X-Men and Power Pack #4

Issue Date: 
March 2006
Story Title: 
Leader of the Pack

Marc Sumerak (writer), GuriHiru (artist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), James Taveras (production), Aki Yangi (special thanks), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), MacKenzie Cadenhead (editor), Mark Paniccia (consulting editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Power Pack come across several of the X- battling four of the Marauders. Power Pack join in the battle, thinking they can help. But when Zero-G instructs Energizer to blast Prism with her energy power, the resulting backlash knocks all of the heroes out, and the Marauders escape. Cyclops sends the other X-Men home, while he plans to track the Marauders down. Zero-G offers Power Pack’s assistance, but Cyclops gives him a stern rejection, telling him that he has done enough. Lightspeed tries to talk to Zero-G later back at their home, but he isn’t’ interested, wallowing in the fact that he embarrassed himself in front of one of his idols. Lightspeed asks her brother to bring a friend and join her as she is going out for coffee with Greg, but he turns her down, and stays home with their younger siblings instead. Lightspeed, in her human identity as Julie Power, meets her friend Greg who invites Julie to visit the lab where he interns, as he has an after hours access card. Arriving at the lab, in a remote location, Julie is astonished by all of the interesting things. When they hear a noise, they duck, as they see the Marauders, carrying an unconscious Cyclops down a secret passage. Greg is a little confused, so Julie phones her siblings, recounting what has just transpired - but she is interrupted by the arrival of Greg’s boss - Dr Essex - who then reveals his true form - Mr Sinister - and takes Julie and Greg prisoner. Zero-G, Mass Master and Energizer arrive at the remote warehouse laboratory, and after Mass Master assumes leadership of Power Pack as Zero-G is unsure about what to do, they burst into the lab, and find the room where the Marauders and Sinister are holding Cyclops captive, and their sister and Greg are held in a cage. Mass Master and Energizer start to battle the Marauders, while Julie nervously reveals her Lightspeed identity to Greg so that she can go assist her siblings. Lightspeed convinces Zero-G to help them, as he was hanging back, and Zero-G takes back leadership of the team, giving his siblings their instructions while he frees Cyclops. The two team up to use Prism against the other Marauders, taking them out. Sinister then vanishes, but warns Power Pack that he will be watching them. Afterwards, Lightspeed and Greg become girlfriend and boyfriend, and Cyclops finally says something nice to Zero-G, before telling the young heroes that they all have a bright future ahead of them.

Full Summary: 

‘…and that’s when Mr Maurer hit us with a pop quiz!’ Julie Power tells her friend Greg as they sit on the front steps to their school. Alex Power stands nearby, smiling as he talks to a girl, who starts to ask him what he get on his paper about the Great Depression, when suddenlytheir younger siblings Jack and Katie rush over to them. ‘Come quick!’ Kate exclaims, dragging Alex away from the girl, while Julie gets up and waves at Greg, telling him that she will call him later. Alex asks Katie what is going on and she tells him that he is late for dinner. ‘What? It’s only 4:00!’ Alex replies. ‘Then you’re late for lunch, okay? Just come with us already!’ Jack declares as the four siblings rush along the sidewalk, Alex tells Jack that whatever this is, it better be important. ‘You mean more important than some girl?’ Jack asks.

‘Trust me…’ Jack begins, as everyone suddenly goes wide-eyed and looks ahead, where they see Cyclops, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and the Beast going head to head in the middle of a busy street against four of the Marauders - Vertigo, Scalphunter, Riptide and Prism! ‘…It is’ Jack concludes, while Cyclops blasts Riptide with an optic blast, ‘Let’s go, X-Men!’ he shouts.

Nightcrawler teleports over Vertigo and kicks her, while the Beast leaps towards Prism and knocks him back, as Wolverine punches Scalphunter in the face. ‘Costumes on, everyone. The X-Men need our help!’ Alex tells his siblings, as their Power Pack costumes materialize. Julie a.k.a. Lightspeed tells her older brother that it looks to her like they are doing pretty well on their own. ‘Well, they’ll do even better now that Power Pack has arrived!’ Alex a.k.a. Zero-G exclaims as he rushes towards the battle. Katie a.k.a. Energizer readies a bolt of energy, while Jack a.k.a. Mass Master switches to his cloud form.

Nightcrawler and the Beast look over at the young heroes, a little confused, while Wolverine tells Mass Master that it is nice to see him again, but that the Marauders are way out of their league. ‘Hello? I went toe-to-toe with Sabretooth, remember? How bad could these freaks - beeeeee?’ Mass Master exclaims as Riptide whirls over to him and starts to separate Mass Master’s cloud form. Wolverine informs Mass Master that Sabretooth was a founding member of the Marauders, and Riptide boasts that Sabretooth, the mangy beast, was nothing compared to him. ‘Yeah, yeah…’ Wolverine mutters.

‘Geez! I bet the guys on your team love your costume!’ Lightspeed calls out to Vertigo as she flies towards her. ‘You could say I make them head over heels’ Vertigo smiles as she releases her power, causing Lightspeed to go dizzy and start to fall downwards. ‘Look out!’ she calls out, but Nightcrawler teleports up and rescues her. ‘Thanks, Nightcrawler. She really threw me off balance!’ Lightspeed exclaims. ‘They call her Vertigo for a reason, ja?’ Nightcrawler points out.

Zero-G de-gravitizes some rocks and sends them flying towards Vertigo, while Cyclops fires an optic blast at Scalphunter, and tells Zero-G that they shouldn’t have come here. ‘Hey! We just wanted to help!’ Zero-G replies. Cyclops assures the young hero that the X-Men had everything under control. ‘But now the Marauders are -’ he begins, as Energizer shouts ‘Right behind you!’ and she blasts an energy beam at Prism who was standing behind Alex and Cyclops. ‘Good work, Energizer! He’s all yours!’ Zero-G calls out. ‘Wait! Don’t!’ Cyclops shouts. ‘Prism can absorb energy and re-’ Cyclops begins, but it’s too late, as Prism grins, ‘Thanks girlie! That’s just the charge I needed!’ He releases the energy, knocking the X-Men and Power Pack over and out.

‘What now, Scalphunter?’ Riptide asks as they stand amongst the unmoving bodies of the heroes. ‘We tell the boss to expect company…’ Scalphunter replies.

Soon, Beast and Nightcrawler walk up the stairs into the X-Men’s jet, while Power Pack stand around, somewhat dejected. Wolverine reports to Cyclops that there is no trace of the Marauders - he can’t even pick up a scent, so it looks like this is one for the loss column. He starts to suggest that they head back to the X-Mansion, when Cyclops tells Wolverine to go ahead with the others, as he is staying here. Wolverine asks Cyclops what he is talking about, to which Cyclops points out that if the Marauders are in the area, that means Mr Sinister can’t be far away. ‘I’m not about to let that madman run free on my watch’.

Zero-G approaches Cyclops somewhat hesitantly and announces that he was thinking, perhaps Power Pack could try to help him find them. ‘I mean, we know the area pretty well, and -’ Alex begins, but Cyclops sternly replies ‘No offense, son… but don’t you think you’ve already done enough?’ as he strides away. ‘I… I…’ Alex utters, hanging his head. ‘Yow! Is he always like that?’ Jack whispers. ‘Pretty much…’ Wolverine replies.

Later: ‘Alex… you in here?’ Julie asks as she enters Alex’s bedroom, to find him sitting on the edge of his bed in the dark. ‘Who cares’ Alex replies. ‘Still bummed out about today?’ Julie asks. ‘Gee, how’d you guess?’ Alex mutters. Julie sits down beside Alex and tells him to cheer up, as this is not the first time they have lost a fight, and adds that it won’t be the last. ‘Easy for you to say. You didn’t look like a complete idiot in front of one of your idols’ Alex explains, covering his face with his hands. Julie declares that no one is perfect, and tells Alex that she bets even guys like Cyclops screw up sometimes. Alex doesn’t respond, so Julie informs him that she and Greg are going out for some coffee. Alex glances at his sister and tells her that he thought she hated coffee. ‘I do… but that’s not the point. The point is, you should come with us. And bring Caitlin! It might take your mind off -’ Julie suggests, but Alex tells her ‘No thanks’ and suggests that he is better off alone. ‘Okay… I tried. Have fun moping’ Julie replies as she leaves his room.

‘Well?’ Katie asks as she and Jack are standing outside Alex’s room. ‘He’s all yours tonight’ Julie tells her younger siblings. ‘All right! Let the fun begin!’ Jack exclaims, holding a board game.

Later, at a café, Julie sits opposite Greg and tells him that she is really glad they finally got to do this. ‘It’s like every time we’ve tried to hang out, something else always ends up getting in the way’ Julie points out. Greg smiles and tells Julie that he knows what she means, remarking that there is always so much to do. ‘School…’ he begins. ‘Family…’ Julie adds. ‘Soccer practice…’ Greg points out. ‘Homework…’ Julie remarks. ‘My internship…’ Greg announces. ‘Saving the world…’ Julie declares, causing Greg to look at her a little strangely. Julie glances sideways, before asking Greg to tell her about his internship. Greg announces that it is just a bunch of boring technical junk, that it probably would not interest her. ‘If I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t have asked’ Julie points out.

‘Really?’ Greg asks, surprised. ‘Really’ Julie assures him, adding that she wants to know everything about him. ‘I mean, you know about what you do…’ she adds. Greg stands up and starts to put his coat on, telling Julie to come on. ‘Where are we going?’ Julie asks. Greg announces that they are going to the lab. ‘If you really want to know what I’ve been doing there, I might as well show you!’ He adds that Dr Essex is probably gone for the night, but he has a key card. ‘Won’t you get in trouble?’ Julie asks. ‘That depends…do you know how to keep a secret?’ Greg replies. ‘You’d be surprised…’Julie smiles cryptically as Greg takes her hand and helps her up out of her chair.

Soon, at a warehouse laboratory in the middle of some woods. ‘Here we are. I know it’s not much, but -’ Greg begins as he and Julie walk through one of the labs. ‘Are you kidding? Look at all of this stuff! It’s so cool!’ Julie exclaims. ‘Yeah, I guess it’s not too shabby. I’ve pretty much been running this place by myself lately and -’ Greg starts to say, before Julie picks up a device and asks if it is a spectral radiometer. ‘My dad has -’ she begins, but a concerned Greg tells her to put it down. ‘If we touch anything I’m gonna be in big trouble!’ he exclaims. ‘I thought you were “pretty much running this place by yourself”…’ Julie smiles, quoting Greg, who nervously rubs the back of his head and admits that he may have exaggerated a little but. ‘You must think I’m a total dork’ he mutters quietly. Julie moves closer to Greg and tells him that she actually thinks it is kinda cute.

‘Julie, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you… I… well… I really like you. A lot. And I was - I was kinda hoping you’d maybe like to be my -’ Greg begins when suddenly, there is a loud SLAM! ‘- duck!’ Greg exclaims, pulling Julie down beside him as they hide behind one of the consoles. ‘Greg, what -?’ Julie calls out, while Greg quietly tells her that someone is coming, so they have to hide. ‘Oh, man… I shouldn’t have brought you here. I’m so gonna get fired’ Greg whispers. Julie points out that it isn’t like they are doing anything wrong. ‘I’m sure it isn’t as bad as you think’ she adds. But, glancing over the console, they see Scalphunter and Vertigo enter another room in the lab, followed by Riptide and Prism, who are dragging the motionless body of Cyclops behind them. ‘Or maybe it is… Greg utters, wide-eyed.

Seeing the Marauders, Julie asks ‘What are they doing here?’ to which Greg tells her that he doesn’t know, and that he has never seen those people before. ‘Consider yourself lucky…’ Julie tells him. They get up and walk towards the corridor that the Marauders dragged Cyclops down. ‘Secret passages? Guys in weird costumes? No one told me about any of this during my orientation’ Greg remarks. Julie tells Greg to keep calm, assuring him that they are going to figure this out. She gets out her phone, and Greg asks her who she is calling. ‘Help. I hope…’ Julie replies.

Back at the Power home, Alex, Jack and Katie are sitting on the kitchen table as they play a game of “Polopoly”. ‘Roll again! Who’s the man?’ Jack exclaims. ‘And how is getting my butt kicked supposed to cheer me up, exactly?’ Alex asks. Jack replies that he doesn’t know, but announces that it sure is cheering him up.

Suddenly, Alex’s phone rings. ‘Hello?’ he answers. ‘Alex!’ Julie exclaims. Alex greets his sister and tells her that maybe he should have gone with her. ‘Things here are worse than I ever -’ Alex begins, as Julie interrupts him, ‘Alex! Listen! The Marauders - they’re here!’ she exclaims. ‘What? Where?’ Alex asks. Julie tells him that they are at the lab where Greg interns. ‘They just came in and -’ she starts to say, but Alex frowns and tells her to get out of there. ‘You know you can’t handle them alone’ Alex points out. ‘That’s not why I’m calling. You guys need to get here as soon as -’ Julie begins, but Alex reminds her that Cyclops made it clear that he doesn’t want their help. ‘He’ll find them and then -’ Alex begins, but Julie reveals that they have captured Cyclops. ‘We need to do something! We need to help him!’ she declares.

‘We - we can’t afford to mess up again’ Alex tells Julie, who points out that they can’t afford not to try. Suddenly, ‘And what is it that you are trying to do, my dear?’ a voice calls out. A man with a goatee-beard appears standing over Julie and Greg. ‘Other than trespassing on private property after business hours, that is…’ the man adds. ‘Dr Essex!’ Greg exclaims, wide-eyed. Greg tells Dr Essex that he is glad to see him, as something really freaky is going on here. ‘I suppose you had to uncover the truth eventually, my boy. After all, this place is full of things you humans were never meant to see’ Dr Essex remarks, as Scalphunter and Prism walk out of the corridor and stand behind Greg. ‘Sinister things’ Dr Essex exclaims as he shifts to his true form - Mr Sinister! One of the kids gasps, before Sinister tells them that they have seen too much. ‘Take them downstairs’ he instructs his Marauders. Scalphunter throws Julie over his shoulder, while Prism puts Greg under his arm. ‘Hey! Let us go!’ Julie calls out, but she drops her phone.

‘JULIE!?’ Alex shouts. ‘Your move, Alex…’ Jack remarks, waiting for Alex to continue playing the game. Alex just frowns.

Soon: ‘This is it’ Alex remarks as he, Jack and Katie are dropped off by a bus, which drives away, leaving them at a driveway nestled amongst some trees. ‘We really need to get a Pack Mobile or something…’ Jack mutters as the bus drives away. The young heroes move through the woods to the warehouse laboratory, where Riptide is standing guard. ‘What do we do now, Alex?’ Katie asks. ‘I… maybe this wasn’t a good idea. We should just call the X-Men and -’ Alex begins, but Katie tells him that can’t leave Julie alone in there until they show up. ‘Even I know that’s not an option…’ her voice trails off. Jack smiles and declares that if their “fearless leader” is too scared to make a decision, perhaps it is time for someone else to call the shots. With that, he rushes out of the trees towards the warehouse. Alex frowns and Katie, before their costumes materialize and they chase after their brother. ‘Jack, wait!’ Alex calls out. ‘Not good…’ Katie mumbles.

Down in the laboratory, Sinister, Vertigo, Prism and Scalphunter stand in a room where Cyclops’s hands and feet are locked into a machine. Julie and Greg are captured in a cage nearby. ‘How nice of you to drop in, Mr Summers. We’ll be sure to make your stay as painful as possible’ Sinister tells him. Cyclops groans, unable to speak. Greg looks scared, ‘This is insane! How are we gonna get out of here?’ he asks. ‘Greg, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you…’ Julie begins, when suddenly, Riptide is blasted through one of the walls. Sinister and the Marauders turn to him, where Mass Master steps through the hole in the wall and exclaims ‘Oh, yeah! The Pack is back, psychos!’ Energizer follows her brother’s lead: ‘Riptide’s down. What’s next?’ she asks. Alex frowns, while Jack shrugs his shoulders and remarks that he doesn’t know, as that was all he had. ‘But like any good leader, I’m always open to suggestions’ he adds. ‘Here’s one. Resign now’ Katie tells him.

‘Well, if it isn’t my favorite little distractions…’ Scalphunter smiles. ‘You know what they say - can’t have a “distraction” without the “action”!’ Mass Master replies as he switches to cloud form. ‘Marauders - capture them!’ Sinister orders. Scalphunter fires his weapon at Mass Master, but it passes through his cloud form. ‘No, they don’t’ Katie declares as she fires an energy blast at Vertigo. Back behind bars, Greg looks confused: ‘Hold on…Julie - is that your sister and your brothers out there?’ he asks. ‘Yeah…well…that’s kinda what I wanted to tell you’ Julie replies, nervously as her costume materializes. ‘I really didn’t want you to find out like this, but -’ Julie begins, while Greg smiles and tells her to fill him in later. ‘Right now…just get out there and kick some super-villain butt!’ Greg exclaims. ‘If you say so’ Julie replies as she escapes though the bars, her rainbow power effect trailing behind her.

‘Thanks for joining us, Lightspeed’ Mass Master calls out. ‘Where’s Alex?’ Julie asks. Jack tells her that he guesses Alex is still freaking out. ‘It’s okay though, I’m the leader now’ he announces. Julie turns to him and frowns. ‘What?’ Jack asks. Julie looks over to Alex, who is standing at the back of the room and tells him that she knows he is not having the best day, but points out that they could really use a hand here. ‘Zero-G? Alex?’ she shouts, while Alex looks over to Cyclops, who is hanging motionless. Alex pauses, before announcing that he is on his way. Zero-G leaps into action, de-gravitating Vertigo and Scalphunter, he slams them into the wall. ‘Now that’s more like it!’ Mass Master grins, while Riptide starts to rise. Zero-G tells Energizer to keep Riptide down, and informs Mass Master and Lightspeed that Prism is all theirs. ‘See if you can do any damage to that shell of his’ he suggests, while rushing to check on Cyclops.

Energizer blasts Riptide with a surge of energy as he starts to form a twister. ‘You heard the man! Let’s go!’ Lightspeed exclaims as she picks Mass Master up and flies him over Prism. ‘Hey! I thought I was giving the orders here!’ Mass Master declares. Julie tells Jack to trust her when she says that he would have lasted a day before they impeached him. ‘Whatever. Leadership was overrated anyway’ As Mass Master drops down towards Prism, shrinking to a super-dense form, he admits that he probably would have just ended up cracking under the pressure. ‘You know what I’m talking about, right, guy?’ Jack jokes as he strikes Prism, knocking him back and cracking his shell.

Zero-G has freed Cyclops, and Power Pack gather beside the X-Men’s leader as he rubs his head. ‘All right…this is it…’ Zero-G exclaims. ‘Couldn’t have said it better myself, brat…’ Scalphunter replies as he, Vertigo and Riptide regroup. ‘This battle is over’ Riptide exclaims. ‘Agreed!’ Zero-G shouts as he de-gravitizes Prism and raises him overhead, ‘Now, Cyclops!’ Zero-G calls out. ‘My pleasure…’ Cyclops replies as he releases an optic blast, striking Prism, ‘Oh, no…’ Prism mutters, as the optic blast is deflected off his body, and strikes his teammates, knocking them out.

‘Well played, children. It seems that victory is yours today’ Sinister declares as he stands amongst the smoke that rises from the rubble. Prism moans as he tries to stand up. ‘We’re only just getting started, pasty’ Zero-G boasts. ‘Indeed you are, my boy…and wherever life takes you next…know that Mr Sinister will be watching..’ The villain clicks a button on a device, and then vanishes.

Later: ‘…and that’s how we ended up with these powers’ Julie tells Greg. ‘Wow, I… wow’ Greg smiles. ‘Yeah, I know. I’ve never told anyone before. Our parents don’t even know!’ Julie reveals. Greg takes Julie’s hand and announces that he can keep a secret, especially when it involves his girlfriend’s super hero identity. ‘That is, I mean - you know - if you want to be my…’ Greg utters. ‘Girlfriend? Wow. I…wow’ Julie smiles.

‘…but I still think we can find them’ Zero-G tells Cyclops as they stand near the X-Men’s jet. Cyclops reports that Sinister and the Marauders are long gone from here. ‘And seeing the condition of their base, there’s no reason for them to come back’ Cyclops points out. He smiles and tells Zero-G that he thinks he has already done enough. ‘Yeah…so you’ve said…’ Alex mutters, hanging his head. Cyclops walks up the platform into the jet with Wolverine and calls back that he meant it in a good way this time. ‘You have a bright future ahead of you…you all do’ Cyclops tells the children. Mass Master waves at Wolverine, and as the children watch the X-Men’s jet take to the stars, Alex, Julie and Greg, Jack and Katie all smile.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Energizer (Katie), Lightspeed (Julie), Mass Master (Jack) Zero-G (Alex) (all Power Pack)




Mr Sinister

Prism, Riptide, Scalphunter, Vertigo II (all Marauders)

Story Notes: 

This mini-series is out of continuity, although it is part of its own “universe” that includes Power Pack (3rd series) #1-4, and several other mini-series like Wolverine and Power Pack.

Julie’s friend Greg previously appeared in X-Men and Power Pack #2.

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