Oh hi, you’re probably wondering what I’m doing posting a review for an old issue of a comic. You see, I’ve decided that it’s time to save all of my reviews from my time at PopOptiq from the website that is just a hollow shell of its former self. Y’see, when the website changed EICs a little more than a year ago, the new editor decided he wanted to make the website more like Buzzfeed and then proceeded to fire most of the staff. He then also claimed copyright ownership of our work.
Well, I know I never signed a contract with you or the previous EIC that said that was okay and my name is on the byline, so…
Illustrated by Matt Cummings
Published by Boom! Studios
Well, it seems like the last issue’s wish for action to pick up has been answered.
The issue opens with Amie’s neighbors Sal and Derek receiving some of Amie’s mail while listening to a silly pop song on the radio. It’s an adorable scene with the happy couple drawn in warm colors by Cummings as Sal takes the trash out. However, it doesn’t last too long when Derek in typical Magical Girl genre fashion gets possessed by some weird space thing to become the monster of the week to draw out our heroes…
Who are doing laundry at Kevin’s place and helping him clean up.
One of Leth’s strengths as a writer has always been the way she does character interactions and friendships. Her Adventure Time graphic novels and her Fresh Romance story “School Spirit”have this in spades. It is the backbone of Power Up! as Sandy, Kevin, and Amie cope with their newfound powers, and Sandy deals with the fallout of her husband finding out. It’s especially strong in this issue as we learn more about Kevin, a former high school jock, who is living in a dirty garage and doesn’t know how to do laundry. Leth does a great job of showing Kevin as a lovable sweetheart, who doesn’t have it all together without resorting into “dumb former jock” territory. Plus the funniest moments of the issue come from Sandy telling him that she isn’t going to do his laundry for him.
Luckily, these moments weave in really well with the main action against the possessed Derek, who claims that the trio has “stolen” their powers and calls Kevin in his wet costume “The Spirit.” It’s doubtful that he means the iconic Will Eisner character, but if that was true, this comic is already doing better than Frank Miller’s film adaptation.
Most of the fight goes on without Sandy since she’s trying to grab Silas from Amie’s place, but there’s something where Amie’s healing powers team up with Kevin to do the equivalent of Moon Healing Escalation on Derek. This causes more questions about what exactly Amie’s powers are and what exactly is going on, but it was nice to have an action sequence without the Silas Ex Machina.
While Power Up! #4 doesn’t answer a whole lot of questions, it does strengthen the character interactions and the action sequences without compromising one for the other. Cummings’ art mixed with Leth’s natural and warm writing are working in tandem more as the series progresses, which makes this final homestretch even more exciting. With the monsters coming after the trio now resorting to possession, it seems like the story is about to come to a head in the final two issues as the world (and maybe Kevin’s laundry) hangs in the balance.