! Good night, children!’ Friday calls out. ‘Good night, Friday!’ one of the kids replies. ‘I hope she’s going to be all right!’ Julie remarks. Another of the children bets that the water must be pretty disgusting, no matter what people say. ‘Hey! We forgot to ask Friday if he’s a boy or a girl!’ Jack declares.

The next day, Margaret Power stands over her children as they wait outside Carnegie Hall. ‘Dragonfang is neat! This lady can really write! I wish I could just stay home and finish it…’ Julie sighs. Her mother tells her to forget it, and points out that Julie spends entirely too much time with her nose in a book, so it will do her good to look at some real-life reptiles for a while. ‘But, Mom, the aquarium doesn’t have reptiles! Just fish…and aquatic mammals, of course, and I -’ Alex begins, until his mother interrupts him and tells him that he is starting to sound like Gramps. Suddenly, Gramps walks out from Carnegie Hall, and the kids rush over to him. ‘Hi ya, sweetie pies!’ Gramps exclaims as the kids all hug him. Margaret asks her father if he is sure he wants to lug the oboe on the subway with him, to which Gramps replies that it is not heavy and doesn’t want to waste time taking it home, and adds that it will give Katie a chance to practice.

Shortly, on the subway, Julie is still reading her book, and the boys sit next to her, while Gramps and Katie sit across from them. Jack exclaims that he sees Katie blowing on the oboe but cannot hear any sound. Gramps tells Katie to purse her lips a bit more and explains how to use the instrument, while Jack whispers to Alex that it looks like Gramps finally found a sucker to take up the oboe.

Soon, the four Power children and Gramps walk along a pier towards the aquarium, and one of them exclaims ‘Hey, Gramps, wouldn’t it be weird if that sea serpent turned out to be a monster from outer space?’ But Gramps replies ‘Space? Why, man’s just begun to plumb the oceans…and discover the leviathans who well down there’, and adds that several years ago, a Danish research vessel caught an eel larva so large - but he is interrupted by Alex who helps Katie hold the oboe case up, suggesting that maybe he should carry it. ‘No way, dog-breath! Gramps said I could carry it, remember? I’m not gonna disintegrate it, you know!’ she exclaims.

Unaware that the kids have slowed down a bit and are not keeping pace with him, Gramps continues his story, remarking that deeper down, around 1500 feet are the giant squid, and the sperm whales that prey on them. ‘Alex, look! Rides!’ Katie suddenly exclaims as she looks over at the amusement park next to the aquarium. Jack exclaims that he doesn’t suppose they could talk Gramps into going there instead. ‘What do you think?’ Alex mumbles as they catch up to their grandfather as they enter the aquarium, with Gramps exclaiming that even deeper, around 30,000 feet or so, something huge and alive has been detected by sonar. ‘I don’t suppose we could ditch him, then?’ Jack asks. ‘Somehow I don’t think Mom would understand’ Alex tells his brother, as he helps Katie with the oboe case, and Julie brings up the rear, still reading her book.

Soon, ‘Julie! Julie! Look at this!’ Katie exclaims urgently. Julie looks up from her book, ‘Wow! What is it?’ Julie gasps as everyone stares at the large pink serpent swimming before them. ‘It’s the sea serpent, you dope! Don’t you ever pay attention to anything?’ Jack asks, while Gramps remarks that it is not exactly a sea serpent, and in fact, scientists do not know what it is. Gramps declares that it is a Chordate, of course, though its backbone is unlike that of any known species, and points out that it appears to be asleep or in a coma or perhaps a trance. ‘Or maybe it’s hibernating!’ Gramps adds, before remarking that the oddest and most interesting thing is that, in addition to its gills, the creature has a sort of lung that enables it to breathe. Katie rushes over to an aquarium that has some dolphins and exclaims ‘Hey, Julie, come look at this! Whales! And look! They’re smiling!’

And in the exhibit of modern marine exploratory crafts, ‘Boy, these subs are super!’ Jack exclaims. Alex looks at one of them and remarks that is is designed for deep sea exploration, and wonders why it was made so shiny. ‘Julie! Julie! Look!’ Katie shouts urgently, tugging at her sister, who is still reading her book. ‘Stop it, Katie! If you show me one more submarine, I’ll -’ but Julie stops in mid-sentence as she looks at what Katie was urging her to. ‘Uh…Alex?’ Julie calls out. Jack sees it too, and gets his brother’s attention. ‘I don’t believe it!’ Alex marvels, before quietly whispering ‘Friday - what are you doing here?’ Friday replies that he / she is an exploratory ship, and, as of last night, a submarine as well. Julie urges Friday to whisper so that Gramps doesn’t hear. Friday replies that Gramps, like everyone else, will assume that he / she is part of the exhibit, because he / she is also very modern. ‘In my opinion, I fit right! And this is much nicer than the Hudson’ Friday adds. Alex tells Friday that they need to follow Gramps and will talk about this later.

Shortly, ‘I’m starved! I wish Julie and Gramps’d hurry up with the food!’ Jack whines as he and Alex lean over the fence around the top of the aquarium where the serpent floats. Katie sits on a bench nearby, playing with the oboe. Alex looks at the serpent and tells Jack that it does not look like a fish to him, and that reptiles don’t have gills. He supposes that it could be some sort of amphibian, but he bets it is a Boulder Crusher after all. Jack reminds Alex that Friday said Boulder Crushers are fierce and hypnotize people and put them to sleep, only it just lies there. ’Hey, Alex! Listen to me play! Listen!’ Katie calls out, and suddenly, the oboe makes a sound - and an instant later, the serpent rises from the tank. ’Holy!’ Alex gasps as he and Jack step back from the edge of the aquarium. The serpent - called Snake Eyes - begins to stare at civilians, hypnotizing them. Katie continues blowing into the oboe, and the snake suddenly lunges at her, but Alex flies in and picks Katie up, declaring that it is a Boulder Crusher, but wonders why it suddenly woke up.

Suddenly, the oboe becomes cloud as the kids begin using their powers. ‘Look what I did!’ Katie exclaims. ‘Friday was right! Don’t look at it!’ Jack calls out, while Alex tells Katie not to worry about Gramps’ oboe, and tells his siblings that they are to use their super hero names from now on. Jack - Mass Master - approaches Julie and Gramps in his cloud form and calls out to them, announcing that the Boulder Crusher escaped. ‘We don’t know where it’s gone -’ he begins, only for Snake Eyes to bust its way through the courtyard, sending tables and chairs flying everywhere. ‘Don’t turn ‘round! Don’t look! Close your eyes!’ Mass Master calls out, Julie does - but Gramps is too slow, and he falls asleep.

Alex - Gee - calls out to Julie - Lightspeed - and tells her that they have got to get Gramps out of here, fast. ‘Yeah, Gee! And everybody else!’ Lightspeed as, while Gee holds Gramps and several civilians up, Lightspeed propels them through the air. ‘That stupid monster’s blocking the door!’ Alex exclaims. Julie replies that she knows and points out to the people who could not escape, even if they were awake. Katie - Energizer - shields her eyes as she walks along a handrail on the outside stairs, calling out to her siblings, she exclaims that she can make a hole in the glass and power up at the same time. Energizer declares that the people who are asleep will not see, and the ones who are awake are too scared to notice.

Inside the food court, Snake Eyes puts more civilians to sleep, One of her older siblings warns Katie not to fire off any power balls unless she has to, for with all the people running around somebody might get hurt. The glass dissolves, and Katie helps some people through, while Snake Eyes escapes out through the other side of the building. One of the civilians announces that the snake has smashed through the floor into the aquariums below, so the whole place is going to flood - and that is exactly what happens, as Snake Eyes emerges from the tanks below, sending water flying everywhere. ‘Oh no, Gee, look! That whale! It’s gonna be hurt!’ Lightspeed exclaims, but the two of them fly over and lift the mammal from danger. ‘Not if we can help it! Come on!’ Gee exclaims.

Gee drops the creature into the sea lion’s tank, remarking that it is a tight fit, but will keep him from drying out, at least that is what Alex hopes. ‘We’ve still got to stop that Boulder Crusher! But how?’ Gee wonders. Mass Master floats above the snake, and announces that shielding it from seeing people with is cloud doesn’t work, as the Boulder Crusher thrashes around too much. ‘But the great Mass Master has a plan!’ Jack boasts, as he drops down on top of the creature, landing with a thud on Snake Eyes’s head. ‘Let’s see how he likes to be hit with the old Jack Hammer!’ Jack exclaims as he returns to his physical form, but realizes that the snake hardly felt it, all it did was make Snake Eyes mad. ‘If I was Conan I’d blind him…but how?’ Jack wonders, before returning to his Mass Master form, and declaring that it is not fair, as the Boulder Crusher does not even belong on Earth. Jack wonders how it got here, and continues to swirl his cloud around Snake Eyes, attempting to block its gaze, as much as he can. ‘Somebody think of something fast!’ Jack calls out to his siblings.

Alex announces that most of the people got away, but they still have to stop the snake. Julie declares that she has an idea, and asks her siblings if they remember Medusa in mythology, who had snakes for hair, and people who looked at her turned to stone. ‘Yeah…there was this hero, right, who tricked her into looking at her own reflection on his shield’ Alex recalls, while Julie concludes that Medusa turned herself to stone. Katie asks where they will get a shield from, to which Jack declares that they wont use a real shield, and suggests one of the funhouse mirrors from the amusement park. ‘Too far!’ Julie exclaims. ‘Bathroom mirrors?’ Katie ask, but Alex points out that they are too fragile, before suggesting the hull of the shiny sub. ‘What sub?’ Katie asks as she propels her brother and sister away, leaving Jack to keep distracting Snake Eyes. Alex tells Julie that she was reading too hard to notice, and assures Jack that they will be right back.

Soon, the child heroes enter the room where the subs are held. ‘see! There it is! That shiney one right over there!’ Katie exclaims, while Julie calls out to Friday, ‘Guess what?’, and Alex tells Friday that the serpent that looked like a Boulder Crusher really is one, and adds that it is a awake. Katie explains that she as practicing the oboe, and getting really good at it, and then there was a crash. Friday suggests that this Boulder Crusher is a “tame” one, trained to obey certain key hands. ‘What if Katie’s oboe inadvertently gave it some kind of command…maybe to wake up or attack?’ Friday suggests. Julie suggests to Katie that if she keeps blowing on the oboe she will find the command to put the snake back to sleep.

Katie hangs her head and replies that she cannot, as she got scared, and did what Alex thought she would do - disintegrate it. ‘That’s right! Good grief…what’re we going to tell Gramps?’ Alex exclaims, slapping his head. Katie begins crying and tells Alex that she is sorry, that she didn’t mean to, but she was scared. Alex hugs his sister and tells her that it is okay, that they will proceed with plan A, and instructs her to disintegrate a big rectangle out of the side of the ship, which Katie does.

Minutes later, ‘You guys sure took long enough!’ Mass Master exclaims as his siblings return, with Friday, and the panel of shiney material. Julie asks where the Boulder Crusher is, and Jack explains that it disappeared below, that it has gone down in amongst the debris. Alex tells his brother and sisters that he can hear the snake crashing around, and an instant later, Snake Eyes crashes upwards, ‘Here he comes! Don’t look!’ someone calls out. But Jack is not quick enough, and even in his Mass Master cloud form he succumbs to Snake Eyes’ power, and falls to the ground. ’Stop it! Don’t you hurt my brother!’ Katie calls out as she unleashes a beam of energy, but she looks at Snake Eyes, and falls under his spell as well, collapsing over her brother, thankfully, Friday is on hand to collect them both and bring them to safety.

Up above, Gee and Lightspeed are doing their best to stop from looking at Snake Eyes, who lunges as Energizer’s beam darts towards him - suddenly - Snake Eyes stares at the panel that Alex holds up in the air, but Alex realizes that it is not working, as Snake Eyes is staring into his reflection, and nothing is happening. Friday flies up to the youngsters and exclaims ’So that’s what you were doing’, before informing Alex that Boulder Crushers are immune to the hypnotic effects of their own kind, or themselves apparently. ‘Now you tell us!’ Alex mutters, before announcing that he has another idea, only it is a lot more dangerous. Snake Eyes has partly submerged itself in a tank of water, and Alex asks his sister to take him down there and drop him on the serpent’s head.

Lightspeed does as Gee instructs, but Julie notices that Snake Eyes is starting to look up. ‘Quick, do something!’ Julie exclaims. Alex drops the shiney panel in front of Snake Eyes, ‘Here, ugly! Watch the shiney object!’ Alex exclaims, and as his plan worked, Alex lands on the snake’s head, de-gravitizing it, Alex tells Julie that she ought to be able to handle the snake now, and tells her to grab its tail. ‘Ugh! This thing is truly disgusting!’ Julie calls out as she lifts the snake into the air, before asking Alex ‘Now what?’ Gee, still on the snake’s head, tells Julie to take the snake out over the ocean.

Lightspeed does so, with Gee urging her to go faster. ‘He might be weightless but he’s still strong! And he’s starting to whip around after you!’ Gee informs Lightspeed. Suddenly, Snake Eyes bares his fangs and reaches out for Julie. ‘Let go! Drop him! Now!’ Alex calls out, and as Julie lets the snake go, Gee falls upwards, and Snake Eyes clamps down on nothing - before falling toward the ocean - the fierce serpent lands with a massive splash.

Soon, Lightspeed and Gee lift some rubble from a civilain, and Julie points out that nobody seems to be hurt too badly. ‘We hope!’ Gee adds. Julie exclaims that at least they are not gushing blood or anything, before wondering why they are not waking up. ‘Snake Eyes has that effect!’ a voice calls out. ‘They should remain asleep for a little over an hour’ the green-skinned alien woman called Marrina announces. Alex and Julie turn to her, and slightly startled, Alex asks her how she knows. Marrina explains that there was an alien called the Collector who tried to kidnap her to add her to his collection of monsters. She informs the children that Spider-Man and her teammates from Alpha Flight rescued her and drove the Collector away, but Snake Eyes was left behind.

‘You mean the serpent has a name? Weird!’ Alex muses, before telling Marrina that it is okay as they put him back in the ocean. Marrina points out that someone else will simply capture Snake Eyes and be injured by him, more seriously than this. ‘I must stop him!’ she exclaims. Alex tells Marrina that they will help, as they have a ship that knows about Boulder Crushers, before asking who she is. ‘And don’t you want to know who we are? Or wonder why kids have super-powers?’ Alex asks. ‘Why? I have had my powers since I was small…is that so odd?’ Marrina replies. Hanging her head, she sighs that perhaps it would be better for everyone if she had never been hatched at all.

An hour later, ‘Gramps! Gramps…wake up!’ one of the kids calls out as they gather around their grandfather, who sits up, announcing that he just had the most remarkable dream. ‘Or was it a dream…?’ he wonders, before asking Jack if the serpent really did escape. ‘The last thing I remember is your shout! You looked so hazy - and my oboe! What happened?’ Gramps exclaims. Alex tells his grandfather that the serpent broke loose and hypnotized everybody, and then it escaped back into the ocean. Holding up her book, Julie tells her grandfather that his oboe must have been destroyed, like her book.

‘It’s my fault! If I hadn’t been playing Gramps’ oboe -’ Katie begins, Alex assures his sister that if she didn’t wake the serpent up, somebody else would of eventually. An ambulance screeches away, and Alex remarks that with all this noise around, it was just a matter of time. ‘I guess’ Katie replies, before asking where Friday is. Alex explains that he took off with a weird girl named Marrina. ‘Julie, did you hear her? Marrina said she hatched!’ Alex exclaims. ‘Yeah, I heard! Bit Friday’s a girl!’ Julie replies. ‘Whatever’ Alex remarks, before informing everyone that that they are going to meet them tonight on their roof, and go after Snake Eyes and stop him once and for all. Nearby, Gramps is talking to a police officer, ‘…biggest dang serpent you ever saw…ate my oboe, too!’

Characters Involved: 

Energizer (Katie), Gee (Alex), Lightspeed (Julie), Mass Master (Jack) (all Power Pack)
Marrina (former member of Alpha Flight)

Margaret Power

Gramps Power

Snake Eyes



Police officer

Story Notes: 

This issue and the next act as a sort of sequel to Marvel Team-Up Annual #7, also written by Louise Simonson, in which Alpha Flight and Spider-Man were captured by the Collector and encountered Snake Eyes.

The strange fish that are beginning to appear are courtesy of the Wraith sorcerery going in in the Rom series.

Marrina’s appearance takes place after Alpha Flight (1st series) #16, in which she quit the team after struggling with her heritage.

Issue Information: 
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