Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Matt Cummings
Issue # 2 of Kate Leth and Matt Cummings’ Power Up starts with our main character in a very familiar situation. She, of course, is watching a streaming service and wearing a very cute kigurumi. It’s a place we’ve all been (okay, maybe not all of us- some of us are still waiting the 8-14 days for our kigurumi to ship), but the best part isn’t how relateable this moment it. The entire comic continues to be just as relateable, even in the face of Magical Girl Shenangians.
This issue picks up shortly after the first, with Amie trying to cope with what she experienced in the first installment. Fortunately, the story gets propelled forward with some fun action and informative dialog- while we haven’t hit backstory territory yet, we do get to see the book’s main magical team together, even if they haven’t hit ‘fully functional, well oiled’ status-quo yet.
There’s plenty to love about this book. It’s cute and funny, and you can’t help but believe every line out of these characters’ mouths. Shocked Amie is in turns speechless, snappy, and awed in all the ways that I’m pretty sure I’d be if I’d gone from simply having a job with a picky boss to having a job with a picky boss AS WELL AS having powers granted from a bright light in the sky, and all kinds of alien creatures showing up to make my day even harder. Sweet and lumberjack-bearded Kevin an instant favorite here, because you’ve got to love someone who is so clearly comfortable in a pleated skirt and a crop top (something I haven’t achieved yet, and I’d LOVE to know his secrets). Sandy’s adorable enough to give Kevin a run for my money as favorite too, as the book never forgets that she’s mom with a family to attend to.
Whichever character is your favorite in this issue of Power Up - I’m not even going to talk too much about Silas, except to say that he DEFINITELY needs a bigger tank, it is refreshingly easy to understand where each of them are coming from. Leth is very good when it comes to an endearingly dorky kind of humor, as well as dropping in the little bits of daily life that both drive you up the wall as well as make you immediately understand who these characters are.
And of course, Matt Cummings art! It’s the opposite of some of the inspirational material, giving us a great range of diverse body types and facial expressions. There are no Slender-Man esque Sailor Scouts here (I’m looking at you, Sailor Moon Crystal), and unlike a lot of comics on the shelves nowadays, I’ve yet to run into any moment where I was unsure who was who. It’s almost sad how that’s a high compliment, but it’s the truth!
Still, while the second issue of Power Up definitely picks up speed in relation to the first, I can’t help but wish I SAW more of the action. We do get a scene in here that’s more action than catastrophe, compared to the ‘origin’ scene in the first issue, but the dialog to action balance was still a bit off. The problem comes when you can’t help but notice they had a few moments too many to talk and fill in the blanks in between some squee worthy moments of Sailor Moon-esque action. I have faith, however, that as the characters grow to understand what’s happening around them, the balance will be much, much smoother.
Power Up #2 does not disappoint. Kate Leth and Matt Cummings deliver precisely what they promise in a funny, cute, and relateable adventure that rescues both the characters and the readers from a fairly mundane experience. Where it struggles with pacing, it more than makes up for it in character development and humor. This series continues to be a must read.