Thursday, April 6, 2017

Impulse #71

The Return of Lucius Keller Part 1

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 & Wieringo

This issue's cover delineates and delivers new meaning to the term "steampunk," as drawn by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher! It is a fun cover with a pretty goofy pun on it. Granted, in this issue Impulse and Max aren't chased around by this particular steampunk machine, but you get the idea. In any case, it's always a nice change of pace to put the spotlight on one of Max's villains.

Our story begins in Northeastern New Mexico, at a secret lair that has been hidden underground since the late 1890s. There's a big flash of light, and the machine we saw on the cover materializes out of thin air. Turns out this is a time machine, transporting Lucius Keller, sworn enemy of Max Mercury, or, as he knew him in the 19th century, Blue Streak. Somehow, Keller figured out Max had traveled to the future, so he's followed him here to kill everyone Max holds dear.

We then head over to Manchester Junior High, where Preston and Rolly have been tasked with videotaping the boys' soccer practice. Jeff Weber considers these two to be nerds, so he purposefully runs into them, knocking down Rolly and camera on a tripod. When Preston tries to stand up to Jeff, he calls them girls and wusses before rejoining the team. Preston wonders what Carol sees in Jeff, and Rolly points out that Jeff only acts this way when Carol's not around.

Impulse, meanwhile, has just stopped a bank robbery in St. Louis. On his way back home, he drops off the guns he took with Officer Hannaburgh, in what appears to be a regular occurrence. Bart changes back into his school clothes and meets up with Preston and Rolly 12 seconds later. Preston and Rolly tell Bart all about Jeff, who is currently sitting in the stands, flirting with cheerleader Kristin Donovan — even though he's supposedly dating Carol. Rolly laments that they're unable to do anything about this, but Bart eyes Jeff's gym bag and gets an idea.

Bart pulls out an extra pair of Jeff's shorts and sneaks up underneath the bleachers to slide the shorts around Jeff's ankles. Jeff doesn't notice because he's too busy plotting a lame excuse to give to Carol so he can spend the night with Kristin instead. When the coach calls Jeff back to the field, he trips over the shorts, much to the amusement of his teammates. The coach yells at him for stupidly wearing two pairs of shorts, and when Jeff says the shorts aren't his, the coach points to Jeff's name on the waistband. Jeff wonders how his shorts got out of his bag, and when he turns to look at it, Bart, Roland and Preston are all innocently looking away and whistling.

Shortly, Bart walks away with his friends, who are still laughing at Jeff's humiliation. But Bart's still a bit mad, saying he hates the way Jeff lies and cheats on Carol. Preston realizes that Bart doesn't like because he actually has feelings for Carol. He says that everyone knows Carol's always had a crush on Bart and she was just waiting for him to wake up. Bart denies this, saying she's just his friend. But Roland agrees with Preston, suggesting that maybe Bart does have feeling for Carol but he doesn't know it yet. Bart thinks this is ridiculous, but Preston and Roland still stand by their theory.

The next day, Lucius Keller arrives at the northside of Manchester with a large robot he intends to distract Max Mercury as he attends to the more personal aspects of his scheme. Meanwhile, Bart is unable to focus on the teacher's lesson on blue-striped tree frogs because he's so perplexed by his relationship with Carol. He can't help staring at her, wondering what Bart plus Carol equals. Carol eventually notices Bart's staring, as does the teacher, who scolds him for not paying attention.

Later, Bart overhears Jeff telling Carol he can't meet her that night because his coach has called an extra practice. Carol suggests that she could go to the practice and do her homework on the sidelines while she waited for him. Jeff objects to this too strongly, and lamely says that Carol's presence would distract him. He then notices Bart and tells Carol that she can do her homework with Bart and then give the answers to him later tonight. Bart thinks of Jeff as a snake, but then he suddenly gets another idea.

Bart quickly takes off and reappears at super speed, and the only one who notices is Carol. As she walks home with Bart, she points out that Bart doesn't like Jeff. Bart says he thinks she should be with someone who treats her nicer, so Carol asks who he's talking about. Bart's thinking of himself, but he can't bring himself to say it. Suddenly, a blue-stripped tree frog pops out of Bart's shirt. Bart says he ran off to the Amazon get the frog to help Carol with her homework, and she comments on how fun it is to be with Bart. Jeff, meanwhile, is with Kristin Donovan once again, bragging about how all needs to do is splatter a little mud on his uniform to pull off his lie to Carol. He opens his gym bag to find it's stuffed with frogs, planted there by Bart — his true purpose for running to the Amazon.

Max is out on patrol when he spots the robot, which feels dreadfully familiar to him. Helen, meanwhile, has put on a fancy dress to go to the opera with Matt Ringer. She heads off, playfully interpreting Dox's barking as a mother telling her to have a good time and not stay out too late. Just outside, Bart spots the rising smoke coming from the robot's destruction, and he quickly takes off as Impulse.

Four seconds later, Impulse and Max Mercury are racing around the machine, trying to keep it at bay until Max decides the best strategy. He suggests attempting to shut it down from the inside. Before they get a chance to try this, the robot opens up machine gun fire on our heroes. Bart catches all the bullets (even though they're hot) and he asks Max what he should do with them. Max reminds Bart of what they were just talking about, so Bart vibrates into the robot and throws all the bullets into its gears. Bart's plan works perfectly, and the giant machine quickly falls down as an obsolete pile of metal. Max darkly says that his was too easy, since this machine reminds him of an old foe he had — a brilliant scientist who lost his family when one of his inventions exploded. Unable to face his guilt, this man turned it into a bitter hatred for Max. Bart asks if it's possible to have feelings sometimes and not even know it, and when Max says yes, Bart's thoughts again turn to Carol.

A little later, Bart takes Carol out for a walk and finally brings himself to tell Carol that Jeff's cheating on her. Carol is understandably hurt by this, and Bart kindly apologizes, explaining that he's only telling Carol this because he cares about her and doesn't want to see her get hurt. But in the midst of this emotional conversation, neither of them notice a shadowy figure spying on them from the bushes.

Meanwhile, Max returns home to find that Dox has somehow been shut in the kitchen pantry. He then notices a copy of The Topeka Tattler from 1893 left on the table. The headlines read: "Rocket Sled Tragedy. Inventor loses family in accident." This confirms Max's fear that Keller has returned, and he begins to fear for Helen's life.

Lucius Keller was originally introduced in Impulse #58, and I think it's pretty neat that Dezago went back to that side story and has expanded on it. Max has had a handful of villains — Savitar, Dr. Morlo, Glory Shredder — but most of them have already been defeated, so it's good to give him another one, especially when you consider Max's long-spanning career. But the return of Lucius Keller actually played secondary to the Bart-Carol-Jeff love triangle. I think this is still developing at an appropriate, adorable pace. Yes, Bart has kissed Carol once before, but that was more of a joke than anything. Now, finally, it seems like things will get serious between them.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavalieri talking about getting caught in a wind storm that sent all his Flash manuscripts flying and he figured this must be what it feels like to live in Manchester and have Impulse randomly zoom by.

Chuck Brouillette, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., called Impulse #68 a treat. He enjoyed how Adam and Alanna Strange were handled, Impulse's Inertia-inspired focus, and Green Lantern's motivations. Chuck loves how Impulse manages to balance the silly with the serious, saying that balance makes the series read so real.

Daniel E. McMasters, of Sacramento, says he was fooled by the solicitation in Previews magazine that made it sound like Max Mercury was going to die. He was not only dreading the death, but the eventual return of Max, so Daniel was very happy to see Max survived Mercury Falling. He says Impulse #67 brought back some of the humor that had been missing during Mercury Falling. Daniel admits to considering dropping the series, but with Max still alive and Carlo Barberi coming aboard, he's staying on.

Robert Kowalski, of Detroit, says Adam Strange is his favorite hero, and he loved seeing him and Impulse thrown together into a Circle of Fire epilogue. Robert appreciated how issue #68 recapped Adam Strange's history, and he enjoyed everything from the lava pigs to Green Lantern's line about needing to save Rann from Impulse. Now for the ads (once again Bart and his friends were all dressed in Nautica clothing):

Thermonuclear cheesehead! Cheese Nips.

All-new action figures from DC Direct! Red Tornado and Martian Manhunter.

Winning $10,000 isn't half as cool as spending it. Get ready to go on a shopping spree. Because if you find a Golden Wrapper inside specially marked boxes of Pop-Tarts toaster pastries you could win $10,000 instantly.

The Silver Age Justice League of America villains PVC set.

A lot of magic. A little reminder from Kellogg's. Mini bean bag toys shaped like Disney characters inside cereal boxes.

Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum. Gotta have sweet?

Next time, we get a very special Impulse-centric story in Young Justice #31!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Young Justice #30

Round Robin

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

Robin's in the middle of it in this issue's cover by Todd and Lary (still only one "r") and the colors of Ian Hannin. I don't care too much about Robin's girlfriend, Spoiler, nor am I particularly interested in any love triangle involving her. But I am really interested in this new, berserk side of Secret. Seeing her going after a fellow hero in such a savage manner is more than enough to make up for the lack of other Young Justice characters on this cover.

Our story begins with Traya, Cissie, her mom, and her new agent, Frank Balkin, having lunch at Guy Gardner's famous restaurant, Warriors. Cissie is overwhelmed by not only the prospect of having an agent, but also being surrounded by so much superhero memorabilia. And it really doesn't help that our party's waitress just so happens to be dressed as Arrowette. The restaurant is crowded, and with all the costumed waiters running around, there's soon a collision between two different Supergirls and a Power Girl. Frank tries to ease the tension by joking about the Elongated Man, Plastic Man and Stretch-O colliding and causing all the customers to rubberneck. The joke does not go over well.

So the agent tries to get down to business, telling Cissie that she is a champion of the people — people who now want to see her. Cissie says she's not interested in having her face on T-shirts or cereal boxes, but she's interrupted by a girl a little younger than her. The girl has bushy hair, braces, bad acne, and a T-shirt with Cissie's face on it. She calls Cissie her heroine, saying she used to be so miserable in school until she watched Cissie on TV. This inspired her to take up archery, which has helped her make new friends and gain confidence. The girl says Cissie saved her life, and she asks for an autograph. Soon, Cissie is surrounded by fans, including a couple of the waiters. Bonnie assumes Frank set this up, but the agent says this is purely spontaneous.

(Now let's take a look at all the "heroes" we saw at Warriors: Plastic Man, Atom, Flash, Superman, Guy Gardner as a Green Lantern, Mister Miracle, Blue Beetle, Metamorpho, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Doctor Fate, Ambush Bug, Firestorm, Aquaman, Blue Devil, Zatanna, Captain Marvel and probably a few more I missed.)

We then cut to a lonely highway, where a cop has pulled a man over for speeding. But the man surprised the cop when his back was turned and pointed a gun at his head. The policeman begs for his life and tells the man that he won't get away with this. The gunman says he stole both the car and the gun, so nobody will be able to track him down. The only way the cop will get out of this alive, he says, is if some "supertype" shows up to save him at the last second.

Suddenly, a boom tube opens up right above the two men, and out of it pops Young Justice on the Super-Cycle and Lobo's Space Hog. Robin is shocked to see they've returned to Earth instead of Myrg. Wonder Girl is happy to be home, hoping they were only gone for one day. But Impulse is worried about his new spaceship. Empress says Doiby should be able to pilot it back, but Bart reminds her that Doiby is staying on Myrg.

The commotion distracts the gunman, giving the policeman an opportunity to disarm the man and handcuff him. He thanks Young Justice for their help, but none of them knew what was going on. As they fly away, Wonder Girl points out that it was very generous of the Forever People to let them keep the Super-Cycle, but Impulse says that just the thing anyone would say if they didn't have their own spaceship. Lobo has grown tired of Impulse's complaining, so he offers to fly back to Myrg himself and retrieve the ship. Bart is very happy with this offer, and Lobo says it'll give him a chance to open the spaceship up and make some modifications. As he takes off, Robin worries that the Top Teen will return to Earth with half a dozen angry races on his tail.

Frank and Bonnie drive Cissie and Traya back to their boarding school, and Cissie admits she's actually looking forward to working with an agent. As Traya points out, the money was a big factor in her decision, since she might now be making enough to put her through grad school. Plus, it'll put to rest Bonnie's dreams of launching an Arrowette action figure. When Cissie opens her door, she finds Cassie waiting for her. Reflexively, Cissie cowers into a ball and begs to not be teleported away or to have a mask put back on her face. But all Cassie wanted to do was give her a rare flower she found on New Genesis.

Robin returns to Gotham City and meets up with Spoiler. They have a slightly rough conversation about Robin's refusal to reveal his secret identity to Spoiler, but she goes home on good terms with him. However, Spoiler didn't realize she was being trailed by Secret, who feels like Spoiler is mistreating Robin, and she attacks Spoiler in a jealous rage. Robin must have suspected that Secret was trailing him because he calls Superboy to ask where Secret is. Superboy, who has somehow scored a full body massage with Empress at their Catskills resort, tells Robin he last saw Secret hovering behind him in mist form.

Robin remembers how Secret asked him out and was despondent when she learned he already had a girlfriend. Fearing for Spoiler's life, Robin decides to make a call to Red Tornado. And Spoiler's life really is in danger. While she does manage to get in one hit with a brief electric shock, Spoiler is no match for Secret, who is angrier than we've ever seen. At the end of the fight, Spoiler desperately points out that Robin will not be happy with Secret if she kills her. Secret darkly responds with, "Oh, I'm not going to kill you. Although you're going to wish I had!"

Red Tornado arrives not a moment too soon and neutralizes Secret with a whirlwind. He only releases her when Robin says she's had enough. Robin then has a talk with the two girls about respect, privacy and trust. He eventually gets them to agree to stop fighting, but they both had their fingers crossed behind their backs.

It's really good to get back home after spending so much time in outer space. And everyone (well, most everyone) got a chance to unwind. I kind of wish we got another panel or two of Impulse, but we'll get plenty of him next issue. What we did get, I really did like. Cissie's story is still really interesting and developing at a great pace. And while I still don't care for Spoiler or what this issue set up for Robin's ongoing series, I am fascinated by Secret. It can't be a coincidence that she had her biggest meltdown shortly after meeting with Darkseid.

Our letters to the editor begin with Brian Seidman, of New York, praising the art team for their work on Young Justice #26. He's also a big fan of Li'l Lobo's addition to the team, saying his dynamic with Robin reminds him of Batman and Guy Gardner back in the JLA. Brian also is eager to learn more about Secret.

Michael Bregman, of Gan-Yavne, Israel, recalls how Young Justice #1 gave him mixed feelings. He felt the series was too silly for his tastes, but he stuck it out and was pleased to see how it developed dramatic depth as it went on, while still being able to balance the incredible silliness. Michael isn't sure about the violent Lobo joining the team, but he does enjoy Cissie's subplot. He also asks for a Point Men miniseries. Now for the new ads.

Without the coupon it's called shoplifting. Snickers Cruncher. This coupon is unfortunately placed on the back of the cover, meaning every reader who wanted to enjoy a free candy bar had to cut a huge hole right in the middle of the cover.

A dark future ... an uncertain past ... no one left to trust. Oni for PlayStation 2.

Your world will never be the same. Farscape on DVD and VHS.

Serving suggestions: mild, medium or momentary black-out strength. Tang.

Hey, Kids! Comics talks about Kevin Smith's new Green Arrow series and an Elseworlds series called Superboy's Legion.

Feed your soul. Corn Nuts.

Sim Coaster on PC CD-ROM.

Peanut Butter Advisory: Unexpected Content. Peanut Butter Twix.

My money's on the chick with the lion. Portal Runner.

Champions come in all shapes and sizes. Mario Tennis.

Paper Mario with a "free demo" — a picture of Mario you could cut out.

Milk mustaches don't last long when you're a sponge. Which means I may have to drink another glass of yummy chocolate milk. Or two. Or three. Or four. Spongebob Squarepants.

Next time, we'll meet a foe from Max Mercury's past in Impulse #71.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Impulse #70

Impulse, The Movie

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

This issue's cover is deftly rendered by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher! This is a fun homage to The Flash #123 by Carmine Infantino, the first story that brought the Jay Garrick Flash and the Barry Allen Flash together. But here, we have the Bart Allen Impulse and the Mike Ringer "Impulse" rushing to save Carol Bucklen. Don't worry, though, they're just making a movie, so she's not really in any danger. Or is she? Anyway, this is a really fun cover that harkens back to Flash history. And I'm glad to get as much Ethan Van Sciver on this book as possible, but I still hold to my belief that the cover artist should be the inside artist. It's Carlo Barberi's book now, and the readers should see that.

Our story begins with Bart walking down the street with Carol, who has apparently been having a hard time since being dumped by Jeff Weber. Bart's glad that Carol has finally come out of her room since the breakup, but as Carol describes the feeling of having her heart broken by Jeff, Bart suddenly becomes very angry. He suggests Carol completely forget about Jeff since he's a jerk and she's better off without him. Carol starts to agree, but suddenly Jeff himself shows up, saying he's out on a run to train for soccer season. Bart snidely says, "You call that running?" Jeff asks for a private conversation with Carol, and she instantly goes against Bart's advice. Bart steps aside, believing that Carol is now going to get back at Jeff, break his heart, beat him up, and he and Carol will laugh about dumping Jeff in the garbage. But Bart doesn't realize that the exact opposite is happening.

Carol gives Bart a big shock by announcing she's going out with Jeff for pizza later. Bart begins running around her almost at super speed, listing all the reasons why she shouldn't get back with Jeff. But Carol says that Jeff admitted he made a mistake, and she thinks it'll work out this time. She manages to calm Bart down and they meet up with Preston, Wade, Mike, Rolly and Ayanna. Preston announces that they're entering the Alabama Amateur Filmmakers' competition and they want everyone involved. And what better subject for their film than their very own hero, Impulse. For a second, Bart thinks Preston's going to ask him to play Impulse, but they've already decided on Mike, dressing him up in the homemade costume we saw on the cover.

Suffering his second major shock in the past five minutes, Bart tries to stammer out a protest, ultimately complaining about Mike's oversized red boots. Preston says that everybody knows Impulse has big feet and Wade speculates those big feet are the source of Impulse's speed. Bart starts to say that Impulse doesn't have big feet, but then he and Carol look down at his shoes, and Bart has to reluctantly agree with his friends. Mike laments that he's not as buff as the real Impulse, Rolly says his hair should be red, Wade says he needs a deeper voice, and Ayanna adds that Impulse has an English accent. All of these critiques completely baffle Bart and Carol.

Preston starts divvying up assignments. He put the story together with Wade, who wrote the script. Preston will also serve as cameraman, while Rolly takes care of sound and editing. And Bart will play the movie's villain, Dr. Bad. Bart starts to protest this as well, but Carol gets him to be nice with a quick elbow to his ribs. So they start to get ready for their opening scene — Impulse getting his super powers from aliens. Once again, Bart has a hard time with his friends completely messing up everything Impulse, but Carol advises him to keep quiet to protect his secret identity.

We then cut to the home of Bart, Helen and Max, who has just returned from patrol. He playfully gives Helen a hard time for spending so much time with her new boyfriend, Matt Ringer, and he asks where Bart is. Helen tells him about the movie, which worries Max. Helen says that Carol is with Bart and she asks what trouble he could get into. Both Max and Helen laugh a little at this, but soon stop, realizing that with Bart, one can never be too careful.

Our filmmakers next head to the Manchester Train Station, where they'll ultimately show Carol being tied to the tracks like on the cover. But first, they want to shoot Mike running next to a stopped train, which they then plan to edit so it'll look like he's outracing a speeding train. However, they have to get the shot quick, since the train is ready to take off at any minute. So Mike starts running, but he trips and falls on the tracks just as the train starts picking up steam. Bart quickly saves Mike, moving too fast for anyone to see, and Carol points out it's a good thing Bart agreed to come along, while everybody else asks Mike how he did that. (Also of note in this scene, it looks like Barberi drew himself as one of the spectators at the station.)

Back at Helen's house, she and Matt are preparing for a picnic. Matt pets Dox, commenting that his son, Mike, is always talking about Bart's dog. Matt would like to buy a dog for him, but he's worried Mike would just accuse him of trying to buy his love. Carol advises Matt to be patient, saying Mike will see through is anger in time. The couple then heads out the door, neither of them realizing that Dox has slipped out the back.

Shortly, the filmmakers have headed to an intersection, where Mike is set to run against some cars and trucks stopped at a red light. While shooting this, Bart vents to Carol about how this movie is using aliens and stupid villains to make Impulse look like a complete idiot. Carol manages to keep a straight face, but is otherwise unable to respond to Bart's complaint.

They then head into an old warehouse to film the big showdown between Impulse and Dr. Bad. Bart puts on his costume — a large purple coat and sunglasses — and poses with Carol tied to a chair. Everybody else is at the top of a catwalk near an open window to film Mike come running in from across the street, while Bart and Carol hold very still. Bart still has a bad attitude about the whole thing, but he is complying.

Preston calls action, but as Mike starts to run, he sees Dox starting to cross the street behind him, stepping out right in front of a truck. Mike tries to get the dog to stop, but it keeps happily trotting toward him. While everybody's worried about Dox, the rickety old catwalk begins to collapse. Bart realizes he has to choose between saving his dog and saving his friends. Naturally, Bart chooses his friends. He throws on his Impulse outfit and catches Ayanna, Wade, Rolly and Preston, dumping them on a pile of dirt outside the window so they all think they just fell there naturally. But while he was doing this, the truck driver saw Dox, honked his horn and slammed on his breaks. Bart hears Mike call out Dox's name, and the world's fastest teen fears he was too late to save his dog.

Bart returns to Carol, puts his civilian clothes back on, and together they join with the others to see what happened to Dox. Turns out, Mike ran in front of the truck and scooped up the dog to safety. Mike returns Dox to Bart, who rejoices as his dog repeatedly licks his face. Everybody is amazed at Mike's heroism, and he explains that it must have been his costume, which inspired him to do what Impulse would have done. Bart is surprised to hear this, and Carol pulls him aside to say, "And you couldn't understand why they wanted to make a movie about you ... ? Du-uh ... could it possibly be because you're their hero ... ?"

After spending the last two issues on a somewhat dissatisfying adventure in space, it was refreshing to get back to the basics — Bart hanging out with his friends in Manchester — and just in time for the new artist. These low-key, slice-of-life stories are the backbone of Impulse, and Dezago does such a great job with the supporting characters. And I really like the pace of Bart's developing romantic feelings. It's slow, clumsy, awkward, confusing, and perfectly natural and realistic. The idea for an Impulse movie is a fun one, and I loved Bart's reactions to his friends' ignorance. I only wish we could have seen Bart actually act as "Dr. Bad" for a bit.

Carlo Barberi put up a pretty strong debut issue. His style isn't as refined as Ethan Van Sciver's, but it is very reminiscent of both Humberto Ramos and Craig Rousseau. It's fitting that the fourth (and final) artist on Impulse would perfectly capture the look and feel established by the previous artists, but still have enough of his own style to distinguish himself. I do think he draws hands and fingers a little too chunky, and sometimes his mouths look a bit weird when they're yelling, but these are minor nitpicks. Barberi nails the essentials. Bart still looks like an awkward teenager with big feet, big hair and a very expressive face.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Sarah Finnegan, of Washington, D.C., praising the finale of Mercury Falling. She admits that she missed the clues of Inertia posing as Impulse, and she enjoyed the theme of Bart's love for Max. Sarah also interpreted Inertia's running off as a "suicidal plunge," but Joey Cavalieri advises to not count out Inertia so fast, hinting that Dezago may bring back a changed and chastened Inertia.

Paul Tapner, of Poole, England, initially thought Impulse #64 was just a completely irrelevant diversion. But after reading Impulse #65, he realized how everything fits together. Paul ends his letter by praising that issue's cliffhanger ending and great art.

LilChica prematurely cheered the breaking up of the Carol-Jeff relationship. She says she's not quite ready for Bart and Carol to get together, but she did like how Bart was there to comfort his friend.

Max Mercury II points to Carol saying Bart's cuter than Inertia and hopes this starts opening the door of a Bart-Carol relationship. Max also enjoyed the scene of Zatanna switching all the heroes' costumes, and he says he also was hoping that swap would exchange powers, as well.

TheReturnofJustinCredible simply says, "Jesse Quick as Plastic Man. Yummy."

TheRay says he hasn't read Impulse in a year or two, but he picked up Impulse #67 just because it had the JLA and JSA on the cover. His favorite part was Bart introducing Wonder Woman as his cousin. Now he's going back and picking up all the issues he missed.

Da Caped Crusader also liked Jesse as Plastic Man, but insists Wonder Woman as Aquaman was better. He also enjoys how the letter column is now including comments from the DC website.

DataLore was just happy to see Zatanna again. Now let's take a look at the new ads. But first, I'll say that once again Bart and all his friends were exclusively wearing Nautica clothing in this issue. For what it's worth, Barberi did seem to make this a bit more subtle than Van Sciver did a few issues ago.

Grab it and go ... anywhere. Go-Gurt portable yogurt.

Meet hockey's way cool chimp! MVP: Most Valuable Primate on Videocassette and DVD.

Everything he knows is wrong! Superman: Return to Krypton.

Cartoon Cartoons comic books.

A subscription ad showing the Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory and Scooby-Doo. But it also lists Impulse as an option, offering 12 issues for $19.95. The cover price for Impulse in 2001 was $2.50.

Welcome to the resurrection. Green Arrow.

A ballot for the 8th Annual Wizard Fan Awards. None of the listed options have any ties to Impulse, except for former Impulse letterer Chris Eliopoulos, who was nominated for his work on Savage Dragon.

See anyone you know? Disney's House of Mouse. This cartoon had the fun concept of bringing together every Disney character from Snow White to Hercules into a night club owned by Mickey Mouse. Unfortunately, the execution was lacking as the animation and voice acting couldn't do justice to many of these guest characters.

Next time, Impulse and the team finally come back to Earth in Young Justice #30.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Young Justice #29

Forever and a Day

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 month's cover is another fine piece of work by Nauck and Stucker, with Ian Hannin on colors. It's a fun race between Young Justice on their super-cycle against the Forever People on their larger super-cycle. Most of the people here are quite serious, but a few seem to be having a good time. And I'm always happy when Impulse gets to be in the front of the cover. But while this "race" is really fun and does a great job of showing all the major characters of this month's story, we'll soon find out that the "villains" of this issue are the super-cycles themselves.

Our story begins on Earth, with young Traya being called in to the principal's office. Word has gotten out that Cissie has gone missing, and Principal Foster is understandably concerned. She hears Traya's explanation — that Cissie "just kinda disappeared" — and justifiably believes the young girl is covering for her roommate, who's probably out to see a boy or something of that matter. Traya, who has been honest the whole time, is quite perplexed by this line of reasoning.

Bonnie King-Jones then enters the office, munching on a bag of pretzel sticks in an attempt to quit smoking. To Mrs. Foster's surprise, Bonnie takes a rather nonchalant attitude toward her daughter's disappearance. Bonnie asks Traya if Cissie disappeared in a bust of light or some sound, but Traya answers in the negative. So Bonnie tries to calm down the principal by saying that Cissie is likely off with Young ... (she catches herself) friends, and should be back soon. Mrs. Foster tries to emphasize the severity of the situation, saying that Cissie's not just going to materialize out of nowhere. Right on cue, there's a flash of light in the principal's closet, and out comes tumbling Cissie. Traya happily waves at her friend, and the vindicated Bonnie says, "Never argue with me. Mother knows best."

Meanwhile, at a gratuitous fight scene on New Genesis, Lobo is locked in a fierce battle with Big Bear. Well, actually it's just a playful spar, but it has been going on for twenty minutes and the two powerhouses have destroyed a lot of trees in the area, so Robin yells at them to give it a rest. Wonder Girl and Empress are complimenting Beautiful Dreamer on her hair, which smells like honeysuckle. And Superboy is telling Vykin all about Riproar and how Young Justice got their super-cycle in the first place. Vykin is familiar with Riproar, calling him a lower-echelon Darkseid minion.

Impulse interrupts everything by shouting out "Nuts nuts nuts!" Everyone turns and sees the poor boy desperately trying to hold on to the super-cycle, which has once again gone berserk. Impulse is quickly thrown off the vehicle, but Superboy manages to catch him. Bart explains that the two super-cycles were kind of nuzzling each other, but then suddenly started flipping out. Like any rational person, Superboy finds it odd for two vehicles to "nuzzle." Moonrider explains that technology is sentient on New Genesis, constantly learning and growing. Robin points out the challenges in having your technology in a constant state of flux, and Lobo calls it "fraggin' wonderful." Wonder Girl asks if he could use another word besides fraggin', but Lobo says he can't and stay code-approved, a comment that goes over Cassie's head. (If it also went over your head, check out the Comics Code Authority and its rather pointless history.)

Big Bear and Moonrider jump on their yellow cycle, but are unable to prevent it from promptly flying away. Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Lobo all try to contain their red cycle, but don't seem to have much more luck. Robin points out that their cycle is trying to follow the yellow one, and Superboy repeats his favorite joke about Robin being trained by the world's greatest detective. But an exasperated Robin finishes the joke for him and tells Kon to drop it. Empress then stands in front of the super-cycle, stretches out her hand, and with glowing fingertips and eyes, commands the vehicle to stop. To everyone's surprise, the super-cycle actually did stop moving. But when Lobo calls out, "That's m'girl!", Empress loses her focus, and the cycle flies off, knocking Anita to the ground. Superboy chews out Lobo, calling him a Kiss reject, and as Empress gathers herself up, she bemoans that on a team with Superboy, Robin and Impulse, she had to be Lobo's girl.

If you were wondering what Secret has been doing this whole time, we see that she has become entranced with the beauty of New Genesis and gone off on her own through the woods. Secret happily takes in the trees and flowers, nothing that it's so different from the violence, darkness and things that terrorize you in the night. But she suddenly grows cold, feeling like she doesn't belong here — that she doesn't deserve to be somewhere like this. Secret suddenly finds she's not alone in the woods, as she comes face to face with none other than Darkseid himself.

We cut back to the frantic heroes of Young Justice and the Forever People, completely unable to contain their wild rides. Superboy cries out that even his tactile telekinesis is ineffective, and Wonder Girl complains that Kon is once again explaining his powers as if nobody knew how they worked. Beautiful Dreamer comes up with a decent plan and slows down the super-cycles with a mirage of a hoard of parademons. When Robin points out the parademons are just illusions, Superboy tries once more to get out his "world's greatest detective" joke, but this time both Wonder Girl and Lobo tell Kon to shut up.

The illusion did halt the super-cycles' progress, but the two vehicles suddenly begin spinning around violently, shaking all the occupants off them. Superboy catches Robin, and as the two vehicles begin wrapping themselves around each other, the Boy Wonder says he thinks the cycles are making out. Lobo lands hard on Moonrider, knocking out the leader of the Forever People just as he was trying to give them some orders. The super-cycles end their "make-out" session and form into one large robot that immediately starts blasting off a bunch of lasers. Superboy takes one of these lasers to the chest to protect Cassie, who once again complains to him that she can protect herself.

The Forever People believe the only way they can stop the super-cycles is to summon the Infinity Man, even if they'll have to do so without the unconscious Moonrider. So they pull out their special box and say their special words. Impulse sees this, assumes they're playing some sort of game, and decides he wants to join in, too. So he touches the box at the same time as the Forever People, and they all merge together to become ... Infinity Man with an Impulse twist.

Back on Earth, Cissie tells her mom all about her adventure in space, which Bonnie thinks would make a great movie starring John Travolta. As they head back into Cissie's room, she's shocked to see her mom has taken the liberty of hiring an agent, Frank Balkin, and three women to handle the fan mail. The massive pile of letters is gone, replaced with desks, boxes and filing cabinets, with the women stamping Cissie's autograph on 8x10 glossies of her to send back to the fans. Frank excitedly tells Cissie about his plans for her to receive some major endorsements, but Cissie doesn't seem too thrilled about it.

We cut back to New Genesis, where Robin is desperately trying to tell Infini ... uh ... Impu ... whatever! that he probably doesn't need to fight the super-cycles and just give them some space. But Infinity Impulse (I'll call him that) insists he knows what the Forever People and Impulse knows, and that Robin should leave such matters of galactic import to beings who can fully comprehend them. He ends his speech by saying, "So, y'know ... chill!" Superboy groans that Impulse has suddenly become too fabulous for words now that he's gone a "little cosmic."

Robin and Wonder Girl spot Lobo trying to use a laser blast to light a cigar, and they both tell him that is a disgusting and dangerous habit. But Lobo takes his chances, only to receive a full laser blast to his face. The Top Teen retaliates by punching the super-cycles off into the horizon. Infinity Impulse congratulates Lobo for his impressive blow, but Lobo punches him, as well, breaking them back up into Impulse and the Forever People. Vykin blames Impulse for making their link with the Infinity Man unstable. Impulse thought it was awesome and he asks to do it again, but Big Bear and Serafin staunchly oppose this idea.

Cassie tries to take advantage of this break in the action to confront Kon, pointing out that he's been overly protective of her since the Olympics in Australia. But as Cassie talks, she realizes that Kon has been acting this way since Tana died during Sins of Youth. Kon tries to deny this, but Cassie puts it all together, saying that he loved Tana and now he doesn't want harm to come to anyone else he ... but before Cassie can finish the sentence, Lobo comes blasting by on his space hog, and Superboy seems grateful for the distraction.

All the heroes regroup near the super-cycles, which are now emanating a bright glow and are wrapped up in a strange, twisted tangle. In the excitement, Superboy instinctively grabs hold of Wonder Girl, who has to tell him to let go of her. There's a flash of light, and the super-cycles are untangled and seemingly back to normal, with a new, small blue super-cycle sitting between them. Beautiful Dreamer says this new vehicle will be the perfect size for her child, and she names the blue super-cycle Kirbee (in honor of the creator of the Fourth World, Jack Kirby). A stunned Robin says aloud that their super-cycle was having a mating cycle and it needed another one to make a ... spare, as Superboy says. Empress asks if Young Justice ever has any normal adventures, like something involving a monstrous incarnation of evil.

Just then, Secret shows up with her new friend, whom she calls "Mr. Doug Side." She tells everyone that she was feeling kind of down, but when she met Mr. Side, he told her that what she thinks are weaknesses are actually strengths and she needs to embrace everything about herself that she fears. Secret admits this sounded odd at first, but the more she thought about it, the more she came around to this line of thinking that if anyone's afraid of her, that's their problem, not hers. And that her first priority has to be doing what's true to her. Darkseid tells Secret that she has great potential, then he politely kisses her hand and excuses himself. Secret turns back to her friends, and can't figure out why she's only met with stunned, blank stares.

This was a thoroughly wacky and fun issue of Young Justice. I was getting a bit weary of keeping the team in space for so long, but when we get hilarious, bizarre adventures like this, it's worth it. The Forever People are pretty hard to take seriously, which makes them the perfect foil for Young Justice. The biggest problem with them, though, is the Infinity Man, who is so powerful that writers often have to find ways to hinder him a bit. In the Young Justice episode "Disordered," Infinity Man was essentially being mind-controlled by hostile forces. Here, Peter David swapped out the Forever People's leader with Impulse, which was a much funnier way to weaken Infinity Man.

In addition to the goofy antics of the super-cycle's mating cycle, David once again did a great job of weaving in a bunch of great subplots. We don't know exactly how Cissie got sent back to Earth, but it goes without saying that Doiby somehow figured out how to teleport her back home. And it's always great to see Bonnie, who is making actual progress at being a better mother, but at the end of the day, is still Bonnie King-Jones. Poor Superboy had a rough going in this issue. No one would let him complete his old, tired jokes, and his relationship with Wonder Girl is taking a new, awkward turn. This actually fits in nicely with Superboy #83, which shows the Kid going through an "uncool" rut after the team gets back to Earth. But the biggest bomb drop of this issue was Secret's very casual and disturbing conversation with Darkseid. She's always been a bit on the "dark side" so to say, but now things have taken a whole new intensity with this apparent friendship with the biggest bad of the DC Universe.

Our letters to the editor starts with Paul Watson, of Essex, England, expressing disappointment that Young Justice #25 wasn't a massive anniversary issue, and he calls the reveal of Empress' identity too obvious. Paul also begs for Lobo to be kicked off the team.

Scot W. Myers, of Charleston, S.C., is very happy to see things working out between Cissie and her mom, and while Scot wasn't surprised at the Empress reveal, he did enjoy how it was handled, especially with the facial expressions Todd Nauck gave everybody. Scot loved how the story quickly dived into the next adventure with the arrival of a spaceship in a giant crate filled with packing peanuts. He also calls Lobo a hysterical addition to the team.

Brian Seidman, of New York, says he sometimes groans at Peter David's visual puns, but he's always amused. Brian did have an inkling that Anita was Empress, but he never expected Bart's package to arrive from Ali Ben Stein. He wonders if David purposefully waited this long just so he could use the line, "Fedeus Ex Machina." Brian says they should name the spaceship, but he doesn't offer any suggestions. He also asks for Arrowette to officially return to the team and wants to see more of "that guy drinking brains."

Michael Bregman, of Gan-Yavne, Israel, called the revelation of Empress hilarious and silly, but it also made a lot of sense. He also says Young Justice's expressions were priceless, and he's glad this mystery didn't drag out too long. Michael said the arrival of Impulse's spaceship reminds him of Acme deliveries the Coyote would use to try to get the Road Runner — another bit of silliness, but Michael likes having something light to contrast the darker tone of the last few stories.

There aren't any new ads this issue, so I'll see you next time, when we begin the Carlo Barberi era with Impulse #70!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Titans #25

Who Is Troia? Part Three: This Is Your Life

Jay Faeber Writer
Marv Wolfman Writer pp 14-18
Paul Pelletier Penciller pp 1-8, 25-35
Phil Jimenez Penciller pp 9-11
Nick Cardy Penciller pp 12-13
George Perez Penciller pp 14-18
Tom Grummett Penciller pp 19-21
Terry Dodson Penciller pp 22-24
Bud LaRosa Inker pp 1-8, 28-35
Phil Jimenez Inker pp 9-11
Tom Palmer Sr. Inker pp 12-13
Scott Hanna Inker pp 36-38
Al Vey Inker pp 19-21
George Perez Inker pp 14-18
Terry Austin Inker pp 25-27
Rachel Dodson Inker pp 22-24
Comicraft Letters
Gregory Wright Colors
Heroic Age Seps
Tom Palmer Jr. Ass't Editor
Eddie Berganza Editor

This issue's cover marks the final piece of Phil Jimenez's Donna Troy triptych with the colors of Tanya & Richard Horie. Donna naturally takes the center stage, surrounded by a whole bunch of people we don't care that much about. But there are a few we do recognize from our old New Titans days. Green Lantern and Arsenal on the left, with the Flash and Nightwing on the right. It is an impressive cover, especially when combined with the other two parts of this story, showing off everyone and everything related to Donna Troy, in the way that only Phil Jimenez can do. However, the cover does boast of having 48 pages, but the story is only 38 pages.

Before we dive in, let me issue a warning. Donna Troy has, in my opinion, the most confusing and convoluted backstory of any DC character. Even more than Hawkman. I know DC tried to straighten things out with her back in Genesis, and I'm not sure if this big three-parter changed anything or was merely trying to explain this confusion. In any case, I'm not going to try to get into it at all. I mean, this is an Impulse blog, so why should we worry about such details?

Our story begins on the JLA Watchtower on the Moon, with Kyle Rayner telling Wally West about how he was recently approached by a strange young woman who claimed to know him, but he had never seen her before. Kyle uses his ring to show Wally what she looks like, and Wally recognizes her as Donna Troy. He reminds Kyle that he used to date Donna, but Kyle has no idea what he's talking about. So Wally rushes down to the Titans Tower in New York to find out why people can't remember Donna.

The only Titan at home is Roy Harper, who's nursing a broken leg and playing with his young daughter. Wally tells him about his conversation with Kyle, and while Roy doesn't remember Donna, either, he does tell Wally that she recently approached the Titans. Accompanied by a handful of heroes from an alternate future (we recognize one of them as Wally's daughter, Kid Flash, from Chain Lightning), Donna asked the Titans to help her battle Dark Angel, who is apparently responsible for erasing everyone's memory of Donna. So the Titans agreed to help her, and they all are now battling the villain in the Netherworld.

During the battle, some strange things begin to happen to reality because of the disturbances caused by the dimension-hopping time travelers. Jesse Quick's costume momentarily changes to that of her mom's, and this kind of freaks everyone out. But things get really bad when Dark Angel is suddenly surrounded by several doppelgängers of herself. All the Dark Angels decide to open up time portals and attack Donna Troy at different points in her life. So the Titans (present and future) split up and follow the Dark Angels through each portal.

Wally's daughter, Iris, catches the first Dark Angel and easily brings her back to the Netherworld in the present. The next Dark Angel visited Donna while she was showing off her new red costume to Dick (Robin), Roy (Speedy) and Wally (Kid Flash). These heroes actually defeat Dark Angel, so Jesse Quick just has to pick up the unconscious villain and take her back. And pretty much this same pattern continues. We see young versions of Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg and pretty much every other Titan you could imagine.

The final Dark Angel traveled to the most recent event, just one year ago at the funeral of Donna's young son, Bobby. This proved to be a foolish time to attack for Dark Angel since the funeral guests not only included Wonder Woman herself, but also a reunion of the disbanded New Titans: Green Lantern, Terra, Supergirl, Mirage, Damage and Impulse.

Needless to say, the battle is quick and decisive. The two heroes from the present who came back here were Troia and the Darkstar from the alternate future, who's really Donna's son, but she doesn't know this, even though it's kind of obvious. Anyway, Darkstar takes Dark Angel through the portal, but the portal closes before Troia can follow through. And for two whole panels she's very sad and worried about being trapped one year in the past. But then the Flash comes out of nowhere and rescues Troia. I don't know how he knew he needed to go back one year in the past, or how he knew to take Troia back to the Netherworld, but he did.

So this all sets up one big final fight between Dark Angel and Donna Troy. They both call on the powers of their past selves and doppelgängers, and Donna ultimately wins in the end. She knocks Dark Angel into a "trans-warp singularity" that one of the future Titans has, and they destroy the only way out, forever entrapping the villain that I really don't know anything about, and, frankly, don't care to find out. The important thing is the day is saved, the alternate future Titans go back home, and we get to move on to a quick epilogue.

It's Donna's birthday, and all of her former teammates have shown up to celebrate, including Impulse and Wonder Girl. Cassie is impressed to learn that Bart was once a Titan, but he waves them off, mentioning the time they went into space without him. (Yes! Both Bart and I are still bitter about that!) And, that's about it. We don't see Bart interact with any of his former teammates, so maybe he really is still bitter. Our story ends with Donna happily saying she's earned the right to celebrate.

This was an ambitious story with some really good ideas, but ultimately I felt the execution was lacking. The ending was just a bit too convenient, and I didn't care one bit for the unnecessary bit with Wally traveling back in time to rescue Donna. I will say, however, that this issue handled all the different artists about as well as possible. They each got to do a different time period, and it really helped, too, that a few of these artists are some of the biggest names in the business. As for Impulse, it was nice to see someone remember his brief stint with the Titans. But that's about it.

The letters to the editor don't mention Impulse (naturally), but it is interesting to note that Eddie Berganza announced that this was his last issue on The Titans, but he doesn't say why. Well, let's check out the new ads.

Take this moment to rest. Incredible Crisis for PlayStation.

Corn gone wrong. Surprisingly hardcore corn snacks in seven mean flavors. Corn Nuts.

Finger Eleven. Download free Mp3s including "First Time" only at

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear on PlayStation.

Anytime is a good time for fireworks. FantaVision for PlayStation 2.

Crash is ready for battle. Are you? Crash Bash on PlayStation.

Freaky what you can get out of a bottle of Sprite these days.

Self-respect. My anti-drug.

What's it worth? Find out at

Next time, we'll continue Young Justice's adventures in space with Young Justice #29.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Impulse #69

Todd Dezago • Writer
Eric Battle • Penciller
Buzz • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Jamison • Separator
Joey Cavalieri • Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover was again the product of the steady hand of Ethan Van Sciver and the ink-stained fingers of Wayne Faucher. This is the conclusion of the Circle of Fire Epilogue, and, like last issue, it features Impulse with a guest star, Green Lantern this time, and half of a power battery. I guess you could place this next to Impulse #68 to see the full power battery, but it doesn't really form a cohesive, single image. One thing I like about this cover is how Impulse is mimicking Green Lantern's pose, showing off his sparkling costume ring instead of a power ring.

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Green Lantern and Adam Strange arriving on the planet Rann moments after Impulse inadvertently released the giant monster, Amphibitus. It isn't too hard for the heroes to follow the monster's trail of destruction. Green Lantern tries to trap it with his power ring, but Adam Strange warns him that Amphibitus grows stronger when power is exerted against it, which is why he had to place the creature in an artificial hibernation the last time he fought it. Impulse suddenly arrives on the scene, wrapping Amphibitus in special dampening bonds developed by Adam's scientist father-in-law, Sardath.

Everybody meets up in Sardath's lab, realizing that those bonds won't last forever. Adam's wife, Alanna, fills him in on what happened, and, to her credit, she takes the time to point out that everything Impulse did came from the best of intentions and he's been doing everything he can since then to fix the disaster. Kyle and Adam, however, need some convincing, so Bart profusely apologizes, saying he's trying really hard to focus and be a better hero. As he explains his side of the story, an alarm goes off, and poor Bart instinctively feels he's going to be blamed for that, as well.

Sardath explains that the alarm came from the Ranagarian nuclear reactor. Apparently, when Bart diverted the lava to the sea, it not only freed the Amphibitus, but also evaporated all the necessary water to keep the power plant cool. Now, without that water, it faces an imminent nuclear meltdown. (You can't blame Impulse for this one — this is just poor city planning! How has this place not already been destroyed three times over?) Anyway, Adam Strange quickly puts together a plan. Sardath will recreate his serum to place Amphibitus back into artificial hibernation, while Green Lantern figures out how to cool down the power plant and Adam keeps the monster distracted once it breaks free of its dampening bands. Impulse asks what he can do, so Adam sends him with Kyle.

Kyle isn't too thrilled about having to take Bart around with him, so he places the teen in a big green bubble to keep him out of trouble. Bart begs and begs to be released, finally collapsing in a heap of sadness, saying that Green Lantern doesn't know what it's like to be constantly trying to live up to everyone's expectations all the time. Kyle realizes he does know exactly how this feels, and his feelings soften toward Bart. Meanwhile, Amphibitus breaks free, and Adam Strange has to scramble to protect his family from the beast's rampage. Adam attempts to slow down the monster by placing a grav-box on its back to increase its gravity. Unfortunately, Adam has to sacrifice this plan to save a bystander.

We cut back to Kyle and Bart, who have arrived at the now dried-up sea bed that is full of stranded and suffocating aquatic creatures. As soon as Green Lantern releases Impulse from the bubble, the speedster begins rescuing the sea creatures, carrying them off to the ocean one at a time. Kyle says this is a waste of time, but Bart insists he has to save them all. He tells Kyle to go off on his own and find some water that nothing's living in and he vows to stay behind, save the fish and stay out of trouble. Bart's words actually give Kyle an idea, and he takes off for the polar ice cap.

Adam Strange continues to fight valiantly in his efforts to distract Amphibitus, but unfortunately the sirens at the nuclear reactor have attracted the beast. Green Lantern returns with a gigantic piece of ice in tow. Impulse, having finished saving all the marine life, gets back to the battle field just in time, rescuing Adam Strange from a fatal blow from Amphibitus. As Bart and Adam watch the progress of Kyle, his ice and Amphibitus all heading toward the power plant, Bart comments that it's too bad G.L. couldn't just drop the glacier on the monster. They then both realize that there's no reason Green Lantern shouldn't do just that, so Adam Strange flies up to Kyle to deliver the message, while Impulse pulls all the soldiers out of the way.

As instructed, Green Lantern drops the ice on Amphibitus, knocking it out, then picks up the pieces of ice to place in the nuclear reactor and cool it down. Amphibitus is quick to recover, but not quicker than Impulse, who retrieves the serum from Sardath and puts the monster to sleep. Four helicopters fly Amphibitus out to the ocean, and Adam Strange finally has a good word to say about Impulse. He praises the teen for not giving up and always trying to do the right thing, which is what makes him a hero. Everybody gathers together to celebrate their victory, but the Zeta-Beam suddenly returns, sending Adam, Kyle and Bart back to Earth. Just before he's teleported away, Bart manages to apologize one last time to the people of Rann.

This was an ... OK issue. Impulse proved himself to a couple of more heroes who were quick to judge him. And the poor kid shouldered more than his fair share of blame for a set of circumstances that probably would have happened even if he wasn't there. I mean, who's to say that those lava pigs wouldn't have caused that volcano to erupt without Impulse's involvement? Anyway, I still don't see why Impulse had to be the setting for Green Lantern to make up with Adam Strange and the people of Rann. Shouldn't the Circle of Fire epilogue have taken place in Green Lantern's own title?  I'm also a bit down on this issue because of Eric Battle's messy, unappealing art. I'm just tired of it. And I'm equally tired of having Impulse out in space. Between his own title and Young Justice, I'm really craving some back-to-basics, down-to-Earth adventures.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavalieri reporting on his recent trip to the Small Press Expo convention, but he really didn't have anything interesting to say about it.

Michael Bregman said the conclusion to Mercury Falling in Impulse #66 was exciting, unpredictable and moving. He loved the action, suspense, mystery and, most of all, the emotion. Michael liked how the storyline fleshed out Thad, showing he's not your typical villain. He was really moved when Inertia realized no one ever loved him, and he hopes we see him again, as there's so much more to explore with this character. Michael also suggests collecting Mercury Falling as a trade paperback, along with issues #52 and #53 to help set up Inertia. Cavalieri says he'll talk with Dale Crain, the guy in charge of this sort of thing. Eventually, Mercury Falling was collected as a trade, but as I said before, I wasn't too happy with how DC handled it.

Andy Barclay is happy that Max is back to his old self, but he's left wondering what happened to Inertia and why Wally didn't answer Morlo's call to help. Andy praised Todd Dezago for his great work and says he's sad to see Ethan Van Sciver leave. Cavalieri says he won't say anything about Inertia to avoid spoiling a potential return. He also announces Van Sciver's new project with Geoff Johns, a Prestige book called The Flash: Iron Heights.

Starmansgal's favorite part was when Impulse asked Inertia if anyone has loved him, and Inertia can only say, "No ..." She also thanks the creative team for a fantastic issue.

Rex_Tick_Tock_Tyler asks for an Impulse/Hourman crossover.

Jaikbluze also supports an Hourman crossover, noting speedsters' time-travel abilities. It's kind of sad to see readers suggest good ideas and have the editor admit these are good ideas, but realize that these ideas never came to fruition. Now for the new ads:

Duck! ... and all the other Looney Tunes in hilarious, action-packed games on PlayStation, Dreamcast and Game Boy Color.

Get ready for the spotlight! Blues Brothers 2000 for Nintendo 64.

Watch Kids' WB! and you could win a trip to a real castle! Spyro: Year of the Dragon Castle Quest sweepstakes.

The Grinch for Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, PlayStation and CD-ROM.

Batman Beyond Return of the Joker soundtrack.

Woody Woodpecker Racing for PlayStation, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color and PC CD-ROM.

Force 21. Amaze your friends with war stories from WWIII. For Game Boy Color.

Now entering the Code Head zone! The ultimate action game for your brain.

Dear Family, you are all invited to attend Family Game Night. Boggle, Scrabble, Life, Payday, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Sorry! and Clue.

Batman Beyond Return of the Joker for PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color.

Next time, we'll have a New Titans reunion in The Titans #25.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Young Justice #28

Hitting for the Cycle

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Ken Lopez Letters
Eddie Berganza Editor

Our cover by Nauck and Stucker shows Young Justice and the Super-Cycle popping out of a boom tube and right on top of the planet New Genesis. You can just make out the figures of the Forever People (fans of the Young Justice animated series might remember these guys from the episode "Disordered"). This is a fun, dynamic cover, and Nauck perfectly captures the personality of each character even while falling down. And while this scene does happen in this issue, it doesn't happen until the very end.

While our cover scene doesn't happen until the end, our story does begin on New Genesis. Mark Moonrider and Beautiful Dreamer have taken their yellow super-cycle to an open field to enjoy the warmth of spring and their romantic company. However, the lovers' moment is quickly ruined when their super-cycle begins shuddering violently and randomly blasting lasers all over the place. Meanwhile, on Myrg, the Young Justice super-cycle is going through a similar spasm inside Impulse's spaceship, knocking over all the Soder cola six-packs, Ruffled chips, comics of the Afterlife Avenger and Spider Fighter, Impulse's GameBoy and a bunch of Mystery Science Theater memorabilia.

Of course, our heroes are oblivious to all this, since they're heading into the bottom of the ninth inning in their baseball game against the Slag to determine the fate of both Myrg and Earth. Young Justice is down 11 to 10, but thankfully Wonder Girl is up to bat. Superboy complains how the Slag cheated to take the lead, and Robin agrees, but also says they should try to defeat the aliens without escalating tensions any further. Wonder Girl connects on a pitch, and she hits the ball so hard it rips through the fielder's glove and knocks him out. However, Wonder Girl is only able to make to second base, and when she slides in headfirst, the baseman stomps on her hands, causing her to scream out in pain. Superboy can't handle this, and he immediately takes the field, punching the baseman clear out of the park. The robotic umpire ejects Superboy from the game, and Cassie doesn't seem too happy about Kon interfering.

Back in Impulse's ship, the super-cycle is repeatedly ramming against the wall. When that doesn't work, it pulls out a laser cannon and blasts itself free. Lobo's space hog motorcycle, which also seems sentient, is confused by the super-cycle's behavior and decides to follow it through the huge hole torn from Impulse's ship's hull.

We return to the game, where Robin is chewing out Superboy in the dugout. Kon claims he was just protecting a teammate, but Empress astutely notes that Wonder Girl would rather have Superboy fight alongside her instead of fighting for her. But Superboy says he'd rather be safe than sorry, and he shouts down both Robin and Empress. Lobo agrees with "Blue Boy," praising him for finding an excuse to "skrag" a "bastich." Superboy thanks Lobo, prompting Impulse to point out that he should be creeped out by thanking Lobo for a compliment. Kon admits Bart is right, but confesses he doesn't want to back down from his stand.

With Wonder Girl on second base, Secret is next up to bat, but quickly gets two strikes. On the next pitch, she's distracted by the super-cycle and space hog flying overhead, and Secret gets called for her third strike. Seeing the next batters are Cissie and Doiby, Prince Marieb begins to freak out, saying they've already lost the game. But Princess Ramia still has faith in her boyfriend and his strange friends. In the dugout, Secret tries to tell Robin what she saw, but he and everyone else are too busy cheering on Cissie, who is quickly racking up the strikes. Superboy criticizes Lobo for not joining the cheering, but the Top Teen is immersed in an issue of Playlien and asks to be called when somebody needs to be fragged.

Cissie strikes out and throws her bat in the dugout, narrowly missing her teammates and smashing it in two pieces. As she curses the game of baseball, Impulse picks up the bottom half of the bat and demonstrates how Cissie should have choked up on it. But Cissie doesn't find this very helpful, and she begins choking Bart, who can only squeak out, "Acck! Yeah ... just like that ... !" Robin tells the two of them to stop fooling around and informs Impulse it's time for Plan B. So Impulse takes off, as Doiby takes the plate.

The old man promptly gets two strikes, and he clutches his chest, sadly saying he can't do this. But Robin, Superboy, Empress and Secret gallantly cheer him on (Cissie is still too upset to join in) and Princess Ramia stands up to support her boyfriend. A trumpet solo begins playing from nowhere, and Doiby begins to take courage. On the next pitch, Doiby hits the ball while a burst of thunder and a bolt of lightning crash overhead. A gust of wind catches the ball and smashes it hard into the scoreboard. Doiby has hit a home run and won the game!

The crowd chants Doiby's name as he rounds the bases, and Prince Marieb begins grumbling now that he'll have to leave Myrg. Superboy and Wonder Girl lift Doiby on their shoulders, and Impulse excitedly says, "Did I tell ya's? I told'jas!" And Robin chews out Impulse once again for talking like Doiby. K'rnd'g, however, is not pleased. He accuses Young Justice of cheating, saying the "one with the hair" used his super speed to cause an updraft and manufacture the winds that took the ball. Impulse puts on his best angelic expression, and Robin says he is shocked to be accused of such a thing.

But K'rnd'g is not convinced. He pulls out about two dozen massive guns and threatens to blast Young Justice halfway back to their home planet. The team prepares for a fight, and somebody from the crowd throws back the home run ball, telling K'rnd'g to ram it down Young Justice's throats. K'rnd'g happily catches the ball, but soon sees it's not a baseball after all — it's a bomb that says "You've been fragged." The bomb immediately explodes, and each member of Young Justice deals with the flying debris differently. Empress teleports away from it, Impulse protects Cissie by blowing debris away with a mini-whirlwind, Superboy protects Wonder Girl with his tactile telekinesis, Robin deflects the debris with his bow staff and Secret allows it pass through her, while she says, "Wow! And I thought baseball was a boring game!"

Lobo comes down from the stands, admiring the handy work of his bomb. But Robin is furious that Lobo broke the team's no-killing rule. Lobo insists that he didn't kill K'rnd'g, but fragged him. Robin says that's the same thing, and the argument becomes quite testy. Luckily, it's broken up before it comes to blows by the sudden arrival of the super-cycle and space hog. The super-cycle rams into Superboy, Impulse jumps on the back, saying he thinks the cycle wants something and Robin hops on the driver's seat to try to calm it down. Lobo and Empress get on his space hog, trying to keep up, while Wonder Girl, not far behind with Secret, notices a new button has popped up on the dashboard. The button is clearly labeled "Push Me," so Impulse naturally pushes it before Robin can stop him.

The button Impulse pushed opened up a boom tube, and Bart immediately apologizes, saying he really is trying to think before acting, but it's always one step forward, two steps back. Lobo is pretty excited to see the boom tube, but Empress worries it could take them to the bowels of Hell, an idea that only makes Lobo more excited. Wonder Girl tells Robin to veer off from the boom tube, but he can't. And in a flash of light, Young Justice disappears. Well, everyone except for Cissie, who has to awkwardly interrupt Doiby and Ramia's kissing to ask for a way back to Earth. Sadly, all they can offer Cissie at the moment is a bagel.

The boom tube drops the rest of our heroes in the open field on New Genesis we saw at the beginning of this issue. Superboy recognizes the planet as New Genesis, and Wonder Girl is thrilled at the prospect of meeting some New Gods. Robin is glad Cissie didn't get dragged into this new adventure, and assumes Doiby will have no problem getting her home. Impulse is the first to notice the yellow super-cycle, and he cries out that their super-cycle has a pal as the two vehicles bound toward each other. Suddenly, the Forever People arrive, and they sternly say that they are the rightful owners of the red super-cycle, which was stolen from them. However, this display of intimidation is quickly ruined by Big Bear gleefully chowing down on donuts. Serafin asks what anyone could now possibly say to imply an imminent threat, and he's answered by the editor's box saying, "The super-cycle goes berserk! Plus — Darkseid!" To which Impulse says, "Works for me!"

This was another great, fun issue of Young Justice. The baseball game ended perfectly with Doiby getting a chance to be the hero. Of course, he did have some help, cleverly provided by Impulse. Actually, that was a rather sophisticated used of Impulse's powers, and if he wasn't wearing his ring in this issue, I would have once again said this was actually Inertia in disguise. Anyway, the humor was great as always, and some new team dynamics are emerging: Robin's feud with Lobo and Superboy's growing love for Wonder Girl. However, I am a bit apprehensive with the prospect of the team visiting New Genesis. It feels like we've been in space for a while now. How much longer are we going to keep these kids away from home?

Todd Nauck has demonstrated a complete mastery over these characters, which naturally comes after spending more than two years drawing them. He takes simple things like the team falling down or being near an explosion to demonstrate each character's unique personality. I think most artists would simply show all the characters bracing themselves in more or less the same way, but Nauck took the time to have everybody react differently. While we're on the subject of the art in this book, I have to issue a rare criticism to colorist Jason Wright. Last issue, he consistently made Impulse's neck red, showing that part of his Impulse uniform still covered his neck under his baseball jersey. But in this issue, Impulse's neck alternated between being red and flesh-colored. Impulse looks so weird with his mask still on his chin, but his neck exposed. And it looks even weirder when his neck is red on one page and not on the next.

Our letters to the editor begins with Scot W. Myers, of Charleston, S.C., says this book continues to delight him in every way. He enjoyed the idea of super villains competing in the Olympics, and he wonders why none of them have tried this before.

Will Dudley, of Detroit, says he's been reading the series since the first issue, but he believes it's time for a new writer. Will incorrectly says that Chuck Dixon is the writer and says he'd rather have Keith Griffen on the book. He also would like to see Damage make a cameo. Eddie Berganza points out that Peter David is and will continue to be the writer of Young Justice. He also reminds readers that Damage was originally intended to be a member of this team, but the Titans claimed him first.

Kris Wolfe says Young Justice is being too harsh to Impulse. She says he's the only reason she reads the book and without his off-the-wall antics, she can't imagine this title being any different from all the other generic teen superhero books that are too serious and boring. Kris argues that Impulse isn't stupid. And even though he doesn't pay attention, he shouldn't forget things like Robin's face. She points out that in Impulse's own book, he's been more responsible and thoughtful lately, but still fun. Kris wants Young Justice to stop treating Impulse like the village idiot or merely comic relief, saying he's much deeper than that. However, Kris does admit that Impulse looks cuter in Young Justice than he does in his own book. She ends her letter by saying that she is a girl and a junior in college, but Impulse is still her favorite. Berganza says Impulse will get the spotlight in issue #31, and while they will work on reflecting the tough times he's had in his own book, they're not ready to make Impulse Brainiac 5.1 yet.

Brandon Smith asks for Static Shock to join the team, especially since he's getting his own cartoon show. Berganza admits they's discussed this, but he points out the team's roster is kind of at max capacity with the recent additions of Lobo and Empress.

Eduardo A. Santillan Marcus, of Rosario, Argentina, is very excited to see the Baron Sin Gazz, referencing a conference Peter David had in Buenos Aires, where he apparently announced the future appearance of this cruel and merciless villain. Eduardo also brings up the possibility that when Inertia was disguised as Impulse he could have discovered Robin's secret identity. It's a fun theory, but I personally haven't seen any evidence to support it. Nor do I see how Inertia would concern himself with Robin's identity. Now for the new ads:

It's time for All-Star balloting. Vote for your favorite NBA All-Star players at these participating movies theaters.

Music. My anti-drug.

It's a jungle in there. Donkey Kong Country on Game Boy Color.

He can spew swarms of locusts and devour the flesh from your bones. You, however, can hit restart. The Mummy on Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, PlayStation and PC CD-ROM.

Princess Monoke now on DVD!

Situation: Napoleon needs to be taught bravery. Mission: Create El Toro bot. Lego MindStorms.

'Sects, bugs & lock 'n load! Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy.

Breaking hearts and bones on the web. Watch Lobo and Gotham Girls original webisodes at

Next time, we'll wrap up the Circle of Fire epilogue with Impulse #69.