Monday, September 15, 2014

Impulse #10

Dead Heat Second Lap: Disaffected Youth

Story Mark Waid
Pencils Humberto Ramos
Inks Wayne Faucher
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

Even though this is the third part of Dead Heat, this issue was mistakingly titled "Second Lap." Not a big deal, though. This cover by Ramos and Faucher is quite effective. On one hand, it's kind of funny with Impulse getting stuck in hot tar. But on the other hand, this is a very sad and stark cover with the strong red background and the look of defeat on Bart's face. Brace yourself: We've got a fairly serious issue of Impulse coming up.

Our story begins with Bart sadly — and slowly — walking to school. This is contrasted by his memories of putting on his Impulse costume to run on top of telephone wires and catch bullets with ease. But today, he's only wearing a New York Yankees jersey and feels like he's walking through wet laundry. This is the first time in Bart's short life he's ever not had super speed, and for the first time in his school career, Bart is late for class.

Preston tosses a video game to Bart he borrowed, but Bart can't react quickly enough, dropping the game and his books. The once hyperactive kid then spends the rest of class numbly and distractedly sitting there, not even bothering to finish writing his name on the quiz. Mrs. Dalrymple is initially upset by this behavior, but Assistant Principal Randal Sheridan arrives to tell her Bart's uncle is in the hospital.

We then visit Max in the hospital, along with Jay Garrick, Linda Park, Jenni Ognats, and Iris Allen, who recently joined the group. Jenni, whose English has improved considerably the past couple of days, says she didn't grow up with super speed, so she's not experiencing as big a shock as Bart is. Iris explains that was exactly why she wanted Bart to go to school today — so he could get a jump on adjusting to a normal life, just in case he never gets his speed back.

Jay and Linda discuss how odd it was that Max was never able to sense Savitar despite all his precautions. Johnny Quick then enters the room, still in his costume and still unable to get his speed formula to work. Jay catches him up on everything and Johnny finally admits that Max may have been right all along about the Speed Force. And then Max wakes up.

Bart's tough day at school continues, with him getting his butt kicked in dodgeball for the first time and having his coach chew him out for "actin' like somebody done cut off" his legs. At lunch, Carol spills her food right in front of Bart, and she yells at him for not trying to help. Preston whispers to her about Max, and she becomes concerned for Bart.

When Bart tries to sit down, some kids pull his chair out from under him and have a great laugh. Carol chews them out, telling them Bart's uncle is in the hospital, but the bullies laugh it off, saying Bart doesn't care about anything at all. This strikes a nerve in Bart, and all the frustration that's been building up the past few days finally comes to the surface. Bart punches the bully, is pulled away by Preston and Carol, then shoves them off and runs away.

With tears streaming down his face, Bart calls out for Max and begins the long journey to the hospital. He quickly runs out of breath, and has a hard time dodging a couple of kids on bikes and cuts up his knee. But Bart continues his sad journey.

Back at the hospital, Max explains that he's stored away some speed to help him metabolize his injuries. But then a couple of Savitar's ninjas show up to finish off the wounded. Max grabs Johnny's hand and transfers his remaining speed to him. Johnny begins to take out the ninjas, and Linda locks the door to try to keep the ninjas from spilling out into the I.C.U. Suddenly, Jay, Jenni and Bart begin to crackle with energy.

Jay and Jenni join the fight, and Bart picks up the pace. But the ninjas are formidable, and both Jenni and Jay are injured. And in the chaos, one of the ninjas places his sword on Max's neck. Suddenly, Bart comes crashing through the window and saves the day. And as is his custom, Savitar disintegrates his failed henchmen.

Max thanks Johnny for saving him, but Johnny says the credit belongs to Bart. Max looks at him and says, "Ah." Bart exclaims: "'Ah'? 'Ah'? I barreled in just in time to save your long, thin neck ... and all I get is 'Ah'?" Max looks at him for a moment, then says with a grin, "Ah." And Bart responds with the biggest smile he's had in a long time.

Jay then calls attention to the group, saying that if their speed has returned, that means Wally and Jesse must have done something right against Savitar. So they all prepare to take off and join the fight, but Max asks Jenni to stay behind with Iris and Linda, who are charged with coming up with a cover story for the nurses. And so Bart, Johnny, Jay and Max take off for Savitar's castle.

What a sweet, touching issue. My heart went out for poor Bart, who's had his entire world turned upside down. And although Bart and Max often butt heads, they do care about each other deep down, and it was so sweet to see that. This series proves time and time again that it's not just a goofy comedy. And it's issue like this that make this title so special for me.

Chris Mentzer, of Mesa, Ariz., says the cover of Impulse #5 perfectly sums up the series as a whole with the word, "Cool." He says he loves Bart's though balloons, and hopes to see White Lightning return, as well as a guest appearance of the Teen Titans.

Chris Karnes, of Naperville, Ill., said he liked the guest work on Impulse #7 by Pasko, Gnazzo and Stegbauer. He says Gridlock is an interesting villains, but is more interested in Bart's relationship with Carol, wondering whether Carol will ever learn that Bart is Impulse.

Chris Walker, of Pine Bluff, Ark., wrote a very long, rambling letter, where I guess he congratulated Martin Pasko, but mostly has fun pretending he's caught in a bunch of rotating time anomalies.

Chris Khalaf, of Houston, again asks for Plastic Man and Woozy to make a guest appearance. He says Pasko did a good job filling in for Waid, perfectly capturing Bart's relationship with Max, but he does express some confusion as to how Impulse actually defeated Gridlock.

Jack W. (Chris) Curl, Jr., of Houston, begins his letter directly to Impulse, saying he's sorry Impulse missed out on the adventure in space with the Titans. He then addresses the editor, requesting a miniseries with Impulse, Robin, Superboy, Damage, Ray and Green Lantern.

And to keep up the trend, the editor signs his name as Brian "Chris" Augustyn, all Chris all the time ... Now for few new ads.

Do you have what it takes to be a superhero? D.W. Bradley's CyberMage: Darklight Awakening. A computer game that includes a free comic book.

Fighting American and Boys' Ranch. Collections of old, pre-Marvel comics by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Next time, we'll take a quick break from Dead Heat to close out Marv Wolfman's 16-year run with The New Titans #130.

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