Sunday, February 1, 2015

Impulse #28

Arrowette vs. The Spazz

Tom Peyer Story
Sal Buscema Breakdowns
Craig Rousseau Pencils
Barbara Kaalberg & Keith Champagne Inks
Chris Eliopoulos Letters
Tom McCraw Colors
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Lovely as Ever

The editorial team still hadn't found a full-time writer to replace Mark Waid, so they once again turned to fill-in man Tom Peyer. One thing that did seem certain by this point, though, was Barbara Kaalberg would be replacing Wayne Faucher as the regular inker. Faucher, however, did continue to do the covers with Jeff Matsuda, going with a really light and goofy theme for this one. But the most significant aspect of this cover and issue is the premiere of Arrowette, who will go on to become one of the premiere teenaged heroes of the late '90s and early 2000s.

Our story begins at Reagan Junior High, where an almost stimulating lecture on tungsten is interrupted by a series of explosions and the school's boiler being forced up through the classroom's floor. Behind all this is a new villain named The Spazz. He's a very large, muscular teen with yellowish skin, braces and T-shirt that says "Filthpig." The kids in the room recognize him as "Chaz the Spazz" and are shocked to see him alive. Spazz vows vengeance on those who turned him into a monster, but he's soon trapped in a net shot at him by Arrowette.

Spazz easily breaks out of the net, so Arrowette, who's being fed instructions via radio, shoots a bubble-bath arrow into Spazz's hand. The bubbles disguised a bomb on the arrow, which buys Arrowette enough time to escape out of the classroom and take cover behind a school bus. Arrowette's "radio coach," however, is quite critical of the young hero, demanding a first-place performance from her. Arrowette sighs and unleashes her quiver on the now-rampaging Spazz.

We cut to Manchester Junior High, where a bored Bart Allen is enduring a math lesson. Suddenly, he is whisked away by Max Mercury, who explains he didn't have time to formally check Bart out of school, so he'll have to serve detention for sneaking out.

Max explains that he saw a report of a child-monster on TV, and he figured that a superhero close to the monster's age would help resolve things peacefully. Bart can't believe he got pulled out of school for something real and not a boring made-up drill, and he asks whether this means his training is complete or if he's really in a coma and dreaming all this. Max assures him that neither is the case, and they soon arrive at Reagan Junior High, which is surrounded by a wall of flames. Max is shocked to see Arrowette fighting Spazz, and he tells Impulse to save the girl, but he calls the monster. So Max reluctantly agrees to let Impulse fight Spazz for one minute.

Impulse begins rapidly punching Spazz, and says, "Hey, ugly! Your face hurt? 'Cause it's killing me!" Spazz complains that everyone's ganging up to mock him, and Max tries to assure him that no one's there to hurt him, but Impulse says he is. Max tells him to be quiet, and tries to get Spazz to calm down, but Arrowette, following the directions from her radio, fires a lotion arrow across Spazz's face to blind him. This only increases Spazz's anger, causing him to hit a gas line and create more explosions and fire. Max and Impulse kick up a dirt wall to contain the flames, and Bart is actually relieved that his one minute against Spazz is over. By the time they get the fire under control, Impulse notices Spazz has escaped, but Max insists they stay back and help the wounded, which includes Arrowette.

Max works with the police to close all the schools in the area until Spazz is dealt with, while Impulse tries to talk to Arrowette, but she's once again called away by the voice on her radio. So Impulse runs around until he finds that voice, which belongs to a chain-smoking woman hiding in a car. She introduces herself as Arrowette's mother, and explains that they've been on Spazz's trail for weeks. She gives Impulse her card with the number for the secret Arrow-phone, and she tells him her origin story. Apparently she was the original Arrowette, fighting crime alongside Green Arrow and Speedy until she had to retire early due to carpal tunnel. (Impulse probably doesn't realize that Speedy grew up to become Arsenal and leader of the New Titans.) She later got married to Bowstring Jones, and they had a daughter. But then Bowstring died after eating some bad shellfish, and his widow raised their daughter to be the new Arrowette.

Bart goes home and relates all this to Max and Helen, and remarks how odd this woman was, who talked like a sleazy salesman and treated Impulse like he was her best friend and like she hated him at the same time. Helen is quite upset at the behavior of Arrowette's mother, especially for putting a child without superpowers into dangerous situations. Max lectures Helen about idle gossip, saying Arrowette's business has nothing to do with them. The tense conversation is then interrupted when Carol calls to tell Bart to turn on the TV, which is reporting that Arrowette has been kidnapped by the Spazz.

The TV also reports that Spazz is really Chas Parmenter, once a chubby nerd at Reagan Junior High, who was apparently pushed into a vat of chemicals during a field trip to S.T.A.R. Labs and was presumed dead. Arrowette's mom then appears on TV and boasts of Arrowette's abilities, vowing she will bring the Spazz to justice. But then Spazz issues a statement through the Manchester Police, saying he'll release Arrowette only to Impulse. So Impulse and Max Mercury split up to search for Spazz house-to-house.

Meanwhile, Spazz ties Arrowette up to a chair and places her at the end of a giant mousetrap. He coats the stairs in glue, hoping to trip up Impulse, whom he claims is just like all the kids who always treated him poorly. But Spazz says he likes Arrowette, who doesn't look at him like she's better than him. Arrowette's mom has found the abandoned building Spazz is at, but she insists on coaching Arrowette through her escape plan instead of calling for help, worried about the bad publicity being rescued would bring. But her instructions to Arrowette don't get her anywhere, and the mother actually shows some worry for her daughter. Impulse soon finds the chain-smoker, and demands to know where Arrowette is. Her mom breaks down in tears and points Impulse in the right direction.

Spazz's brilliant trap ultimately failed to stop Impulse, even though he accidentally set off a bunch of fireworks and started yet another fire. But Impulse easily saves Arrowette, and Max arrives right behind him to chain up the Spazz and recommend he just sit still and listen to someone. The police arrive to take Spazz away, and Arrowette's mom, who assumes Impulse is Max's sidekick, gives Max her card. But to her surprise, Max vows to report her to child welfare for endangering her daughter.

As Max and Impulse take off, Max begins to lecture him for blindly blundering into that hostage situation without a plan and once again prevailing through dumb luck. Bart says, "Not first place, huh?" This makes Max feel pretty guilty, so he takes Bart, Helen and Carol to the fair, and Bart, wearing a Flash T-shirt, milks the situation for all its worth.

This was a pretty fun fill-in issue. Tom Peyer has demonstrated a good handle of the character of Impulse, and I think he would have been a solid replacement for Mark Waid. In this issue, he briefly touched on issues such as bullying, reckless parenting and gossip. But most importantly, he expanded Impulse's world by creating two new teenage characters. The Spazz had potential to be a good villain, but I don't think he ever was used again in a major roll. Arrowette, however, would later go on to exceed all expectations and become a major character in Young Justice. Arrowette's mom was a forgotten character from the '60s, so it's great that Peyer dug her up and found a new, interesting role for her.

Sadly, there is no letter column in this issue. I really wanted some kind of sendoff for Mark Waid, similar to what Humberto Ramos received. Oh well. Let's move on to the ads:

Dream up your own Barbie fashions, or Hot Wheels designs with two free Mattel toy design poster in these cereals!

Batman & Robin Pop-Tarts. Showing a Pop-Tart "bitten" in the shape of the Batman logo.

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Batman & Robin Mr. Freeze freezer bars. You could fold the ad together to reveal the release date of this horrible movie — June 20.

Stay at Best Western on the family plan and get a free Fujifilm Quicksnap Batman camera.

The Adventures of Batman & Robin. Hot heroes! Cool villains! Get them all on video!

What makes new Chee-tos Crunchy Nacho so dangerously cheesy? Fold B to A to find out — Monster nacho flavor.

Cap'n Crunch Bars. Crunchy, gooey, new-y!!

Next time, we enter September 1997, where Impulse finally starts making some guest appearances again, beginning with JLA Secret Files and Origins #1.

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