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:

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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:

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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Superboy #83

How Kon-El Got His Groove Back

Joe Kelly Writes
Pascual Ferry Pencils
Keith Champagne Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Comicraft Letters
Mike McAvennie Edits

Our cover by Pascual Ferry shows all the challenges Superboy has to deal with — the craziness of Cadmus, a random giant robot, a Young Justice cameo, and, worst of all, trying to wake up in the morning. It is a pretty funny cover for a pretty funny story, and I'm sure there were some fangirls who were thrilled to see the Kid walking around in his underwear. The Impulse on this cover isn't a very good-looking Impulse, but he's not the worst I've seen.

Our story begins with Superboy in the same outfit he's wearing on the cover — a bathrobe over his shredded costume, his boxers completely exposed, and some tiger slippers to complete the ensemble. He groggily makes his way through all the chaos of Cadmus, not showing any emotion until he's served decaf instead of coffee. Superboy spits out the brew and sadly wonders aloud when, exactly, his life went to hell.

We then cut to Superboy, Robin and Impulse battling a random giant robot. Robin is pulling some wires out of the robot's head and he asks Impulse to create some static cling inside the robot's skull, but first to check on Superboy. Impulse follows the order of "BossRobinSirMan" and finds that Superboy has been covered with a ton of actual snot from the robot's nose. Impulse asks, "Got stink?" Superboy answers, "Up your nose with a rubber hose."

Impulse doesn't understand what "Up your nose with a rubber hose" means and he wonders if it's a secret code. Robin tries to call the team to attention, asking Impulse to double-check the streets for some last stragglers that haven't been evacuated yet. Superboy explains that he heard the line on TV last week from Babarino, the comeback that launched Travolta's career. (Superboy is referencing the 1970s show, "Welcome Back, Kotter" in which John Travolta played Vinnie Barbarino, not "Babarino," as Kon misremembers.) Impulse asks what a "Babarino" is and wonders if Superboy is having some sort of seizure that's making him talk so crazy.

Robin says he wishes he could have spent they day with nice, quiet, peaceful Batgirl. Impulse asks Robin what a "Babarino" is, but Robin only tells him to get the people off the street. Impulse thinks Robin is stalling because "Babarino" means something dirty. He protests that he's old enough to learn such dirty secrets, but Robin shouts at Bart, so he takes off. Superboy, meanwhile, tries to finish off the "R2-Dweeb," but the robot vomits all over him. Pulling his best Daffy Duck face, Superboy says, "You're despicable."

However, Superboy is able to get inside the robot. Impulse has done a bad job of getting everybody off the street, as there's still a couple of teenage girls hanging around. Bart tries to politely ask them to leave, but when he sees one of them is enthralled with Superboy and wants to give him her number, Bart decides to take credit for the Kid's coolness. He boasts that he taught Superboy everything he knows, including "Baba-re-bop." Superboy then destroys the robot from the inside out, shouting, "I pity da fool who mess wit' dee 'S'!"

Everybody, even Robin, is shocked by this incredibly lame one-liner from Superboy. One of the girls hopefully asks if Superboy is being "retro-cute," but her friend slams that down. Impulse says he'd put his ears out with a hot poker if he had one, and Superboy is dead to him. The filthy and totally uncool Superboy flies down to his fellow teens, expecting a warm welcome for having saved the day. Instead, he's met with a giggling Robin, an embarrassed Impulse, and two girls torn on their opinion of the Kid. The more hopeful girl, Buffy, decides to still give Superboy her number, rationalizing that he's still cute. But her friend is not convinced, mocking Superboy for his "disco belts." Kon is in complete shock by this treatment, and Bart suggests a mind worm has crawled in Superboy's ear — an old mind worm — and he asks Robin for the Bat-tweezers.

Our heroes head back to the Young Justice headquarters in upstate New York, and Superboy claims it was the robot goop that drove the girls away. Impulse smells Superboy's armpit, tells him it smells like roses, then quickly runs to Robin and whispers to him that he needs to push hygiene to save their teammate. Robin tells Kon to not worry about the one girl and be happy with getting one girl's number. Lobo, meanwhile, is mercilessly mocking Superboy, saying his three-fingered Grandma Klak'chak could have come up with a better K.O. line. Impulse resolutely states that he will not rest until Kon starts acting like himself. He vows to scour the globe for a cure, first asking if anyone has George Clooney's address sine he wants a blood sample.

Superboy admits that he's had a rough past few weeks with all the turmoil at Cadmus, him losing his powers, and watching his girlfriend Tana get killed. He suggests everyone just drop this topic, but Lobo ignores him. The Top Teen offers to teach Superboy the moves to score with girls ... in exchange for a little favor involving a certain dresser drawer of a certain female member of Young Justice. Superboy asks Lobo to please die, then flies away to Cadmus. Impulse arrives a moment later, saying he has the chemical breakdowns from all five Backstreet Boys. When he sees that Superboy has left, he gloomily hopes that Kon didn't take off to go play Bingo somewhere.

Superboy helps the Guardian battle some monsters, and Guardian tells him he needs to spend some time as a normal teenager. So Superboy takes his advice and prepares to ask Buffy out on a date. But he overhears her talking to her friend, Bianca, about how lame he is. So Superboy flies away in embarrassment, coming to the sad conclusion that all his ideas of being cool come from the early '90s. Later, while helping Steel save Massachusetts from a volcano, he bemoans his worthless belts that don't actually hold up anything and are really "form over function." He does help save the day, though, and he's thanked by a sweet little girl who calls him her second favorite super-person of all time. Superboy can't help but ask who number one on this girl's list is, and she says it's Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. As if that wasn't enough to crush Superboy's spirit, the girl adds more heroes as she thinks about them — Blue Beetle, someone called Green Man, and Impulse because he's funnier.

In desperation, Superboy decides to take up Lobo's offer by first stealing all the underwear from Wonder Girl. Cassie comes out of the shower to find her drawer empty and she yells at her mom for not doing the laundry, saying that unlike Arrowette, she needs underwear to save the world. Superboy feels awful while flying back to New York with his arms full of Cassie's underwear. He tries to rationalize that there's no harm in this, but he quickly realizes that with Lobo involved, it could quickly become a pretty dicey situation. As Superboy passes by the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, he's met by Superman himself.

Kon initially tries to use Impulse's excuse of having a mind worm in his brain, but he eventually admits that he's feeling lame and like he doesn't have a life. Superman acknowledges that Kon has had a pretty rough year, and he figures that the teen is stuck in a rut. He suggests that Kon is trying to make up for the things he can't control by getting too deep into the grind of his work, leaving his life to suffer. Superman says most people look at him just as a big blue Boy Scout, to which Superboy says, "You? Wha—? Really? No ... I never heard anyone say that. Nope, not Impulse. No, sir ..." Superman says that perception doesn't matter because nobody sees Clark Kent dancing with his gorgeous life, playing hockey or listening to Metallica. (His favorite album, by the way, is "Justice for All.") Superman encourages Superboy to step back and appreciate his life, but Superboy interprets this as a call to spend time with the cool kids to learn how to be cool again. Superman tries to say that's not what he meant, but he just sighs and lets the Kid take off.

So Superboy looks up that cool girl, Bianca, and begs her to teach him how to be cool. So we get a fun montage of Superboy trying on different outfits, learning about the current celebrities, music and catch phrases, getting a new haircut, and practicing appearing more aloof and, in general, cool. Finally, they settle on a new outfit for Superboy, which thankfully isn't that much different from his old look — it's just more streamlined, I guess. Now that he's gone from "lame to game," Bianca decides to come on strongly to Superboy. He asks her if she really likes him or just his new cool makeover. He says she's too superficial and shallow for him, and he flies away, leaving Bianca crushed. But once he's gone, Bianca reveals that she was just acting, and that was Superboy's final test. She wanted to make him cool, but still hold to his principles.

This was a hilarious issue. And it addressed a real need. Superboy was the epitome of cool in the early '90s. But by 2000, that look had fallen woefully out of date. So I loved the emotions Superboy went through when confronted with this "awful" truth. Denial. Bargaining. Depression. And finally acceptance. And I'm happy with the results of this journey. His new look isn't too bad (we won't see it in Young Justice until they get back from space, and that's going to take a while). Impulse was perfect in his sincere, but flawed efforts to help. Lobo had the right attitude, but he really should have been asking for Empress' panties, and his hair was all wrong. The art in this issue wasn't great, but it didn't take anything away from the story.

Next time, we'll wrap up our epic baseball game in Young Justice #28.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Impulse #68

I Rann and I Rann and I Rann ...

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

This issue's cover is by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher. It is nice to still have Van Sciver provide some Impulse art, although I do think it's kind of misleading to have him continue to draw the covers when he's technically off the book. I'm torn. Anyway, this issue is a Green Lantern: Circle of Fire epilogue, which is why we have a giant Green Lantern power battery in the background. This issue's guest star is Adam Strange, who has never really had any interaction with Impulse before this. I welcome the opportunity for Impulse to meet more people throughout the DC Universe.

Our story begins with a high-speed police chase of a couple of rednecks in a rickety, old truck. Impulse runs up alongside the truck and very smoothly pulls the criminals out and places them in the back of a following police car.

Impulse then tries to stop the runaway truck with a small whirlwind, but the truck takes a bad bounce and careens toward a store full of people. So Impulse has to run to the front of the store and make an even bigger whirlwind to stop the truck and all the pieces falling off it. He's successful this time, and the police congratulates the young hero, although they do point out that Impulse was cutting it a little close there. Impulse sadly apologizes and immediately takes off.

Bart is mostly recovered from the events of Mercury Falling, but as we saw in Young Justice, he is determined to focus more than ever so he can prove to Max that he can be just as good an Impulse as Inertia was. So Bart goes on a patrol around the world and spots a man about to be struck by lightning in Rio de Janeiro. So Impulse shoves the man out of the way and is hit by the beam of light, that isn't lightning at all. It's actually a zeta beam that transports people to the planet Rann. And that man was actually Adam Strange, who was hoping to use that zeta beam to return to his wife and daughter.

Impulse, of course, learns all this the hard way. He's teleported to the alien planet, and just like Dorothy Gale, he astutely notes that he's not in Alabama anymore. He quickly spots a woman and a young girl zooming by in a flying car, being chased by enormous rhino/warthog-like creatures. So Impulse decides to step in and save the day by knocking the "space rhinos" back with a giant whirlwind. The creatures appear unfazed by this attack, but they do break off their pursuit of the woman and decide to burrow down into the ground.

Impulse then greets the woman he believes he's rescued by flashing the Vulcan sign to live long and prosper. However, the woman tells Impulse that he's doomed the entire city of Ranagar. She explains that she was leading the lava pigs away from the city so they wouldn't burrow nearby and flood the city with lava. Impulse meekly apologizes, and the woman realizes that he must have accidentally been struck by the zeta beam instead of her husband. Alanna explains that her father, Sardath, created the zeta beam to scan outer space, but the beam inadvertently transported Adam Strange to Rann, where he became a great hero, fell in love with Alanna, and together had a daughter, Aleea. But Adam is constantly torn between Earth and Rann, as the effects of the zeta beam aren't permanent, and he's often transported back to Earth against his will. So he makes it his life's mission to find the next zeta beam and return to his family.

Alanna sees that Impulse has super speed, so she tells him he can still help them. She takes him to Sardath to try to come up with a new plan to stop the lava pigs. Sardath calculates that they only have 17 minutes before the pigs' burrowing destroys the city, and the only thing he can think of is to create a giant trough to redirect the lava flow to the Zardonian Sea. Impulse hears this plan, and immediately heads out there with a shovel, not staying long enough to hear Sardath warn him of waking a large monster in the sea.

By the time Sardath and Alanna catch up to Bart, he's already finished digging the trough, and to his delight, it does successfully redirect the flow of lava away from Ranagar. But as the lava hits the water, Sardath delivers the bad news to Bart. He doesn't blame the boy for his ignorance, but explains that years ago, Adam Strange battled a giant monster and was only able to defeat it by placing it in artificial hibernation at the bottom of the sea. But now the lava has turned much of the water to steam, and right on cue, the enormous Amphibitus is awakened, as poor Impulse can only meekly say that he was trying to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, Adam Strange's desperation to get back to Rann has led him to Green Lantern, even though he's still mad at Kyle for attacking the planet during Circle of Fire. Adam tells Kyle they need to get back to Rann to save Impulse, but Green Lantern says they instead need to save Rann from Impulse. So they blast off into space, just manage to catch the last bit of the zeta beam up by Neptune, and are teleported to Rann.

I feel so bad for Bart in this issue. He's trying so hard, but nothing seems to turn out right. I hope he's able to catch a break next issue. All in all, I found this to be a rather rough issue to read. I've already made it known that I am not a fan of Eric Battle's art, and this issue did nothing to improve my opinion. This also didn't feel much like an issue of Impulse. This easily could have been a completely separate series that just happened to have Impulse as a guest star. If I didn't know better, I'd almost say Todd Dezago didn't write this story. Everything about this just felt off. Like I said before, I'm more than happy to have Impulse meet other heroes, but I just don't understand why the Impulse series devoted two of its issues to a Circle of Fire epilogue when Impulse had nothing to do with that story.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavalieri urging readers to check out the new Superman and Batman: World's Funnest. He correctly states that most readers of Impulse would enjoy the humor of that special.

Tobias Christopher simply writes that he hates having to wait a whole month for the next issue of Impulse, but it is worth the wait.

Max Mercury II said he wasn't too sure where the story was going after Impulse #64. But when he read Impulse #65, he had to immediately pick it up and read it again just five minutes later. He loved how Inertia accepted Bart's friends, how Carol realized Inertia was impersonating Bart, and how Bart arrived at the end. Max also says he's excited for the new Impulse and Max Mercury toys from DC Direct. (I need to see if I can get my hands on those.)

The Obsolete Man was a bit disappointed with issue #64 mainly because the Previews magazine advertised the story as Bart's oldest friend making the ultimate sacrifice. Naturally, he was assuming this would be Max, but it turned out to be Dox. However, The Obsolete Man did love issue #65, especially the look on Inertia's face when Max called him Bart. He realized that this look meant Inertia would go through with his original plans to kill Max. The Obsolete Man says this is a testament to what Ethan Van Sciver can show in just a few panels.

Kid Bucket says that while he's sad to see Van Sciver go, he is very excited to have Carlo Barberi take over, having loved his previous work during Sins of Youth.

Magikthise points out that Inertia thought in actual words, not pictogram balloons like Bart. Cavalieri admits this was another clue Dezago put in for readers.

Nightwing says he's not familiar with Glory Shredder, but he did love how Inertia dropped his innocent Impulse act to dismantle the villain. He also liked seeing a flashback of the Reverse Flash and Barry Allen. Nightwing picked up on Carol being able to solve the mystery based on how she reacted to the fake Bart. He also suspects that Robin might have known that Inertia was posing as Impulse. But that's really a moot point since this storyline didn't play out in Young Justice (as much as I wanted it to). Now for the new ads:

Pac's back in 3D on your PC! Pac-Man Adventures in Time.

Catch 'em now! Pokémon the Movie 2000 on video!

$9.99. Got game? Take-Two games for PlayStation.

Take action! Action Man Raid on Island X PC CD-ROM game.

Celebrate the holidays with music from the Looney Tunes. Kwazy Christmas available on DC and cassette.

In space, no one can hear you scream for your mommy. Galaga Destination Earth on Game Boy Color and PlayStation.

Bash, trash, smash, crash your enemies. Break Out for PlayStation.

You can't keep a good frog down. Frogger 2 for PlayStation, PC CD-ROM and Dreamcast.

You stand on the steps of a whole new adventure. Pokémon Gold & Silver for Game Boy Color.

Next time, we'll take a quick peek at Superboy #83.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Young Justice #27

Baseball Field: Myrg or "There's a Saga Born Every Minute"

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Ken Lopez Letters
Maureen McTigue Left Out
Eddie Berganza Ump

This issue's striking cover is by Nauck and Stucker with colors by Ian Hannin. This is a fun, wild and wacky image, showing exactly what happens in this issue. Young Justice is going to play a baseball game against some very large, armored aliens. I love this idea not only for the pure goofiness in it, but also the unique display of our heroes' strength and speed. This cover is up to Nauck and Stucker's usual standards, but Hannin is a colorist I'm not familiar with, and he did forget to color Impulse's goggles. Tsk, tsk!

Our story begins with Traya Smith's first day at the Elias School, and the young girl has already run into some bullies, who are making fun of Traya's name. Cissie quickly comes to Traya's defense, but the bullies try to brush Cissie off, saying her five minutes of fame from the Olympics will quickly wear off, since nobody remembers the athletes once the games end. But Traya demonstrates that some people do remember the Olympians by naming the earliest athlete she can remember, Irving Baxter, a gold medalist from 1900. She then rattles off several more names, including the first women to compete, Marie Ohnier and Mme. Brody; Zhang Shan, who won the first mixed shooting event in 1992; Flo-Jo in 1988, Nadia Comaneci in 1976 ... Finally, the bullies walk away in anger, and Cissie tells Traya that she won.

The two girls then head to their room, and find a note on the door from the principal, warning Cissie about her fan mail. When they open the door, they find the whole room covered in massive stacks of letters. Traya says people won't be forgetting about Cissie anytime soon, and Cissie realizes she should have taken her mom's advice about hiring a service to handle her mail. As she takes some letters off a stack, she causes an avalanche of letters and is buried in her mail. Traya tries to dig Cissie out, but finds that she has mysteriously vanished.

Cissie finds herself being flung through outer space until she suddenly lands in a giant baseball mitt. She gathers herself up on a baseball field, and Wonder Girl quickly comes to her side, apologizing for dragging her into this. Cissie, though, sees Young Justice preparing to play baseball against a bunch of large aliens, and she assumes she's dreaming about a sequel to "that lousy movie with What's-His-Name, the basketball player, and those cartoon guys." (Cissie is referring to Space Jam, with Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. But it is hardly a lousy movie — in fact, it's the greatest movie ever made, and anyone who disagrees is flat-out wrong.)

Cassie assures Cissie she's not dreaming, and Secret, Superboy and Impulse are all very happy to see their former teammate again. Lobo is happy to finally have a "looker" on the team, and Empress takes issue with that comment. Cassie explains that they needed a ninth player, and the Slag captain suddenly turned to her to pick someone. Cissie popped right into Cassie's head, and the Slag used their telepath and matter transmitter machine to use Cassie's thoughts to find Cissie and bring her to the planet Myrg. Impulse explains that the Slag have conquered Myrg, but they've agreed to leave the people in peace if they're defeated in a game that, near as they can tell, is a dead ringer for baseball. Cissie shouts at her friends for choosing her over Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, or even Plastic Man. She moans aloud that even though she gave up being a superhero, she's now on an alien planet, fighting off a race of invaders. She quotes the Godfather Part III by saying, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

Robin, meanwhile, is in the locker room having a bit of a meltdown. Doiby Dickles notices this, and he offers the Boy Wonder some counsel. Robin explains that he's trying to balance in his mind his normal life with normal school and girl troubles combined with this wild, high-stakes mission that has the entire population of an alien planet pinning their hopes of freedom on him. Robin admits he feels out of his comfort zone with this mission, but Doiby stops him before he completely breaks down. Doiby points out that Robin's problem is just his attitude. Doiby says that if Robin acts like he owns the place, then Myrg will be his world before he knows it.

Feeling better, Robin walks out onto the field and to his surprise, one of the Slag aliens shouts out, "Look! It's a kid in red and green tights! Let's surrender!" As the aliens begin to bow down to Robin, Superboy reminds Robin that the aliens repeated word-for-word a sarcastic joke Robin said before they arrived at Myrg. But this perplexing moment quickly comes to an end when the leader of Slag, K'rnd'g, tells his men to stand up and ignore Robin. K'rnd'g, who is wearing red and green, himself, explains that those are the colors of leadership on their home world, and the Slag are conditioned to defer to those colors at all times. K'rnd'g also springs a surprise on Young Justice, telling them that they're not only playing for the freedom of Myrg, but for Earth, as well. Everyone's a bit worried by this, but Robin assures the team they can win. Wonder Girl worries that the Slag will cheat, so Doiby suggests they cheat back — a plan that Lobo is in favor of.

So everybody puts on their custom baseball uniforms that I assume the Slag provided, and they head out to play some baseball! At pitcher, is our lovable Impulse, with Robin at second base, Wonder Girl at center field, Superboy as catcher, Secret at first base, Cissie in right field, Lobo in left field, Empress as shortstop, and Doiby at third base. The Slag have also provided the announcer and a robotic umpire. The entire planet of Myrg has come out to watch the game, with the best seats filled by the evil Prince Marieb, the executioner, and Doiby's girlfriend, Ramia. She reminds Doiby that once he wins, Marieb will leave Myrg and they can be together again.

The game finally begins, with Impulse throwing a strike that the batter didn't even see. Superboy mocks the batter, saying that was just Impulse's cut fastball. Robin and Empress cheer on Impulse to show the "high heat," and Impulse throws his second strike. Superboy asks the batter if he's planning on swinging, and K'rnd'g tells his player to anticipate Impulse's delivery. So the batter actually swings before Impulse even throws his third pitch, which Superboy called his change-up that even his nonexistent grandmother could have hit. Wonder Girl comments on how this could actually be a dull game, and when Cissie responds with sarcasm, Cassie says she can't stay mad forever. Impulse quickly strikes out the next two batters, with Superboy yawning and sipping a soda. The crowd goes wild, and even the announcer has to admit he's never seen the opposing team take such a command of the game. K'rnd'g blasts the announcer in the face with a laser, and a new announcer takes his place, talking instead about how the Slag are leading Young Justice into a false sense of security.

Cassie wonders how an alien race that's never been to Earth ended up adopting baseball as their official game, and Robin speculates that they picked it up on old broadcast waves from Earth and decided to claim it as their own. He then sends up their first hitter, Impulse. Superboy, and the Slag wonder why the pitcher is going up to bat first, and Impulse further perplexes everybody by bunting the first pitch. But then everyone realizes that Impulse quickly ran all the bases before his bunt could be fielded. The announcer calls it impressive, then gets blasted in the face again. Impulse returns to the dugout next to Cissie, who calls him a one-man team. She also notes that she's never seen Impulse so focused. Impulse slowly admits that he's been trying a lot harder since Max got sick and almost died. Cissie has met Max before, and she understands that he's more than a teacher to Bart. Her eyes fill with tears and she gives Impulse a big hug.

(OK, it's time for an annoying continuity rant. If you just look at the dialogue of this conversation, you could strongly make the case that this is actually Inertia in disguise talking to Cissie. But if you look closely at the art in the last panel, we can see Impulse's ring on his finger — the one indicator that proved "Bart" was really Thad. This ring was missing since Young Justice returned from Australia, so I assumed that was a clever, subtle way of showing that it was really Inertia who went on this outer space adventure. Turns out I was wrong. It really was Bart the whole time. And even though Max is better now, Bart is still a bit shaken up by it and is trying to work on his focus.)

The next batters for Young Justice, Lobo, Superboy and Wonder Girl, all hit home runs, driving up their lead to 4-0. Secret, though, is unsure with what to do with the bat, and she strikes out in a moment of confusion. Cissie strikes out, too, while crying out that she hates this game, and Doiby also promptly strikes out, bringing the inning to a close. Empress tries to offer Cissie some friendly encouragement, but Cissie shortly turns her down. She then turns to Cassie and asks how they could let Empress join the team. As they argue about Empress' limited experience and secretive background, a Slag batter manages to hit a pitch off Impulse. The ball sails right toward Cissie's head, and she just manages to catch it. Everybody cheers her for having great reflexes, even though she mostly got lucky.

In the Slag dugout, K'rnd'g assures his worried team that they'll make a great comeback in the ninth inning when they employ their compensators. So we skip ahead to the ninth inning, with Robin encouraging Impulse to win the game with three more strikeouts. Superboy mocks the batter for being anxious to strike out again, but to everyone's astonishment, the batter knocks Impulse's pitch out of the park to give the Slag their first score of the game. And the same thing happens with the next batter, over and over again, until the Slag take the lead with 12 runs and load the bases with no outs. Finally, Robin decides to discuss things over on the mound. Impulse says he feels like he's throwing as hard as ever, and Robin tells him he is. He kicks himself for not realizing earlier, but he now knows that the Slag's visors are enabling them to track Impulse's pitches and their gloves are speeding up their swings.

So, to counter the Slag's cheating, Robin throws a few curveballs himself. He has Doiby and Empress switch positions, and sends Impulse to right field and puts Cissie on the mound. Robin assures Impulse that this isn't anything against him, he just wants to try this plan. Cissie, however, is very worried about this plan. Robin and Superboy assure her that her arm is strong enough and her eye is good enough to place the ball where it needs to be in order to keep the hit in the park. Empress then approaches Cissie, removes her mask, and tells her that she became a hero because of the example Cissie set.

So Cissie throws the pitch in the perfect spot, low and inside. The batter hits it straight down the third base line. Empress fields the ball, collecting one out. The baserunner barrels toward her, but Empress evades him in a puff of smoke and gets the ball to Robin, who makes the second out. Another baserunner slides to take out Robin and disrupt the triple play. Robin acrobatically leaps over the runner, but his throw to first base is a bit too high. Luckily, Secret is able to stretch out to catch the ball and earn the third out. Everybody begins cheering and congratulating Cissie, except for Lobo, who's sad he didn't get to frag anybody.

But the celebration is short-lived, as K'rnd'g reminds Young Justice that the Slag still have a one point lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. And Young Justice's next three batters — Cissie, Doiby and Secret — haven't had a hit all game. Doiby's optimistic they can pull it off, but Cissie and Secret both feel the game is over.

I really enjoyed this issue. The prospect of Young Justice playing a game of baseball might be a turnoff for some people, but it really worked. It was a creative use of everybody's powers and talents, and was a lot of fun, as well. I especially liked how Impulse was used in this issue both as a pitcher and a hitter. And it was great to get Cissie involved again. Even though she's not Arrowette anymore, she still is a member of the team. In the end, I actually found myself enjoying the baseball stuff so much, I wish we could have seen more of the game instead of just skipping ahead to the end. It's also my duty to remind you of Bart's first attempt at baseball in Impulse #20. Bart is a much more polished player this time around, but the stakes are also much higher.

Our letters to the editor begin with Martin Kelly ruminating over Robin's secret identity. Martin argues that Tim Drake should be in the clear to tell his teammates who he is since it won't directly connect him to Bruce Wayne, unlike Dick Grayson. Martin also points out that Dick told the Titans who he was back in the day, meaning that Wally West most likely knows who Batman is. Martin also complains about Robin's romance with Secret, saying Robin already has enough girlfriends in his other books.

Paul Watson, of Essex, England, wonders if Baron Sin Gazz is actually Baron Blood, but Eddie Berganza says this baron is a new character. Paul loved the fight between Impulse and Tigress and felt that Superboy was very much in character by wanting to fight even without powers.

Miguel Maldonado, of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, says the most memorable moments in Young Justice are always related to Impulse. He especially loved Tigress shouting, "I want another opponent!" Miguel also loved having the JLA show up and beat all the bad guys in 19 seconds. He asks if there's an unwritten rule for superhero teams to have an outer-space adventure, and he hopes Doiby Dickles stays on Myrg once they get there.

Brian Seidman, of New York, says he's not a big fan of Eric Battle's take on Young Justice, calling it a little too choppy, except for Impulse, who was sleek and dynamic. Brian hopes Cissie can work things out with her mom, and he even asks for a Fite 'n Maad one-shot. Now for the new ads:

Driver 2. The Wheelman is back on PlayStation 2.

Forget your driver's license ... you're gonna need a passport. Cruis'n Exotica for Nintendo 64 and GameBoy Color.

See what your stuff is worth at This ad hearkens back to the disastrous speculator market of the '90s when everybody thought they could invest in comics. But when everybody's buying "rare" issues to sell back at a later date, nobody's going to pay out when it's time.

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

Into video games? Want to learn all the secrets, tips, and codes so you can win every time? Then log on to:

Next time, we'll sadly begin the post-Ethan Van Sciver/L.A. Williams era with Impulse #68.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hourman #22

The Chrono-Bums

Tom Peyer Writer
Tony Harris Artist
John Kalisz Colorist
Heroic Age Separations
Kurt Hathaway Letterer
Tony Bedard Editor

Cover by Tony Harris, color by Richard & Tanya Horie. And this cover ... uh ... shows ... Hourman and ... playing cards? Seriously, I have no idea what's going on here. And, I guess, that is a good indication of how this story will go. Just a whole lot of confusion for me here. One thing I do know is that this Hourman is from the DC One Million event. He's an android with time manipulation abilities, and for some reason he decided to stay in the 20th century after that wild event with Vandal Savage and everybody.

Our story begins with Young Justice — Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl, Secret and Red Tornado — randomly deciding to visit Hourman. The narrator, Snapper Carr, says Young Justice has had nothing to do with Hourman, and are starting to feel weird about it. So they go to a seedy-looking coffeehouse called the Mad Yak, which Hourman apparently frequents. Robin hesitates before opening the door, noting that the patrons of this establishment might not be too big on authority, so they shouldn't just barge in like it's a bust. But Impulse wasn't paying attention, and he just runs right in. So everybody reluctantly follows, and are greeted with an awkward silence.

Robin introduces themselves to the owner, who doesn't seem too friendly. Superboy says they're just looking for Hourman, and Impulse very quickly says that Red Tornado is also an android and they thought the two androids would like to meet. The owner says he'll tell Hourman that the teens stopped by, for $20. So Young Justice storms away, with Robin calling the place rude, unfriendly and uncool, and Superboy saying he'll never go back there, even if Superman starts eating there. And Red Tornado was oddly silent throughout the whole ordeal.

Hourman arrives just seconds after Young Justice leaves, and he says he's glad he missed them since he has too much going on right now to get involved with "super-hero energy." He then spends the rest of the issue gathering up all his friends to take them on a time-traveling adventure. And that's it.

I usually like it when Young Justice randomly shows up in other books, but I prefer organic chance meetings. Like when Superman or Supergirl happen to fly by them up in the sky. Or when there's a really big disaster and Young Justice arrives just a bit too late to help. But this issue ... it was just weird. Why did Young Justice go looking for Hourman? Technically, they did meet Hourman in Sins of Youth — Red Tornado even swapped arms with him when they were little kid androids. So I can't really see any reason for Young Justice to want to reach out to Hourman. If he were a teenager, like the Star-Spangled Kid, then I'd understand the interest here. But as it stands, this unexplained and unnecessary appearance, combined with rather lackluster art, make this an undesirable and forgettable issue for this little Impulse blog.

Update: I asked Tom Peyer on Twitter about this issue and he said: "YJ & Hourman had friends in common (the JLA) & YJ wanted Red Tornado to have an android friend. Made sense to me!" So this does help a little by reinforcing the random goofiness of Young Justice. Mostly though, I'm grateful that Peyer took the time to respond to my random question about a 17-year-old comic book.

None of the letters in Hourmail mention Impulse or Young Justice, so let's check out the new ads:

The only thing worse than the weight of the world on your shoulders is the weight of the moon. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask on Nintendo 64.

Extra sugar free gum Polar Ice flavor. It shows the ice is so cold, if you chew it you grow white fur like a polar bear.

Mess with the best, go down like the rest. Hercules for Nintendo 64.

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

Enter the Namco Champion Within sweepstakes! Grand Prize: Tekken Tag Tournament arcade unit.

Vapor Transmission. The new Orgy album featuring "Fiction (Dreams in Digital)."

What are you going to wear tonight? Cigarettes? No thanks.

Look out. The rainbow's in a sour mood. Sour Skittles.

Deliver at all costs. Smuggler's Run for PlayStation 2.

Next time, we'll get a lot more of Impulse and his friends ... out in space! In Young Justice #27.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Superman and Batman: World's Funnest #1

"Last Imp Standing"

Evan Dorkin
Mike Allred
Brian Bolland
Frank Cho
Stephen DeStefano
Dave Gibbons
Joe Giella
Jaime Hernandez
Stuart Immonen
Phil Jimenez
Doug Mahnke
David Mazzucchelli
Frank Miller
Sheldon Moldoff
Glen Murakami
Norm Rapmund
Alex Ross
Scott Shaw!
Jay Stephens
Ty Templeton
Bruce Timm
Jim Woodring
and Chris Chuckry

Our cover by Brian Bolland and Chris Chuckry shows Mr. Mxyzptlk battling Bat-Mite over a large pile of deceased Batmans and Supermans from all sorts of different eras and worlds. From the Golden Age heroes to their animated versions, they all get killed by these two ultra-powerful inter-dimensional imps. This cover is also the cover for the 2016 trade paperback, World's Funnest, which collects 12 of the best stories with Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite, going all the way back to Mxy's first appearance in 1944. (Sadly, this collection does not include Mxy's appearance in Young Justice, where Impulse and the Three Stooges taught the imp how to have fun.) This otherwise amazing collection fortunately is available digitally. And anchoring it is this 64-page Elseworlds tale, that put all the impressive credits in a fake ad for The Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk Extra-Dimensional Imp-Formational Society, with all the creators listed as members of said club.

Our story begins in the Silver Age, with Superman and Batman having captured Lex Luthor and Joker. Suddenly, the ropes holding the two villains unravel on their own, and Luthor and Joker try to make a hasty getaway. Suddenly, a couple of giant mannequins come to life, but Superman, Batman and Robin are easily able to take out the mannequins and recapture Luthor and Joker. Bat-Mite appears and admits that he freed the criminals so he could see his hero, Batman, in action. Mr. Mxyzptlk then appears and says he brought the statues to life to annoy his rival, Superman.

The two imps both accuse the other of getting in his way, and their fight starts sending a lot of magic around. Batman tries to stop the fight, but Mxyzptlk accidentally kills him. Bat-Mite weeps over the loss of his hero, and he kills Superman in retaliation. In anger, Mxy then kills Robin, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. Supergirl, Batwoman, Batgirl and Ace the Bathound all show up, and begin weeping when they see everyone has died. So Mxy kills them, as well, and the Super-Pets when they arrive. Luthor and Joker begin laughing to see all these heroes perish, but Mxy doesn't like that, either, and he kills them, too.

The Justice League finally arrives, including Barry Allen, but Mxy easily takes them all out. The entire Legion of Super-Heroes shows up, but when they realize that without Earth's heroes to serve as an inspiration, they wouldn't exist. So they all vanish in a blink of an eye. Bat-Mite finally decides this is enough, and he begins trying to trick Mxyzptlk into saying his name backwards so he'll be sent back to his dimension. But Mxy doesn't fall for this trick, and as the two imps fight, they grow larger and larger, destroying everything in their path. They're eventually bigger than the entire planet Earth, and at this point, the Spectre steps in to try to stop them. But Mxy kills him by smashing Earth on his head. The imps keep fighting, destroying stars, planets and galaxies, until finally there is nothing left but whiteness. Mxy is glad the universe is gone because that means there's nowhere else for Bat-Mite to hide, but Bat-Mite realizes there are other universes he can teleport to.

Bat-Mite first heads to the Phantom Zone, which Mxy promptly destroys. Up next is the Golden Age universe with the Justice Society of America and Jay Garrick. Mxy kills them all, so Bat-Mite retreats to Earth-3, where the evil version of the Justice League, the Crime Syndicate, reigns supreme. (The Flash equivalent on this Earth is Johnny Quick, not to be confused with the good Johnny Quick we know and love.) These villains actually attack Bat-Mite, and Mxy saves him by killing them and destroying the universe once again. Up next is Earth-X, home to Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, but Mxy quickly kills them all, too.

Mxyzptlk then follows Bat-Mite to the world of Captain Marvel in the Golden Age. Mxy first encounters the Monster Society of Evil, and he decides they're all too stupid to live. Bat-Mite gathers up the entire Marvel family and begs them to attack Mxy. But the vengeful imp kills them, too, for being too silly. The next world is home to Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew, which Mxy hates even more. The two imps then appear in the real world and are immediately frightened by it all. They fly down to the DC offices, take a quick peak inside, then both decide to destroy this "wrong" dimension and pretend they never saw it.

Bat-Mite once again tries to trick Mxyzptlk into returning to the fifth dimension, but this time, Mxy realizes that if the fifth dimension doesn't exist, then he can't be sent back there. So Mxy destroys his home world, then follows Bat-Mite to Apokolips, which he promptly destroys. But Mxy leaves a dying Darkseid floating through space, so he can give him the fabled Anti-Life Equation before he dies. And the equation is simply Mr. Mxyzptlk plus Bat-Mite, which makes Darkseid laugh.

The next world is home of the Super Friends cartoon, featuring Wendy, Marvin and the Wonder Dog and the Wonder Twins. Mxy hates how when these heroes talk, the only thing that moves is their mouths and the general lameness of the Wonder Twins, so he kills them all. The next world is actually a storyboard for an episode of Superman: The Animated Series. Mxy naturally destroys this world, too, then follows Bat-Mite right into the middle of the famous Batman-Superman fight in The Dark Knight Returns. Mxy quickly kills Superman, but slowly, and brutally beats Batman to death, causing an abnormally high amount of teeth to fall from his mouth. Bat-Mite then retreats to a world that looks very familiar.

It's the DC Universe in the '90s, filled with new, legacy characters, new outfits and powers for existing characters, and a prevailing tone of "edginess." Impulse (a great spokesman for this era) is the first to spot Bat-Mite, calling out the "fat elf in the freaky-looking Batman suit." But then Impulse wonders if this simply is Batman's new look, noting that you never know these days. Everyone else, except Nightwing, seems intent on killing Bat-Mite, and the poor imp tries in vain to explain who he is.

But nobody here has ever heard of Bat-Mite. The imp runs away from this crowd in tears, looking for Batman to set everything right. But Batman hasn't heard of Bat-Mite, either. So Bat-Mite decides that these mean and scary heroes with all their nasty weapons are actually evil impostors, and he kills them all. Mxy arrives just in time to watch Bat-Mite kill the last remaining heroes and ultimately destroy the entire universe. Mxy is impressed by this, but he still wants to continue his fight.

Our next stop is the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, with Wally West sadly holding the empty uniform of Barry Allen, and Superman explaining to everybody that the Anti-Monitor has finally been defeated. Mxy kills everybody, leaving Superman for last, who sadly asks if all their efforts to save the universe were pointless. Mxy thinks for a moment, then says, yes, it was all meaningless, and he destroys this entire universe, as well.

We then quickly jump around to a bunch of different worlds, seeing Rip Hunter in the Time Stream; the Atomic Knights; classic Wild West heroes; the Charlton heroes of Blue Beetle, the Question and others; World War I; Amethyst in Gemworld; Heaven (showing Perry White finally meeting Great Caesar's Ghost); the Revolutionary War; World War II; Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth; the Space Cabby; Booster Gold; the Tangent Heroes; 'Mazing Man; Sugar and Spike; the Challengers of the Unknown; the DC One Million heroes; Abra Kadabra; the Reverse Flash; Batman Beyond and many more. And every single one of them was killed by Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Mxyzptlk follows Bat-Mite to the Kingdom Come world, where Bat-Mite has stolen the Jay Garrick helmet from this world's Flash for some reason. Mxy destroys this world as well, then tries to throw a bomb at Bat-Mite. But he uses the Flash helmet to bounce the bomb back at Mxy, and he blows up. But he's fine, because he's, you know, Mr. Mxyzptlk. However, that explosion did seem to calm Mxy down. He slowly starts laughing, and Bat-Mite gradually joins in. The two imps laugh and laugh about how fun it was to destroy the entire multiverse, and just like that, they return to the Silver Age world they started on, saying they'll meet up again the same time next Tuesday. As Batman and Superman take Joker and Luthor away, they both get the sense that some great cosmic joke was being played on them. But they quickly shake this feeling off as lingering effects of Joker's laughing gas, completely unaware that Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite are gleefully laughing at the heroes behind their backs.

This was a wonderfully hilarious story that lovingly teased every different incarnation of DC Comics. No matter what the era or style is, there's always something to make fun of, and this comic did a great job of finding those goofy elements to exploit. And what made everything a hundred times better were the people who made this comic. Instead of getting somebody else to mimic the unique styles of Frank Miller, Alex Ross or Bruce Timm, DC actually brought in Frank Miller, Alex Ross and Bruce Timm, and it makes all the difference. This comic is great for all fans of DC, but especially students of DC's history.

Now, before we move on, I have a bonus story to review. This trade also includes a Bat-Mite story from 1995 that features a small, Impulse-Mite cameo I was unaware of.

Mite fall

Script-Mite: Alan Grant
Art-Mite: Kevin O'Neill
Color-Mite: Digital Chameleon
Lettering-Mite: Clem Robins
Ass't-Mite: Chuck Kim
Editor-Mite: Archie Goodwin

The cover by Kevin O'Neill gives us a good idea of what this story is — a goofy, over-the-top retelling of the classic Batman tale, Knightfall.

In this story, we learn that Bat-Mite's dimension is full of other chubby imps who all love dressing up and acting like superheroes and supervillains just like him (but he's the only one who comes to Earth from time to time). The events in this dimension run parallel to Earth's, so when the real Bane unleashed the lunatics of Arkham Asylum to weary and weaken Batman, the Bane-Mite did the same thing to Bat-Mite. And the results turned out the same, with Bane-Mite beating and breaking Bat-Mite.

Bat-Mite used the last of his strength to come to Earth to find a hero to save his world. But since the real Batman was too weak, Bat-Mite turned to a reformed drug dealer named Bob Overdog (whom he met in Grant and O'Neill's 1992 Legend of the Dark Mite). Bat-Mite gives him the ridiculous suit we see on the cover, turning him into Overbat, and, long story short, Bob destroys Bane-Mite through the power of pure goodness. But with Bane-Mite defeated, Bob succumbed to temptation and tried some of Bane-Mite's drub, Toxik, which caused his head to explode. The Mites mourn Bob's death and decide to honor his heroism with a giant gold statue at a ceremony attended by Flash-Mite and the very rare Impulse-Mite.

This was also a pretty fun story, although the dark writing and grotesque art kept me from fully enjoying it. But I did like the unexpected surprise of the Impulse-Mite. It's always nice to see your favorite character included in other stories, even random, utterly goofy stories like this.

Next time will be another cameo appearance, but it will be in continuity and a bit more serious in Hourman #22.