Friday, October 10, 2014

Impulse #14


Mark Waid – Writer
Anthony Williams Guest Penciller
Wayne Faucher – Inks
Chris Eliopoulos – Letterer
Tom McCraw – Colorist
Alisande Morales – Assistant Ed.
Brian Augustyn – Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

Over the past year, Humberto Ramos went from an unknown artist from Mexico City to a rather popular and in-demand staple of the comics community. This opened up more opportunities for him to take on projects at Marvel and Image, but unfortunately that took him away from Impulse from time to time. This is one of those times. However, he still kept drawing the covers, which have maintained a standard of excellence since issue #7. This cover shows Impulse holding a sacred artifact. Behind him is a classic Flash villain, Trickster, a big brute named Blotto, and the now classic Impulse villain, White Lightning.

Our story begins with the Trickster, James Jesse, being strong-armed Blotto, who works for Lord Manny the First. Apparently Lord Manny was a former enforcer for Handsome Jack's gang, but an explosion killed the entire gang, leaving him as the sole survivor. And now he claims to have turned to religion, just as the Trickster did after Underworld Unleashed. Lord Manny has the brutish Blotto and another unnamed henchman force Trickster to steal a gold crucifix for him known as the Eye of God, which is believed to protect its bearer from the evils of the world. Naturally, the Eye of God is on loan in a college library in Manchester, Alabama. And White Lightning and her mother also happen to heading to Manchester.

We then check in with Bart and Max on a slow Sunday morning. Max tosses a jigsaw puzzle in the air, which Bart quickly assembles without realize there was front side with a picture on it. Max then tries the same thing with a model ship, but Bart doesn't go for it. Bart imagines blowing up a Max action figure with a firecracker, and he asks him why Preston and Carol aren't home on Sundays. Max says it's probably because they're at church, and when Bart reveals his ignorance of churches and religion, Max takes the teen on a run to discuss the concept of faith.

Max says it would be a good idea for Bart to go to church to help him "fit in as normal folk" but first, he must be exposed to the idea of a higher power. Bart suggests Overlord Rogan of Garguax Patrol, but Max explains he's talking about finding faith in a divine force, not playing a video game. So Bart asks Max to tell him what to believe in, but Max shocks him by saying it doesn't work that way. Bart suspects Max is trying to trick him, and he gets a little cynical, questioning whether there even is a god. Max explains that Bart has to decide for himself where to place his faith, whatever he believes oversees the right and wrong in the universe. Bart asks if Max is talking about the Speed Force, but Max says he believes there's something above that, and he wants Bart to think long and hard about his convictions.

We then get our first look at the home life of Carol Bucklen. Apparently her parents were killed in a car crash, perhaps recently, leaving her with her younger sister, Casey, and her older brother, Bobby, who provides for the family by working at the college library. Times are tough for the Bucklens, who can't even afford a new toaster that doesn't burn all their toast. And Bobby's boss, Dean Simon, has him working late again on account of the Eye of God exhibit. Carol actually uses some foul language cussing out Bobby's boss, and she doesn't notice a worried Bart picking her up on the way to school.

Trickster then arrives in Manchester, with Blotto by his side since Lord Manny doesn't trust him. Trickster tells Blotto about his role in Underworld Unleashed, and we see a quick flashback of Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman fighting Neron. Apparently Trickster tricked the demon himself, and he's so scared of facing Neron's retaliation, James has decided to do everything he can to ensure an entry to heaven after he dies. Trickster then stays at a fancy hotel for free, convincing the management that he's Mr. Lechter Hannibal, secretary to the prime minister of England. Trickster then pretends to give the bellhop a $50 tip, but only gives him $1.

That night, which happens to be a dark and stormy night, the Trickster disguises himself as Father Gutierrez of the Chevand Order from Peru. He claims the Eye of God was stolen from his monastery, and he asks the overwhelmed Bobby Bucklen to return it. Meanwhile, Bart and Carol are checking out the artifact, and Carol says she wishes she could have it so bad things wouldn't keep happening to her. Dean Simon is furious when he learns Bobby brought in a stolen object, and he threatens to fire him. Bobby begs to keep his job, since losing it would cause the state to place his sisters in foster care.

The police then arrive at the library, explaining they got a tip from the Internet that White Lightning plans to steal the Eye of God. So Bart quickly disappears and reappears as Impulse to offer his help. Trickster then delivers a religious warning, saying the Eye must be returned to him or the ghost of Castillan will torment the unworthy. Right on cue, Blotto appears in the window wearing a white sheet and a small conquistador helmet. The only person who actually thinks he's a ghost is Impulse, who runs outside to battle the "spirt." White Lightning then makes her entrance distracting the police from Trickster, who pulls out one of Weather Wizard's old wands to ramp up the storm.

Bart quickly finds the "ghost" and creates a whirlwind to lift Blotto up into the air. Impulse notes how heavy he is and asks if he was fed Twinkies in the spirit world. Trickster then summons a lightning bolt, which knocks out the lightning's power. When Impulse notices this, he leaves the ghost, saying, "Later, Casper." Impulse rushes inside the darkened building to catch White Lightning, but Carol grabs his wrist, asking if he's Bart. Bart quickly takes off his costume and says, "It is now." Carol asks him why he ran off like that, but before he can answer, they notice the Eye of God and White Lightning are missing.

This wasn't a bad issue. It's always tough bringing in a guest penciller, but Anthony Williams did a fairly decent job. Having Impulse meet a classic Flash villain is great, as is the return of Impulse's first original villain, White Lightning. But the best part of this issue was the expansion of Carol's character. It is pretty sad that Bart's two best friends, Carol and Preston, both have pretty rough lives, but that's pretty much par for the comic book world. But it is nice that there's more to Carol than just a girl lecturing Bart for trying to be popular.

Michael Foschini, of Treviso, Italy, praises Mark Waid's and Humberto Ramos' portrayal of older people such as Johnny Quick and Max Mercury. He also compliments inker Wayne Faucher, saying other inkers don't do Ramos' pencils justice.

Doud Ohmer, of Covington, Ky., thanks the creators for keeping Jesse Quick alive and hopes they find ways to bring back Johnny and Christina, as well as give XS more to do.

Tory Favro, of Grovedale, Australia, is very happy with the respectful way Johnny Quick's death was handled, and was glad he wasn't killed by some random ninjas. Tory asks to learn more about the Speed Force and wishes that Johnny was included on the cover of Impulse #11.

Todd Maxwell, of Los Angeles, says he knew all along Johnny Quick was the only speedster who could have been killed in Dead Heat, but he does admit he didn't realize how much he liked this "unimportant character" until he was gone.

Aaron Cullers, of Miamisburg, Ohio, felt that Mark Waid made a last-ditch effort to make Johnny Quick important before killing him. He asks whether Savitar noticed Johnny joining the Speed Force, and he complains about the senseless death of Christina. Editor Brian Augustyn explains that Savitar might have felt Johnny joining the Speed Force, but he was too busy at the time to do anything about it. Brian also points out that Christina's body was never found, meaning she could come back some day.

James Hanifen, of Gibbs, Nev., asks if Max was searching for Savitar during his meditation in Impulse #5. Brian confirms this was the case. Now for the ads:

Darkseid failed. The Joker flopped. Neron fizzled. Sergio Aragonés Destroys DC.

A lost city. A man of destiny. A test of honor. The Quest: Go the Distance. Starring and directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Story by Barry Liebmann. Pictures by S.M. Taggart.

To hell and back! Artemis Requiem. By Loebs, Benes and Selogy.

Watch This Space really doesn't have any pertinent information for Impulse. It does talk a little about Sovereign Seven, but doesn't offer any new information.

Legends of the Dead Earth. Earth is dead. But on a thousand worlds, in a thousand ways, Earth's greatest heroes live on. Supergirl Annual #1, Robin Annual #5 and Green Lantern Annual #5.

Oh, my sod it's ... Earthworm Jim worming his way onto videocassette!

Next time, part two of the "Eye of God" saga. Bart finds himself tracking a robbery, participating in a sting, standing by a friend in her darkest hour and wondering about the toaster repair man. Join Mark, guest penciller Anthony, Wayne, Chris, Tom and Brian in Impulse #15.

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