Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Impulse #11

Dead Heat Fifth Lap: Breaking the Barrier

Mark Waid – Story
Humberto Ramos – Pencils
Wayne Faucher – Inks
Chris Eliopoulos – Letters
Tom McCraw – Colors
Alisande Morales – Assistant Editor
Brian Augustyn – Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This is a pretty amazing cover by Ramos and Faucher. It's the first time the Flash has shown up on the cover of Impulse, and our colorist — Tom McCraw, I'm assuming — went all out for the occasion. We have the red lightning of Impulse, the yellow lightning of Flash, the purple lightning of Savitar plus the pink lightning of his sword. Not to mention the white, natural lightning in the background and the orange molten lava on the ground. It truly is a spectacle to behold. My only slight complaint is that Savitar's face is obscured. But other than that, this is one of the best covers Impulse has ever had.

Our story begins with a very happy Impulse. He's got his powers back, Max is alright, and there are ninjas to fight. All is well in the world. The first page shows Impulse's face reflected in all the ninjas' swords, and Mark Waid treats us to some fun narration boxes, saying, "An army of ninjas versus a Mortal Kombat player who thinks Emperor Shaokahn is an orangutan. Bet on the boy."

While all the speedsters engage the ninjas, Savitar quietly slips away, leading Christina on a leash (she's being punished for letting Jesse destroy the battery turbine). Max realizes that Savitar is weakened while the ninjas harness his speed, so Max, Johnny and Jesse take off after Savitar. Wally and Jay find they have greater success against the ninjas if they lead them into close quarters and take them on a few at a time. But Bart doesn't stick to the plan.

Max, Johnny and Jesse chase Savitar to his library/chapel, and Johnny shocks Max by talking openly and freely about the Speed Force. Savitar continues to berate Christina by insinuating that Jesse is a worthier companion to him, and Max angers Savitar by burning his many books he's written himself.

Wally chews out Bart for not being on the same page as everyone else, saying they need to hit hard and fast. To demonstrate how to do this, Wally vibrates through a wall, causing it to explode, taking out a few ninjas. Bart says he'd also like to try that and vibrates through a couple of ninjas, who instantly begin to panic, believing they'll explode themselves. Bart sneaks behind them and whispers, "Boom," which causes them to scream out loud. Bart then tells them to chill and knocks them out.

Jay impresses Bart by weaponizing his helmet, and Wally again chastises Bart for not taking the fight seriously. Wally also asks why he didn't bring XS with him, and Bart explains that Max wanted her to stay behind with Linda and Iris.

We then check in on those three girls, and Linda is chewing out Iris for refusing to divulge any more information on the future. Linda argues that the present is constantly changing, and since Iris has the ability to help, she should. Linda eventually gets through to Iris, and she decides to act, telling Jenni she has something for her to do.

Back to the fight, our heroes have knocked out half the ninjas, but they find out the hard way that the fewer ninjas there are, the faster they become, not having to share the speed between as many people. Bart gets cut on the forehead, and Wally starts to form a plan to take out all the ninjas at once.

Savitar, furious that Max has destroyed his holy room, knocks out Max and Johnny. But he leaves Jesse unharmed, explaining that she will become his new priestess. But Christina can't bear the thought of being replaced, and she breaks her leash to charge after Jesse. Johnny wakes up in time to see this, and races after them faster than he's ever run — even abandoning his tried and true formula. There is a huge explosion, leaving Christina knocked out.

Max chases after Johnny, who's on his way to the Speed Force. Max tries to get John to stop and come back, but he refuses, saying he can feel the Speed Force calling him. Johnny says it's up to Flash to beat Savitar, and he asks Max to tell Jesse that he loves her and will always be a part of her, now more than ever. As Johnny Quick enters the Speed Force and becomes one with the light, Max weeps for his old friend.

Meanwhile, Wally, Jay and Bart have rounded up the remaining ninjas in a group, and synchronized their vibrations to cause the roof to collapse and knock out Savitar's minions. Christina is also caught in the collapsing roof, and she refuses to let Jesse save her. All the speedsters reunite, and Max tells them what happened to Johnny. Jesse breaks down in tears, and even Bart starts to cry, apologizing to Max for not taking this more seriously.

Savitar then rushes by in a big wind, vowing to steal everything from the Flash. Wally realizes he's talking about Linda, and rushes off after him. The other speedsters begin to follow, with Max worrying that Savitar will keep striking and striking until Wally kills him.

Woah. Another pretty heavy issue of Impulse. I guess that's what happens when you do a crossover with the Flash. But this whole issue wasn't doom and gloom — there were plenty of fun moments with Impulse, especially when he faked out the ninjas by vibrating through them. But I didn't expect Johnny Quick to die in the pages of Impulse — I figured Mark Waid would have wanted that to occur in The Flash. But I'm glad something major like that happened in Impulse — it helps validate this series' place in the DC Universe.

Sadly, there aren't any letters to the editor in this issue, so we'll go straight to the few new ads:

The year's biggest hit. This month on ... Pay-Per-View. Order Batman Forever on Pay-Per-View and save up to $40 on admission to Six Flags theme parks! I wouldn't go so far as to call Batman Forever the year's biggest hit ... but it was definitely the biggest superhero movie of the year, so it's got that going for it.

They're all that stands between Gotham City and chaos. Batman & Robin Adventures. By Ty Templeton and Rick Burchell.

Next time, follow Max and Impulse into the pages of Flash #111 for the heart-racing conclusion to Dead Heat.

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