Monday, March 2, 2015

Sovereign Seven #28

So Whatever Happened to Power Girl?

By Chris Claremont & Ron Lim
Chris Ivy Inker
Richard Starkings and Comicraft/EM Letters
Prismacolor Colors & Separations
Dana Kurtin Associate Editor
Kevin Dooley Editor
Claremont & Turner Creators

Our cover by Lim, Ivy and Angus McKie shows Impulse and Reflex battling for the affections of Power Girl, who is now a part of Sovereign Seven. It is a pretty funny image — Reflex's massive size contrasts nicely with Impulse's smallness — but both these heroes are acting a bit out of character. And nothing remotely like this happens in the issue. But it's still pretty fun.

Our story begins with some light-hearted sparring being interrupted with the news that someone is using Power Girl's civilian name Karen Starr, and has set up a computer software company called Starrware, conveniently located in Manchester, Alabama. So Power Girl and the Sovereign Seven decide to take a field trip to check it out.

Speaking of field trips, Bart Allen happens to be on one with the eighth grade class, visiting, you guessed it, Starrware. Bart lags behind as his bus unloads, and he happens to spot Power Girl and her friends quietly flying down into a back alley. So Bart runs over there to check it out, and is pleasantly surprised to run into Reflex again. Bart's teacher, Mr. Wade, lectures him for wandering off, and the Sovereign Seven just kind of include themselves in the tour group with Bart's class.

Bart's very excited to be touring the company that created The Conqueror's Throne and other amazing video games. Then for some reason, Bart looks at Reflex like a strict, Canadian mountie, and even though Power Girl's too old for him, he entertains the thought of hitting on her just to drive Reflex crazy. (I have no idea what's going on.) Anyway, Bart learns that Power Girl and friends arrived at Starrware without any kind of plan, so he teaches them a lesson from the book of Max: First, define your goals, then devise a plan to achieve them. Our heroes are so wrapped up in their planning that they don't notice they've become separated from the group and have fallen right into a trap.

Game Level 1

Impulse and Reflex suddenly wake up in their uniforms and surrounded by an army of demons. Impulse recognizes the Castle of Doom up ahead from The Conqueror's Throne video game he was talking about. Impulse and Reflex try to fight the demon horde, but then Impulse remembers the only way to hurt the demons is to use their own weapons against them. So Impulse grabs a big blaster rifle and begins mowing down the demons. Reflex asks where they go next, and Impulse explains they'll automatically get bumped to the next level once they cross the scoring threshold, which is exactly what happens.

Game Level 2

Impulse and Reflex suddenly find themselves on very tall, narrow pillars rising above a pool of molten lava. Impulse jumps on Reflex's back, and he deftly hops from pillar to pillar until they reach what they assume is the exit — a small window hovering high in the air.

Game Level 3

Our heroes leap through the window and into a seemingly innocuous castle room. But they soon find the floor is made of quicksand. Reflex begins rapidly sinking, so Impulse takes charge this time, having Reflex hold on to him as he runs in place, churning the liquid-like quicksand until it becomes solid. Soon, they're free and out the opposite window.

Game Level 4

This one is a giant pinball machine, knocking Impulse and Reflex around until suddenly ... nothing.

Bart realizes he's nowhere, floating in midair. After running through a wide gamut of emotions, Bart imagines the disappointed reactions of Max, Carol and his mom if he were to die. He imagines the Impulse wing of the Flash Museum being closed and forgotten, and, for some reason, Reflex gloating over a defeated Impulse. Reflex snaps Impulse out of this by throwing his massive shoe at him. Reflex is amazed at how Impulse went through all the physical and psychological responses to sensory deprivation in less than a minute. Impulse doesn't care about that, and throws the shoe back at Reflex. But Reflex tosses it right back, pointing out that he's slowly pushing Impulse toward the exit by chucking his shoe at him. So they toss the enormous boot back and forth until Impulse finally is forced out the window.

Game Level 5

Impulse sees Power Girl chained up and surrounded by beautiful, but evil women who want to attack the intruder. But first, Impulse has to save Reflex. So he takes off his costume, stripping down to his whitey-tighties, but keeps his mask on. He puts Reflex's shoe in his uniform and spins it around, using his uniform's stretchiness to reach Reflex and pull him in.

Impulse begins fighting the evil women, but then he takes a moment to think. He realizes that the game is interactive and keeps finding out new ways to counteract their powers. And he wonders where the other Sovereign Seven members are. Reflex tells him to save Power Girl then think later, but Impulse theorizes that would only worsen their situation. Since they're clearly heroes, that makes them predictable for the game. So Impulse and Reflex agree to act unheroic and allow Power Girl to die.

Bart, Reflex and the others suddenly wake up in virtual reality beds. A group of reporters quickly approaches them, eager to interview the beta-testers of the new virtual reality game. Bart plays along, saying they loved the game and are eager to meet the designer. Carol then finds Bart and drags him away — probably out of the Sovereign Seven's social circle forever.

On paper, I should have loved this issue. We get a lot of Impulse, see him in his natural video game environment, and contrast him nicely with the massive Reflex. But Chris Claremont just didn't get Impulse. And it seemed he didn't get the story he was trying to tell. He had Impulse say and think things that were completely out of place, both for this issue and the established character of Impulse. Fortunately, Ron Lim's art was good enough to prevent this issue from becoming a complete disaster.

None of the letters in Royal Mail mention Impulse, so let's head straight into the ads:

The Real Hercules, the Only Xena, starring in their first full-length animated feature. Hercules & Xena: The Animated Movie — The Battle for Mount Olympus. Starring the voices of Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless (who would later voice Wonder Woman in Justice League: The New Frontier).

Mello Yello. Let it out.

Prepare for the arrival. The Visitor on Fox.

The ultimate party is in your house. Ultimate Hip Hop Party 1998. Features 16 of today's hottest, head noddin' hip hop hits.

Always dunk one down! Always Coca-Cola.

Gap Kids. Pro fleece sweatshirt $38. Easy fit jeans $24.

Next time, we'll dive right into DC's Flash Month! I'm not sure if this was to celebrate any kind of anniversary, or if a lot of projects just happened to fall into place. Regardless, the result was pretty amazing. DC churned out two Flash issues, two Impulse issues, a Secret Files and Origins issue, a special Speed Force issue, an original Flash hardcover graphic novel and a T-shirt designed by Mike Wieringo. We'll kick it off with The Flash Secret Files and Origins #1.

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