Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wonder Woman Plus Jesse Quick #1


Christopher Priest – Script
Mike Collins – Penciller
Tom Palmer – Inker
Gaspar – Letterer
Ian Laughlin – Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt – Asst. Editor
Paul Kupperberg – Editor
Alisande Morales – Consulting Editor
Brian Augustyn – Plot Assistance
Johanna Draper – Research Assistant
Mark Waid – Speed Force
Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston

That's quite a bit of people who helped put this issue together. However, I suspect Mark Waid's name is only included because he wrote all the extensive flashbacks of Jesse Quick's past. The cover is by Collins and Palmer, and although I feel like Wonder Woman could've been drawn a little better, I do enjoy Jesse Quick here. But the most interesting part of the cover is the ninja in the background. We haven't seen those guys since Savitar was defeated in Dead Heat. But it makes sense that a few of his fanatical followers would linger around.

Our story begins with a nervous Jesse Chambers on the first day of her new job as CEO of her late father's company, Quickstart. Luckily, her day at the office is delayed by a hostage situation at a store called J.J. Lords across the street. So Jesse says her super-speed formula, 3X2(9YZ)4A, and throws on her superhero uniform. Jesse Quick soon finds herself in an elevator, face-to-face with a 12-year-old holding a gun to a 4-year-old. The older kid calls himself 2Young (I don't know how anyone was supposed to know he wanted to use the numeral 2 instead of the word Too, but that's beside the point). The elevator is surrounded by SWAT officers, and Jesse Quick finds herself too close to the boy to say her formula without having him shoot the younger kid. So she briefly exits the elevator, which buys her enough time to say her formula. Doing so caused the police to open fire, but Jesse is able to catch all the bullets and save the hostage.

Shaken by the whole ordeal, Jesse heads home to take three showers and eat a tub of ice cream in her bathrobe. Jesse is bothered by 2Young, but also her mother, the former Liberty Belle, who seemed to act like a completely different person at Johnny Quick's funeral. Jesse's mother then arrives and lectures Jesse for shirking her CEO duties. Jesse can't handle the criticism, so she runs away through her bathroom window.

But as soon as Jesse is gone, Libby Lawrence-Chambers is attacked by Savitar's old ninjas. They don't have their super speed anymore, but they are able to overwhelm the retired hero by their sheer numbers. Meanwhile, Jesse in her bathrobe is finally able to calm down on a park bench, and decides to return home when some nuns believe her to be homeless. She arrives at her apartment to find her critically wounded mother, who manages to tell Jesse that the ninjas were looking for a scroll of Savitar's.

During the Dead Heat saga, Max Mercury burned Savitar's extensive speed library. But before doing so, Jesse snatched one of the scrolls that she simply thought looked cool. (And you can see her pocket that scroll in Impulse #11.) Jesse takes her mom to the hospital and takes another look at the scroll to try to figure out why the ninjas want it. The scroll is written in ancient Greek, so Jesse throws her costume back on and pays a visit to an expert on the matter — Helena Sandsmark. Helena identifies the scroll as a petition to Hermes, the messenger god of speed. Jesse tells her how she acquired the scroll, and Helena suggests this would be case better suited for her assistant, Diana Prince. Diana seems familiar to Jesse, but she doesn't see the value in enlisting her aid in this dangerous situation.

Suddenly, a group of ninjas invade the museum. As Jesse rushes off to confront them, she is astonished by Diana's ability to keep up with her. Then Jesse realizes that Diana really is Wonder Woman, who engages in some serious ninja butt-kicking. The ninjas are soon defeated, and our heroes interrogate one of them. They learn that the ninjas want to pull their master Savitar out of the Speed Force by bringing the scroll to the Circle of Light. But before he can explain what the Circle of Light is, one ninja who still has super speed sneaks up on the heroes, knocks them out, kills the interrogated ninja, and steals the scroll. Wonder Woman chased after the ninja, but wasn't able to catch her, only being able to tell Jesse the ninja was a woman. Jesse then realizes this one ninja who still has powers is Christina, Savitar's most devoted follower.

Wonder Woman then takes Jesse to Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis to try to find out more about this scroll and Circle of Light. Jesse tells them Savitar was based in South America (which isn't true — his citadel was in the Balkan Mountains, in Europe). Anyway, while the four women eat at Taco Whiz, Vanessa determines the Circle of Light could be referring to La Luz Redondo, a tiny Dominican Republic mountain parish. So Jesse Quick and Wonder Woman run/fly to South America, with Jesse recapping the fight with Savitar on the way.

When our heroes arrive in the Dominican Republic, they find Christina has already unlocked the secret of the scroll, opening a portal to the Speed Force. Jesse quickly beats up a few ninjas and takes one of their swords, determining to use it to kill Christina for causing her father's death. Christina starts running toward the Speed Force with Jesse hot on her heels. Christina reveals that she hasn't forgiven her former master for betraying her, and she really wants to rob Savitar of his greatest ambition by pulling him out of the Speed Force. Jesse doesn't care, and moves in for the kill. But then Wonder Woman manages to get her lasso of truth around Jesse, exhorting her to calm down before doing something she'll regret. Jesse then has a series of flashbacks, showing the true cause of her frustrations.

It all started when Wally West named her the next Flash. Jesse was initially honored by this, but soon learned the whole thing was just a ruse to get Impulse to focus more. When Impulse and Max were trapped outside of Kobra's force field, this started a deep-seeded anger in Jesse toward Wally, and a strong desire to prove herself. This carried over to the conflict with Savitar, when Jesse probably got a bit carried away, and had to be saved from Christina by her father. Johnny Quick ran so fast he became one with the Speed Force, but he could have come back. And thanks to Wonder Woman's lasso, Jesse realizes for the first time that she's mad at her dad for leaving her. But she also realizes that she would have done the same had she been in his place.

Christina disappears, and Jesse crumbles into an emotional heap in Wonder Woman's arms. But Wonder Woman helps her confront her feelings and recover from the grief. And our story ends with Jesse taking Wonder Woman to visit her mother in the hospital to help her also work through the grieving process.

Even though this issue basically had no Impulse in it, I was pleasantly surprised by it. Jesse Quick definitely deserves to get some attention in the spotlight from time to time, and I was impressed at this issue's ability to pick up on a minor detail from an earlier issue and run with it. The location for confusion is a slight problem, but it doesn't negatively impact this book. Jesse and Wonder Woman each got a small taste of the other's world, and we got to learn a little more about Jesse's personal life.

There aren't any letters to the editor, naturally, so let's see if there are any new ads I can scrounge up.

The video invasion hits home! Independence Day on VHS. This was by far the biggest movie of 1996, and one that I enjoyed immensely as a kid. And I still love it today. It's just a really fun, exciting movie.

We have an apparent ultrasound of a baby in fetal position, with the caption: Better get used to being in this position again. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

Open all night. No quarters needed. Arcade's Greatest Hits for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

Twenty-six have been given life, and twenty-six will take it away. Mortal Kombat Trilogy for PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Yes, we have entered that awkward period where some games were being made for Super Nintendo and some were for N64.

Born in arcades. Abused. Caged. And brought to your home. Fighting Vipers for Sega Saturn.

A three-page ad for Nights Into Dreams ... fro Sega Saturn.

Spend some quality time with Michael Jordan. Like 2 1/2 hours. NBA Video on VHS.

See Jonny run. See Jonny fly. Be Jonny. Jonny Quest CD-Rom game.

Elsewhere in the DC Universe ... Batman Plus Arsenal, Supergirl Plus The Power of Shazam!, Superman Plus The Legion of Super-Heroes, and Sovereign 7 Plus The Legion of Super-Heroes, which I will be reviewing in a bit.

Old soldiers never die, they just turn into bloodthirsty mutant zombies. Final Doom on PlayStation.

Next time, we'll get back on track with the classic stuff in Impulse #21.

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