Sunday, October 12, 2014

Impulse #15


Mark Waid – Story
Anthony Williams – Guest 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

This is our second straight issue without Humberto Ramos, which is nice for Anthony Williams, who was able to complete this two-part story. And nice for us, Ramos and Faucher still did the cover, which shows Lord Manny the First being struck by lightning with his trusted goon, Blotto, on the right, and our lovable Impulse on the left. Unfortunately, Blotto's hair is blond when it's supposed to be red. And note how the crucifix called the Eye of God is whited out — kinda by the lightning. I wonder if a Comics Code Authority rule prevented DC from depicting a cross on the cover, since last issue also conspicuously kept the cross off the cover.

Our story begins with Blotto using a pay phone to inform Lord Manny that he and Trickster were unsuccessful in their quest to steal the Eye of God. Blotto, who isn't known for his brains, suspects White Lightning stole the artifact. But then he tells Lord Manny that Trickster has vamoosed, leading Manny to believe Trickster has the Eye of God. The "religious" gangster says, "Nobody double-crosses a man o' th' cross ... over a cross." And he packs a gun to head to Manchester himself. But somehow, Trickster was able to quickly head back to wherever Lord Manny is to eavesdrop on this conversation.

We then check in with Bart, who is visiting the Bucklen household to pick up Carol on the way to school. Even though their toaster has been broken for some time, the family insists on continuing to use it, because, dang it, the Bucklens need their toast! Carol is very worried about the missing Eye of God, but Bobby assures her the family won't get broken up over this, even if he's fired. Bobby then runs to work, but leaves behind his briefcase and his book on scare tactics. Bart then tries to take a distracted Carol to school, but suddenly the Trickster arrives, claiming to be the toaster repairman.

Bart knows toaster repairmen don't make house calls, and he begins to suspect this guy is a rat. Trickster claims he has just the part to fix the toaster in his truck, and he heads off, grabbing Bobby's suitcase. Bart gives up on trying to encourage the zoned-out Carol, and he tells her to stay home while he follows the "toaster repairman."

Trickster starts to run away with the briefcase, but is soon smacked in the face by Impulse with a rather small speed limit sign. But Trickster is quick on his feet and picks up Impulse in a big embrace. Impulse says, "You're confusing me. That's always dangerous." Trickster then introduces himself as a good guy, and explains that he was only taking the Eye of God back to its rightful owners. He says he set everything up to make it look like White Lightning stole the artifact, while he snuck it into Bobby's case. But when Trickster opens the briefcase to prove his story, it turns out to be empty.

We then see that Carol has the cross. She found it in Bobby's case and believes he stole it in a pitiful attempt to get some money for the family. To sort through her emotions, Carol has climbed to the top of a statue. She tearfully decides to stop believing in her brother and put her faith in the legends of the  Eye of God protecting its holder from the evils of the world.

We quickly return to Trickster and Impulse, who are suddenly being fired on by Blotto with a rocket launcher. Impulse is able to pull Trickster to safety, and makes to take after Blotto, but Trickster holds him back. He explains that Blotto is merely working for Lord Manny, and if Impulse stops Blotto, then Manny will just keep sending men after him until he gets the cross. Impulse tells Trickster he thinks he knows who has the cross, but first he asks Trickster to help Bobby Bucklen keep his job. Trickster agrees, and shows Impulse Weather Wizard's old wand, and together they form a plan.

Bart then finds Carol with the Eye of God at the top of the statue, saying he ran all over town looking for her, figuring she wanted to be somewhere quiet. Carol tells Bart that Bobby stole the cross, and she begs Bart not tell anyone because the police will then put her and her sister in foster homes. Bart suggests that Bobby didn't steal the cross, but he can't figure out a way to say how he knows this without exposing his secret identity.

Carol then becomes hysterical, claiming she won't leave the tower since the Eye of God will keep her safe. After crying for a bit, Carol asks Bart to tell her what to believe in. Bart says he can't, and shares Max's words about faith being an individual decision. Bart then offers Carol a choice: Trust her brother or a piece of metal. After a brief, emotional moment, Carol hands over the cross and Bart comforts her.

We then see Bobby walking into work, fully expecting to be fired. But the Trickster, disguised as a custodian, pulls him aside and says he has a job for him. That night, Trickster presents the Eye of God to Lord Manny the First outside of town. But as soon as Lord Manny takes the cross, Trickster surreptitiously summons a bolt of lightning with Weather Wizard's wand, while Impulse zooms by to create a gust of wind. They keep doing this for a while, re-creating the scene from the cover, until Lord Manny believes the artifact is cursed. He desperately hands it off to a figure he believes to be Trickster, but is actually Bobby, who has brought the police with him.

As Manny and Blotto are arrested, Trickster explains to Impulse that it was necessary to lead the gangster to lead him to believe the cross was cursed so he won't keep sending goons after him. Impulse asks how White Lightning fits into this, but Trickster brushes him off. However, we see that one of the police officers was actually White Lightning in disguise, and in prime position to take the Eye of God.

We then cut to Peru, where the cross is returned to a small chapel by ... none other than White Lightning. She returns to Trickster hiding on a hill, who thanks her for returning the cross for him since he was the one who stole it in the first place and didn't want to risk being recognized.

Back at the Bucklen household, Bobby unveils a brand new toaster, while Carol reads about the adventure in the newspaper. Bobby explains that the university's board of directors enjoyed the press so much, they ordered Dean Simon to lay off on Bobby, granting him some impressive job security. Carol then gives her big brother a big hug, while Bart eats all their toast.

Max picks up Bart, telling him he's going to be helping Helen with her gardening. Bart teases Max for loving Helen and asks him why they aren't officially going out yet. Max says that's his business and he doesn't feel like explaining himself. When they arrive at Helen's house, they find the door kicked in and Helen being beaten by her ex-husband, a big, beefy man named Jim. Bart pulls Helen to safety, and Max shoves Jim into the wall, shouting, "Take your hands off my daughter!"

What an ending! And what an issue as a whole. It was very emotional, yet still fun and exciting. However, I really, really wish someone like Humberto Ramos or even Salvador Larroca drew this issue. Because the facial expressions were lacking here. Anthony Williams did a fairly good job — I liked a couple of scenes, especially the Impulse reflection in the toaster — but this issue could have been so much better. Anyway, it was pretty fun to see that Trickster really, truly has become a good guy. And it was surprising to see that White Lightning may have some redeeming qualities. But the best part of the issue, even better than the shocking ending, was seeing Bart be the hero without putting on his Impulse costume. The conversation he had with Carol was more important than anything he did as Impulse in this issue.

Tony Seybert, of Los Angeles, says Impulse is easily the most fun comic on the stands. He loves Ramos' art with the big eyes, big hair and big feet, and he praises Mark Waid for deftly handling Bart's somewhat convoluted origin story. Tony also wishes for XS to return to Impulse.

Chris Coleman, of Bolivar, Tenn., says he often falls out of his chair laughing at Impulse, and he loved the touching ending of Impulse #12. He praises the book for its writing and art, and rather randomly (admittedly) requests for Bart to take up ice hockey.

Victor Mosconi, of Los Alamitos, Calif., loved seeing Bart and Jenni get along and hopes she comes back to visit soon. He's interested in finding out more about Max and Helen, and he suggests the letter column be titled Impulsive Thoughts.

Eric N. Bennett, of Harrisburg, Penn., requests a new New Teen Titans book starring Impulse, Robin, Superboy, The Ray, Damage, Anima, Captain Marvel Jr., Wyldheart and Terra. He also requests for Impulse to visit the Legion of Super-Heroes and hopes that Humberto Ramos doesn't begin working at Marvel full-time. Funny Eric should say that, since that is exactly what Ramos is doing right now (as of 2014). Well, let's take a look at these ads.

Slam evil! The Phantom. Starring Billy Zane. I saw this movie when it came out, and I think I was too young for it, because it really scared me. I haven't returned to it since, but I'd imagine it would be rather cheesy now.

Like fathers ... like sons ... like hell! Hard-Traveling Heroes: The Next Generation in Green Lantern and Green Arrow.

Elsewhere in the DC Universe ... Martian Manhunter Special #1 and Arsenal Special #1.

Legends of the Dead Earth. Batman Annual #20.

Little men. Big ideas. Tough luck. The Big Book of Little Criminals.

Watch This Space talks about AIDS Walk NY and some Batman news, but nothing directly influencing Impulse.

It's a jungle out there. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls on Pay-Per-View.

Free Adventures of Batman & Robin trading cards in boxes of Eskimo Pies and Welch's Fruit Juice Bars.

Next time, we'll catch our first glimpse of an adult Bart Allen in The Ray #25.

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