Monday, May 22, 2017

Superboy #88

Diapers and Angels and Babies, Oh My!

Mama Joe Kelly & Papa Eddie Berganza Writers
Grande Padre Pascual Ferry Penciller
Great Uncle Keith Champagne Inker
Second Cousin Jason Wright Colors
Favorite Auntie Digital Chameleon Separations
Gran'pappy Comicraft Letters
Mike McAvennie No Relation

Our cover is pretty straight-forward, showing us that Superboy not only has to deal with the D.N.Angels, but also a stinky baby. I don't really know that much about either of these trials, but that doesn't matter. We'll just sit back and enjoy the ride until Impulse shows up on the last page.

So the baby is actually the reincarnation (if you will) of long-time Cadmus clone superhero, the Guardian. Tensions are high at Cadmus right now, under the presidency of Lex Luthor and direct supervision of Amanda Waller. And before the Guardian, Jim Harper, died, he apparently requested that he not be cloned anymore. Superboy is eager to fulfill Harper's final wish, while also taking care of this unexpected "bundle of joy" that pukes, poops and pees everywhere.

While shopping for baby supplies, Superboy is attacked by the D.N.Angels, who claim they're working for the government, but Kon doesn't trust them. After a bunch of running around and all the requisite high-jinks that ensue when a baby is involved, Superboy manages to escape the three super-powered women and retreat to the New York apartment of Bianca, the young woman who helped give him a redesign recently. The baby Jim Harper keeps them both up all night, and Kon finally falls asleep on the couch.

In the morning, Superboy learns on the news that Cadmus — the entire three-square-mile building — has mysteriously vanished without a trace. Superboy visits the empty site, complaining that nobody gave him a chance to collect his Playtendo, "female anatomy books" and official Wendy the Werewolf Stalker silver bullet. Suddenly, he's confronted by the entire Young Justice roster, and none of them look too happy.

And that's all that we care about. This story will continue in the tie-ins of Our Worlds at War — primarily a Superman story that grew to encapsulate the entire DC Universe. I really don't have much to say about this issue. I'm not a big fan of the art, but the humor was pretty good. I think I'm going to have to find the time to read this Superboy series one of these days.

Next time, we'll begin comics with the August 2001 publication date, which will take us into Our Worlds at War. But before we get to that crossover, we have to wrap up the Dark Tomorrow storyline in Impulse #75.

Impulse #74

Dark Tomorrow Part Two

Todd Dezago • Writer
Carlo Barberi • Penciller
Juan Vlasco • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Digital Chameleon • Separations
Joey Cavalieri • Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover: A shadow of things to come by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher! It is a thematically dark cover — just Impulse and Carol together against the oppressive world of the future. And it is a pretty nice trick with the shadows, showing how this dark tomorrow brings Bart and Carol closer.

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Bart learning the horrible truth that Max and Helen were killed in New Mexico by Lucius Keller. Naturally, Bart freaks out a bit and begins simultaneously confronting everyone around him — Carol and her adult self; Bart's mom, Meloni; and his great-grandparents, Eric and Fran Russell.

Meloni asks her Sunshine to calm down, which he has a hard time doing, until she explains that the Science Police are able to detect him using his super speed. The Russells apologize, saying they never intended to involve Bart in their plan to change the past so that Carol doesn't create the Hyper-Ray. Adult Carol repeats her story, adding a few details. After she created the Hyper-Ray to help people burn off sickness like Bart can, Bart's grandfather, Earthgov President Thawne, co-opted Carol's work to create his personal team of Hyper-Guards, each possessing two-thirds of Impulse's speed. Initial testing showed the Hyper-Ray left more than 80% of test subjects with rapid neural degeneration, but Thawne still pushed forward with his plans to expose the entire world to the ray. So Carol traveled back to the 21st century in an attempt to convince her younger self to help alter history and save the world.

After Carol finishes her recap, our heroes are discovered by the Science Police, led by President Thawne himself with his Hyper-Guard. Eric advises Bart to hold back until they know what they're up against, and Bart complies. President Thawne opens his remarks by gloating of his absolute power and ability to stop Carol Bucklen, even with the help of her ex-boyfriend. He soon spots teenage Bart, and immediately asks if Carol is insane to risk altering history just to stop him. Privately, Thawne is thrilled to see teenage Bart, as he believes he can influence and mold the boy into his personal weapon.

Thawne orders the Science Police to bring everyone in custody, so Impulse decides to act. He quickly disarms all the Science Police officers before they have a chance to react. Thawne angrily refers to his Hyper-Guard as "chabboes" (no idea what that means) and he sends the three-man squad after Impulse. Bart has a fun time playing tag with these slower speedsters, and he even dances on one of their heads, calling himself "that lord of the dance guy." Bart takes out the second guy by goading him into attempting to vibrate through a wall, which, the guard was unable to accomplish. As Bart heads for the third and final "chabbo," Thawne manages to grab teenage Carol and stick a gun to her head.

Bart immediately stops fighting, and Thawne mocks him for his soft heart, recalling their previous encounter, where he threatened Bart's cousin, Jenni Ognats. Thawne also mocks Carol, saying he could alter her past, just like she wanted by simply shooting her younger self. As the Science Police move in to arrest our heroes, the officers are suddenly knocked out by someone very fast — adult Bart Allen.

(This adult version of Bart is much beefier than the versions we saw in The Ray and Sins of Youth. This is likely due to the rough life this Bart has been living in the 30th century under President Thawne — a life that has given him a large scar on the side of his face, and a rather dark personality.)

Thawne curses at the adult Bart, who quickly appears behind the president, holding his own gun to his head instead of Carol's. Adult Bart says he should just shoot the "scroach" for everything he's done to his family and the world. Adult Bart blames Thawne for every atrocity that has occurred in the past nine years, and he says he's sickened to be related to him. Teenage Bart intervenes, telling his adult self that he can't kill Thawne because he's a hero. Adult Bart yells at his past self, saying he doesn't understand what Thawne has done. Thawne finds some courage at this, saying he's known Bart too long and that he'd never kill. But adult Bart pulls the trigger anyway, causing everyone to gasp in amazement.

But adult Bart caught the bullet right before it touched Thawne's nose. And he threatens to keep firing bullets to see if he can catch them all. Teenage Bart breathes a sigh of relief, as adult Bart demands that Thawne call off the Science Police. Adult Carol, with tears in her eyes, also begs Thawne to call off the Hyper-Ray launch. Thawne laughs at this request, saying the Earth is overpopulated and he's saving humanity with this. It's also too late to stop the launch, he adds, since the Hyper-Ray satellites will be launched from the Hela Space Station in less than 20 minutes. Adult Bart tosses aside his grandpa, reminding him that he's Impulse and always has plenty of time to save the day. Teenage Bart enthusiastically agrees and begins racing off with his future self. Eric manages to call back the Impulses, reminding them that they need to get into a rocket to go to the space station.

Minutes later, everyone has loaded up in a space ship, with President Thawne in tow as their prisoner. He naturally demands to be set free, but Meloni points out that with him on board, his "trogs" won't dare attack them. Teenage Bart takes the moment to talk to his future self, who refuses to give away any details, only telling his past self to remember his love for Carol and make sure he tells her about it. The two Carols join them, and things get really awkward between the adults. So teenage Carol drags teenage Bart away to give their future selves some privacy.

As adult Carol apologizes to adult Bart, telling him he was right about her research, teenage Bart renews his doubts about whether this adult Carol is actually Carol. Teenage Carol once again confirms this, pulling out a piece of paper to prove it. On the paper is the drawing of Bart in his Impulse outfit that Carol made back when she discovered his secret identity. She explains to teenage Bart that about a week after she gave the drawing to him, she saw it was left out in the open in his house, where everyone would see it, so she took it back and kept it in her diary ever since. The adult Carol cherished that drawing her whole life and gave it back to teenage Carol to help convince her.

Teenage Carol tells teenage Bart that she has to help with this plan since she wouldn't be able to live with herself for being responsible for the deaths of so many people. Bart asks what's going to happen to them, and Carol begins to cry, saying this is bigger than that. She takes Bart's face in her hands, and he starts crying, too. As they embrace, Carol asks Bart to promise to never forget her. They're then interrupted by Meloni announcing their arrival at the space station, and Bart happily exclaims that once they destroy the satellites, they can return home and everything will be back to normal.

Eric briefs the two Barts on the mission, explaining that they'll have three minutes to totally destroy the satellite launch rockets. Their ship pulls up alongside the space station to enable the Impulses to vibrate through the hull. Once they're out of sight, Thawne begins laughing, saying he made sure to protect the most vital component of his plan. And this protection is in the form of three massively huge and possibly insane Hyper-Guard soldiers.

To be continu — oh, wait, there's more ...

Hundreds of years earlier, in the present, Max and Helen are in New Mexico, talking to a police officer about placing Lucius Keller in a maximum security facility before possibly transferring him to Iron Heights. The other officer had placed Keller in the cop car, but before he closed the door, he turned to wipe the sweat from his brow. This momentary distraction was enough for Keller to grab that cop's gun and fire off four quick rounds.

The story's starting to come together, and I'm glad that Dezago is referencing Impulse's previous trip to the 30th century. I would like more information, though, regarding President Thawne and this timeline. When did he become president? When did he create Inertia? When was he involved in Chain Lightning? It would be nice to see all this laid out. Ultimately, though, I think he is an excellent villain for Impulse, and it's great to see him again.

I still am frustrated that nobody has mentioned Carol's family, though. Nor do I buy the idea that in order to change the past, she needs to come to the future. It would have been a lot easier for future Carol to convince past Carol to stay in the 21st century. I do like the concept of Bart and Carol meeting their future selves, and I'm also always open to a return to the 30th century, but I think this whole story could have been set up better.

Future Bart is rather interesting. His suit isn't too bad, neither is his hair. The big surprise was how buff he is, but I think it makes sense in this dark world, where he's constantly on edge, fighting, struggling and hiding. But I like how even though he is darker and more serious, he still does have that trademark impulsive nature.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joanne M. Nott, of Lorain, Ohio, said Impulse #71 was great and she's eagerly waiting for Bart to tell Carol he likes her. Joanne also requests some Impulse merchandise, saying she has the action figure and the statue, but would really love a T-shirt. (I also have the statue, and it is absolutely perfect!)

Max Mercury II said the first three pages of Impulse #72 were some of the best ever since he's a big fan of Carol. He didn't except the return of Lucius Keller to be so short, but he liked the characterization all the same, and is excited for the Dark Tomorrow storyline.

Rick2Tails is thrilled that Bart and Carol have finally kissed, and is distraught that Bart can't enjoy a first kiss without an abduction taking place. Rick does feel that Bart should have been more distressed when he ran into Max, but he liked the rest of the issue with Helen in the robot, Max pointing out the flaw in Keller's logic, and Bart impulsively leaving to save his girlfriend.

Vanguard also felt the Return of Lucius Keller was a bit short, but enjoyed it all the same. Vanguard believes the mysterious kidnapper was Meloni Allen, pointing out the similarity in costumes.

JKane calls Dezago the most evil (yet best darn) writer around, having delivered a few panels of pure magic before snatching it away. JKane is very excited for another time travel adventure with Impulse, and says Barberi is getting better and better drawing Bart and the rest of the crew. Now for the new ads:

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It's even more fun in real life! Lunchables Chocolate Cookies 'n Frosting.

Next time, Impulse will have a quick cameo in Superboy #88, which will help set us up for the next big DC crossover event, Our Worlds at War.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Young Justice #33

Wash and Werewolf

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Ken Lopez Letters
Tom Palmer Jr. Assistant Editor
Eddie Berganza Editor

There's a pun for every cover, but don't blame Todd Nauck, Lary Stucker or Ian Hannin for this issue's. I personally like the pun on the cover more than the title of the story, but that's beside the point. This is the first of a two-parter with Wonder Girl, Cissie and Empress (not pictured) battling real werewolves alongside Wendy the Werewolf Stalker. It's a good cover as usual, but sadly the cover and the story have nothing to do with Impulse. In fact, Impulse won't even show up next issue (a first for Young Justice). But he does make a quick cameo here, so let's get to it.

The main story focuses on Joe Westin, creator of "Wendy the Werewolf Stalker," starring Terri Jewel Jackson. (Around the same time, Joss Whedon was creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.) Ratings are dipping for "Wendy," so Westin has decided to bring in gold medalist archer Cissie King-Jones to guest star in an episode. Cissie is allowed to bring some friends, so she chooses Cassie and Traya. Anita also tags along, which gives her an opportunity to start to mend her relationship with Cissie.

While all this is developing, Bart is hanging out with Superboy at the Catskills resort. Bart is putting together a ship in a bottle by vibrating his fingers through the glass, which actually requires a great deal of precision if you think about it. Kon is reading a copy of Pointless Surveys Monthly when he asks Bart who he'd eat dinner with if he could pick any person, living or dead. Bart says that's an easy question — a living person would be much better than a decaying corpse crawling with maggots and flies. Bart says the only reason anyone would want to eat with a dead person would be if they were on a diet and wanted to lose their appetite.

Kon clarifies that he meant someone like Thomas Jefferson. Bart confirms that Jefferson is dead, then says he would like to ask him why he's not dead anymore. He then asks Kon if Thomas Jefferson has come back to life like Superman did, or if it's like a "Spectre ghost kinda thing." Kon says he doesn't even know why he bothers, and Bart says he doesn't, either. Kon tries to change the topic from dead people, but Secret suddenly shows up. Superboy doesn't want to be left alone with Secret and Bart — perhaps remembering their disastrous attempts to restore his powers — so he suggests they rustle up the rest of the team.

Secret reports that Cassie, Cissie and Traya have all flown out to the set of "Wendy the Werewolf Stalker," so Kon asks Bart if he's heard from Robin lately. Then the impact of Secret's words hit Kon, as he realizes that Cissie and Cassie get to meet his idol, Terri Jewel Jackson, whom he'd kill to be with. Kon immediately begins moping that first Bart and now "C&C" get to live out his dream. Secret's a bit confused by this, but Bart understands that Kon is a big fan.

And that's all the Impulse in this story. In this issue and the next one, our female heroes will battle actual werewolves, and have some fun along the way. It's not a bad story, it just doesn't pertain to this blog. So we'll check out now and wait for the next time the entire Young Justice team can unite to face a threat. Luckily, we won't have to wait too long.

The letters to the editor begin with Michael Bregman, of Gan-Yavne, Israel, calling Young Justice #29 another hilarious issue. He enjoyed the Secret-Darkseid dynamic, as well as the Superboy-Wonder Girl romance, which he hopes carries over to Superboy's own title.

Sean Anderson wants to keep Lobo, bring back Arrowette and keep Empress. He acknowledges this is a lot of characters, but he figures if Justice League can handle seven members, then Young Justice should be fine with eight.

Amy Walker, of Sacramento, Calif., says that Lobo adds a tough, yet comical touch that completes the ensemble. She calls him a walking contradiction — good-natured yet savage — and says that Peter David fully understands this.

Jason Smith is glad the creative team of David, Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker have stuck around for so long. He enjoyed the "Mr. Doug Side" joke, as well as the involvement of the Forever People. Jason wants Lobo to stay on the team, but not as a teenager. He also requests a Deadman guest appearance.

Dirkatron says he's historically been ambivalent toward Lobo since he never cared too much for his graphic violence. But with Young Justice, Lobo has been a lot of fun. So Dirkatron votes to keep Lobo, although he also acknowledges this as a temporary involvement. Now for the ads:

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Tang Berry Panic. What a frontside lipslide tastes like.

Next time, we'll continue Bart's adventure in the 30th century in Impulse #74.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Impulse #73

Dark Tomorrow Part One

Todd Dezago • Writer
Carlo Barberi • Penciller
Juan Vlasco • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Digital Chameleon • Separator
Joey Cavalieri • Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover: Another well-rendered masterpiece by the masters of pencil and pen, Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher! Bart has apparently found Carol ... in the future ... surrounded by some sort of "Flash" police ... at Iron Heights. It's a lot to take in, and we'll get there in due time. Sadly, though, I have to say that once again, the Flash is not involved in this story. It's like there's a big, insurmountable gulf between Bart and Wally. Anyway, this is a pretty fun, detailed cover that rewards you for paying attention to the background — there's a bit of graffiti above Impulse's head that says "Choke on a Soder Cola."

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Bart hopping into Lucius Keller's time machine to try to rescue Carol. Max tries to stop him, but Bart's too quick for him, disappearing into the Time Stream just as he finally admits aloud that he loves Carol. Bart quickly masters the machine, and arrives in Manchester, Alabama, at almost the exact moment he wanted — just a few seconds too late. Impulse sees the mysterious kidnapper hit the past Bart in the head with the pink knockout gas then pull Carol into a blue portal. Impulse was too late to prevent Carol from disappearing, but he can, at least, follow Carol through the portal, racing by his past, knocked-out self.

Impulse comes to in an old ballroom, littered with the remains of some long-forgotten party. The room is adorned with massive windows, showing a futuristic, but bleak and polluted city. Carol approaches Bart from behind, telling him that she's responsible for this dystopian future. All the pollution, war and poverty are apparently her fault, she says. Bart rejoices to see his girlfriend, running around her, telling her all about his heroic journey through the "time thingy" right behind her. He has more to tell Carol, but she stops him, saying that she actually arrived in the future a few hours before Bart did, which gave her time to learn this awful truth.

Suddenly, the mysterious kidnapper approaches, and Bart bravely stands in front of Carol to protect her. But Carol tells Bart it's OK, since the kidnapper is actually herself — when she's 32 years old. Bart is understandably confused by the concept of adult Carol kidnapping teenage Carol and taking her to the 30th century. Adult Carol apologizes for the confusion and tries to explain her plan to correct the mistake she made, but before she can get very far, Bart and the Carols are surrounded by the Science Police in flying cars, placing the three under arrest for "violation of temporal manipulation regulations."

Adult Carol has Bart provide them a cover by hurtling the strewn silverware at the Science Police vehicles, giving her time to fire up her ship. Soon our heroes are off toward freedom, and even Impulse is impressed by the speed of adult Carol's ship. Now that they have a moment to breathe, adult Carol begins her story. At some point in her past, Carol and Bart relocated to the 30th century, and Carol became a scientist specializing in biophysics and the Speed Force. Her goal was to use the power of the Speed Force to help ordinary people burn off diseases like Bart does. Eventually, Carol developed a ray that could give people these health benefits and a fraction of super speed as well.

Carol's research was closely monitored by Bart's other, evil grandfather, Earthgov President Thawne, who sought to use the ray to create an army of hyper-soldiers (the guys on the cover). Carol warned Thawne that she hadn't studied the long-term effects of the ray yet, and the initial tests revealed most subjects suffered from physical and mental breakdown. But Thawne was unconcerned with these risks. In time, he had his team of loyal Hyper-Guards and plans to expose the Hyper-Ray to the entire human race, essentially committing genocide with Carol's life's work.

With Thawne's plan already in motion, Carol decided the only way to stop him was to change her own history. But Bart first wants to know why he and Carol decided to go to the 30th century in the first place, and where his adult counterpart is. Before Bart gets his answers, though, the ship is attacked by mecha-leeches — robots that will burrow into the ship's wiring and override the controls. Teenage Carol begins to moan that their situation is hopeless, but adult Carol inspires confidence in her. She teaches Bart a move she's done with the adult Impulse before, called the Screeching Halt. The plan is for Bart to stand still and vibrate his molecules to allow the ship to keep moving without him.

So Bart takes teenage Carol in his arms and successfully performs the Screeching Halt, while adult Carol keeps flying in the ship, set to meet up again with our teenage heroes at a designated safe spot. Once free of the ship, Bart is essentially standing in mid-air, so he pistons his legs and feet to create a cushion of air for a soft landing. As Bart rushes teenage Carol off to the safe building, he expresses his doubts in adult Carol's story. Teenage Carol tells Bart that in her few extra hours with adult Carol, she was able to confirm her identity. She encourages Bart to rush off to help her adult self, then realizes that she's not alone in this building.

Adult Carol, who has been in the 30th century long enough to adopt the word "grife," has lost all control of her ship and is bracing for a crash landing. Luckily, Bart finds her just in time and safely vibrates adult Carol free of the wreckage. He quickly takes her to the safe house, and has a bit of a panic looking for teenage Carol. But he soon finds her with ... his mom!

Bart's mom, Meloni Allen (who now speaks English), gives her son a big hug, then reveals that Bart's great-grandparents, Eric and Fran Russell, are also part of this small group set on altering Carol's past. (You might remember that the Russells helped Iris Allen take Bart back to the 20th century for the first time.) After all the pleasantries are taken care of, Bart happily proclaims that his and Carol's mere presence in the future must have altered history. Adult Carol says that sadly, it appears they still haven't altered things enough. Eric confirms this statement and theorizes that the only way to guarantee the survival of the human race is to displace Carol even farther into the future to entirely prevent the development of the Hyper-Ray.

Naturally, Bart objects to this plan and returns to his previously unanswered question: Why did he and Carol relocate to the future in the first place? Meloni gently takes Bart in her arms and says that he and Carol come to the future a few months after Max is killed. Bart happily explains that he saved Max's life at the Speed Force, but Meloni explains that she wasn't referring to that. Both Max and Helen were killed in the desert in New Mexico by Lucius Keller. And as Meloni says this, we return to the 21st century to see Keller eye a distracted policeman's gun.

This is the beginning of what looks to be an epic adventure for Bart and Carol. I'm very glad we've returned to the era of Bart's birth, surrounded by several of his family members we hardly ever see. Unfortunately, I do have a few problems with this issue. Beyond the disappointment of not visiting Iron Heights or actually battling this Hyper-Guard, I'm not really buying the premise of this story. So this whole thing is supposed to begin with Bart deciding to return to his mom in the 30th century after Max and Helen were killed. I know that Wally's in no position to look after a 15-year-old, but couldn't Bart go live with his reclusive grandmother Iris? I only ask this because Meloni and President Thawne made a pretty serious deal to essentially end the Allen-Thawne feud by agreeing to keep Bart in the 20th century and Meloni in the 30th. So how could Bart risk breaking this agreement and the lives of all his family members by going to the future?

And an even bigger question: How could Carol ditch her family to follow Bart to the future? Does Todd Dezago not realize that Carol has an older brother and a younger sister she lives with? And how could she make such a big commitment when she's just 15? OK. Let's pretend that there are some very good answers to all of those questions so far. Now let's play this out. Bart and Carol set up new lives in the 30th century and live there for about 17 years. Where is the Legion of Super-Heroes? Where is Bart's cousin, Jenni Ognats, aka XS? And why is Carol blaming herself for the destruction of mankind, when, according to her story, President Thawne really hasn't done that much yet? And why does Eric Russell want to take Carol farther into the future? Why doesn't he suggest keeping her in the past? That way, she'd never have access to the technology to create the Hyper-Ray and the crisis would be solved.

Ugh. Dezago's stories seem to be getting muddier the further away we are from editor L.A. Williams. No offense to Joey Cavalieri, but I don't remember Dezago's stories raising this many questions when L.A. was editing them. Oh well. I guess we'll have to look for the good amidst the flaws. On the bright side, Carlo Barberi's art is improving nicely as he becomes more comfortable with Impulse.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Cavalieri saying he's working late on a Friday night, waiting for a package to arrive. In the meantime, he's answering letters from the DC Message Board.

Zortnac says Barberi's art is awesome and "kicks major butt."

Max Mercury II says Impulse is better than it's ever been, saying Barberi is second only to Ethan Van Sciver in terms of drawing Bart. However, Max thinks Barberi is superior with all of Bart's friends. He also praises Dezago for perfectly capturing the romantic drama of teenagers.

Datalore thanks Cavalieri for printing his letters and calls Impulse "a little sunshine in comics."

StarmansGal loved the idea of Bart's friends making an Impulse movie, especially how they all got the details of Impulse wrong. She also particularly enjoyed the ending of Preston saving Bart's dog.

Grovermy said he checked out JLA Jr. #1 when he heard Barberi was taking over on Impulse #70, and was impressed with the way he drew Kid Flash. Grovermy says Carol has never looked better, and says he prefers Barberi's take on Bart's hair over Van Sciver's, which made Bart's hair look a little girly. Grovermy also liked the gag with Bart and Carol looking at his big feet since it reminded him of Robin Plus Impulse #1.

Cleetus said this was the best issue of Impulse in a long time, ranking up there with the best of Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos. He loved the idea of the movie and the relationship between Bart and Carol. Cleetus asks for the return of White Lightning, and Cavalieri promises she'll be back in issues #79 and #80. Now for the new ads:

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Next time, we'll explore the Wendy the Werewolf Stalker universe in Young Justice #33.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Young Justice #32

Anita's Date With Lobo (Because, Y'Know, What Else Can We Really Call It?)

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Ken Lopez - Letters
Jason Wright - Colors
Digital Chameleon - Separations
Tom Palmer Jr. - Assistant Editor
Eddie Berganza - Editor

This issue's cover is by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker with the colors of Ian Hannin. I have to admit, this is the rare Nauck cover that doesn't really work for me. And I don't think it's necessarily Nauck's fault, I just have a strange bias against headshots like this. Everyone looks unnatural without their necks. But looking past this, I will say everyone looks good, and it is nice to finally put the spotlight on Empress, who has been on the fringe for so long.

Our story begins at the home of Donald and Anita Fite, where a mysterious caller with a voice that "sounds like gravel tumbling around in a cement mixer" is asking for Anita. The teenager assures her father she's a big girl and can handle any unwanted attention herself. Anita tries to gently let down the caller, saying she's busy tonight, but her date says he's already arrived at her house. As he begins knocking on the door, Donald offers to send him away, but Anita says he might not be able to handle this one. She tells him how there's a new member of Young Justice who's interested in her ... and is kind of psycho. Donald says he's always considered Young Justice a bunch of good kids, even if his job often put him against them. But he will not allow one of them to intimidate his daughter. He answers the door, fully prepared to send the young "psycho" away.

But to Donald's and Anita's surprise, on the other side of the door is a very polite and well-dressed Lobo. His hair is combed, his usual biker outfit is swapped out for a suit and tie, his red eyes somehow have pupils now, and he has a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates in his hands. Donald turns to Anita, saying he'll let her choose whether she wants to go with this odd, but well-behaved young man. Lobo gives the chocolates to Donald, promising they're the best in the galaxy. He hands the flowers to Anita, who's still trying to figure out when she arrived on Bizzaro World, but she ultimately agrees to the adventure of a date with Lobo. The Top Teen asks what her curfew is, and she starts to say midnight, but her dad says it's ten. Lobo promises to bring her back at 10 o'clock. He leads Anita to his space hog, but before they fly off, he removes the contacts that Wonder Girl apparently gave him to make his eyes look more normal.

We then head over to the Catskills resort, where Cassie, Cissie and Bart are hanging out in their normal clothes. Superboy joins the giggly bunch, and initially thinks they're laughing at his new costume. But they tell him they're still laughing about their fun afternoon they had with Lobo. Cassie explains that Lobo came back with Bart's spaceship, which the Myrgians were nice enough to install an invisibility screen on, so it could be parked out back inconspicuously. Bart wonders if they should be called Myrgians or Myrgites, but Cassie tells him they're getting off track. Bart excitedly tells Kon that he helped Cissie and Cassie, and Cissie takes over the story, lifting up her hair to impersonate Lobo.

As Cissie begins her impersonation, she uses the word "frackin'" instead of "fraggin'," and Bart corrects her, taking the chance to mention again that he helped. Cissie continues, saying that Lobo was distraught, because all he can think about is Empress. Bart interrupts again to say that they asked him to help. Cassie thought it was very sweet to see a love-struck Lobo, so she told him that Empress likes him, too. They then spent the next hour convincing and preparing Lobo to ask out Anita, not warning the poor girl, because, y'know, where's the fun in that? Bart says once more that he helped, and Cissie says he wound up being the star of the show. Cassie wishes she could have seen Anita's face when she answered the door, and they all burst out into laughter once more. Superboy, however, is quite stunned by all this, and he asks his friends to tell him they didn't actually do what they just said they did.

We return to the big date, where Lobo and Anita have arrived at a fancy Mexican restaurant called Sergio's. Unfortunately, the maitre'd denies the young couple a table, even though there are plenty of empty seats available. As Lobo tries to reason with the man, Anita turns away and covers her face in embarrassment. The maitre'd tries to explain that he can't accommodate Lobo as easily as he can snap his fingers, but when he does snap his fingers, Lobo suddenly becomes vicious. His hair flies up, his eyes glow red, and spit froths from his mouth. The intimidated maitre'd agrees to seat Lobo, and snaps his fingers to summon a waiter. On the second snap, Lobo instantly returns to the well-behaved version from the start of the date. Anita missed what happened, and Lobo isn't sure why the maitre'd changed his mind, either.

As soon as Lobo and Anita sit down, every nearby table asks for their check and leaves as soon as possible. Lobo orders a bottle of the restaurants best wine, which he promptly snaps open, shattering the neck of the bottle. Anita can't help herself and begins laughing out loud at the over-the-top absurdity of this situation. Lobo seems a little worried that she's not having a good time, but she assures him she is, and she politely refuses the wine, pointing out that she's underage. Lobo asks Anita what her story is, so she delves deep into her background, telling Lobo all about her grandmother, a Haitian Vodoun priestess, who moved to Louisiana to raise her daughter, Oshi, who eventually grew up and fell in love with Donald Fite.

We cut back to the Catskills, where Superboy is trying to explain to his friends that they've just sent Empress out on a date with a ticking time bomb. Cassie says it was just a joke and that Anita can handle it herself. Cissie says maybe Anita will find out it's not so easy to fill her boots. Kon points out that Cissie is jealous that Anita replaced her on Young Justice, an accusation Cissie denies. Cassie quickly calms Kon and Cissie down, saying that they did give Lobo some additional help. This is where Bart comes him. The speedster happily shows off his newest book, "Hypnosis Made Easy" by Dr. M. Johnson. Bart explains that after reading the book, he hypnotized Lobo to control his aggressive tendencies. Once he snapped his fingers, Lobo became calm and sociable. Cassie and Cissie assure Kon that Bart had mastered the technique of hypnotism, but Kon asks if he mastered it as well as he "mastered" lip-reading by reading a book. At this comment, everybody stops laughing and begins to worry.

Continuing Anita's story, Donald and Oshi were married and Anita's Grandmere slowly came around to Donald — after she used her Vodoun ways to curse him with baldness. Anita displayed a natural athleticism at an early age, and she lived a happy childhood until her mother was killed by the Baron Sin Gaaz. Donald worked for the justice department at the time, and almost single-handedly took down the Baron's crime organization. In retaliation, the Baron burned down the Fite's apartment with Anita and her mother inside. Anita miraculously survived, then spent the next few years with her Grandmere, learning her Vodoun ways. On her Grandmere's deathbed, she gave Anita a magic staff that granted her the ability to teleport. Anita also performed a ritual that required her to slice open her hand, but that's where she decided to stop sharing her story with Lobo.

So Lobo tells his story, about how he was born on Czarnia and the nurse who delivered him went insane. Later, Lobo killed his entire race and spends his days fragging bastiches and drinking people under the table. Anita decides she'll pretend Lobo never told her that. The restaurant then brings out some live music and a dancer, who unfortunately has a habit of snapping her fingers. The snaps start slowly, giving Anita a chance to figure out what's going on. But as the snaps speed up, Lobo increasingly loses control, essentially becoming a ticking time bomb, just as Superboy feared. Eventually, the "bomb" does go off, leaving a ragged Lobo lying in a pile of rubble that used to be the restaurant.

Superboy, Bart, Cassie and Cissie rushed over to Donald Fite's house to explain the situation and warn him that his daughter might be in danger. Donald regrets ever trusting Young Justice, but just then, Lobo and Anita fly in on the space hog. Lobo is back to his usual self, wearing his Wink 281 shirt, and, while not acting overtly aggressive, certainly is a long way from the polite Lobo that showed up earlier this evening. Donald notes the change in Lobo's appearance, but Anita says she prefers him this way, and she even gives Lobo a kiss on the cheek. Lobo happily exclaims that "one evening with me, they'e mine, just like that!" He snaps his fingers, which causes Bart, Cassie and Cissie to become aggressive, Lobo-like versions of themselves (Bart even swears, saying, "You're @*!$% right we are!). Superboy says, "Nice hypnotizing there, Impulse." But Lobo says these three look great to him.

I do like this recent trend of Young Justice to focus on two characters. First was Robin and Secret, then Impulse and Superboy, now Empress and Lobo. It was nice to get Empress' backstory, as well as a mention of the Baron, whom we haven't seen since that quick glimpse during the Olympics in Australia. Most of all, I loved how Bart was able to have a huge comedic impact on this issue even in a limited role. And it was refreshing to see these teenage superheroes kicking back and relaxing on a Saturday night, living life as normally as is possible for them.

Our letters to the editor begin with Paul Watson, of Essex, England, enjoying the origin of the Super-Cycle, especially since Impulse got all the best lines in the issue. He, did, however, feel that Superboy's "machismo running wild" was a little out of character. Paul was surprised that Cissie didn't hit the game-winning home run, but he was glad Doiby got a chance to shine, with some more help from Impulse. Paul also stands by his request for Lobo to leave the team as soon as possible.

Gerry Brown calls Empress redundant and lacking in motivation. Gerry suggested adding Static or Rocket to bring some diversity to the team, noting that Static's personality would work great with Bart. Eddie Berganza admits they have been working on ways to bring Static Shock to Young Justice.

Brian Seidman, of New York, was surprised that Young Justice #28 had so much baseball and so little of the Forever People. But he did like the interaction between the Super-Cycle and Lobo's space hog, suggesting they bring in the Batmobile, Robin's Redbird and Wonder Woman's invisible jet. Brian was also thrown off a bit by Superboy's behavior toward Wonder Girl, and he notes that the team still has some unresolved leadership issues. Now for the new ads:

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Next time, Bart hunts for Carol in Impulse #73.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Impulse #72

The Return of Lucius Keller Part 2

Todd Dezago Writer
Carlo Barberi Penciller
Juan Vlasco Inker
Janice Chiang Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Digital Chameleon Separations
Joey Cavalieri Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover: Bart's worst day, captured in time by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher. I always associate covers like this with the Bronze Age, whether or not comic historians would agree with my assessment. In any case, DC comics, particularly the Flash, have a long history of these type of melodramatic covers. There's a time and a place for them, and I believe when used sparingly they can be effective. Such is the case here. Carol has always been Bart's friend, but lately, there have been rumblings that she might be a bit more than that. So to take her away just as these feelings are beginning to develop truly makes for "Bart's worst day."

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Bart struggling to have a serious conversation with Carol. He tells her how Jeff Weber is a slime ball, who's been seeing Kristin Donovan behind Carol's back. And Bart believes that Carol deserves to be with someone who'll treat her better. Thankfully, Carol is open to Bart's words, and she begins to realize what he's having a hard time saying. She asks Bart who he has in mind, and her speech bubbles come out in the shape of hearts. As Bart embarrassedly stammers, Carol takes his hands and pulls him in for their first, real, romantic kiss.

But before their lips officially touch, Bart's hit in the head with a puff of pink gas. He falls down in a daze, as Carol is grabbed from behind by a masked female figure and pulled into a portal of bright light (essentially what we see on the cover, except Bart's not in his Impulse costume and the colors are different). Carol screams for Bart's help, but he's unable to fight off the effects of the knockout gas. He gets his costume out of his ring, but immediately collapses and can only helplessly watch as the screaming Carol disappears from view. Once the portal dissipates, Bart succumbs to the gas.

Meanwhile, several blocks away, Max has discovered the old Topeka Tattler, detailing Lucius Keller's fatal accident. Max quickly confirms that Helen is not in the house, meaning that his old nemesis has somehow found his way to the 21st century and is after the people Max cares about. This also means that Bart is a potential victim. So Max rushes out the door and slams right into Bart, whose hyper-metabolism has mostly rid him of the knockout gas, although he's still a bit woozy.

Bart tells Max that Carol's been kidnapped, and Max tells Bart that Helen's been kidnapped, too. Once Bart fully recovers, the two speedsters take off to find Keller and rescue Helen and Carol. Max tells Bart the story of Lucius Keller, how he was a brilliant scientist in the late 19th century, who accidentally killed his wife and daughter in a failed experiment involving a rocket-powered locomotive. Keller blamed Max for this tragedy, and when he couldn't kill Max himself, he began killing everyone Max had saved in his course as a superhero.

Max and Impulse then arrive at Keller's secret hideout in New Mexico, and Max tells Impulse to stay hidden outside, acting as their ace-in-the-hole, as he goes in to confront Keller personally. Keller has been waiting for Max, and he freezes his nemesis in place by showing a video of Helen tied up to a bunch of explosives and showing that he has his hand on the detonator. Max agrees to stay still, while Impulse surreptitiously vibrates through the walls to look for Helen and Carol.

Feeling he has the upper hand, Keller begins to gloat, boasting of how he managed to follow Max through time and to his joy discovered he now has a wife and son (mistaking Helen's and Bart's relationship to Max). But Keller has done his homework, knowing that Max's "son" is named Bartholomew and also has super speed, which likely means he's nearby. So Keller amplifies his threat, saying that if he presses the detonator, he'll not only be killing Helen, but also destroying the nearby town of Clayton. And the only way to prevent this tragedy, Keller says, is for Max to submit to his execution to atone for the lives he "so callously ignored."

Impulse stood still a bit too long during Keller's speech, perhaps getting too worked up by the whole situation. Unfortunately, this leads to his capture by a large, squid-like robot. Luckily, Impulse is able to vibrate free from its grasp, but now he's exposed. Keller reminds Max not to move as Bart battles the robot, but Max does advise him to keep vibrating through the machine's tentacles. Bart successfully accomplishes this, but isn't able to make any real progress in the fight until Max tells him to go into the robot's head, recalling their previous battle against Keller's other giant robot. However, Keller was counting on Bart doing exactly that.

Impulse crashes into the squid's head, only to find Helen tied up to about a thousand sticks of dynamite. He frantically tells this to Max, who immediately surrenders to Keller. Bart warns Max not to give in, reminding him of his own words that Keller is insane. Keller mocks Bart's impudence, wondering if all 21st century children refer to their parents by their first names. He tells Impulse that he'll disable the detonator for Helen and will allow Bart to take his "mother" back home. But Keller warns Bart that if he tries to return to save his "father," then he'll decimate Clayton, New Mexico.

As Bart unties Helen, Keller decides to rub some salt in Max's wound by telling him that his "wife" was dressed so immodestly because she was apparently off to meet a "gentleman caller." Max finally tells Keller that he's mistaken and that Helen is actually his daughter. Seeing how this news has thrown Keller off his game, Max digs a little deeper, suggesting that Helen looks how Keller's daughter might have looked had she lived.

It's Keller who has now frozen with fear and uncertainty, and Impulse and Helen stick around to listen to the rest of Max's verbal beat-down. Max points out that Keller must have truly gone mad to have created a time machine, yet not use it to go back in time to save his loved ones from the disaster. Lucius Keller had never considered this, and the weight of this idea causes him to fall to his knees and drop the detonator. Max quickly tells Bart to grab the detonator, while he grabs Keller. The villain doesn't bother putting up a fight, only able to moan about the loss of his wife and daughter. Bart notices that the detonator doesn't appear to be hooked up to anything, but then he realizes something much more crucial — Carol is nowhere to be found.

Bart runs all around the cave, but can't find her. He angrily grabs Keller by the scruff and demands to know where Carol is, but Keller doesn't know who he's talking about. Max promises Bart they'll find Carol as soon as they take Keller to Arkham Asylum and dismantle the time machine before it falls into the wrong hands. But Bart has another idea. Before anyone can stop him, he hops into Keller's time machine, saying, "I'm sorry, Max!! I don't have time!! I hafta go back! I've got to find Carol!! I ... I ... love ... her ..."

Well, here it is. Bart has finally admitted he loves Carol. We've been building to this a long time, so it doesn't feel rushed or forced. But in a small way, I do find this development somewhat bittersweet. Part of the appeal of Impulse to me was that he was a kid, not a teenager dealing with angst and love triangles. But I guess even ageless comic book characters do need to starting growing up a bit — after all, Impulse has been 14 years old for about six years now. So on a whole, I support this storyline with Carol.

Slightly more problematic for me, though, is the storyline of Lucius Keller. How did he know that Max traveled forward in time to the 21st century? From his point of view, Keller was successfully killing all the people Max had saved, until Max suddenly disappeared one day. Shouldn't he have assumed that he drove Max into retirement? Instead, he somehow correctly deduced that Max retreated to more than 100 years in the future. Also, if Max knew where Keller secret hideout was all this time, why didn't he destroy it back in 1896? Keller was using his advanced technology to kill dozens of people, so it seems like Max should have caved in that hideout to cut off the source of Keller's power. Ideally, I think Keller should have left a note with the old newspaper, telling Max where he could find him. Because that was what he ultimately wanted. So yeah, the concept of Keller might have been interesting, but the execution was just a bit too sloppy for me.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavaleri urging readers to send in their thoughts on the new art team of Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco. He also mentions a Mexican volcano that delayed the delivery of some of his pages (I'm not sure if this led to a pushback of an issue's publication date).

Andy Oliver, of Essex, England, admits he hadn't been reading Impulse for a while, but after picking up the DC Direct figures of Max Mercury and Impulse (guess I need to grab those), he decided to check out Impulse #67. Even though it was the conclusion of a long-running storyline, Andy still found it accessible and entertaining. The party reminded him of a Flash story that had the Rogues throwing a party for Captain Cold, and he was especially glad to see Woozy Winks included. He liked the conversation between Martian Manhunter and Kyle Rayner, and, most importantly, loved the interaction between Max and Bart. Andy points out that those two have come a long way since Impulse #1.

Carlos R. Hall, of Jacksonville, Fla., suggests recruiting Rob Liefeld to do Impulse and a Silver Age Atom/Hawkman miniseries. (I'm personally glad this never happened, because I loathe Liefeld's artwork.) Carlos also asks for Wally West to be reunited with Bart Allen (thank you!) and for mini-busts of the original three members of Young Justice.

Tobias Christopher throws out an idea of Impulse having a little brother who is even more impatient than Bart.

Andy Barclay also likes this idea, saying it'd be a great Elseworlds story. Cavalieri mentions that Ethan Van Sciver recently had an idea that's "not dissimilar" to that.

Michael Bregman, of Gan-Yavne, Israel, points out that the real story of Impulse #69 wasn't Green Lantern, Adam Strange and Impulse fighting a big monster, but rather the development of Bart's character. Michael called it heartbreaking to see Impulse on this guilt trip, and he praises him for going out of his way to save the sea creatures. He liked how Green Lantern apparently saw too much of himself in Impulse, allowing the story to create some fun tension between the two of them, yet still do justice to the two characters. Michael is also happy that Van Sciver is still doing the covers. Now for the new ads:

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Next time, we head into June 2001, the third-straight month where Impulse only appeared in his own title and Young Justice. So that means we'll be reviewing Young Justice #32.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Young Justice #31


Peter David – Writer
Todd Nauck – Penciller
Lary Stucker – Inker
Ken Lopez – Letterer
Jason Wright – Colorist
Tom Palmer Jr. – Assistant Editor
Eddie Berganza – Editor

Sssh ... SB is watching TV on this cover by Nauck, Stucker and Ian Hannin. And while Superboy gorges himself on Torgo's Pizza, Puffloids chips and Soder cola, flanked by a Flash pillow and a magazine with Nauck and Stucker on it, poor Impulse is left alone to fight off the evil mimes! If it's any consolation to Impulse, there are only three mimes to battle inside this issue, but he still does have to do all the work in this story. And I'm OK with that!

In keeping with the mime theme, there are only two words of spoken dialogue in this issue (giving Ken Lopez the easiest job in the world). The first spoken word comes from Kon shouting, "Quiet!!!!!" at Bart. Unfortunately for Bart, Kon's breath smells like onions. Apparently it's just the two of them today at the Catskills resort, and Bart wants to have some fun. He offers several suggestions to his friend, talking in pictograms instead of words, starting with an offer to go swimming. Bart could try out an Ambush Bug water tube, and Kon could certainly meet a couple of girls. But Kon only responds by putting a finger to his lips in a shushing motion.

But this doesn't stop Bart. He immediately launches into Plan B — a trip to the carnival, where he and Kon could dazzle the workers with their skill at the shooting arcade and win all sorts of stuffed animals, including, but not limited to, Beeker from the Muppets, Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, Captain Carrot and figures from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Again, the shushing motion. So this time, Bart takes a drastic approach. He runs off, quickly returns as Impulse, and suggests he and Superboy battle Darkseid, Brainiac, Bizzaro, Chemo, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, Extant, Star Saphire, Starro, Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold, Sinestro, Amazo, Plasmas, Monsieur Mallah and the Brain.

Superboy buries his face in his hands, once again says, Shhhhh, then grabs Bart's head and turns it to the TV screen, showing him the Cheerleader Championship with Terri Jewel Jackson from "Wendy the Werewolf Slayer." Bart glares at Kon and his stupid choice in entertainment, then takes off. Kon breathes a sigh of relief and begins to enjoy a bowl of popcorn. Impulse returns with a party hat and noisemaker, and tries to sneak up on Kon. As he prepares to blow the noisemaker in Kon's ear, Superboy casually stops the noisemaker with his tactile telekinesis, causing Bart's cheeks to puff up and giving him a little bit of a coughing fit.

Impulse once again glares daggers at Superboy, then comes to the sad realization that he'll never be able to pull Kon away from the cheerleaders, so he heads out on his own. Consider Kon a Super Couch Potato, Impulse quickly finds an opportunity to be a hero. A villain with a black top hat, black cape and curly mustache has kidnapped a woman in a pink dress and tied her to the railroad tracks as a train quickly approaches. Impulse rushes in like a cavalryman on his trusty steed, and in no time at all, frees the woman and ties up the villain.

To Impulse's surprise, the woman punches him in the jaw and unties the villain. She answers Impulse's puzzled reaction by pointing to a film crew for Premium Silent Pictures: Classic Films in the Classic Style. The director is furious at Impulse for ruining his shot, and when Bart sees that the train is just a cardboard cutout being pushed by a bicycle, he realizes he was a screwball and quickly runs away.

As he runs, Bart's mind already begins exaggerating that encounter, picturing the actress smacking him in the head with a 2-by-4. He then comes across a book fair, complete with advertisements for MST3K, a woman reading "To Serve Man" and a man that looks exactly like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, reading "Space Trek 2020." Impulse throws himself in the middle of the fair and loudly announces his arrival, expecting to be showered with roses and begged for autographs. But everybody gives Impulse the same shushing treatment Superboy gave him. When Impulse tries to ask why, he's met with even louder shushing. He then takes a closer look at the sign, and realizes that he's at a Librarians Book Fair.

So Impulse continues his quest to find something to do. From a distance, he sees three figures that could be Superman, Batman and Catwoman. But when he gets closer, Bart sees they're just mimes, so he resumes his journey. Feeling pretty discouraged, Impulse plops down on the steps of a porch. A man sits down next to him, and, feeling grateful to have some company, Impulse immediately tells the man all about how he couldn't get Superboy off the couch, and the actress smacked him with a baseball bat, and all the librarians shushed him. In response, the man rips off a card from a book and hands it to Impulse. The card shows the sign language alphabet and says, "I am deaf and poor. Please help me by buying this card." Embarrassed, Impulse covers his face and sadly demonstrates that he has no money, or pockets for that matter. He hands the card back to the man, who stomps on Impulse's ankle and angrily storms off.

The frustrated Impulse keeps running, eventually coming across a trio of monks having a picnic with chicken, grapes, cheese, bread and wine. The monks invite Impulse to join them, and after checking to make sure they're addressing him, Impulse happily sits down with them, imagining himself living life as a monk. As he takes a bite of chicken, Impulse immediately begins telling the monks about how Superboy literally kicked him out the door. The monks all shush Impulse, and he realizes that if he became a monk, he'd have to take a vow of silence. So he immediately takes off, leaving his drumstick spinning in midair and the three monks rather confused.

Impulse is getting pretty angry now as he runs. Luckily, he comes across a familiar face — the Flash, whom he hasn't seen in quite a while (thanks a lot, Geoff Johns). Bart quickly tells Wally how Superboy threw him out the window, the librarians shoved the book "Silence of the Lambs" in his mouth, the deaf man severed his ankles with a chainsaw and the mime robbed him blind.

As Bart details how the monk cut off his hair to give him the classic monk look, a janitor picks up the Flash and walks away with him. Bart wonders why Flash is stiff as a board, then realizes he's at Madame Trudeau's Wax Museum. Bart slams his head against the wall five times, gets a big bump, then falls down.

We briefly cut back to Superboy to see that he is still watching the Cheerleader Championship and has created a nest of junk food around himself, similar to what we saw on the cover. Impulse is still angrily running around, now applying some ice to the bump on his forehead. He comes across the O'Brien Arena, which just happens to be hosting the Cheerleader Championship. But what makes Impulse stop is the sight of the three mimes he met earlier robbing the ticket booth at gunpoint. Impulse quickly checks for the silent film director, and when he realizes this isn't a movie, he happily prepares to do some actual hero work.

The mimes spot Impulse, and they act like there's a wall in front of them. Impulse charges forward, then bounces off an actual invisible wall. By the time he gathers himself, the mimes are already making their way down a hallway in the arena. Another mime trick creates a huge gust of wind that knocks Impulse off his feet once more.

The mimes make it to the main stage, but Impulse is right behind them. Settling on a ranged attack, Impulse grabs an armful of cheerleaders' pom-poms and hurls them at the two male mimes. This distracts them long enough to allow Impulse to properly tie them up. The female mime, however, quickly takes a hostage — host Terri Jewel Jackson. Keep in mind, all this is being broadcast on live television. Superboy jumps up from his junk food heap, but he's too far away to do anything.

Impulse has an intense stare down with the mime. After a moment, he takes one step forward. The mime immediately pulls the trigger three times, but nothing happens. Impulse lets the bullets fall from his hand, shocking the mime. Terri Jewel Jackson then slugs her would-be assassin, and all the cheerleaders swarm and kiss Impulse, their hero. Superboy watches all this unfold, and closes the story with the second word of spoken dialogue: "D'oh!"

I won't be so bold as to call this a perfect comic book. But it's as close as you could possibly get to perfection. Every gag was a delight. Every page, panel, expression and pictogram bubble was beautifully crafted with the comedic precision of David and Nauck. And only these two creators could have done this. Let's be honest, this is not a Young Justice story, it's an Impulse story. But I can't really see anyone on Impulse being able to pull this off. As such, I have to say that the best single issue of Impulse is actually an issue of Young Justice.

There might have been some Young Justice fans disappointed to take a break from the complete cast of characters and all their separate storylines. But I hope that this issue brought a smile to their face half as big as mine, and that they'd be willing to indulge this Impulse-centric tale. I also like to think that there might have been some strong Impulse fans like me, who really wanted Bart to have a bigger role in Young Justice. At the end of the day, I found something that I absolutely love and can over and over again, and I guess that's all that matters.

Our letters to the editor begin with Brian Bearese praising Young Justice #27 for not letting the story take a back seat to the humor. He enjoyed the return of Cissie, the addition of Empress and Lobo, although Brian feels Lobo should only hang around for a few issues. Brian also compliments the art, asking the creative team stays on board for a long time, and also requests a guest appearance from Spoiler.

Paul Watson, of Essex, England, admits he doesn't know anything about baseball, but still loved issue #27 all the same. He loved the interaction between Cissie and Traya, and was also a big fan of the team's baseball uniforms. Eddie Berganza says the baseball motif of the costumes was all Todd Nauck's idea.

Joe Torcivia, of Westbury, N.Y., called the story a combination of Space Jam with Friz Freleng's Baseball Bugs to produce the Strangest Sports Story this side of Julius Schwartz. Joe also comments on Lobo's unusually good behavior, expecting him to swap out the baseball for a frag grenade (which he literally did in the next issue).

James the Daaknite really appreciates how the same creative team has stuck together for 27 issues. He does, however, have a problem with Empress saying "mon," feeling that's a bit stereotypical. Berganza says they didn't mean to offend, but were just trying to use shorthand to show that she's not African American. Now for the new ads:

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Next time, we get the second part of the Return of Lucius Keller in Impulse #72.