Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Impulse #17

Quicker Than the Eye

Mark Waid Story
Humberto Ramos Pencils
Wayne Faucher Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt – Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg – Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This is another great cover by Ramos and Faucher, which shows our lovable Impulse being pulled out of Zatanna's hat. I love everything about this cover, except for Zatanna's brown hair. Everyone knows her hair is black! But the important thing is this cover announces a rather high-profile guest-star in Impulse. And, as our editors kindly remind us, this is not the first time Impulse has met Zatanna. They teamed up in The Adventures of Superman #522, helping Superman rebuild Metropolis. Actually, Zatanna just showed up at the end and brought the whole city back to normal with her magic, completely negating the work Impulse and the other heroes had done the whole day.

Our story begins with Bart waiting for Max to get ready for Zatanna's one and only show in Manchester. Bart feels like Max is being a turtle, so he rushes off to the arcade. But Max arrives before he can put the quarter in the machine, and the two head backstage to meet Zatanna. Max is an old family friend, having known Zatanna's father, Zatara, and helped Zatanna defeat Dr. Light not too long ago. Zatanna thinks Bart is adorable, and she asks him to be her assistant for the night. Max thinks putting Bart on a stage would open the flood gates, but Zatanna brushes him off. Bart is naturally very excited by the whole thing, and he even begins talking backwards to mimic Zatanna's spell-casting ability.

Zatanna's show gets off to a rough start, though. Zatanna introduces a trick called Poseidon's Coffin, which involves her being put in a straightjacket and submerged in a tank of water. But Bart puts on the straightjacket and performs the trick himself before Zatanna can finish introducing it. The rest of the show continues in this pattern, with Bart doing everything before Zatanna and messing things up. Finally, Zatanna gets so frustrated, she shouts, "Trab —teg tsol!"

The crowd cheers at the disappearance of Bart, believing it to be part of the act. But Max knows better, and all Zatanna can do is shrug, and cast a spell to teleport herself to Bart's location. It probably would've been easier for her to cast a spell to bring Bart back, but then we wouldn't have this fun adventure that follows.

Bart finds himself in a magical realm with floating castles and giant warriors. They tell him he's in the Realm of Kroz, and that he's not welcome there. They attack him with their massive maces, which shred Bart's civilian clothes, leaving his Impulse uniform underneath. Bart begins to play with the giants, causing them to attack each other. He then heads off toward the floating castle, believing he's in a video game.

Zatanna arrives just in time to see Bart run off, and when she tries to follow him, she discovers her magic doesn't work in this realm. She is then captured by the giants, who take her to the evil wizard Kroz. She tries to tell him she and Impulse arrived by accident, and Impulse thinks it's all a game, but Kroz believes they're his enemies, and he sends his minions out to destroy Impulse. But Impulse easily and gleefully defeats all the monsters, mummies, giants and assassins.

Impulse then arrives at Kroz's chambers, and, wielding a large samurai sword, quotes Buzz Lightyear with a "To infinity ... and beyond!" Bart has fun fighting with Kroz, and asks him if he's from Legend of Magda. Zatanna tries to help by casting her spells, but none of them work. She notices that Kroz is beginning to anticipate Impulse's patterns and speed, so she tries to warn him and accidentally says, "Trab — wols nwod!"

Impulse then freezes in midair, and Kroz silences Zatanna before she can give him back his speed. Kroz prepares one final blast from his magic staff, but Impulse reveals he was faking it and dodges the blast in time. The spell bounces off a mirror behind Impulse and strikes Kroz, slowly disintegrating him.

Zatanna asks Bart how they're supposed to get home if her powers really don't work, and Bart chides her for not playing enough video games. He grabs Kroz's staff and tests it out by summoning a bunch of video games, Max in a maid's outfit, and a whole bunch of bunnies. Zatanna finally yanks the staff away from him and uses the staff to return them home.

Bart's disappointed to see the staff doesn't work in this world, and he offers to help Zatanna clean up. She strongly refuses his help, and he thanks her for the game. The exasperated Zatanna almost transforms Bart into something, but restrains herself and pushes him away, right toward a very upset Max still in the maid's outfit.

This was a really fun, back-to-basics goofy Impulse adventure. Which is necessary coming off the more serious story of Max being Helen's father. And it was wonderful to have Humberto Ramos doing the art, since his great expressions and timing helps the comedy shine. Well, maybe timing isn't the right word for a comic book, but perhaps pacing? Anyway, it was great, whatever he did.

The letters column begins with an editor's note thanking Anthony Williams for filling in for Ramos. I personally wasn't too crazy about Williams' work, but he apparently pleased DC enough to become the go-to fill-in artist for Impulse.

Blake M. Petit, of Thibodaux, La., praises Mark Waid for discussing the topic of religion, and he wonders what exactly the Trickster is up to in Impulse #14. Blake also falls just short of criticizing Anthony Williams' art, mostly lamenting the fact that Humberto Ramos is taking so many breaks.

John Shaver, of Ankeny, Iowa, calls Impulse a really cool book and thanks the creators for bringing back White Lightning.

Jeff DeMos, of New York, got a bit philosophical about the religious nature of issue #14, drawing parallels to Bart wanting Max to tell him what to believe in and so many people in real life who just follow the crowd.

Ed Homa Jr., of Claymont, Del., says he would have liked to see Mike Parobeck or Mike Wieringo be the fill-in artist, but also says Williams did a good job. Ed also likes the idea of Trickster and White Lightning forming a rogues gallery for Impulse.

Doud Ohmer, of Covington, Ky., hopes that Trickster teams up with Impulse to bring down Lord Manny, Blotto and White Lightning. He also wants Bart to go on a date with Carol.

Mike Harris, of Belleville, Ontario, calls Impulse the coolest comic around and says he loves the interactions between Bart and Max and how Bart helps all the kids around him. Mike also requests team-ups with Green Lantern and the Ray. Now for the ads:

Home is where the hostages are. House Arrest. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Pollak.

You can earn prizes or cash. Olympia Sales Club.

CHOMP! The Video Game. A CD-ROM based on Gummi Savers.

Alaska. A missing father. A desperate search. An unforgettable adventure.

The Superman Batman Adventures on USA Network.

Legends of the Dead Earth. Aquaman Annual #2. By Peter David, Ed Hannigan, and Steve Mitchell.

Watch This Space talks mostly about Kingdom Come, detailing a book-signing tour for Alex Ross and Mark Waid.

New low fare to the third dimension. Virtual Boy.

Next time, we return to the far future of 2016 to catch one final glimpse of adult Bart Allen in The Ray #27.

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