Saturday, November 22, 2014

Impulse #19

A Game of Spew

Mark Waid Co-Plotter
Tom Peyer Guest Co-Plotter & Script
Humberto Ramos Penciller
Wayne Faucher Inker
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor

This cover barytes and Faucher shows a seemingly impossible situation. Someone at school knows Bart is Impulse! And that someone is using a special Impulse issue of Teen Beat (More Impulse than your heart can handle!) to deliver this message. Well, as we'll soon find out, this is an impossible situation. And the cover, while it is well-done and pretty fun, is a bit of a cheat.

Our story begins with Max making Bart go to bed at 8 p.m. since it usually takes him four hours to fall asleep. Bart whines and complains, and Max asks whether Robin whines at Batman this much, and Bart says Robin gets to stay up late. (I imagine this issue was supposed to come out after the Robin Plus Impulse special, but as I said previously, that book was delayed because several pages of the artwork were lost in an IRA bombing.)

Bart then reluctantly begins to get ready for bed — at super-speed, which makes a big mess in the bathroom. Max yells at him to brush his teeth at normal speed, and Bart apologizes, even offering to clean up the bathroom at normal speed. But Max sees through his diversionary tactic and tells him to clean it in the morning. So Bart finally begrudgingly gets into bed, which he equates to a coffin. Bart tosses and turns and kicks off his sheets for what feels like a long time, but has only been one second.

Bart then remembers an angry Max telling him to count sheep. So Bart tries it, but the sheep he imagines quickly turn into evil robot sheep, so he pretends to beat them up by punching his pillow. Max hears the noise, so he checks on Bart, who quickly pretends to be asleep. We then have a great page with 48 panels of Bart slowly falling asleep. But the poor kid doesn't finally drift off until 2:05 a.m.

We then enter Bart's dream, where he finds himself at a video game store managed by Assistant Principal Randal Sheridan. The games are on sale for three cents each, but Bart's never heard of the titles, and Mr. Sheridan says Bart needs to pass a physical. Suddenly, the video game in Bart's hand starts glowing, and Impulse finds himself surrounded by the Legion of Super-heroes, who appear the way Bart imagined them based on Jenni Ognats' descriptions. Impulse asks them where XS is, but they don't tell him, instead saying they don't want Impulse in the Legion and that he's the speedster nobody wanted.

Impulse screams, but then is suddenly scooped up by XS. As she runs on the beach of a tropical paradise, she asks Impulse where he wants to go, and he says, "Anywhere with you!" Suddenly, Impulse is in the Flash's arms, who chews him out for sounding whiny. He says he never whined as Kid Flash, and neither did Robin. Flash also says he never let anyone carry him around, and he sets Impulse down, saying he needs to pass a physical.

Impulse runs away and falls off a cliff, landing back in the video game store. Mr. Sheridan, now in pajamas and in bed, says he knows Impulse is Bart, and he tells him to hurry up and play the game so he can go back to sleep. So Impulse puts in the slow-loading Max Mercury game, but the Max in the game picks up a controller that controls Impulse. Impulse bounces around like Pinocchio on strings, and Max soon says he's won the game.

Impulse then suddenly acquires a cape, and says, "My super-fast hearing detects a job for Impulse Man!" And Impulse Man flies off to Washington, D.C., where the presidential satellite is plummeting to the earth. Impulse Man catches it and saves Bill Clinton, who wants Impulse Man to take off his mask so he can give him a medal. But Max comes out of nowhere to drag Impulse away, saying he's spent his whole life and $12,047 to make him a normal boy, while President Clinton sadly says that Impulse should have passed his physical. Max then drags Impulse to a cave filled with giant bottles containing all the other failed Impulses.

Bart screams again and suddenly finds himself taking a bath in the middle of class. Mr. Sheridan tells Bart to read page 34,903 to the class, which says, "I know your secret!" Impulse refuses to read the page, so Mr. Sheridan has the class pledge allegiance to "Bart Allen and Impulse who are one and the same indivisible ..." Max then appears and tells Bart to tell the class he's not Impulse. When Bart does so, Mr. Sheridan says he's the only one, and he's too slow to stop a class full of Impulses. As everyone runs around making a mess, Max tells Bart he needs to learn to control his impulses.

Suddenly, Max is a very old man surrounded by stacks of newspapers. He very slowly asks Bart to fix him some of that gross stuff you have to be really old to want to eat. So an older, fatter, smoking Bart hands Max a bowl of octopus leg. He turns on the TV, which says a bank robbery was stopped by Bart Allen, aka Max Mercury Jr. Max says Bart turned out to be a good boy, but then he spills his octopus slop. Bart complains that he has to clean it at normal speed, and he wishes Max were younger.

Suddenly, Bart is back to his normal age and Max is little boy. Max begs Bart to let him go to bed since he has to wake up early and act normal all day. But Bart happily denies the little Max's request, saying he wants him to stay up and stop whining.

Bart then wakes up, feeling completely refreshed and ready for anything. But then he sees that it's still 2 in the morning and he's only been asleep for 30 seconds.

This was a really fun and sweet issue of Impulse. It perfectly captured the chaotic nature of dreams and the innocence of Bart Allen. And I'm so glad Humberto Ramos did the art here. I love the way he draws Bart screaming, which happens quite a bit in this issue. And with Tom Peyer, the usual writer on Legion of Super-heroes, handling the script and dialogue, we got to see Bart use the word "grife" a bit more. Apparently, "grife" is a swear word in the 30th century, so it makes sense that Bart wouldn't have said it much until after he's had a few encounters with XS and the Legion.

Kevin Dragone, of Phoenixville, Penn., says Impulse #16 was a very sad issue. He hopes Max and Helen spend some quality time together, and asks if Bart will ever date Carol and whether Impulse will team up with Robin.

Ed Homa Jr., of Bear, Del., was happy to have Humberto Ramos back for issue #16, and he requests for Mike Wieringo or Mike Parobeck to the be regular fill-in artist. Sadly, Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt has to say that Parobeck recently died of diabetes just short of his 31st birthday.

Mark J. Kiewlak, of Nanticoke, Penn., praises Mark Waid for having the guts to spend the majority of an issue on a domestic, character-driven flashback. He also praises editor Brian Augustyn for having the courage to give up his steady job to pursue his freelance writing dream.

C.H. Reynard, of Montclair, Va., says Humberto Ramos' art is the best he's seen in 10 years of collecting comics. He also asks for Impulse to cross over with Robin or Superboy.

Jeff DeMos, of New York, loved the role-reversal of Impulse teaching his mentor about personal responsibility. He also asks whether Helen might have super speed, and he compares Waid's accurate portrayal of teenage life to the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse.

Derrick Lang, of Cincinnati, Ohio, simply begs for a White Lightning miniseries, but Hernandez-Rosenblatt basically says that's never going to happen.

Mary Catelli, of Berlin, Conn., was happy that issue #16 didn't romanticize what Max did, showing he needs to take responsibility for his actions. She also asks for more Trickster in the DC Universe. Now for the ads:

The cost of Final Night ... will be remembered forever. Green Lantern. Issue #81 by Marz, Banks, and Tanghal.

The Amalgam Age of comics. The stories that twisted two universes ... into one. This trade paperback includes the Impulse-Quicksilver character, Mercury.

Subscribe to the world's mightiest heroes! One issue of Impulse normally cost $1.75, but you could get 12 issues for $15.

Watch This Space talks about more DC-Marvel crossovers, more DC-Milestone crossovers, and the Sci-Fi channel re-airing episodes of the 1990 Flash TV series. They also admit they mistakingly listed Patrick Ewing's height as 6-foot-7 instead of 7-feet.

Next time, we'll begin December 1996 with a bit of an epilogue to Final Night in Green Lantern #81.

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