Saturday, July 19, 2014

Impulse #2


Mark Waid Story
Humberto Ramos Pencils
Wayne Faucher Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Alisande Morales Assistant Editor
Ruben Diaz Associate Editor
Brian Augustyn Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

The cover is by Ramos and Faucher, and I actually kind of like it more than the cover of Impulse #1. There's a lot more going on here, and we got a better, more-straight-ahead look at Impulse. It also reminds me of Flash #92. That cover was simply Bart Allen running out of an explosion, but this is a fully realized Impulse coming out of a blast. He's been around for about a year now, and has a fully developed look and personality.

Our story begins right where Impulse #1 left off, with Bart in a dark room, surrounded by tons of men with guns and their laser sights pointing right at him.

The men start shooting, but suddenly realize Impulse is gone. One of them asks where he went, and Impulse answers him, saying, "I'm all over the place." Impulse then realizes that the men can see in the dark and he can't, so he grabs one of their night vision goggles, which he thinks is pretty cool. The men again try to shoot Impulse and frantically try to block the exit, but Impulse borrows a line from Rorschach of Watchmen, saying, "You losers have this all wrong. I'm not trapped in here with you. You're trapped in here with me! Yee-HAH!" Impulse quickly beats up all the men, causing most of them to shoot each other. They were all wearing bullet-proof armor, so it's likely that casualties were minimal.

Impulse then vibrates out the wall and runs home, telling Max everything that happened and how he vibrated through all the bullets. They then review everything they know. This morning, Impulse saw some guys secretly testing a missile by destroying a hover tank, similar to the one that will be demonstrated on Saturday by Richard Nordstrom. When Bart went back to where he saw the missile, he found a warehouse with more missiles, meaning someone is trying to kill Nordstrom. Max decides to put on his superhero outfit and check out the warehouse himself. He reminds Bart to rewrite his personal history assignment, but Bart falls sound asleep on the couch.

The next morning, at Manchester Junior High, Bart only realizes Max tore up his assignment when the teacher tells the class to hand it in. Bart quickly sneaks to a desk farther away from the teacher, and, hiding behind a copy of NBA Jam, he writes a new personal history at super speed. The teacher is curious as to why Bart's paper is so warm, and she criticizes his sloppy handwriting. Then she reads what Bart wrote, and immediately sends him to the assistant principal's office.

The assistant principal, Randal Sheridan, turns out to be a laid-back guy, who insists on letting the kids call him Randy. He reads from Bart's assignment, in which he describes himself as a monster hunter from the planet Korbal, destroying 10 lightning beasts a day and working as a rookie space pilot with the Science Police. Randy thinks Bart is very creative and has a future in video games. But he tells Bart that Mrs. Dalrymple doesn't share that opinion, so he advises him to re-write the assignment extra dry for her.

After school, Bart immediately puts on his Impulse outfit and waits for Max to return from an afternoon jog with some of the women from the neighborhood. Max tells Bart that the warehouse has been stripped clean now, and Bart begins to panic, since Nordstrom's test is just one day away now. Max suggests he tell Nordstrom himself, so Bart does exactly that.

Nordstrom, meanwhile, is talking to some of his associates about how the future of his company, Technodyne, depends on the successful demonstration of the hover tank. If it goes wrong, half the workers in the county could lose their jobs. Impulse then arrives and tells Nordstrom all about the secret missile tests. Nordstrom says only one other person could have the design of the hover tank, and he hands Impulse a copy of Technodyne's 1994 annual report to see if he can identify the missile manufacturer. Impulse quickly recognizes the picture of Martin Beaumont. Nordstrom says Beaumont stole company secrets to start his own company, so it makes sense that he would be behind an attempt to destroy the hover tank.

Beaumont, meanwhile, has been spying on Nordstrom from afar. And when he sees Impulse talking to Nordstrom, he decides to target a missile to match Impulse's vibratory patterns. As Impulse starts running away from the missile, Beaumont's men come driving in toward Nordstrom with machine guns blazing. Impulse manages to catch all the bullets to save Nordstrom, then disappears in a flash. Beaumont's men wonder aloud where Impulse went, and he suddenly pops up on top of their car, saying he's hitchhiking. The missile then hits and destroys the car, but it looks like everybody got out in time.

Beaumont then tries to escape in his truck, but Impulse catches him and pulls him out. Nordstrom calls the cops, and Impulse says he needs to take off. Nordstrom asks him if he has another case, but Impulse says he actually has homework. So Nordstrom hands him his card and offers to help Impulse with anything he needs.

So Bart returns home, makes himself a giant sandwich, and begins working on his personal history for the third time. He has to ask Max where he's from and how old he is. Max says Keystone City and 15 (even though he said he was 14 last issue). Bart complains that Superboy doesn't have to keep his identity secret, which I find interesting since Bart only met him briefly during Zero Hour. I'd have thought Bart would have used one of the New Titans as an example, like Damage, for instance.

Anyway, Max says he wants Bart to be grounded in the real world, and he needs to have his head screwed on straight for the years to come. Bart begins to panic when he learns he'll be spending years with Max, and he begins to repeatedly ask Max what his plans for him are. But Max refuses to answer, and leaves Bart to his assignment. So Bart sighs and begins writing about how he's a 15-year-old from Keystone City ... liberated from the dungeons of Mercury ...

So this completes the two-part adventure to kick off the Impulse series. I have to say the actual adventure part, with Nordstrom and Beaumont, was the weakest part of the story. There was lots of explosions and fighting, and great scenes of Bart taunting the bad guys, but we never really got a chance to care about Nordstrom or Beaumont. And as far as I know, that's the last we'll see of either of them. On one hand, it is a shame, since Nordstrom offered to fill that necessary role of a scientist ally to a superhero. But on the other hand, it just would have felt awkward for Bart to be friends with the head of a major company like that.

The best parts of this two-part story were the establishing scenes of Bart's relationship to Max and his life at school. Bart and Max make a great comedic team, and Mark Waid perfectly re-creates the drama of junior high. And Humberto Ramos' pencils are just awesome. Unlike so many artists from this era, Ramos is able to actually draw teenagers that look like teenagers.

This series is still too new for any letters to the editor, so let's check out the new ads.

Year One. They were legends from the beginning. The New Titans Annual #11 by Wolfman, Land, Blyberg, Champagne & Sellers. The Ray Annual #1 by Priest, O. Jimenez & Wallace.

Discover the DC Universe through the eyes of a newcomer ... Cascade. Witness the birth of an explosive new team from Chris Claremont and Dwayne Turner. Sovereign Seven.

Next time, we begin to cover comics with a publication date of June 1995. After basically sitting out the past two months, Impulse returns to regular rotation in the New Titans universe, beginning with Damage #13.

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