The conclusion of Power Up #6 lacks tension and is similar to the third act of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film (or scarily 2015’s Fantastic Four) with the heroes teaming up together to take down one big bad guy and then go home. And this isn’t even the Big Bad, but the apprentice of a monster that showed up earlier and resembles a Pokemon. His dialogue is a lot like Loki’s in The Avengers film as he talks about how human and pathetic the Power Up team is. He doesn’t even try to kill them, but taunts them about the damage or lack of damage they inflict on him. But although the plot and even the themes of Power Up #6 seem ripped from your typical team superhero film or comic, writer Kate Leth gives the interactions between team Power Up and their extragalactic helpers Prue, Rowan, Nox, and Una a real warmth while Matt Cummings’ art is adorable, and his colors amp up the too brief fight sequences.
In Power Up #6, Leth gives the extragalactic characters bits and pieces of a personalities as the story progresses. Prue and Una are a very devoted couple, and Prue is polite, but a bruiser in combat. She is also a shining example of Cummings’ commitment to body diversity in his characters with a frame like a power lifter. Rowan has the awkwardness, empathy-based powers, and sense of humor to become a Data-esque fan favorite even if she only appears in the final two issues. Her reaction to “garlic fingers” in the comic’s epilogue is priceless. And Leth and Cummings don’t neglect the relationships between Team Power Up and their loved ones as it’s the kidnapping of Sandy’s husband, not any kind of apocalypse or prophecy, that gets the team in gear for the final battle.
Speaking of the final battle, Cummings’ color palette gets downright crazy even if it’s a little difficult to follow the action scenes with the exception of the final team-up move. He gives the Gryphon’s apprentice monster a yellow base coat against a black and pink starry background to give the fight cosmic stakes visually. This yellow intensifies when Team Power Up joins their hands for a kind of EMP assault that defeats the baddie for good. The attack takes quite a toll on the team as Cummings’ art styles switches to bare lines and yellow, but Amie lives up to her role as the heart of the team and heals their battle wounds. In a subversion of superhero tropes (But maybe not MMO ones.), the strongest hero of all is the team healer. The hands of a king are indeed a healer, but substitute the Tolkien for magical girls.
Power Up #6 is an average end to a middle of the road take on the superhero and magical girl genres. Kate Leth gives her main characters a lot of unique personality traits and peppers her dialogue with fun jokes, but the plotting of this series was repetitive with the fighting big monster per issue format. There seemed to be some kind of a build involving a prophecy and visitors from another galaxy, but that big fight is some time in the future if this series gets picked up for an ongoing. Matt Cummings’ colors are vivid and splash-y, his monster designs are fun homages to Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z without getting overly derivative, and best of all, his characters have different body types and skin tones to go with their eager expressions. His storytelling can be hard to follow at times, but he really nails the ending of the climactic battle even if that ending was already used in Guardians of the Galaxy. (Amie is less douchey than Star-Lord so that’s a good thing.)
Power Up #6
Written by Kate Leth
Art by Matt Cummings
Published by BOOM! Studios
Logan is a nerdy, bisexual ginger, who recently graduated university with a degree in English Literature and Overanalyzing Comic Books. He loves comics, music (especially New Wave and BritPop), film (especially Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright), sports (college football and NBA), TV, mythology, and poetry. Joss Whedon is his master, Kitty Pryde is his favorite superhero, and his current favorite comic is The Wicked + the Divine.