Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Power of Shazam! #41

Monster Society of Evil Part 4 Death Warrant

Jerry Ordway • Writer
Pete Krause • Penciller
Dick Giordano • Inker
Glenn Whitmore • Colorist
John Costanza • Letterer
Frank Berrios • Assistant Editor
Mike Carlin • Editor

The cover by Jerry Ordway shows Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel fighting Mister Mind, the evil, telepathic caterpillar that for some reason is gigantic. Actually, we'll find out why inside. The Marvels are joined by two Green Lanterns — the current, Kyle Rayner, and Hal Jordan from the past. Sadly, this issue only mentions the time travel, but doesn't really explain it. And even sadder still, Ordway's solid art is limited to the cover, leaving us with rather mediocre art inside.

It's a little disorienting popping into the end of a story, so in this case we'll know as much going in as Impulse does. Let's pick up with Bart at Manchester Junior High, where an air raid alarm is going off. Bart hears someone mention trouble at Fort Marshall, so Bart decides to go check it out as Impulse. Since this story occurs when Bart was still going with the shaved head look, he has to stash his wig away with his clothes before heading out.

An official explains that two soldiers have gone crazy and locked themselves into the missile command center. If they insert their keys at the same time, a nuclear warhead would be launched. Max Mercury soon arrives, and he's so distraught by the situation, he calls Impulse "Bart" twice right in front of everyone. Bart's worried that Max is going to lecture him for skipping school and jumping into the delicate situation without a plan. But Max does no such thing, choosing instead to work with Impulse, telling him to take the soldier on the left, while he takes the one on the right.

Impulse and Max quickly knock out the soldiers and take their keys before they could insert them. Bart wonders why they would want to do that, but when he picks up a key, he gets a sudden urge to do it himself. Max then discovers a green worm very similar to Mister Mind. He and Impulse vibrate through the wall and tell the captain that the men inside were being mind controlled. Max tries to show the caterpillar to the officer, but he accidentally vibrated it into goo.

And that is the end of Impulse's adventure. The rest of the issue shows how the Marvel family prevents Mister Mind from launching a full-scale nuclear war. Captain Marvel Jr. and the Teen Titans show up, as do the two Green Lanterns to re-create the image we saw on the cover. Turns out Mister Mind didn't actually grow that big, he was just using his telepathy to trick the heroes. Ultimately, Mister Mind is blasted to smithereens by Sarge Steel, who I don't think we've seen since The New Titans. With Mister Mind finally dead, all his agents also die, releasing dozens of people across the nation from his mind control, and the day is saved.

So yeah, that was a rather random appearance by Impulse, and a very out-of-character appearance by Max Mercury. But I am still happy to see other series use him as a guest, and I'm even happier to see other artists acknowledge Impulse's haircut. But I was sad that Impulse didn't deal directly with the Marvel family. Since his story felt so separate and extraneous, I suspect that Pete Krause may have simply wanted to draw Impulse on his final issue. Just a hunch.

Next time, we'll take a look at The Flash 80-Page Giant #1.

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