Friday, January 30, 2015

Impulse #27


Fight for Your Right to Party

Mark Waid & Ruben Diaz Co-Writers
Sal Buscema Breakdowns
Craig Rousseau Pencils
Brad Vancatta Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letters
Tom McCraw Colors
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

The transitional era of Impulse continues with the unusual, but welcome decision to have Jeff Matsuda and Wayne Faucher do the covers for the next few issues. I do feel a little bad that Craig Rousseau got kicked off cover duty after only one issue, but I really do enjoy Matsuda's work. This cover is every bit as colorful and exciting as anything Humberto Ramos did, and Matsuda seems to perfectly capture the levity of Impulse established by Ramos and Rousseau, all while adding his own angular style. Sadly, Matsuda only did a handful of Impulse covers and never worked on the inside pages, which would have been really neat to see.

But the biggest piece of transitional news here is this being Mark Waid's final issue of Impulse! One of the greatest comic book writers of the past 25 years and the creator of this character is sadly stepping away after more than two years of high-speed fun. We'll still see Waid on The Flash (whenever Impulse makes a quick cameo there), and he'll return for a couple of more special stories of Impulse, but this is the last time Waid's name will be on the cover of a regular issue of Impulse. Well, let's save the praise for Waid till the end of this review.

Our story begins with Manchester, Alabama, abuzz over a new 10 p.m. curfew for children, imposed by Councilman Emmet Baxter. Unwilling to take this harsh punishment sitting down, a large group of kids sneak into the Manchester Mall as it's closing and lock themselves inside. At the forefront of this gang is Bart's good friend, Preston Lindsey, who calls radio host Dr. Richard Friend to announce they won't leave the mall until the curfew is lifted.

Meanwhile, poor Bart is stuck unpacking all his stuff at his new home with Max and Helen. Because he wants to go play with Preston and Carol, Bart uses some super speed to unpack, but ends up making a bigger mess in his haste. Max begins to lecture Bart, but Helen admonishes him to go easy on the boy, so Max relents and lets Bart go have fun with his friends.

Back at the mall (where Jay and Silent Bob are making a cameo), Carol Bucklen has armed herself with a megaphone to try to organize the kids and make sure they don't cause more harm than good with their protest. Preston asks her where Bart is, and she says he's sick with edema. Unknown to Carol, however, is three rowdy teens plan to use the protest as cover to rob the mall. They are "Evil Eye," a kid with an eye patch with the letter "e" on it, Smartypants, a fat kid who only speaks in complicated math formulas, and Snag, a skinny kid with a lisp. I don't think Smartypants and Snag will return, but Evil Eye definitely will.

Anyway, the protest has attracted the attention of the media and police, but Bart knows nothing about it. When he arrives at the mall, he sees all the cop cars and assumes his friends are in trouble, so he changes into Impulse to vibrate inside. He soon interrupts Carol's speech about showing the authorities how mature they are, and to Impulse's dismay, none of the kids are happy to see him. They think the cops sent him in as a spy, and wish the popular Bart Allen would've shown up instead. Impulse pulls Carol aside and asks why she didn't invite him to the protest, and she says she was worried he'd cause the delicate situation to explode. Impulse complains that nobody trusts him, so Carol tells him to earn that trust by making sure nobody gets out of control.

Councilman Baxter,  who happens to own the mall, arrives and prevents the police from breaking in and damaging his doors. Faced with taking a big reputation hit on live TV, Baxter decides to show the kids leniency and agrees to lift the curfew provided they don't damage the mall. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the protest turns into an all-night event with Impulse tasked with maintaining the peace, even though he wants to play in the monster truck, skateboard off the concession stands and swim in the fountain like everyone else. Luckily, Carol is there to keep Bart in line.

Impulse gets off to a good start keeping the peace by taking a brick out of a kid's hand before he could smash a window with it. But when Impulse tries to stop some other kids from playing Aquaman in the fountain, he slips on the overflowed water, crashes into some skateboarders and careens into a pile of paint cans, spilling yellow paint all over the place, including a most displeased Carol. The commotion provides a perfect cover for Evil Eye and his gang, who hack into the mall's main power grid and start sneaking around the air vents.

As Impulse tries to get kids off the carousel by spinning it around too fast and stop some older kids from playing "feetball" (I'm glad he still hasn't learned the proper word), Evil Eye, Smartypants and Snag enter a comic shop and rob it blind. But as they prepare to make out with their haul, they realize the whole mall is still surrounded by cop cars. Luckily, the rest of the kids are still ignoring Impulse's and Carol's instructions, creating enough chaos for Evil Eye to hijack the monster truck Impulse was playing in earlier. But unlike Impulse, Evil Eye actually starts up the truck and begins driving it toward the exit, not caring who gets in his way.

Impulse can't think of any other way to stop the truck, so he simply stands in front of the door, hoping Evil Eye will stop on his own. Of course, Impulse does have the backup plan of vibrating through the truck should Evil not stop. But Carol thinks Impulse is simply being extraordinarily brave, so she joins him in front of the doors. More kids follow suit, linking arms in an effort to prevent Evil Eye from ruining their protest. But the monster truck keeps rolling forward, and just when Impulse prepares to become a pancake, the truck runs out of gas.

All the kids unite in apprehending Evil Eye and his gang, and turn them in to the police when dawn arrives. Impulse believes he's saved the day again, but Carol points out that the mall is still a huge mess. Luckily, Impulse is able to correctly clean the building at super speed, and Councilman Baxter officially agrees to rescind the curfew.


So this wasn't necessarily the strongest note for Mark Waid to leave on, but it was a fun, light-hearted Impulse tale, nonetheless. It introduced a new villain in Evil Eye, and, more importantly, it established the new dynamic of Helen and Carol on "Team Impulse" (if I may be so bold to name it such). Helen's main role so far is to help Max be a little less strict, and Carol's is to help keep Bart focused — something that both of them really need. And once again, Rousseau's art greatly benefited from Buscema's breakdowns, making this an a rather solid issue.

Now what can I say about Mark Waid that I haven't already? He searched deep in the comics archives, found a forgotten footnote (Barry Allen's grandson) and created a character that is both unique and natural. Waid gave Bart a strong sci-fi/superhero backstory, then threw him in the real world to experience very human, down-to-Earth scenarios and emotions. Bart is as inspiring as he is relatable, thanks to Waid never forgetting that Bart is a teenager first and a superhero second. Waid put Impulse through some strong, action-packed crossovers, and he always included a healthy dose of humor in the title. But Waid truly excelled with the quieter, more serious issues in the series. When he slowed the book down enough to make room for real, heart-breaking emotions, this comic book entered a rare level of excellence. Of note are the tender moments of Bart saying goodbye to Max, saying goodbye to his mom, being powerless while Max lay in the hospital, and, most of all, watching Preston be abused by his mom. Only the best of writers can handle such topics without betraying the overall light and fun tone of the series. And in my opinion, Mark Waid is the best comic book writer out there. Currently, he's writing some great stuff for Marvel's Daredevil, but maybe, one day, DC will revive the Impulse title and convince Waid to return to his Alabama roots. I can hope, can't I?

Oddly enough, the letter column makes no mention of Waid's departure. Perhaps this wasn't intended to be his final issue, or maybe DC purposefully kept the news quiet to limit the drop in sales that would surely occur. In any case, here is what everyone thought of Impulse #24:

Jay Bardyla, of Edmonton, Canada, simply thanked DC for creating a good comic that brought tears to a grown man's eyes.

Robert E. Grover, of Amherst, Mass., was happy to see Max test Bart, and said the issue made quite an impact on him by showing Bart's innermost drive and how frail Max can be.

Olav Beemer, of the Netherlands, says the highlight of the issue was the final moments before Bart left for the future. He also praised the book its daring and innovative change of the status quo. I wonder what Olav thought when Bart returned to the 20th century ...

Julian Bukalski, of Moro, Ill., praised the issue for making a significant contribution to the understanding of Impulse and introducing some change to a series that was quietly growing stagnant with all its single-issue stories that were fun, but provided little development for the characters.

Scott Vogt, of Madison, Wis., suspects Carol drew her picture of Bart as Impulse way back in Impulse #13. He also talks about how emotional issue #24 was, and points out the look on Max's face at the end — one of sadness, happiness and a wish for good luck.

Mary Catelli, unlike Olav, hopes Bart's trip to the 30th century is a quick one (which it was.) Now on to the ads:

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Watch This Space doesn't mention anything Impulse-related, although it does talk about the comic adaptation of the Batman & Robin movie. Sorry, I spelled that wrong. That should say, the awful Batman & Robin movie.

A powerful foe. A young hero. Batman: Bane by Chuck Dixon & Rick Burchett. Batman: Batgirl by Kelley Puckett, Matt Haley & Karl Kesel.

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Next time: You've heard of "stage mothers"? Well, the concept's hit superheroing, as the one-time — and little-known — heroine Miss Arrowette grooms her daughter to follow in her footsteps, stage-momming her to bigger and better things. Of course, picking Manchester, home of Impulse, for the new Arrowette's debut may not have been the wisest move she could've made.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Impulse #26


Scorched

Mark Waid Story
Sal Buscema Breakdowns
Wayne Faucher Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
And Paul Kupperberg Editor ...
... welcome new penciller Craig Rousseau!
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

And now we begin the Craig Rousseau run. Here's the first Impulse cover not drawn by Humberto Ramos, and I have to say it's not a bad first effort by Rousseau. Of course, it does help that Wayne Faucher stuck around. But basically, this cover is the same image we ended issue #25 with. Impulse's souvenirs from the 30th century are new, and if you look close, you can see a "Sold" sign in the front yard. Another fun easter egg is the Kupps Moving Company box — a nod to Paul Kupperberg.

Our story begins with a quick recap of everything so far, showing Impulse train by dodging falling anvils and being graded by Max Mercury — Speed: B+, Maneuvering: B-, Danger Avoidance: F. We also see a quick glimpse of Impulse in the future with his mom, and being forced to travel back in time again. We then pick up with the scene of Impulse entering his deserted home, and a stray copy of the Manchester Gazette proclaims "Faucher Indicted!" and "Waid's On a Roll!" Seems like Manchester's most notorious politicians are at it again. Anyway, Bart's initial panic quickly turns to the mischievous joy all teenagers feel when they realize they have the house to themselves.


But Bart's joy is short-lived once he realizes the TV and all his video games are gone. So he goes over to Preston's house — uninvited. But Preston is so happy to see his friend again, he convinces his dad to let Bart stay for dinner. Preston's dad does what any responsible adult would do, and calls Bart's uncle Max to make sure it's all right. But Bart decides he doesn't want anyone to know Max is missing, so he flicks a game disc at the phone card at super speed, cutting the line before the call can go through. Disaster averted, Bart and Preston sit down to play a fighting game that involves Superman and Batman.

Poor Bart then must have spent the night in his empty house alone, because the next thing we see is him showing up at school wearing the same clothes. Naturally, the whole school is overjoyed to see the most popular boy return, although Bart isn't sure what to do with Carol, who told him she knows his secret identity before he left. But Bart has a more immediate problem to deal with. Assistant Principal Randall Sheridan tells Bart that Max had signed Bart out of Manchester Junior High, meaning he should be enrolled in a different school. Bart tells Mr. Sheridan that Max can explain everything, so Mr. Sheridan says he'll stop by Bart's house after school (instead of just calling Max for some reason). Realizing he's put his foot in his mouth, Bart tells Preston there's going to be fireworks at his place. Other kids hear this and assume Bart's speaking literally and that Bart's hosting a welcome back party. Word quickly spreads and Bart's panic only grows.

So Bart throws on his Impulse suit and heads to the Flash's new home of Santa Marta, California. Bart quickly finds Wally battling some random thugs, and he asks him if he's seen Max. Wally is surprised that Bart's back from the 30th century and worried that he'll have to watch over the youth full time now with Max gone. Bart doesn't like this idea, either, so he lies and says he's still with Max and he only wanted to ask Wally to make sure he didn't come back to an alternate past where kangaroos ruled the government and such. Wally assures him everything's the same, then gets back to work while the increasingly panicky Impulse takes off.

As guests begin to arrive at Bart's house for the nonexistent party, Impulse pays a visit to Jesse Chambers, aka Jesse Quick. Jesse is busy working as CEO of her late father's company, QuickStart, and is also still working on her master's degree. So she is understandably unwilling to help Bart go look for Max, especially when Bart admits there's no reason to assume Max is in danger.

So Bart runs away from Jesse's lecture and heads home, only to find the place full of partying teenagers. Carol tries to approach Impulse, but he's too horrified to talk to her. Instead, he decides to pay a visit to his new friend, Robin. Impulse tells the Boy Wonder the whole story, but Robin insists he's too busy on a case. So Bart runs back home and finds Carol has broken down in tears. She apologizes to Bart, and he apologizes to her for not telling her he was Impulse. The two emotional teens talk over each other for a while before they both realize they're not mad at each other.

One small problem solved, Bart's bigger problem continues to grow as he spots Randall Sheridan walking down the street and a moving truck fast approaching. Finally realizing that Max has sold the house and a new family is moving in, Bart quickly changes the street signs to send the poor family in the wrong direction. Carol, meanwhile, tries to stop the party, but nobody will listen to her. Luckily, or unluckily, she spots Max approaching the house.

Having taken care of the moving truck, Bart then tries to send Mr. Sheridan away by claiming Max has malaria. Of course, the more suspicious Bart acts, the more Mr. Sheridan becomes convinced that something is wrong and he needs to call child welfare. Despite all of Bart's protests, Mr. Sheridan opens the door to find Max Crandall reading a book in chair while Carol watches TV. Bart is shocked to see no sign of a party, while Max calmly tells Mr. Sheridan that Bart unfortunately wasn't meant to be with his mother, and he'll visit the school tomorrow to re-enroll Bart.

Once Mr. Sheridan leaves, Max lets all the partiers out of the closet and sends them home. Bart demands an explanation, saying he looked for Max all over the world. Turns out, Max was just across the street the whole time. After Bart left with his mom, Helen invited Max to live with her so they could establish a solid relationship as father and daughter. So Max sold the house and moved all his furniture into Helen's garage, which he was able to quickly pull out when Carol told him what was happening.

So now Bart's going to move from 321 Maple to 323 Maple with Max and Helen. And Carol, now a trusted friend in both sides of Bart's life, tells him that everything turned out OK, and everyone ended up where they're supposed to be. We then see that poor family trying to move into number 321, still hopelessly lost and confused.


And thus begins a new chapter for Impulse. We've mostly returned to the status quo, but now Bart's family has expanded, which is a good thing. Having a larger support group will help keep things more interesting and add depth to the series. And new penciller Craig Rousseau proves he was the right choice to follow Humberto Ramos. His lightness and goofiness is a perfect match for the book, and his work is noticeably improved over his previous fill-in issues — largely thanks to Sal Buscema's breakdowns. Just about everything here is new, except for the writer, Mark Waid. However, he will soon be leaving, as I suspect he mainly only stayed around for a couple of issues to help smooth out the transition to Rousseau.

Rob Haney, of Machesney Park, Ill., expresses a lot of love for Impulse #23 and all its creators. He also says he doesn't think the book will be the same if Mark Waid leaves.

Stacey Hogan writes a very long letter (which apparently had to be cut down), in which she thoroughly breaks down everything that happened in issue #23, introduces a fun theory in which Bart never left the virtual reality program he was raised in (though Stacey admits that sounds more like a Marvel story), asks whether Bart's mom has super speed and gives a lengthy (yet logical) explanation for why Bart's hair is so big.

We only had one page for letters in this issue, and Stacey's letter took up two-thirds of that page. We also only have two new ads this time:

Free in Post Pebbles! Dinosaur fossil kits!

Polo Sport. Ralph Lauren.

Next time, join us for malls, teenage curfews and monster truck madness in Impulse #27!

Monday, January 26, 2015

JLX Unleashed #1


The Unextinguishable Flame!

The new chapter of Amalgam Earth's mightiest heroes is brought to you courtesy:
Priest Writer
Oscar Jiminez Penciller
Hanibal Rodriguez Inker
Ken Lopez Letterer
Patricia Mulvihill Colorist
Ruben Diaz Editor

Apparently the DC-Marvel mashup was a big enough hit to warrant another batch of books in 1997. So here we are with a "new" JLX series, which unfortunately does not include the Impulse-Quicksilver character, Mercury. He does show up in a quick flashback, so I'll keep this post equally quick.

Our story begins with the Hellfire League of Injustice summoning the powerful Fin Fang Flame, whom we see on the cover. The fiery dragon flies around killing everything in sight, and proves too tough for the Judgment League Avengers to handle alone. So Amazon (the cross of Wonder Woman and Storm) seeks the aid of Mr. X (Martian Manhunter and Charles Xavier). Mr. X tells Amazon that his team, JLX, is pretty much in shambles since the Armageddon Agenda, which legislated war against the metamutants. Many were killed or imprisoned, but Mercury was lucky to escape to the future with Iriskani (Iris Allen and Askani).


Apparently things got so bad, Mercury lost his usual blue suit and had to wear a red suit that looks exactly like Impulse's. Anyway, Mr. X reluctantly agrees to help Amazon, and everybody battles Fin Fang Flame, ultimately defeating him thanks in large part to Apollo (Ray and Cyclops), who drained the dragon's energy. It's all very over-the-top and melodramatic, which makes it fun — I'm just sad Mercury didn't have a larger role here. And as far as I know, this is the final appearance of Mercury, which is also a shame because I felt like there were more stories to tell with him. But I do understand how difficult it must have been to pull off this Amalgam series.

There are more fake letters to the editor, but none of them mention Mercury, so let's head straight into the ads:

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More Amalgam Comics: Challengers of the Fantastic #1, Generation Hex #1 and Iron Lantern #1.

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Next time, we return to normal with Impulse #26.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Impulse #25


You and Me Against the World

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

Here it is. Humberto Ramos' amazing run on Impulse comes to an end after a little more than two years of reshaping the character and taking the series to great heights. Ramos didn't draw every issue, but he did do each cover, including the annual, with inker Wayne Faucher. And this 26th and final Ramos cover keeps in line with the high quality that's been established. It's kind of fun to see a pouting Impulse, and the purple background is a nice change of pace. However, we'll soon see that Impulse's adventure in this issue will be a lot more dramatic than losing his holovid privileges for the night.

The issue begins with a fun recap page, which shows Max Mercury being whited out, and Meloni being drawn in his place. And Impulse breaks the fourth wall by reacting to the giant pens coming down on the page. Anyway, we turn the page to join Bart and his mom in the 30th century. Bart is amazed by everything and wants to play with all the neat toys around him he's never seen before. But Meloni pulls him aside, calling him Sunshine, and reminds him that the Science Police are out to get them. Bart asks whether the Science Police enforce the law of gravity. Meloni explains that they work for Earthgov, which is ruled by President Thawne, who's behind the conspiracy against the entire Allen bloodline.

Before they can begin their mission to save Iris Allen's parents, the Russells, Meloni suggests Bart switch out of his conspicuous Impulse outfit. So Bart sucks his suit back into his ring, only to realize that his 20th century clothing makes him stand out even more. Soon, mother and son are surrounded by the Science Police. So Bart puts his Impulse costume back on, scoops up his mom, and runs away to safety. Bart briefly discusses the prospect of visiting Jenni with his mom, then he asks a bystander which way to the jail. And that man turns out to be R.J. Brande, who will later become a key figure for the Legion of Super-Heroes.


Impulse and mom soon arrive at the prison and find Eric and Fran Russell. The prison is controlled by a supercomputer that can anticipate and adapt to any escape plan or strategy it faces. Luckily, Bart and Meloni don't know the meaning of the words "plan" or "strategy," and they begin to randomly attack the computer and its equipment. Unable to find any logic in their actions, the computer eventually has a meltdown, freeing the Russells. Eric and Fran thank Bart and Meloni for saving them, but they point out that their actions have put all the Allens in danger. Bart and Meloni realize this includes Jenni, so they find a good hiding place for the Russells and head off to find Jenni.

Unlike her cousin, Jenni didn't acquire super speed until adolescence, meaning she is currently a 2-year-old in the year 2995. Bart and Meloni find Jenni at a daycare, and Bart tells his mom how Jenni will become a hero named XS and join the Legion of Super-Heroes, which hasn't formed yet. And Meloni tells Bart more about the Allen-Thawne feud, dating back to Eobard Thawne and Barry Allen. Meloni also says that this Thawne, the president of Earth, had secretly aligned with the Dominators to kill the Tornado Twins and was probably behind the capture of Bart.

Before too long, the Science Police do show up to capture the young Jenni. Bart remembers Max's instructions to take care of people in trouble first, so he grabs his toddler cousin and runs away. He tries to tell her about his adventures with Brainiac 5, but Jenni instead spits up all over a Science Police officer right behind them. Unfortunately, this distracts Impulse long enough for another officer to grab Jenni and fly away.

Meloni tries to follow Jenni on a hover bike, but Bart stops her, pointing out that they wouldn't be able to catch up to her. Quoting Max again, Bart suggests they wait and try to find out where Jenni is headed. So Bart and Meloni hide themselves and eavesdrop on an officer, who is giving out the coordinates for Jenni to be taken to. Meloni knocks out the officer, and Bart begins searching for a map on him. Meloni begins to hesitate, and asks what Max would do next. Bart says he'd figure out who the Science Police are, to which Meloni explains that they confiscate forbidden and experimental weapons. So Bart rushes into the Science Police headquarters, and loads himself up with weapons and armor for the rescue mission.

Bart and Meloni then follow the officer's coordinates right to the Flash Museum, which has fallen into disrepair after being barricaded by President Thawne. Our heroes sneak inside, only to find Thawne waiting for them, and holding a gun to the sleeping Jenni's head. Thawne tells Bart to drop his weapons, and he chastises Meloni for betraying her own father. To Bart's astonishment, Meloni reluctantly admits that she is a Thawne, and she broke years of truces by falling in love with Don Allen. Her marriage reignited the family feud, and President Thawne had Don killed for corrupting his daughter. He also kidnapped Bart and planned to mold him into his image. Bart asks his mom why she didn't tell him the whole story from the beginning. He says, "You act like it would have made a difference, but ... you're still my mother."

President Thawne then points the gun at Bart's head and vows to take out the last of the Allen line. Meloni jumps in front of her son and tells her dad he'll have to kill her first. But Thawne can't bring himself to shoot her, telling her all he's wanted through this whole feud is to have his daughter back. So Meloni comes up with a bargain for her father. She'll stay with him on the condition that no harm comes to anyone of the Allen family. Also, Meloni agrees to send Bart back to the 20th century so he'll no longer be a threat to Thawne.

Bart is devasted to leave his mom, but she explains this is the only way he can be safe. She also says Max is a better parent than she'd ever be. Bart asks his mom to come with him, but she says she has to stay back and make sure her dad upholds his part of the bargain. Thawne then begins to gloat for winning a thousand-year victory, proclaiming that no speedster will ever plague his family again, not realizing that he was holding a future speedster in his arms the whole time.

Meloni leads Bart to the Cosmic Treadmill, which has been improved since Bart's past misadventures on it. Meloni then gives a heartfelt goodbye to her Sunshine, telling Bart how proud she is of him since he's willing to put his heart aside to do the right thing by others. Bart runs back to 1997, finding himself just outside Manchester at sunrise. The sad teenager stops for a moment and looks at the sun. Bart says, "Sunshine," and begins to grin as runs home. Bart can't wait to see the look on Max's face when he returns, but when he enters his house, he finds it completely deserted.

And hidden in the barren woodwork is a couple of goodbye messages from Humberto Ramos: "Thanks for everything Bart! I'll never forget you. Ramos." and "To Brian, Ali, Ruben, Mark, Wayne, Tom, Chris, Jason and Paul, with my heart, gracias por todo. Humberto. I will miss you guys!"


And I will certainly miss Humberto Ramos. He really did pick a great issue to go out on — filled with  plenty of humor, action, fun futuristic backgrounds, and a really strong emotional ending. And it caps off a wonderful three-parter that truly was Ramos' best work on the series. Story-wise, everything came close to reseting to the status quo, although we will see some changes in the following issues. Bart didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with his mom, but we did get to learn the whole story of Bart's early life and find out that he's half-Allen/half-Thawne, which is a fun twist.

I can't overstate the influence Humberto Ramos had on Impulse. True, Mike Wieringo was the first to draw him, and earned co-creator status for doing so, but he actually didn't draw Impulse that much. Ultimately, I think Wieringo's greatest contribution was Impulse's costume (minus the mask), which remained unchanged for about 10 years. But Ramos really was the one who took the character to a whole new level. No longer was he just a short, muscular speedster. Thanks to Ramos, Bart became a rather scrawny and awkward teenager with big feet and even bigger hair. Not only did Ramos make him more realistic looking, but he gave him a goofy, rabbit-like appearance that perfectly matched his personality. And Ramos set the standard for all future artists to follow whenever they drew Impulse. It is really sad to close the Humberto Ramos chapter on Impulse, but starting the Craig Rousseau chapter will be fun and exciting as well.

Our first letter to the editor is actually from the editor himself, as Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt describes how he first encountered Ramos' work for Impulse #1. Jason says, "And Humberto has only gotten better since then. His art style, combining manga with more traditional comic-book storytelling, was exciting, to be sure. But that wasn't all. Look at the facial expressions on his characters. They're having fun. Humberto's having fun. And we're having fun.

"Since then, Brian has gone freelance, the Yankees won the World Series, Ruben has set his mark upon the world with the new JLA (and an Impulse issue or two), and Paul and I inherited The Flash and Impulse. And Humberto became a superstar. Through it all, he was a true pro and a wonderful guy to work with. We'll miss him.

"Humberto, thank you very much for two years of fun. I wish you luck in your other projects and can only hope that we work together again soon. Take care!"

I'm not sure if Ramos ever did work with Hernandez-Rosenblatt again. After leaving Impulse, Ramos mostly devoted himself to Marvel, and for a couple of years worked on his creator-owned imprint Cliffhanger. In recent years, he's done a lot of work on Spider-Man, and just a couple of weeks ago reunited with Mark Waid on S.H.I.E.L.D. #2.

Jon Jankovich, of Penn Run, Penn., asks for a regular Jesse Quick backup story in Impulse, and suggests the letter column be titled Impulse Ramblers. He also points out that Bart's first kiss technically occurred in Flash #95, although Jason counters by saying that was just an insignificant peck.

Keith Rogers, of Friendswood, Texas, was initially upset with Impulse #22 for making Max look rather shady. But then Keith was happy to see it was all for Bart's surprise party.

Ben Varkentine, of Sunnyvale, Calif., says issue #22 was the best fill-in issue of the series, with Ruben Diaz being the only guest writer who doesn't feel like a let-down from Mark Waid. Ben would also like Rousseau to draw a Jesse Quick limited series and for Waid and Greg LaRoque to create a Max Mercury miniseries.

R.J. Spassov, of Beaumont, Texas, says issue #22 is a close second behind his favorite, Impulse #20. R.J. particularly liked going back over all the clues dropped during Max's deception.

Gregory Kinfield, of Harrison Township, Mich., was happy to see Jesse Quick, and points out that Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt was incorrect in stating that Impulse hasn't met Green Lantern yet.

John Norris, of Richmond, Va., says he's been collecting comics for 20 years and is happy to have a title to share with his son. He also expresses his support for Ruben Diaz to write another fill-in issue for the series. Now on to the ads:

A mouthful of cookies ... in every bite! Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme.

NBA Lesson #4: The Reversal. Step 1: Go to Kids Foot Locker to get your new Champion reversible jersey. Step 2: Pass the basketball to a teammate. Step 3: Cross your arms grabbing your jersey and lift over your head. Step 4: Hold jersey upright, turn inside out and place back over your head. Step 5: Receive no-look pass and resume play. And the jersey shown is Grant Hill's of the Detroit Pistons. Hill was an All-Star in 1996-97, averaging 21.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game.

Has Tang gone Mad? Get a free issue of Mad magazine with a Tang label.

Play the Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats Hoppin' Holiday Hunt! Grand prize is a trip for four to Hollywood and Warner Bros. Studio.

Watch This Space talks about Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt's short film, "Meat," which debuted at the Slam Dance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Have a blast with MooTown snacks! Enter to win the Sega's Sonic Blast Ultimate Home Video Game Giveaway!

Next time, we'll take a quick break from Impulse to see one final cameo of the Impulse-Quicksilver amalgam character, Mercury, in JLX Unleashed #1.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Impulse #24


Reunion

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

The penultimate Humberto Ramos features another great, colorful cover with Wayne Faucher. Impulse is being torn between two time periods by Max and his mom, and as always, I love the expression on Impulse's face. However, as we will soon see, Max doesn't actually put up that big of a fight.

We pick right up where last issue left off, with Bart being reunited with his long-lost mother. Max heard all the commotion in Bart's room, and came in to investigate. However, communicating with Bart's mom is a bit awkward since she's from the 30th century and only speaks the language of the future, Interlac. This is also Bart's native language, so he quickly teaches it to Max. Fortunately, this language lesson goes a lot better than his failed attempt to teach English to his cousin, Jenni Ognats. In fact, Bart does so well, he's even able to purposefully teach Max a couple of incorrect words to make him look like an idiot.


With everybody speaking the same language, Bart's mom introduces herself as Meloni and begins to explain why she's never actually met Bart. She starts at the beginning with the children of Barry Allen, the Tornado Twins Don and Dawn. Meloni married Don, but he was killed by the Dominators before Bart was born. Meloni didn't have long to enjoy her baby boy before he was kidnapped by the Dominators, who were fascinated by his super speed. The Earthgov sent the Science Police to rescue Bart, but they told Meloni her baby had died. They also convinced Meloni that the Dominators would come looking for her, so they gave her a false identity and sent her to Tokyo, telling the rest of the world that she had died, too.

But Bart's grandmother, Iris Allen, used her reporter skills to track down Bart, discovering that Earthgov was keeping him alive in a virtual reality program that could keep up with his super speed. Once Iris found out that Earthgov was doing nothing to slow Bart's rapid aging, she freed the boy and used the time machine built by her father, Eric Russell, to take Bart back to 1994. Earthgov assumed Meloni was behind the kidnapping, so they interrogated her. This gave Meloni enough information to deduce the truth, so she embarked on a mission to find her son. Meloni rescued Eric Russell and his wife, Fran. They went back to Eric's lab to use his time machine, but the Science Police took the calibration mech as evidence, meaning Meloni couldn't be sent back precisely to 1994, but got as close as she could.

Bart's jaw dropped open as Meloni told her story, which concludes with her explaining that she tracked Bart's biopattern to his room, and waited there for him to return. Meloni then says the time machine is set to retrieve her in about six hours, and she wants to take Bart with her to the 30th century. Max asks whether the future is a dangerous place, and Meloni admits that it is. The Russells are unfairly imprisoned, and Meloni and Bart will be fugitives, fighting for their lives and all the defendants of Barry Allen. And Bart realizes that list includes Jenni.

Max admits Meloni has an admirable goal, but he wants to know what her plan is. Bart and Meloni look at each other, then say, "Plan?" Bart leaps into his mother's arms, saying, "That's my mom!" Max groans, "Which explains so much." He then walks away, saying he won't stand in Bart's way and that no child should be separated from their parent. Besides, Max admits, he learned last night that there's nothing more he can teach Bart.

Bart quickly shows his mom that he's a superhero known as Impulse, although he admits he doesn't know why he's called that. Meloni thinks this is really cool, but suddenly, Carol and Preston knock on the door. Apparently, Bart's arguments and camping adventure with Max, combined with Meloni's arrival and story, filled the whole night and now it's time for school. Bart introduces his mom to his friends, explaining that she just found him and doesn't speak English. Carol's not surprised, remembering their brief encounter with Jenni, while Preston is too awe-struck by Meloni's beauty to speak. So Bart heads off to school, telling his mom he'll be back after lunch, and she tosses him an orange as he leaves.

Bart then tells all his friends that he's going away with his mom that very day, and he'll be moving very far away, making it hard to keep in touch. All of Manchester Junior High is devastated by this news, particularly Roland, who can't believe Bart would sacrifice his popularity. Before Bart leaves, Carol gives him a kiss on the cheek (although a lot of hair got in the way), and she gives him a picture she drew of him. And that picture shows Bart dressed as Impulse. (Coincidentally, Carol's drawing style is very similar to Humberto Ramos'.)

Meanwhile, Max begins to pack up, telling Meloni it feels like it's time he moved on. She asks him if he has any family, and Max reluctantly tells her about Helen and his failure to connect with her. Bart then comes home, and the Flash arrives soon after him. Wally apologizes to Bart for not being more patient with him, and wants to say goodbye on good terms. He gives Bart a ring, which he initially thinks is a Legion flight ring, and runs up to the roof to try it out. Luckily, Wally catches him in time and explains that it's a classic Flash costume ring, designed by Bart's grandpa, Barry. Wally says it was hard to fit the boots in, but he managed to make the adjustments to put Impulse's suit in it. Bart likes it, but was kinda hoping the suit would fly.

Bart and Max suddenly find themselves alone and forced to say an awkward goodbye while packing up the house's few remaining items. They both say they'll be happy to be rid of each other, and Bart tells Max he shouldn't have given him an eight o'clock bedtime or mess with his head by telling lies such as baby powder being made from real babies. Bart then finds himself sitting on the couch, clutching a pillow to his chest, while trying to happily declare his freedom. Max then puts his hand on Bart's shoulder, and we are treated to one of the most touching pages in this whole series. Bart hugs Max. There's no background, just quiet, simple whiteness highlighting this beautiful, touching moment.

But the tenderness comes to an end with the arrival of Meloni, dragging Helen behind her. Max is initially furious with this, but Meloni explains she told Helen everything Max had been trying to tell her. And most importantly, Meloni reminded Helen, and Max, of one simple truth: No parent should be separated from their child. With that, Meloni and Bart are zapped away to the future.


What an issue. There is so much going here. And we already have a leading candidate for 1997's comic of the year. Let's start with Bart's mom, Meloni. Her backstory is fun, exciting and doesn't feel forced at all. It answered all my questions and made perfect sense to me. I also love how Bart is the spitting image of his mother, not just in looks, but attitude as well. I don't know much about Don Allen, but it seems like he'd take after his more serious father, Barry.

Another significant development in this issue is Carol revealing she knows Bart's secret identity. I don't know exactly when she learned it, but it is pretty obvious for anyone willing to figure it out. And I love the way Carol handled this. She didn't draw attention to it, and basically told Bart, "I know who you are, but you don't need to worry about me telling anyone else." And since I know what's to come, I can say this is the beginning of a very nice and new element to Bart's life.

I was also happy to see Wally make another cameo in this series, and I'm really happy with Impulse's new costume ring. It feels like he's finally an official member of the Flash family now. However, I am sad that Wally didn't bring in Iris to say goodbye to her grandson. I'm sure she would have liked that opportunity — after all, she was just at Bart's house for his birthday party.

But the best part of this issue was Bart saying goodbye to Max. Coming off their biggest fight ever, these two stubborn guys were suddenly faced with the prospect of never seeing each other again. And even though they constantly got on each other's nerves, they are both the closest thing to family they've ever had. And they truly do love each other like father and son, and ultimately, were able to express that love.

Well, that's probably more than enough about Impulse #24. Let's now see what the fans thought about Impulse #21. Speaking of which, I had a fun conversation with Craig Rousseau on Twitter after I reviewed that issue. You can find our exchange here. And you can follow me on Twitter @BartAllenImpuls.

Mark E. Bermingham, of Eden, N.Y., said Rousseau was a great replacement on issue #21. He loved how Mark Waid made the Legionnaires light and funny, but feels Waid handled the time travel incorrectly, believing you can't exist at the same time with your past self. Mark also wants Impulse to keep his flight ring, and hopes Jesse Quick becomes a regular on the series.

Augie de Blieck Jr. praises Rousseau's work for being similar to Ramos' and matching the tone of the series. Augie also points out how similar Rousseau's style is to Bill Amend, creator of Fox Trot. Editor Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt said that three other letter writers made the same comparison.

Rob Haney, of Roscoe, Ill., was happy to see Impulse finally meet the Legion, and hopes it happens again. Rob also addresses the rumor that Rousseau would be taking over full-time pencilling duties for Ramos (this turned out to be true). Rob asks for Ramos to stay on the covers, but that didn't happen.

Justin Kane, of Lawrence, N.Y., is upset that Ramos will leave the series after issue #25, but he is very happy Rousseau was chosen as the replacement over previous fill-in artist Anthony Williams.

Jonah Brightner, of Roan, N.C., praises Waid for fitting so many gags into the issue and expresses his confidence in Rousseau taking over for Ramos.

Chris Khalaf, of Houston, appreciated the ties Impulse #21 had to classic Legion stories, including Adventure Comics #247, and the reintroduction of Koko the monkey. Now for the few new ads:

Shocking! This time we've changed more than his hair. Superman.

They told her to get a life. They didn't say whose. Supergirl. Peter David, Gary Frank, Cam Smith.

Next time: Impulse and his mom are in the 30th century ... and up against just about everybody! Their first goal is to free Iris Allen's parents from captivity by the Science Police while staying one step ahead of being captured themselves! No easy task, especially when the President of Earth has a generations-old grudge against the Allen family!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Impulse #23


Lessons Learned

Mark Waid Story
Humberto Ramos Pencils
Wayne Faucher Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letters
Tom McCraw Colors
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid & Mike Wieringo

It is the beginning of the end of an era for Impulse. This issue is the first of a three-parter that will close out Humberto Ramos' career with the fastest boy alive. Luckily for us, he's going to go out with a bang. And it all starts with this great cover he drew with Wayne Faucher. I love the colors and the expression on Bart's face. And I don't know about you, but my ear has only been pulled like that by one other person — my mother.

Our story begins on a somber evening. It's been quite a while since Max Mercury told Helen Claiborne he's her father, and now he's finally attempting to reconnect to her. But he just can't do it yet. He stands and stands at her front door, and almost knocks, but ultimately walks away. Helen thought she heard something and opens the door, but she just missed Max.

The dejected old man slowly and sadly walks home, while Helen returns inside to read the Manchester Community Shopper. But she comes across an article titled, "Max Crandall, historian, to give library lecture Thursday on Indian folklore." Helen angrily tears out the article bearing a picture of Max's face and throws it in the garbage. When Max gets home, he surprises Bart by asking him to go on a nighttime run.


But as Max and Bart streak down the street, they just miss the mysterious arrival of a masked female figure in a green jumpsuit. The sudden appearance of this woman in the middle of the road causes a seven-car pileup, and she attempts to steal a motorcycle a man fell off of. A policeman is on the scene and attempts to arrest the woman, but she uses a taser-like device to blast the handcuffs off her. She soon crashes the motorcycle, but quickly recovers and escapes the police by jumping onto a moving car and leaping from roof to roof on several other cars.

Meanwhile, Max continue their run through the city. Bart sees a bridge being raised for a boat to pass underneath, and he tries to jump the gap, but misjudges the distance and falls. Luckily, Max is able to save his butt — literally — by grabbing the seat of his pants. But to Max's dismay, Bart enjoyed the fall and asks to do it again.

The two speedsters then pass a hockey arena surrounded by cop cars and flashing lights, so they decide to go check out the commotion. Apparently, a couple of robbers are attempting to steal the box office receipts from the Jekyll and Hyde On Ice show, and they are holding the performers hostage out on the ice. Max holds back an eager Impulse, and asks whether he has a plan. Impulse says it involves hitting people, and he takes off, while Max stays behind to observe his protege.

Turns out, Impulse could have used a plan, as he didn't account for the slipperiness of the ice. Impulse slides past the amused robbers several times before he finally gets the idea to borrow the arena's Zamboni. Impulse saved the day and grabbed a big bucket of popcorn as his reward, but Max is furious with the youngster. Max explains that this was a hostage situation and Bart should have saved the innocents first. Bart maintains that he got the job done and nobody was hurt, so it doesn't matter. Max chastises Bart for not thinking enough, and Bart counters by saying Max thinks too much.

So the two angry speedsters run home, and Max finally gathers up the courage to knock on Helen's door. But their conversation is brief, as Helen is still quite upset that Max withheld the truth from her for so long and allowed Helen to believe he was someone she could date. Bart decides to take advantage of Max's momentary absence by building himself the biggest sandwich in the world. But before he can even get started, Max suddenly appears next to Bart, making him scream with surprise (which I always love). Max tells Bart to put the food away and pack his sleeping bag. Even though Bart points out that it's past dark already, the grumpy Max insists on going camping that very second — without video games. Max and Bart then zip out to the middle of nowhere, once again just missing the mysterious masked woman.

Once settled under the stars in the desert, Max asks Bart to start a fire without using super speed. But Bart doesn't listen, and runs off for a blowtorch. Bart quickly complains that he's bored, and begins to build model homes out of wood chips. Max attempts to have a deep conversation with the boy, asking if he ever looks back on his life. Bart thinks he's talking about the sandwich, and he apologizes, saying he was hungry. Max tries to clarify, saying he's talking about looking over the choices you've made — your accomplishments and failures. Bart realizes Max is talking historically, like before dinner, so he begins to defend himself again for his choices made at the ice rink. Bart tells Max his way isn't the only way, and he begins to go into a long explanation of how he's an experienced superhero now. Bart talks about how he almost became a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes and didn't need Max's help fighting Blockbuster.

As Bart babbles on, Max decides to test him once more by causing a minor avalanche. Max sticks his foot between a couple of rocks and yells at Bart to save him from the falling rocks. Instead, Bart smashes every single rock, covering Max in dust. A furious Max demands to know why Bart chose to go after the rocks instead of saving him and why he picked the gunmen instead of the hostages. Bart simply answers that there's more points for busting up the bad guys. This answer horrifies Max and puts him in a very quiet, depressed mood. Feeling like he's accomplished nothing in all this time, he tells Bart to pack up and they go home in silence.

Bart tries to cheer Max up by doing the dishes and brushing and flossing his teeth, but Max remains silent. Bart enters his room to go to bed, but suddenly finds himself face to face with the masked woman we saw earlier. She's holding what looks like a gun at Bart, so he tries to tackle her. But the "gun" turns out just to be a translator, through which the woman tells Bart to calm down. She then pulls off her mask and reveals herself as Bart's mother!


This is a significant issue of Impulse. And not just because Bart finally met his mom. This is the first time we've really seen Max and Bart fight. Sure, they've gotten on each other's nerves before, but never like this. This is a really great test to their relationship, and it'll be neat to see how they work through this. Max really took center stage in this issue, and it was nice to see the spotlight on him again. And how could you not feel bad for this guy, who, practically in a panic, keeps going back and forth between his two biggest relationships — Helen and Bart — hoping to find something that said he wasn't a failure, to no avail. What a sad concept. Sure, there were a few laughs and fun moments here, but on the whole, this ranks up there with the saddest, most emotional issues of Impulse.

Wade Boger, of Pottsville, Penn., talks about how fun Impulse is and how laughing at it can actually be dangerous, since he had stitches in his ribcage and was worried about pulling them out.

Tony Favro, of Victoria, Australia, says Impulse #20 was a rather painful experience watching Bart fail at so many sports. But Tony does praise the issue for providing Bart's first kiss, and he hopes the Bart-Carol relationship continues to grow.

Chris Khalaf, of Houston, reminds the editors that former Impulse editor Brian Augustyn promised a guest appearance by Plastic Man, and he hopes Humberto Ramos gets to draw him. Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt agrees that Plastic Man should show up, but doesn't give anything concrete.

Steven Damigella, of Irvine, Calif., points out how fun issue #20 was, even though Impulse technically never appeared in it. He also notes how similar Bart is to Danny Ziucko in Grease, asks for Impulse #25 to be a special triple-sized issue, and pitches an Elseworlds story where Impulse gains possession of a Green Lantern ring.

B. Varkentine, of Sunnyvale, Calif., praises Ramos and Faucher and expresses similar praise for the kissing scene and everyone's reaction to it. He also admits he didn't get the pun of the story title, "First Base," until the end of the issue, and admits that even though he doesn't like baseball, issue #20 was the best in recent memory.

Who says protecting the universe ain't no party? Superboy and the Ravers. By K. Kesel, Mattsson, Pelletier, and Davis.

Kids' WB! A Hit! Every weekend discover the newest hit on Kids' WB! This ad shows Superman punching the WB logo for some reason with that insufferable singing frog poking his head around the corner.

Teen Titans. By Dan Jurgens and George PĂ©rez.

Buy 3 Batman titles and get 1 free!

Click here. Experience the new DC Comics Online.

They're coming your way! JLA. Morrison, Porter, Dell.

Next time: So you've met Impulse's mother. You've probably got a bunch of questions. Like, where has she been? What forced her to abandon Bart as an infant? Why has she waited so long to come for him? Will Bart abandon his life in the twentieth century to go home with Mom? And what does Max have to say about all this? Well, be here next time and you'll find out in Impulse #24!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Superboy and the Ravers #7


Road Trip: First Stop — Speed Kills

Kesel & Mattsson: Writers
Pelletier: Pencils
Davis: Inker
Kalisz: Colorist
Cunningham & Eliopoulos: Letterers
Duffy & Pittarese: Edits
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

I really enjoy this cover with its bright, happy yellow background, and Impulse naturally upstaging Superboy. The big guy behind Impulse is a size-shifting alien named Kaliber, who is obsessed with Earth superheroes. And it's Kaliber who really gets this story started.

Kaliber has always wanted to visit Metropolis to see Superman, and just his luck, one the Ravers, Half-Life, has just acquired a large, flying motorcycle called the meta-cycle. So that can only mean one thing for this band of goofy, party-loving heroes: road trip!

The Ravers start from Southern California, and soon pass Santa Marta, which has recently become the new home of the Flash for whatever reason. Kaliber sees a big sign advertising a Flash Festival, and he begs to go to it, saying Flash is his sixth favorite hero. So the Ravers decide to check it out, and they soon see Flash on stage juggling 5,000 rubber balls that are being tossed to him by Impulse. But the performance is quickly interrupted by Flash receiving a Justice League summons.

So Flash takes off, leaving poor Impulse to try to wrangle up the 5,000 balls. However, the crowd does cheer to see Impulse on the stage. Superboy sees him struggling, and decides to help out, using his tactile telekinesis to pick up all the balls at once. Superboy notes that he's never been properly introduced to Impulse, although they have seen each other during Zero Hour and Final Night.

Kaliber has never heard of Impulse, so Superboy describes him as the '90s Kid Flash. Impulse angrily calls Superboy Superman Jr., which makes him so mad he drops all the rubber balls. They're then interrupted by the Flash Festival's master of ceremonies, who asks the two teenaged heroes to fill in for the now absent Flash. And what better way to entertain the crowd then by having a race!


Impulse and Superboy zoom off, and Impulse quickly shows he has the upper hand by running backward and teasing his competition. The Ravers follow the race in the meta-cycle, and it isn't too long before Superboy taps out and jumps on the bike. The meta-cycle does a better job of keeping up with Impulse, but he soon kicks it into high gear and leaves that, too, in the dust. Sparx, the electricity-based hero, turns into pure energy to give Impulse his greatest challenge of the day, but the race is suddenly cut short.

Impulse stops running when he reaches the forest of the former Coast City, which Impulse last visited for Hal Jordan's funeral in Green Lantern #81. But the somber place has even more meaning for Superboy, who was on hand when the evil Cyborg Superman destroyed the city and killed its 7 million inhabitants. Suddenly, Superboy doesn't feel like partying anymore, and Impulse understands and runs home.


So that was a surprisingly downbeat ending to an otherwise fun and whimsical comic book. Superboy and Impulse are a perfect, natural pair that fans have been clamoring for. I can't wait for these two to have a proper adventure together, but for now, let the record show that Impulse kicked Superboy's butt in their first race. I recently acquired a trade paperback collecting all the major Flash vs. Superman races, and early on, DC intentionally ended the races with a tie or ambiguous ending. Luckily, by 1997, DC decided to discontinue that type of thinking — at least for the teenaged superheroes. Because, seriously, Impulse is and should be a heck of a lot faster than Superboy.

I also really enjoyed the art in this issue. I love Paul Pelletier's style, and he draws an excellent Impulse. Unfortunately, colorist John Kalisz doesn't know the color scheme for Impulse's uniform, making the straps on his gloves and boots yellow instead of red.

None of the letters to the editor mention Impulse, so let's head straight to the ads.

It's the 80th century. Do you know who your Titans are? Titans: Scissors, Paper, Stone. By Adam Warren and Tom Simmons. This mvanga-esque style possible could have been a precursor to the Teen Titans animated series and subsequent Teen Titans Go! spinoff.

Our skating wasn't going so well. Then the Cap'n showed up with his awesome Peanut Butter Crunch and got us rolling!

Get your hands on ... Impulse. Every month from DC Comics. This ad uses the cover for Impulse #23, which shows a mysterious hand grabbing Impulse by the ear. I'll cover that issue next.

First Batman. Then Superman. Now the entire DC Universe! Adventures in the DC Universe. Written by Steve Vance. Illustrated by John Delaney and Ron Boyd.

The Power of Shazam! Family Reunion. By Ordway, Krause, and Manley.

Buy four Superman titles and get one free! Subscribe to 12 issues of each of these Superman comics for $60.00 and receive Superman: The Man of Tomorrow absolutely free!

Truth and justice — the animated way! Superman Adventures. Written by Scott McCloud. Pencilled by Rick Burchett. Inked by Terry Austin.

Ultimate evil. Absolute good. Will one world be big enough for both? Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Written and illustrated by John Byrne.

They're coming your way! JLA. Morrison, Porter, Dell.

Twizzlers Pull-n-Peel.

Next time, we'll find out about that hand grabbing Impulse's ear in Impulse #23.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Impulse #22


Played

Ruben Diaz Words
Craig Rousseau Pencils
Wayne Faucher Inks
Tom McCraw Colors
Chris Eliopoulos Letters
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

Now we come to another fill-in issue with guest writers and artists. But Ruben Diaz is a welcome sight in the credits, as he was an editor on The Flash and Impulse — and who better than an editor to make sure the continuity and characterizations are accurate? And although this was technically the first issue of Impulse drawn by Craig Rousseau, it was the second released. Luckily, we are still treated to a fun cover by Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher. Apparently, Impulse and Jesse Quick are fighting over a phone booth, and poor Bart is caught with his pants down. But I do like his Flash boxers, though.

Our story begins with Bart regaling his friend, Preston, in his latest arcade exploits. But as amazing as Bart's moves were, he actually lost the match to Roland, who took advantage of some secret moves in the game. Preston offers to take Bart back to the arcade for another round of Virtual Monsters, but Bart's out of quarters, so he heads home, wishing the game would come out for home systems. But when Bart gets home, he overhears Max having a rather intense conversation discussing blackmail, theft and the threat of murder.


Bart tries to play it off cool, but he becomes even more worried when he takes a peek at Max's email, which contains even more incriminating evidence. The next morning, over breakfast, Max tells Bart he's headed out for the day with a lot of long, boring errands like visiting the ornithological society and waiting in line at the DMV. Bart tries to get Max to stay, but he tells Bart he's hired him a babysitter. Bart hopes it'll be Helen Claiborne (whom we haven't seen since Max told her he's her father), but instead, it's Jesse Chambers, aka Jesse Quick (whom Bart hasn't seen since the funeral of her father, Johnny Quick).

Max gives Bart strict instructions to stay home and do his homework, but once he's gone, Bart starts trying to find excuses to leave the house. He suggests they go out for ice cream or he could show Jesse the cliff he drove off way back in Impulse #5. But Jesse threatens Bart to behave or she'll paint his face with makeup and call over all his friends to see. Finally Bart tells her truth, going into as much detail as he can about Max's blackmail situation. Bart's worried that Max is being forced to steal something or else he'll die. Jesse is initially skeptical, but Bart's able to convince her, by reminding Jesse of Max's very long and mysterious past.

So Impulse and Jesse Quick begin tracking Max, following his trail all the way to Central Park in New York City. The two speedsters soon spot Max talking to a sleazy-looking thug on a bench. Jesse remarks how chummy the two seem to be, but Bart insists he's never seen Max interact with someone like that. Before Bart and Jesse can get in close enough to hear the conversation, Max and his associate get up to leave. Bart notices that the biker thug disappeared quite suddenly, but Jesse keeps him focused on Max, who runs all the way to Las Vegas.

Impulse and Jesse follow Max sneaking around a casino, purposefully keeping out of sight of the surveillance cameras. But once again, Max takes off before Bart and Jesse can figure out what he's doing. They then follow him to a restaurant in Texas, where Max is meeting a shady-looking cowboy.  Bart gets the brilliant idea to eavesdrop on this conversation by posing as waiters. Luckily, the restaurant was expecting a couple of new workers that day, and the manager immediately puts them to work — Jesse as a waitress and Bart as a busboy (which initially confuses Bart, as there are no buses to be seen in the restaurant).

Bart disguises himself with a funky hairdo, a fake mustache and a "Jorge" name tag, and begins to clean the table next to Max and the cowboy. The cowboy seems rather upset with Max, saying that his men went to Max's house to keep an eye on Bart, but they've reported that the house is empty. Max assures the cowboy that his nephew is still home, and he offers to use the restaurant's pay phone to check on Bart. Just then, the cowboy orders some water from "Jorge," who tries to pretend that he doesn't speak English. Max finds the busboy to be very familiar, and asks him if his last name is Simpson.

Bart finishes pouring the water, and hastily grabs Jesse, telling her they need to be home before Max calls. They run and run, and just manage to get back to Manchester while the phone is still ringing. Jesse advises Bart to switch out of his Impulse uniform since the place is being monitored. He does so, and answers the phone just in time. Max notes that Bart sounds out of breath, and Bart explains that he and Jesse were holding their breath for fun. Max then warns Bart to stay out of the living room, but an unaware Jesse begins heading that way.

Fearing for her life, Bart tackles Jesse in the darkened hallway. The lights then turn on and all of Bart's friends and family shout surprise! It's Bart's birthday, and Grandma Iris arranged the whole thing. Jesse explains that it was Max's idea to use reverse psychology to get Bart out of the house. Bart initially feels like a donkey's rear end, but he cheers up when he sees the cake and presents, including one from Ruben, Craig, Wayne, Tom, Chris, Jason and Paul. As Bart blows out the single candle on his cake, he asks how often Bart-days happen.

Max arrives to hand-deliver the best present of all, a beta test version of Virtual Masters from Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, who were able to pull some strings at Lightspeed Entertainment. The cowboy/thug reveals himself to be Wally West, and Bart sits down to play his new game with Wally, Preston, Roland, Carol, Jay Garrick, Linda Park, and a few other friends I couldn't recognize.


This was another fun, light-hearted issue. Ruben Diaz has a great handle on the character, and it's always fun to see Jesse Quick again. Craig Rousseau's art was understandably rough, yet charming all the same. Interestingly enough, the final page of this issue still includes a big tease to Legionnaires' crossover, which was pushed ahead of this issue — probably to match it up with Legion of Super-Heroes #88. I agree with that switch, but I find it odd that DC didn't change that big teaser in this issue. Anyway, I was very happy to see Iris and Wally show up again in this series, and I am intrigued by this birthday party. Were they celebrating Bart's third birthday, or his 15th? Apparently they couldn't decide, either, since they only put one candle on his cake.

Tony Seybert, of Los Angeles, praised Impulse #19 for being such a stellar issue despite having the simple premise of Max trying to get Bart to go to sleep.

Jeff Alan Polier, of Portland, Ore., asks why Bart doesn't use his super speed to find a cure for cancer or something useful. Editor Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt explains that Bart doesn't think the same way normal people do, imagining everything as pictograms instead of words.

Amy Koyama, of Los Angeles, asks for some extreme plots for Bart, more XS and more Robin.

Steve Chung, of San Bruno, Calif., enjoyed how issue #19 showed how awful insomnia can be for speedsters. He also expresses admiration for Mark Waid's Kingdom Come.

Kevin Dragone, of Phoenixville, Penn., asks is Flash is faster than Impulse and requests more XS and a team up with Green Lantern. Jason explains that Flash is the fastest speedster right now, and he incorrectly says that Impulse hasn't met Green Lantern yet, forgetting that the two of them used to be teammates on the New Titans.

Rob Haney, of Roscoe, Ill., requests a Trickster on-going series, a White Lightning one-shot or miniseries, more Impulse-Flash crossovers and for the current team of Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher to stay on board.

There aren't any new ads this time, so I'll see you next time with Impulse's first major encounter with Superboy in Superboy and the Ravers #7.

Sovereign Seven Plus Legion of Super-Heroes #1


History Lies!

Chris Claremont Writer
Derec Aucoin & Roger Robinson Pencillers
Dexter Vines, Jason Baumgartner & Gary Martin Inkers
Noelle Giddings Colorist
Digital Chameleon Separations
Comicraft Lettering
Eddie Berganza Assoc. Editor
Kevin Dooley Editor
Soverign Seven created by Claremont & Turner

Our cover shows Saturn Girl apparently using an evil Emerald Eye to turn most of the members of the Sovereign Seven evil. That's an interesting concept, unfortunately, nothing like that really happens in this issue. Even the title is misleading. It really should be Sovereign Seven Plus Saturn Girl, because she's the only Legionnaire who shows up.

So I guess the Legion's trip to the Flash Museum had more significance than a wacky time-travel adventure. Saturn Girl became inspired to learn a bit more about Impulse, so she begins researching the archives of the Flash Museum Impulse Wing. It's there that she comes across Impulse's "dramatic adventure" with Reflex.


I find it highly unlikely that Impulse's brief encounter with Reflex in Sovereign Seven #10 would merit any kind of a mention in the Flash Museum. However, it is possible that the entry Saturn Girl read referred to Impulse's second encounter with Reflex that we haven't got to yet. Anyway, the important thing here is that seeing Reflex's name prompted Saturn Girl to look up the Sovereign Seven, which brought up Network's name. In the 30th century, Network has a reputation of being a formidable terrorist. This bothers Saturn Girl so much that she decides to go against protocol, sneak away from the Legion by herself, and put an end to Network before her reign of terror can become the stuff of legends a thousand years later.

And that's the extent of Impulse's involvement in this issue. The rest of the story involves Saturn Girl tracking down Network, then somehow having a psychic meltdown. Saturn Girl inadvertently pulls several members of the Sovereign Seven into her subconscious and creates illusions of various Legionnaires for them to fight. In the end, Network, who is also a telepath, helps Saturn Girl regain control, and the two become the best of friends like only teenage girls can be. They even take a picture together where their faces are smushed together as hard as they can be. And ultimately, Saturn Girl comes to the conclusion that her historical records must be wrong about Network.


I didn't like this issue at all. And that's not just because there was no Impulse here. A lot of my problems with this issue comes from Chris Claremont. I know he's the legendary X-Men writer, but I can't stand his wordy, overly expositional dialogue. And whenever he introduces a character, he has them saying something while simultaneously thinking something melodramatic. I laughed at this technique in JLX #1, which I'm sure was intentionally having fun with that style. But here, Claremont is earnestly, intentionally trying to give these characters emotional depth. But he's doing it in a really cheap, shallow way.

I was also really confused while reading this story because of production errors. The art was not great, and most of the characters looked exactly the same. The only way I could tell them apart was by their hair color, but sometimes that would change from page to page. And then the speech bubbles didn't always point to the right person. All that plus the fact that the Legion of Super-Heroes really doesn't appear here, and you've got one frustrating and disappointing comic book. Impulse has now appeared in three of these "Plus" crossover issues, and the previous two were far superior. On the bright side, two out of three isn't too bad.

There aren't any letters to the editor, naturally, but there are a few new ads:

Tastebud Warning: New Starburst Fruit Twists.

NBA Hang Time for PlayStation and Nintendo 64. The ad lists several NBA players' vertical leap from the comical 10 inches for the chubby Terry Mills to the questionable 49 inches for Shawn Kemp. It is conceivable for Kemp, one of the best dunkers of all time, to have such an amazing vertical, but it's hard to find accurate information on this. Most sources I found listed Kemp at a much more realistic 40 inches, although some claim he could hit 50.

Scud: The Disposable Assassin for SegaSoft.

Meet your new comic source. UCI — The largest club in the world for serious collectors.

Make haste. Or make waste. A two-page ad for Sonic 3D Blast and VectorMan 2 for Sega Genesis.

Watch This Space talks mostly about what music various creators like to listen to.

This is the big one! Batman & Captain America. By John Byrne.

Gotham nights have never been hotter! Catwoman Vampirella: The Furies. Chuck Dixon, Jim Balent, Ray McCarthy.

If you lose, they die! Robotron X.

Every gift ... only Gap.

Next time, we'll get a lot more of Impulse (and some of Jesse Quick) with Impulse #22.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes #88


Fast Times

Tom McCraw: Co-Plotter/Colorist
Tom Peyer: Co-Plotter/Scripter
Lee Moder: Penciller
Ron Boyd: Inker
Pat Brosseau: Letterer
Ruben Diaz: Associate Editor
KC Carlson: Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This cover pays homage to the classic Adventure Comics #247 from 1958. On that cover, an astonished Superboy is being denied entry into the Legion of Super-Heroes for having "too ordinary" powers. Here, Impulse finds himself in a similar situation, but has decided to take measures into his own hands by disabling the "No" switches. And while a scene exactly like this doesn't happen in the comic, the main idea is there. Impulse wants to join the Legion, but they don't want him.

So after Impulse failed to return the Legion back to the 30th century, the displaced heroes went back to their makeshift headquarters in Metropolis' S.T.A.R. Labs. To Brainiac 5's astonishment, several of the other Legionnaires in the future managed to project hologram versions of themselves back in time. This group includes Impulse's cousin, XS, but unfortunately he isn't around to see her. Unfortunately, the time-traveling hologram trick doesn't last very long, and they all fade away before Brainiac 5 can finish instructing them on how to build a proper time machine.

The Legion's liaison, Dr. Faulkner, then brings in several congressmen on a tour to secure funding for the lab. They walk past a room full of animal cages, when suddenly, the Impulse from the past pops in the room along with the past versions of the Legion. Impulse accidentally frees Koko the monkey, which latches itself onto Brainiac 5, just as we saw in Impulse #21. The perplexed senators and doctors look on in amazement, and all Cosmic Boy can say is: "I wondered when that was going to happen."

One of the senators then stumbles into Brainiac 5's personal lab as he's conducting a rather dangerous experiment, which bends the laws of physics. The senator panics, so Cosmic Boy saves him by destroying a piece of Brainiac's equipment. In the end, nobody got hurt, but the incident was troubling enough for S.T.A.R. Labs officials to decree that Brainiac 5's experiments be limited and closely monitored.

Chapter 2: A Destructive Impulse


Suddenly, Impulse arrives in a whirlwind. But he's not alone. Max Mercury came with him and asks to talk to Cosmic Boy about Bart. Probably to discuss what happened last issue and/or whether Impulse could join the Legion of Super-Heroes. But anyway, Max and Cosmic Boy leave, and Impulse stays behind with Brainiac 5, desperately wanting to help him with his experiments. At first Brainiac hesitates, but then realizes Impulse's super speed can help him accomplish what he wouldn't otherwise be able to do under this new, stricter observation.

So Brainiac 5 gives Impulse some telepathic earplugs, and sends him running various errands around the lab. But Impulse gets a little too excited, and wants to save a few milliseconds, so he modifies one of Brainiac's instructions. The results are predictably disastrous, and the whole lab begins to fall apart.

Chapter 3: The Lad Who Wrecked the Legion?

Dr. Faulkner and Brainiac 5 assess the damage and find that Impulse crashed the lab's regulatory system, meaning dangerous substances that need to be kept at certain temperatures are now leaking out and could potentially destroy half of Metropolis. So the Legion gets organized and sends everybody out to address a specific problem. Gates rounds up some bugs that have gotten loose, and Spark seals a leak of some toxic material.

Impulse has the most important job — reseting the computer system regulating a radioactive isotope. But all the radiation is interfering with the telepathic earplugs, so Brainiac 5 isn't able to clearly give Impulse the entire code. So Impulse improvises, and pulls Brainiac down to the console to have him put the code in. But Brainiac is too slow, so Impulse somehow moves his hand around faster for him. In the end, the day is saved, but S.T.A.R. Labs is quite upset, and immediately evicts the Legion of Super-Heroes.

They all reconvene at a coffee shop with Max Mercury, and a vote is held to determine if Impulse should join the team. Apparently Brainiac 5 is the only one who voted yes, making Impulse the first hero in history to be denied a spot on this version of the Legion. Impulse isn't surprised, having dreamed about this very scenario back in Impulse #19. Max profusely apologizes for Bart's behavior, and he vows to find the Legion a new headquarters before the day is out. And as the two speedsters leave, Brainiac 5 decides to let Impulse keep the telepathic earplugs.


This was a pretty fun issue, especially the dynamic with Impulse and Brainiac 5. It is a real shame that Impulse didn't get to join the Legion, since that would have been a fun pairing to explore some more. But it does make sense to keep him off the team, since their whole purpose is to return to the future, while Bart has made a pretty nice home for himself in the 1990s. However, I do feel bad for Impulse, who has now been denied entrance to two superhero teams — the first being Justice League Task Force. As a collective whole, this two-part crossover with the Legion of Super-Heroes was very fun, but felt a little lacking. I would have liked them to talk more about the 30th century and to be reminded that Bart was just an infant at that time and can't really connect with them on that front, but still feels like he should. Max Mercury was also conspicuously absent during this whole ordeal. He made a brief appearance at the beginning of Impulse #21, then pretty much disappeared until the ending of this issue. What was he doing the whole time, and what did he discuss with Cosmic Boy? Was he in favor of Bart joining the Legion or was he opposed to it? Either way, it's a moot point now.

I only own the digital copy of this comic, so that means no letters or ads this time. Next time, we'll keep the Legion theme going with a quick Impulse cameo in Sovereign Seven Plus Legion of Super-Heroes #1.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Impulse #21


A Little Knowledge

Mark Waid Story
Craig Rousseau Pencils
Wayne Faucher Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
With thanks to Otto Binder
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

Otto Binder was a DC writer way back in the '50s and '60s, and had a hand in creating the Legion of Super-heroes, who we see on the cover by Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher. From left, we have the teleporting bug Gates, the magnetic-powered Cosmic Boy, the lightning-powered Spark, the telepath Saturn Girl, and the hyper-intelligent Brainiac 5. And how are there five Impulses here? Well, we'll just have to read the issue to find out.

Our story begins with Bart Allen happily walking down the street, drinking a big Slurper. Suddenly, a girl addresses him as Impulse. Bart awkwardly laughs it off as some kind of joke and hastily leaves. He then throws on his Impulse uniform to go on patrol, but he runs into a boy who calls him Bart Allen. Bart again runs away, changes into his civilian clothes, but soon encounters another girl who tells him to give her regards to Max Mercury.

A panic-stricken Bart retreats to his home, only to have the three teenagers follow him. Two more heavily-disguised figures join the group, as Bart locks the door, worried what Max would do if he saw Bart's identity was exposed. Luckily for Bart, Max leaves to go to the market just as one of the figures teleports into the house. Bart tackles the intruder, only to see he's wearing the Legion of Super-heroes logo. Bart's attitude instantly changes from fear to joy.


Bart excitedly tackles the Legionnaires in the front yard and immediately asks them where his cousin, Jenni Ognats, is. Suddenly, Max, who didn't go to the market after all, swoops in and shoves all the super-teenagers indoors. Max demands to know what's going on and all Bart cares about is where Jenni is. Cosmic Boy tells Bart that Jenni is still in the 30th century, where the rest of them are. The Legionnaires mistakingly believe it was Bart who sent Jenni back to the future, and they ask for his help. Neither Max nor Bart tells them it was actually the time-traveling John Fox who calibrated the Cosmic Treadmill to send Jenni home. Instead, Bart agrees to help them if they let him borrow one of their flight rings.

So Impulse decides to try to replicate John Fox's success, and he leads the Legion to the Flash Museum. We see Impulse fly by a Central City sign, but as XS explained in Impulse #9, the museum is in Keystone City. Perhaps our heroes just flew through Central to get to Keystone. Anyway, they arrive at the Flash Museum, and surprisingly, none of the Legionnaires know what it is, even though XS said the museum still stands in the same place in the 30th century and is a lot bigger. I guess she was the only one of them to care about the Flash since it's her heritage.

But before our heroes can enter the museum, a second Impulse suddenly appears before them, warning them not to enter the building. But before he can explain himself, he fades away into nothingness. Nobody knows what that was about, but they decide to enter anyway. Impulse complains the museum doesn't feature an Impulse room yet, even though we did see an Impulse exhibit back in issue #9. I guess Bart was just hoping that small exhibit would be a full-fledged room by now.

So Impulse leads the Legion to the Cosmic Treadmill, only to find a shadowy figure apparently tampering with it. Impulse rushes toward the figure, but he suddenly vanishes before Impulse can grab him. Brainiac 5 begins to examine the treadmill, but he can't figure out how it works. So Impulse jumps on it with Brainiac and begins to run. The two heroes are then transported just a few moments in the past to see Impulse starting to run on the treadmill.

Impulse thinks this is real cool, so he hops back on the treadmill and keeps popping on and off it, creating multiple versions of himself from a few minutes in the past and future. Saturn Girl tries to calm Impulse down with her telepathy, but her mind quickly becomes overwhelmed by the several Impulses. Luckily, the other versions of Impulse soon disappear, and Brainiac 5 figures out that Impulse eventually snaps back to the moment he left whenever he vibrates through time. However, this rule doesn't seem to apply to whatever Impulse carries with him.

So Impulse shoves all the heroes on the treadmill, determined to take them all back to the 30th century in one go. But something goes wrong, and they all end up in S.T.A.R. Labs for some reason. Impulse accidentally frees a white monkey named Koko, which latches onto Brainiac 5's face for some reason. Outside the room, a future version of Cosmic Boy looks on and says, "I wondered when that was going to happen."

Everybody soon returns to the Flash Museum, and Brainiac 5 threatens to convert the Cosmic Treadmill into a Phantom Zone Projector. Impulse still maintains he can get the Legionnaires back home, but thinks he'll have greater success if he takes them back one at a time. So he grabs Gates first, but he panics and breaks free of Impulse's grip, winding up alone in the room. Gates then becomes the shadowy figure we saw at the beginning of this time travel adventure, and the current Impulse comes back to save him before the past Impulse can grab him.

Impulse and Gates are reunited with the others, but they soon discover that Impulse somehow pulled three velociraptors into the future with him. Everybody begins fighting the raptors, and Impulse decides to go back in time to just before they entered the Flash Museum. He delivers the cryptic warning we saw earlier, and once again disappears before he can explain himself properly.

Meanwhile, the Legion of Super-heroes are struggling with the raptors. Saturn Girl's mind is still fuzzy after being overwhelmed by the multiple Impulses, and Brainiac 5 can't pull the monkey off his face to help anybody. Impulse soon returns and manages to lure the dinosaurs onto the treadmill. (After all, this isn't his first encounter with raptors. He pulled a similar trick way back in Zero Hour.) However, Impulse has a hard time taking these dinos back home, since their added weight is slowing down the treadmill. Cosmic Boy encourages Impulse to "pour it on," and Impulse does so, quoting George Jetson with "Jaaaane! Stop this crazy thing!"

Impulse and the dinosaurs and the treadmill all disappear. Impulse returns a moment later, claiming he's finally mastered time travel and can take the Legion back to the future. But with the treadmill missing, he has no way of helping them, nor do they want his help anymore. The Legionnaires take back their flight ring and leave, deciding to ask the Justice League or Green Lantern for help. As soon as they've all left the room though, the Cosmic Treadmill returns to its proper place.


This was a rather wild, but fun issue of Impulse. It's great to see him interact with other teenaged superheroes — something he hasn't done much of since the New Titans folded. But the most significant aspect of this issue is the introduction of fill-in artist Craig Rousseau. He was initially asked to do issue #22, then later was given #21 as well. His work isn't as crisp and clean as Humberto Ramos', but Rousseau perfectly captures the goofy tone of the series. He also introduced the "hidden Impulse" — a small Impulse peering around a random panel just for fun. It has nothing to do with the story but completely fits Impulse's character. And with those things considered, it should come as no surprise that Rousseau would later become the full-time artist after Ramos leaves.

Lee Taylor, of Pittsburgh, Penn., praised Impulse #17 for adding variety to the world of comics with a fun one-shot issue, great writing by Waid and manga-esque pencils by Ramos. Lee also points out the letter column lacks a title and suggests "Quick Takes."

Doud Ohmer, of Covington, Ky., wasn't too happy with Martin Pasko's take on Bart and Max in Impulse #18. Doud also asks for more Max-Helen scenes, as well as guest stars from Jesse Quick, Zatanna and Robin.

The DCfan calls issue #17 the best issue of Impulse yet, praising Waid and Ramos, as usual, but also pointing out inker Wayne Faucher and colorist Tom McCraw.

Tony Favro, of Clark, N.J., said issue #18 was surprisingly good, but he is worried that Waid will be leaving the book soon, since Impulse and The Flash have had a run of guest and co-writers recently. Editor Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt explains that Waid was busy finishing and promoting Kingdom Come for a few months, but has no plans to leave Impulse or The Flash at this time.

Julian Bukalski, of Moro, Ill., praises Pasko for having a better understanding of the character of Impulse than other writers, such as Marv Wolfman, ever had. Julian does, however, criticize Pasko's plot, particularly the climax. Julian suggested Impulse employ a trick seen by the Flash in an issue written by William Messner-Loebs. Coincidentally enough, Messner-Loebs will be directly involved with Impulse before too long.

Trent D'Adamo, of Charon, Md., liked issue #18, but was upset that the cover had nothing to do with the story inside. He also requests a guest appearance by the Legionnaires, which just happened. Now for the only two new ads:

Before there were Elseworlds ... the ultimate imaginary story! Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Collected in prestige format.

Subscribe to the world's mightiest heroes! An individual issue of Impulse cost $1.75 at this time, but a 12-month subscription only cost $15, and the Annual would be included free.

Next time: For more on Bart's continuing torment of the Legion, follow him (and Max) into Legion of Super-heroes #88.