Friday, August 15, 2014

Justice League Task Force #26


Priest • Writer
Jim Cheung • Guest Penciller
Chip Wallace • Inker
Adrienne Roy • Colorist
Kevin Cunningham • Letterer
Alisande Morales • Ass't Ed.
Ruben Diaz • Editor
Cover by Sal Velluto & Chip Wallace, colored by Jean Segarra
Special thanks to Mark Waid for rescuing Priest once again.

The writer, Priest, was originally James Owsley, but from what I heard, he changed his name to Priest after his wife divorced him because of a joke that he would become a priest if she ever left him. I'm not sure exactly why Priest gave special thanks to Mark Waid in this issue — perhaps he was just thanking Waid for letting him use his character, or Waid could have helped with the actual writing of this issue. As for the cover, I am very happy to see Impulse take front and center, although we will see that's not necessarily accurate for the story inside. I also wish Jim Cheung could have drawn this cover, since he drew Impulse very well on the inside pages.

The title of the story, "Klakk," is an onomatopoeia of a shotgun being cocked, which is how the story begins. We're in a bar in Boston, and a couple of thugs, apparently named Jethro and Anvil, are holding up the place. However, these guys don't realize that the Justice League Task Force just happens to be sitting in a table in the corner. Also with the team is Damage and Impulse, sitting on the table, wearing a Task Force uniform that's a bit too big for him.

Ray, an older, moodier teen with various light-related powers, decides to confront the robbers. The Martian Manhunter, in disguise as a normal human, also attempts to ease tensions, and Impulse laughs at the stupidity of the robber. Damage, meanwhile, wants Impulse to give him his suit back.

We then get a series of flashbacks to explain how everybody ended up in this bar, but the only one I care about involves Impulse and Damage. Twenty minutes ago, Martian Manhunter paid a visit to the Titans headquarters in New Jersey. J'onn arrives right as Bart has decided to play a prank on Grant by stealing all the toilet paper in the building while he's in the bathroom. Bart is thrilled to meet Martian Manhunter for the first time, but J'onn says he has a package for Grant. Bart takes the package, saying he'll make sure Grant gets it, then he realizes that J'onn is offering Grant a spot on the Justice League Task Force. Bart immediately starts begging J'onn to choose him instead, boasting of his speed and superior haircut to Grant's. But J'onn says this is not an audition, and that he is pressed for time.

As J'onn leaves, Bart realizes he kind of put his foot in his mouth, but decides to keep playing pranks on Grant. Before he gets out of the bathroom, Bart puts on his Task Force uniform and activates the teleporter to the Task Force headquarters. Bart lies to Grant, saying he was "drafted by the pros," and teleports away. But Grant soon finds the note left by J'onn, saying he wants to help Grant with his trouble with Vandal Savage. So Grant takes off chasing Bart.

J'onn takes off to find a team member named Triumph, who doesn't seem to be anything more than a whiney rich kid who wants to prove himself by beating up thugs in a bar. Impulse soon arrives at the Task Force headquarters, and excitedly checks out all their equipment, marveling at their "wicked ancient technology" of touch screens. (Touch screens really were state-of-the-art in 1995. I remember seeing my first touch screen around this time and being blown away by it.) Damage follows close behind Impulse, and apologizes to the Task Force for the "squirt." But Impulse doesn't want to leave yet, and decides to go find the Martian Manhunter to let him decide whether Impulse or Damage should join the team.

J'onn finds Triumph in the bar where we began our story, and Triumph whines and complains about being treated like a kid. It's not too long before everybody else shows up and ruins what I suspect was supposed to be a touching moment. Damage immediately turns down J'onn's offer, saying he and Impulse are committed to the Titans. But even Damage doesn't want to join the Task Force, he still seems to want their suit, or at least not let Impulse wear it. Ray then takes the opportunity to announce his decision to quit the team, and then the little armed robbery we saw at the beginning happens.

Ray is too busy pouting to notice a third gunman behind him, who actually pulls the trigger. But the gun goes "klaakk," and Impulse snickers, saying, "Can't shoot a gun — without bullets!" He then reveals that he stole all the bullets from the three robbers, and asks J'onn if he can join the team now. But J'onn says no.

Well that wasn't a half-bad guest appearance. In fact, it was pretty good. I really suspect Waid may have helped Priest write the Impulse scenes, because he got that character spot-on. His attitude and power set were perfect, and his relationship with Damage seems to be improving. Although they still don't feel like as good of friends as they once were. Priest's writing was fairly decent, but I really couldn't stand all the references to past issues. It seemed like every other page had an asterisk referring to something or explaining that this happened before that but after this. And whenever there was more than one editor's note on a page, they'd just use more asterisks to distinguish the notes. But one page in particular stacked up five asterisks together, which looks more like a censored swear word in a speech bubble than an editor's note.

At the end of the story, I was actually relieved that Impulse was denied a spot on the team. None of these characters seem like a good match for him, and the only reason I would be interested in returning to Justice League League Task Force would be to see more of Jim Cheung's art. But since he was a guest penciller, I have no desire to see Martian Manhunter hang out with a bunch of nobodies.

I only have the digital copy of this issue, so there'll be no letters or ads this time.

Next time, Impulse will return to his current team in The New Titans #124.

No comments:

Post a Comment