Monday, June 9, 2014

Year in Review: 1994

The world was a simpler place in 1994. At least it was simpler for me — I was 7 years old and rushed home from school every day to watch Batman: The Animated Series. I also was a big fan of the X-Men cartoon, as well as The Tick and Spider-Man shows that debuted that year. Unfortunately, there weren't any major superhero movies for me to enjoy in 1994. There was The Mask, if you want to count that, but I don't really. It was fun, though. There was also The Crow, The Shadow and Blankman, but I haven't seen those. The biggest movie for me in 1994 was The Lion King, which I still think is one of the best Disney movies of all time.

Impulse was created in 1994 and appeared in 17 comics — seven Flash, four New Titans, four Zero Hour, one Green Lantern and one Damage. He was introduced in Flash in anticipation of the Terminal Velocity story line, was involved in the big Zero Hour crossover, and became a member of the new New Titans team. It was a pretty eventful year for a brand new character. How about we hand out some awards?

Best Issue: Flash #92

This was the issue that introduced Bart Allen to the world. He was only a shadow in Flash #91, but #92 gave us his full origin story, which I think is an excellent origin story. I love the time travel elements, the Flash family legacy aspects, and the unique side effect to super speed. Mark Waid's excellent writing and Mike Wieringo's great art make this an all-around great issue.

Best Writer: Mark Waid

There's a good chance I'll name him the best writer for several years on this blog. Besides creating Impulse, Waid perfectly integrated his stories into the Zero Hour event and laid the groundwork for the big Flash story to culminate in issue #100. He also introduced the concept of the Speed Force, something that's become indispensable to the Flash. I like the realistic personalities he gave people and his ability to create realistic problems for the fastest man alive. He's a complete comic book writer — able to use humor, emotion and action equally well.

Best Artist: Mike Wieringo

Wieringo only drew a couple of issues with Impulse in it, but he did every Flash cover and, more importantly, created the design of the character. Bart's long hair is great for flowing in the wind, and his yellow eyes are just a neat, futurist touch. And his costume is just great — white trim with a big, fat red lightning bolt going all the way down. It's so good that nobody ever changed it the whole time Bart was Impulse. It's a shame 'Ringo didn't draw more issues with Impulse, but what he did was stellar — especially in 1994, when so many other comic book artists were just not that good.

Best Supporting Character: Damage

Grant Emerson emerged as Bart's best friend on the New Titans. They're the closest in age, and are probably the two most powerful members of the team. They're both angsty teenagers, constantly butting heads with their respective authority figures — Flash for Impulse, Arsenal for Damage. These two had so much in common, I'm really sad that their relationship didn't last much longer after 1994.

Best Villain: Psimon

Parallax was by far the biggest threat in 1994, but Impulse didn't even meet him, let alone fight him. Kobra was the big bad in the Flash, but our lovable speedsters have only been fighting Kobra's goons at this point. So that brings us to New Titans. Changeling did pose quite a threat, but he was mostly taken down by his own instability. Psimon, in my opinion, presented the biggest challenge for Impulse this year. He possessed Green Lantern and used him to actually hit Impulse. This led to my favorite action scene: Impulse unleashing on poor Kyle Rayner. And that was just the beginning of the fight with Psimon.

I think that's it for 1994. We'll have a lot more to talk about for 1995, which will be Impulse's first full year in comics. He'll make more guest appearances in other comics, be part of an expanding New Titans universe, contribute to some exciting Flash stories, and most importantly, he'll get his own series. But first, we'll continue our fight with Psimon in The New Titans #117.

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