Friday, February 13, 2015

Impulse #30

Everything Sucks

William Messner-Loebs Guest Writer
Craig Rousseau Penciller
Barbara Kaalberg Inker
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo

Our cover by Jeff Matsuda and Wayne Faucher shows poor, de-powered Impulse struggling to keep up with a little kid on his tricycle. The cover is a subtle homage to 1965's The Flash #152, which shows Flash trying to catch the Trickster on a tricycle. I think it's a hilarious cover. In fact, I found it so funny, that it inspired me to start reading this series.

Let's go back a couple of years to the beginning of my comic book reading career. I officially got on board with the New 52, although I only read Action Comics digitally. After a year of that, I picked up The Flash, and became so enamored with it, I started a blog — But I eventually grew dissatisfied with the New 52 and began to crave something else. Having recently moved to Boise, Idaho, I discovered an amazing comic shop called Captain Comics. As a new reader, I found their selection a bit intimidating, so I gravitated toward the cheap "grab bags," a collection of a handful of issues in a series for a much lower price. The bag that caught my eye had six issues of Impulse for $5, starting with issue #30. I had known about Impulse for some time now, especially through the Young Justice animated series. And since he was in the Flash family, I decided to act on an impulse and pick it up. I'll admit, this first issue really confused me, but it entertained me enough to keep reading. And the more I read, the more I fell in love with this character and this series. Before too long, I bought out all the Impulse issues Captain Comics had and launched this blog. So Impulse #30 will always have a special place in my heart.

Our story begins in similar fashion to Impulse #29, with Bart stuck in boring history class. But this time, Mr. Snodgrass is singing a different tune. He's ripped off his patriotic American flag tie and begins teaching the astonished class how history is awful, pointless and full of lies. Carol is a bit creeped out by all this, but Bart has to admit this is a good time to tell Mr. Snodgrass he lost his paper on the wars of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

However, Mr. Snodgrass isn't the only teacher acting strangely. Bart's French teacher demands the class speak English; his science teacher says he'd rather talk about Bigfoot; and his geography teacher claims the earth is full of ugliness and decay. By the time Bart gets to math class, he has to speak up, asking Ms. Pingalee whether the purpose of math is to help students sharpen their reasoning abilities and such. An outraged Ms. Pingalee immediately sends Bart to the vice principal's office for defending math.

As Bart waits outside Randal Sheridan's office, he wonders whether there's any correlation between the space armada surrounding Earth, superheroes losing their powers, ordinary people losing their faith and Max's latest disappearance. Mr. Sheridan then calls Bart in, and actually congratulates him for talking back to his teacher. He tells Bart not to listen to anyone at school and go out and have fun since they'll be dead soon enough. As Bart leaves, he realizes he should be enjoying this chaotic day more. He meets up with Preston, who was being chewed out for wanting to play football, and Carol, who says she just had the strangest sex-ed class.

We check in with Helen, who's doing her best to stave off the depression affecting everybody. She's visited by her neighbor, Mr. Delphries, who asks to rummage through her ex-husband's fishing gear. Helen lets him into the garage, and admires him for not being depressed, even though his wife died three weeks ago. Helen then realizes that Mr. Delphries was suspiciously carrying a rope with him. Luckily, Helen is able to stop the old man before he hangs himself from the garage rafters.

Meanwhile, Max Mercury wakes up in the basement of one of his old villains, Dr. Morlo. If you remember, Max was poisoned while fighting Dr. Morlo back in 1947. (We didn't see the mad scientist then, he was only mentioned.) Nearly dead, Max was brought in and nursed back to health by David Claiborne, but then Max fell in love with Claiborne's wife, had an affair with her, and ran away to the future. Well now, 50 years later, Max finds himself tied to a chair with Dr. Morlo's chemical cannon aimed right at him. And the nefarious doctor, who looks remarkably young for his age, is joined by the elderly David Claiborne.

But to Morlo's surprise, Max isn't in the least bit concerned to see David again. Even though David chews him out for stealing his wife, Max calmly apologizes for what he did and points out that David's marriage with Laura had already collapsed by the time he got there. Morlo tries to help the flustered David regroup on his revenge scheme, but then Max notices that Morlo's brown beard and hair have turned white. So Morlo drinks some pink potion and turns young again, while an excited David boasts to Max that both he and Morlo will become immortals and rule the world. Once again, Max counters with calm logic, asking David how much of the potion he'd need to drink each day to stay young and whether Morlo's formula would even be compatible with his body chemistry.

We cut back to Bart, Preston and Carol walking home from school. The kids seem unaffected by the spreading doubt and depression, but some of the adults' fears have become quite ridiculous. A small group of people have lost their faith in gravity, and are fearfully clutching to the sidewalk and fire hydrants so they don't fly off into space. Bart recognizes this is a job for Impulse, so he sneaks off and slowly changes into his uniform. He doesn't have his super speed, but he does have super vision, which helps him see a couple of people trapped in a bank vault. But Bart, imagining himself as a turtle, wonders how he'll be able to save them.

Impulse runs over to the bank anyway, and learns that the trapped people used to be the most friendly and cheerful folks in the bank. But then they lost their faith in people and locked themselves inside the vault. So Impulse tries to open the vault, but accidentally shoots flames from his hand, turning the door into an impassable molten mess. Realizing the heat will fry the people inside, Impulse tries to cool the door down by waving his arms frantically. But he suddenly begins to shrink down to the size of an atom. Although he's initially disoriented, Bart finds he can take advantage of this size. Now being so small that heat is just a bunch of atoms moving real fast, Impulse catches hold of an electron, and rides it through the door. Once inside the vault, Impulse grows back to normal size, but the people who locked themselves in there say they're nearly out of air since they've spent the past two hours running around in circles and screaming. Impulse leans against the door to think, when he suddenly causes the whole thing to explode. The day is saved, and Bart decides he likes having explosive touch.

We cut back to the hostage situation at Dr. Morlo's, where the evil doctor and David have become distracted by a low-flying alien ship, which they believe belongs to the Justice League. While they panic, Max frees himself with his trusty pocket knife and disables the chemical cannon. Max also notices that Morlo's basement is full of dangerous chemicals, leaking out of their out-dated barrels — a single spark would destroy the whole neighborhood. Lacking his super speed, Max comes up with a creative plan to stop the two unstable old men. He grabs a magic marker and writes on the wall: "Beware, Morlo! Impulse is coming for you!" Max then jumps back on the chair and wraps the ropes around him so he still appears to be captured when Morlo and David come back down the stairs.

So this was a pretty crazy story to begin my Impulse reading. Impulse went through a bunch of random different powers, the stuff with Max was confusing for a first-time reader, and the rather strange story took a surprisingly dark turn with the attempted suicide in an otherwise light and funny book. But it now makes a lot more sense to me now. And I am glad this issue provided us with a look of how the events in Genesis are affecting ordinary people. I'm still not sure why none of the kids lost their faith in what they believed most, and I'm also sad this issue didn't tie in to the main series as strongly as Starman #35 did. I still place the majority of the blame for this on Paul Kupperberg and Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt. They should have either tweaked this issue or Genesis #1 to make them more consistent. William Messner-Loebs can't be held too accountable since he was still listed as a guest writer for this issue.

Kevin Dragone, of Phoenixville, Penn., is really upset Humberto Ramos leaving and hopes that Mike Wieringo can be a guest artist sometime. He asks for more Jenni and Meloni, as well as a Green Lantern/Impulse team-up. Kevin also points out how Impulse #1 began with Bart and Max moving into a new house after Bart arrived from the 30th century, and now the new creative team starts their chapter with Bart returning from the 30th century and moving into a new house with Max.

Stacey Hogan writes a very long and rambling letter, in which she basically decries Wally and Jesse for being jerks to Bart. We only had one page for letters, and it was filled up with just two long ones. Although Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt did mention in his response to Stacey's that although several people correctly guessed Max moved in with Helen, Robby Fisher, of Syracuse, N.Y., offered an interesting idea — Max is in the Speed Force and it's up to Bart to save him.

Q: What would you do if you were facing a stampede of wild dinosaurs? A: I'd eat 'em! Free inside Post Cocoa Pebbles! Cocasuarus sprinkles!

M&M's Mouthful of Minis Game. I guess you're supposed to pull out your M&M's Minis and flick them into this kid's mouth. If you get it in the mouth, you get to eat 20 Minis, and different areas of his tongue are worth various amounts of Minis. I seriously doubt a single kid on the planet had enough patience to play this game.

Brett Favre says, "Football is the greatest game in history, and math, and science." Take it from the NFL's two-time MVP, there's no better way to get geared up for class and the new season than with NFL notebooks, backpacks, jerseys, and trading cards.

The coolest fruit snacks in Gotham City! Batman & Robin fruit snacks.

Help Chester Cheetah uncover the hidden message. A-maze-ing new Chee-tos Crunchy Nacho are packed with so much nacho cheese they're ... (and if you complete the maze) Dangerously Cheesy.

See your world in a wild new way ... with 3D noggle-goggles! From Nickelodeon, in specially marked boxes of Post cereal.

Next time, we return to the main event book with Genesis #2.

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