Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Impulse #1,000,000

Desperate Times — A Million

William Messner-Loebs Writer
Craig Rousseau Penciller
Barbara Kaalberg Inker
Chris Eliopoulos Letters
Tom McCraw Colorist
L.A. Williams Asst. Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo
Digital cover backgrounds and frontispiece by Pat Garrahy.

Craig Rousseau and Wayne Faucher drew Impulse running alongside the future Flash, John Fox, on the cover. You might remember John Fox as the guy who briefly took Wally West's place in the 20th century after Wally trapped Savitar in the Speed Force. And you also might remember John Fox using his time travel prowess to help Bart's cousin, Jenni Ognats, return to the 30th century. And if you're remembering things well enough, you'll know that John is from the 27th century, not the 853rd like the other future heroes in this crossover. After his adventures in the 20th century, John went traveling through time, trying to find a place where he belonged, which turned out to be the 853rd century. He got a new costume, became protector of the planet Mercury, and after working with Justice Legion Alpha for five years, he joined them on another trip to the 20th century.

Unlike Young Justice #1,000,000, this issue ties in directly to the main series. Sadly, it's not included in my JLA: One Million trade paperback, when I consider it an essential piece to the story. It is, naturally, in the DC One Million Omnibus, though. But since it's important to understand the context of this story, I'll type up the frontispiece text.

In the 853rd century — exactly one million months after the dawn of super-heroes — humanity prospers in a utopian society beyond our imagination. From the data-foundries of the planet Mercury to the floating coral cities of Neptune, the great tradition of super-heroes lives on. Chief among them are the magnificent Justice Legion A, futuristic versions of Superman, Starman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and Hourman!

Journeying back to the late 20th century, these heroes of the future invite their ancient predecessors, the Justice League of America, to attend a wonderful celebration of their heroic legacy. The plan calls for each of the core Justice Leaguers to take part in spectacular exhibitions of prowess for the citizens of the 853rd century to enjoy, while Justice Legion A is to remain behind to safeguard 20th-century Earth. But no sooner has Hourman sent the original JLA to the future than disaster strikes!

Secretly planted within the android Hourman, a sophisticated techno-organic virus is unleashed. Within minutes, this "Hourman Virus" infects the population of the Earth, leaving humanity with only 24 hours to live. With the Justice League of America stranded 83,000 years away and unable to help, the immortal villain Vandal Savage has added to the chaos by detonating a nuclear device in the heart of a major South American city.

That major South American city was Montevideo, Uruguay, and the bomb was a stolen Rocket Red suit. Arsenal, Jesse Quick, Supergirl and Tempest (trying to form another new Titans team) attempted to stop Vandal Savage from obtaining the nuclear suits, but he easily defeated the heroes, placed them in the suits, and launched them toward various world capitals. Tempest's suit was the first, and it was supposed to hit Washington, D.C., but he sabotaged the suit while escaping. Unfortunately, he couldn't prevent it from hitting Montevideo and killing 1 million people.

Our story begins with the future Superman and John Fox standing in the ruins of Montevideo. Superman sums up the situation, saying they need to cure the virus and stop the other Rocket Reds. John asks if he has any suggestions, and Superman says he could team up with Impulse. John pauses for a moment, then says, "No, really. Do you have any suggestions?" John reminds Superman that the Impulse of this era is still a very young kid, but Superman says it's still worth a shot.

We then check in with Bart hanging out with Carol. They comment on how the black welts caused by the Hourman Virus have disappeared (although it won't be cured till later), and they discuss the destruction of Montevideo and whether the future heroes kidnapped the JLA. Bart takes offense that he wasn't considered an important enough hero to be kidnapped, and Carol tells him it isn't always about him. The news then reports a UFO sighting over India, but Bart recognizes it as a Rocket Red suit from Max's briefings (who knew Bart read Max's old papers?). So Bart decides to make himself useful and races over to India as Impulse.

But Bart is soon met by John Fox, who explains he found the young speedster by using a device that detects variations in the Speed Force. Bart recognizes John as the creep who was all tied up with the world freezing and tried to steal Wally's girlfriend. (An editor's note says this is a highly flavored account of events in The Flash #112–117. After all, Impulse wasn't really involved in that storyline, and just heard about it secondhand from Wally.) Bart demands to know where John took the JLA, and he explains that they were sent to the future, but got stranded when the Hourman Virus hit. He also tells Bart about Vandal Savage stealing five Rocket Red suits (although it was only four).

John Fox also unfortunately includes a lot of unnecessary details, such as the original Superman living in one of the suns, Wonder Woman living on Venus, and information being the currency of the future. All this only confuses Impulse, who races to New Delhi to grab a rope and tie John to a tree. Bart asks for the truth, but John quickly frees himself and ties up Bart, asking him to listen to reason. Bart's response? "I'm not gonna listen to reason! You listen to reason!"

John tells Bart the Hourman Virus makes people paranoid and angry, but Bart is unable to control himself. He escapes the ropes and tries to attack John, but the future Flash runs away from Bart backwards. John stays at the same pace as Bart, so it seems like neither of them is moving, although they are traveling halfway around the world. Luckily, they soon end up in India, where they spot the Rocket Red suit overhead. Well, it's not necessarily luck. Bart was leading John toward the Rocket Red's path, figuring it would travel in a straight line. John was impressed he found the suit, since it is radar-invisible. But Bart does have the Bangladesh TV crew to thank for spotting it.

John tries to pulls the Rocket Red down with a mini-whirlwind, but it launches two small missiles at them and chases the speedster away with some laser blasts. But the Rocket Red quickly resumes its path to some big city. John's Speed Force device tells him a speedster is inside that suit, which they deduce to be Jesse Quick. Bart says this is horrible, and that Jessie's going to die, as well as untold millions, as John reminds him.

In an effort to communicate with Bart more quickly and effectively, John gives him two small devices to put on his head so they can share their thoughts. To John's surprise, they are both given a vision of Earth in the 853rd century — John suspects this must be because Bart was raised in a virtual reality, and his mind naturally transported the two of them into John's memory. John explains that the Earth is covered with forests, having been restored to its natural glory since all the cities have been moved into tesseracts — the same dimensional rifts used by Chunk. John shows Bart the future version of Manchester, Alabama, represented only by a small pillar. But when John shoves Bart into the pillar, they enter a huge, futuristic city that reminds Bart of Max's old comic book covers (who knew Max had old comics and that Bart actually read them?).

But the pleasant trip to the future is soon interrupted by the return of the Rocket Red. Bart is initially confused, thinking the suit somehow joined them in the future, but John points out that it's attacking them in the present, and just their minds are in the future. Bart then wonders why Jesse is attacking them, and John figures that Jesse's not in control of the suit. So Bart gets the idea to communicate to Jesse by stealing the thought-sharing devices from John and putting them on the Rocket Red helmet.

Bart's plan works, except for the part where John isn't able to share thoughts with them. But Bart is able to talk to Jesse and the Rocket Red suit, which says it wants to avoid delays and deliver its payload to Singapore. Bart explains to Jesse that their shared thought-space is like a video game, and the suit's bomb must be represented by something symbolic. Jesse finds an atomic symbol, which turns into a big bomb with a two-minute countdown. Bart tries to pull it apart, but somehow only succeeds in taking the timer down a minute.

John then arrives in the thought-space, saying he had spare link-discs. Bart explains they can't shut off the bomb, but John says only Jesse can stop it. Jesse then begins to doubt this strange dream, wondering if it's all a trick of Vandal Savage's and Impulse and Flash are really robots. Impulse agrees with the nonsensical theory, saying, "Yeah, maybe we're all robots and in twenty seconds the world is gonna blow and Max is gonna kill me?" John asks Jesse if Vandal Savage could have programmed an Impulse robot to say that sentence, then reminds Jesse that she's the only one close enough to the bomb to stop it.

Jesse finally trusts John and Bart, and is able to rip out the control cables of the suit. They all return to the present, and Bart vibrates Jesse out of the Rocket Red. Bart cheers that they've foiled Vandal Savage's plot and that they all learned to trust. John Fox points out that they still need to stop the other Rocket Red suits and cure the Hourman Virus, but he does admit they're off to a good start.

And that's the end of Impulse's involvement in the One Million storyline. I guess he just goes home to chill out, while John Fox helps the rest of the heroes cure the virus and save the original JLA. On a whole, the One Million story is fairly interesting, although a little weird at times. I was mostly annoyed at the idea of the virus causing paranoia, which basically became an excuse for all the heroes to briefly fight each other. Impulse #1,000,000 was a pretty fun issue, although the "trip" to the future did feel a bit contrived.

There aren't any letters to the editor, so let's head straight to the ads:

You could win! The ultimate PlayStation prize pack in the Tomba! Heavy Duty Dubba Duel through Kids' WB!

Picture yourself here, on the box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

2X the action. 2X the danger. 2X the excitement. The Batman Superman Movie now available on video! I have this wonderful show on DVD. It was the first crossover between the Batman and Superman animated series. Through and through, it was a great, monumental moment in the history of superhero cartoons. Although I was a bit sad that the animation on Batman's show had to be simplified to match Superman's.

Blast off! Look for Lost in Space on video. Starring Gary Oldman before he became James Gordon in the Dark Knight trilogy. I got the DVD for this movie for free when my family bought our first DVD player. I quickly learned why they gave it away for free.

Spyro-Mania sweeps country! Spyro the Dragon for PlayStation.

Casper meets Wendy. Now on video!

Pokemon. Gotta catch 'em all! I loved Pokemon as much as the next kid in 1998, but I never would have guessed it'd still be as big as it is today, 17 years later.

It's like a fire drill. (Without the drill.) Rosco McQueen: Firefighter Extreme for PlayStation.

Killer line-ups. Small Soldiers CD-ROM games.

It's a good time to be a kid. (It's a bad time to be a cow.) Oreo O's cereal. You know what? It really was good to be a kid in 1998. Oreo O's were really good, and I don't think they exist anymore, sadly.

Next time, we'll begin the final month of comics published with a 1998 date, starting with Impulse #43.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Young Justice #1,000,000

Just Ice, Cubed

Writer: Peter David 1M
Main Frame: Todd Nauck and Larry Stucker
Doomsday: Angel Unzueta and Norm Rapmund
Final Night: Craig Rousseau and Sean Parsons
Millenium: Roberto Flores and Wayne Faucher
Colors: Jason Wright
Letters: Ken Lopez
Assistant: Frank McTigue 1M
On a Tangent Editor: Eddie Berganza
Digital cover backgrounds and frontispiece by Pat Garrahy.

The big crossover event of 1998 was DC One Million. The main miniseries was written by Grant Morrison, who originated the whole event by calculating which year would see Action Comics #1,000,000, assuming it printed monthly from its first issue in 1938. The year Morrison came up with was 85,271, which is where this story occurs. The main story involves the classic JLA switching places with their counterparts of the 853rd century, and running into all sorts of trouble.

Sadly, Young Justice did not get to meet their future doppelgängers, but we do get to see what the team will look like in the far future. On the cover, Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker give us the one millionth clone of Superboy, Robin the Toy Wonder, and the future version of Impulse, who is believed to be the personification of random thoughts of speedsters who traveled through the Speed Force.

The first page of the comic, or the frontispiece, proudly proclaims this as a special collector's item print edition, exactly replicating the way this comic was printed in the late 20th century. Of course, the joke kind of dies if you have the digital version of this issue. After that introductory note, there's a rather lengthy explanation of what's been happening in the main series and important crossovers. But really, none of that matters for the purposes of this issue.

Our story begins with Superboy arriving on Pluto to visit the hidden Young Justice Legion T headquarters beneath the surface of the dwarf planet. He passes through the Hall of Heroes, which is full of statues of the original Young Justice members. There's the core three of Impulse, Superboy and Robin, of course, as well as the Red Tornado. But there's also a few people who haven't joined the team yet, such as Arrowette, Wonder Girl, Secret, Captain Marvel Jr., and ... a teenaged Lobo?! Don't worry, we'll find out all about that in due time.

Superboy is greeted by Batman's robotic sidekick, Robin the Toy Wonder, who has made an exciting discovery. One his way to the meeting, he came across an ancient life pod floating through space. The figure behind the glass is too obscured to see, and the only hint to its identity is a sign that says, "Original member of Young Justice." The pure-energy Impulse suddenly pops out of Superboy's head, and jokes about how empty it is in there.

Robin asks Impulse to go inside the pod to see who their frozen companion is, but once he phases through the glass, he sets off the pod's security systems and is soon ejected from it. Impulse reports that it was too dark to see anything inside, and he tried to jump into the figure's mind, but it was blank, which leads Superboy to believe it's the original Impulse.

Robin decides to run a revival program for the frozen figure, which should take about two hours to safely thaw out their guest. Superboy then comes up with a more exciting theory, saying only the original Superboy could have been strong and smart enough to survive these thousands of years. And to illustrate his point, the one millionth clone of Superboy tells the story of how the original Superboy defeated Doomsday:

It was a time of a major crisis, and all the skies were red with blood. Cities were falling and worlds collapsing at the hands of the behemoth Doomsday. None of the heroes could stand up to the monster, not even Superman, who was killed by Doomsday. But then Superboy arrived and challenged the beast. Doomsday started the fight by hurtling the teen hero high into the sky, but Superboy quickly gained control and zoomed down toward the Earth.

Instead of hitting Doomsday directly, Superboy focused all his strength on the planet, accelerating its orbit around the sun to actually shove the world directly out from Doomsday's feet. As Doomsday floated away, he made one desperate grab at the planet's surface, but Superboy delivered a mighty butt kick, sending him tumbling through space.

The future Superboy calls this one of the original Superboy's more modest accomplishments, but to his dismay, neither of his teammates believe the story. Robin, especially, is furious with Superboy's lack of research, and decides to tell an accurate story about the original Robin:

It was a dark time for the Earth ... literally, because the sun was being consumed by the monstrous Sun-Eater. Gotham City was completely covered in ice and hit by an earthquake. Batman and Robin ran around saving people from the falling shards of ice, but suddenly Batman slipped and broke his back. And to make matters worse, once the sun went out, a bizarre energy covered the Earth, causing all the superheroes to lose their powers. The entire Justice League began to fall out of the sky above Gotham, and Robin had to skate his way around the falling heroes with the crippled Batman on his shoulder.

Robin put Batman in a big body cast, and did his best to prevent the rampant looting in the streets, battle Two-Face, and convince the JLA not to give up. But the heroes were convinced this was their Zero Hour, and all hope was lost. Robin angrily yelled at them to not choke at a time like this. At that word, Superman was suddenly inspired. He and all the other heroes immediately flew out into space and formed a large wedge that slammed into the Sun-Eater, causing it to choke on the sun and spit it back out. Doctor Fate then sent the Sun-Eater to a pocket dimension, where it could do no harm to any living thing.

However, the Toy Wonder's story is met with the same skepticism as Superboy's. Both Superboy and Impulse demand to know how the heroes got their powers back, and all Robin can say is that they only lost their powers for a little bit, but then they just came back. Impulse calls this rather convenient, then points out how both his teammates were too afraid to mention the original Impulse in their stories. So Impulse tells how Bart Allen averted one of the greatest dangers the Earth ever faced:

The original Young Justice were riding the Impulse-Cycle back from a previous adventure in upstate New York. As usual, Robin was hogging the steering wheel and Superboy was goofing off. But Impulse was diligent, and the only one to notice a giant, mile-long white feather on the ground. As the heroes investigated, they felt the ground shake beneath their feet and realized something very large was heading straight for New York City.

As the heroes approached the monster, Impulse warned his companions to be careful, but they refused to listen to him. Suddenly, a gigantic egg fell from the sky. Impulse easily dodged it, but Robin and Superboy were too slow. The yolk was on them, and they wound up with egg on their faces. But Impulse soon realized the true horror of the situation. They had caught up to the Millennium Chicken, which had come to New York to nest!

Superboy interrupts Impulse at this point, saying everybody knows it was a Millennium Cow. Robin thought it was a Millennium Deer, so Impulse decides to speed up the reanimation process so the original member of Young Justice can tell them who's right. Superboy and Robin tell Impulse he's doing it wrong, and they all fight over the keyboard. Before too long, the life pod suddenly bursts into flames, and the original Young Justice member is incinerated.

Robin suggests they don't tell anyone about this, and Impulse suggests the frozen hero was probably brain dead anyway, and if they brought him back, it could have been in a terrible state of living death. But Superboy is sad they lost someone who could have set all the stories straight for once. Robin admits he did guess on a few details in his story, but that was only to keep up with his teammates. Superboy also admits they did exaggerate a little, but ultimately says the original Superboy, Robin and Impulse were giants in their day. But none of the heroes realize that there's a gigantic chicken footprint on the surface of Pluto.

This was a pretty fun, wacky issue. It's nice to know that teenage boys can still be pretty goofy 83,723 years in the future. And I really loved the guest artists for each story. Roberto Flores, aided by longtime Impulse inker Wayne Faucher, would have been a welcome choice to handle a full issue of Impulse if needed. But the real gem for me was Craig Rousseau's five pages, in which he mimicked the style of Batman: The Animated Series and made the Sun-Eater a big fat orange guy. The sheer lunacy of this issue makes it a fun read for everyone, regardless of whether they've read the stories alluded to here. My only small complaint is that we didn't get to see these future heroes in action. We know that this pure energy version of Impulse can go inside people's minds, but what else can he do?

There aren't any letters to the editor this month, so we'll head straight to the ads:

Wide leg jeans $29.50. Gap Kids.

Sage Bolyard ... invert on Shaggy's skull. David Palmer ... migraine on the deck. JNCO. The picture shows one skateboarder lifting himself up on another's head.

Racing this close to the ground is Plane Crazy. Extreme Aerial Racing for SegaSoft.

Forget about ram and hard drives, install a little butt-kicker in your computer. Head Rush CD-ROM.

Lucky for you, ours comes with a reset button. RC Racer on PlayStation.

Well done soldier. Command & Conquer: Red Alert Retaliation for PlayStation.

The Contra Adventure for PlayStation.

Super Dynamic Duel. NASCAR on TBS. I guess this was a real thing, where they had one with Batman painted on it race another car with the Joker painted on.

Dump the 'toons. Get real. Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Hang Time, City Guys, One World and NBA Inside Stuff. Saturdays on NBC.

Next time: See John Fox, the Flash of the future, try to stop a nuclear missile in spite of Bart's "help" in Impulse #1,000,000!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Impulse #42

Virtual Pets, Virtual Heck

William Messner-Loebs Writer
Craig Rousseau Penciller
Barbara Kaalberg Inker
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
L.A. Williams Asst. Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo

Our cover by Craig Rousseau and Wayne Faucher shows Impulse being attacked by one of those pesky virtual pets that were all the craze of the late '90s. If you didn't have a Tamagotchi or a similar device, then you weren't really a kid of the '90s. Sorry, but that's one of the requirements. Anyway, I really enjoy this simple cover. The blue background is nice, Impulse looks great (especially the detail on his fingers) and the monster arm is pretty cool. If you look closely, you can see a fun pixelation effect on the monster's arm near the device. The only sad thing here is the monsters don't look anything like that inside.

Our story begins in 1941, where the young Herbert Lyle Jameson is listening to reports of the Pearl Harbor bombings over the radio. The boy is frightened, but he tells his rag doll, Binky, that in the future there won't be any wars or hunger, and everyone will live in domed cities on Mars with moving sidewalks.

In 1952, at the height of the Korean War, the teenaged Herbie occupies himself with improving radios, believing that improved communication across the globe will eliminate wars and hunger.

In 1963, Herb is a whiz kid at a computer lab. His co-workers want to leave work to watch the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, but Herb chooses to work through it, believing there won't be any more assassinations once computers are as small as cars.

In 1972, Herb focuses on personal computers, saying the Vietnam War would have ended much earlier if everyone had a computer small enough to carry. And that thought carries the scientist through 1982, as he continued to work on smaller computers with higher speeds and easier interfaces.

In 1992, Doctor Jameson invents a virtual creature prototype to be programmed to act just like a real pet with artificial intelligence. In honor of his old rag doll, Jameson names the device Binky. He also has a paper on his desk telling him to compare notes with Julian September, who would later become a Justice League villain.

In 1998, Jameson's technology has been mass-produced and marketed as the hot toy of the year, Binkatoochies. Carol excitedly shows off her new toy to Bart, who, for some reason, is wearing one of Gamal's old work shirts over a Charlie Brown shirt.

Just like the Tamagotchis of real life, these Binkatoochies only have three buttons that require a complex combination of codes to interact with the virtual pet. Bart, who normally loves all video games, finds these toys boring and repetitive, and even considers Carol a screwball for enjoying them. Carol says Bart's just jealous, then reveals the greatest weakness of the Binkatoochies — they require constant care. So Carol asks Bart to take care of her toy during class, presumably because his super speed will help him conceal his playing.

But in Mr. Snodgrass' history class, Bart has a hard time interacting with the Binkatoochi's non-intuative interface, and he is soon spotted by Snodgrass. But Bart wasn't the only one. Nearly every kid in the class was also trying to sneakily take care of their virtual pets during the lecture. So Mr. Snodgrass rounds up all the toys and throws them in his desk. The students protest, saying their pets will die without them, but Snodgrass says they're just toys and nothing bad will happen from neglecting them for the day. Just then, a large energy monster erupts from Snodgrass' desk, proving the teacher wrong.

More energy monsters appear, creating quite a commotion. Carol asks Bart what's going on, and he immediately says this isn't his fault. Carol urges him to do something, but Bart decides to plan his strategy carefully — hundreds of lives could be lost — plus, he wants to make sure class is officially over. The monsters begin speaking, demanding to know where the robot teachers and electronic thought transfer caps are. When Carol begins yelling at Bart, he finally switches into Impulse to save the day.

Impulse's first thought is to run through the energy monsters to disrupt them. But he's repelled by their electricity, and is unable to stop them from breaking out of the school and destroying everything in site because there are no holo-projection screens, moving sidewalks, flying cars, dehydrated food pills or machines to make food from energy. Impulse notices a couple of the monsters are turning on each other, and he hopes that they'll just take themselves out. But when the energy beasts touch, they are combined into one larger monster that is furious there are no anti-grav shoes or robot trees.

The school begins to collapse, and Impulse creates a whirlwind to protect the evacuating students from falling debris. Carol, meanwhile, finds a clue. On the back of the Binkatoochies is an address in Atlanta. So Impulse zips over there, hoping to see if they know how to stop the monsters, which are also appearing in Georgia and demanding electron rays to teach languages, floating houses and spunky robot secretaries. Unfortunately, Impulse learns the address in Atlanta is only the distribution center, and they get the Binkatoochies from Metropolis.

So Impulse heads up to Metropolis, and if you look real closely, you can just see Superman flying over the Daily Planet. The Binkatoochi monsters are also rampaging in Metropolis, and Impulse sadly learns that the address he was given was just another step up on the distribution chain. However, a worker is able to help Impulse track down the creator of the toys, Dr. Herbert Lyle Jameson in Seattle.

Impulse tells Jameson about his rampaging virtual pets, and he quickly whips up a computer circuit to infect the monsters with a virus. Excited to be "cooking with science," Impulse places the chip on the back of one of the beasts. Unfortunately, the virus only makes it grow larger, and it transfers this growth to all the other monsters. So Jameson tries a different circuit that should cause the monsters to split apart at the subatomic level. Impulse sees this as a piece of cake, and throws the new chip on one of the monsters. At first, they begin to split apart, like Jameson intended, but they only keep dividing and growing, creating even more monsters to spread their destruction.

Impulse yells at Jameson for making everything worse and says he hates science. Jameson is annoyed by the teen's attitude, saying he used to love science as a kid, always dreaming about the wonders the future would hold. As he talks, he realizes what's causing the pets to rampage. Jameson wanted to build worlds when he started his profession, but ended up making toys. And he realizes he inadvertently passed on his own frustration and rage into the virtual pets. So he throws together one last circuit for Impulse to try.

This one does the trick, causing all the energy monsters to shrink back down into their handheld devices. Impulse asks how Jameson did this, and the professor explains that as people grow up, they learn to cope with their lives not turning out the way they expected them to. And Jameson gave that programming to the pets — to learn to be disappointed.

Somewhat later, Carol happily tells Bart that the Binkatoochies are completely safe once again. However, all the teachers have banned them from the classrooms, so the students need one brave hero to make sure all their virtual pets get fed, watered and exercised. So she dumps off a bunch of Binkatoochies on Bart's desk, who says he hates being a hero.

This was actually a pretty sad issue. Once again, Impulse didn't really save the day, and learned a harsh lesson about growing up. "No one's life ever turns out just as they expect. Generally we become less than we anticipate. The world is not changed, but rolls over us, like a wave." I guess that's just a rather sad way of saying we need to accept the limitations of reality. But this issue wasn't completely depressing. There were still some nice laughs, and I think the extra time off really helped Craig Rousseau, who seemed to have fun experimenting with panel shapes and layouts in this issue.

Impulsive Reactions begins by welcoming back the regular creative team, and apologizes for leaving off their credits to Impulse #39. This School Rules goes to Westbrook Road Community Home in Bristol, England.

Brett Allen, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, asks for a super-speedster to be named Brett Allen, saying every other combination of B. Allen has already been used.

Matt K. congratulates Impulse for finally getting a letter column name, although he did prefer Synapse, Crackle and Pop. He also loved how Impulse #38 showed how even though someone's evil on the outside, it doesn't mean they can't be good on the inside.

Paul Dale Roberts, of Sacramento, Calif., says he is a reserve with the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, and has been called in to help fight floods just like we saw in issue #38. Paul says Bill Messner-Loebs did a good job of showing the camaraderie that occurs in disasters like this. He also really dug the Green Cigarette.

Kingsley Taylor, of Los Angeles, asks whether Carol will become Bart's girlfriend and if Zatanna will make another appearance in Impulse. Kingsley also asks why Bart is so smart, which I think is a very odd question, because I never really considered Bart that smart. But he's not stupid, either. Anyway, on to the ads:

JNCO CGI Sole. Patent pending technology.

Decode secret messages in the nickelOzone with your official O-Scope — free with specially marked packages of Kraft Kids Products!

More mischief. More menace. Dennis the Menace Strikes Again now available on video!

Hang with Hey Arnold! Get a 3 foot lo-o-ong poster free in marked boxes of Post cereal.

Find the Magic Puzzle Piece with Banjo-Kazooie. You could win instantly a Nintendo 64 home entertainment center.

Find the orange Pebbles and you could win a Florida vacation!

Get everything but the bus. If you're a winner in the Nabisco Cool Bus Contest. (So many contests this issue!)

Next time: Ever wonder what the future will be like? The JLA does. But in their case, curiosity might kill the cat, the cities, the countries, and the centuries! We'll take on DC's big crossover event of 1998, DC One Million, starting with Young Justice #1,000,000.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Flash #142

Get Me to the Church on Time

Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, Writers
Pop Mhan, Pencils
Chris Ivy, Inks
Gaspar, Letters
Tom McCraw, Colors
L.A. Williams, Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg, Editor

Our cover by Steve Lightle should be better than it is. This is the wedding of the Flash, for goodness sake — let's step up our game! The overall idea of this cover is fine, but the execution falls flat for me. I especially don't like the blur effect given to all the people on the sidelines. I never feel like that effect makes it look like the Flash is running any faster. And although Jay Garrick is featured quite prominently here, he does not appear inside. But that's more Pop Mhan's fault than anything else.

Our story begins with the sudden return of Kobra and his cult. Wally West has put everything on hold the past 24 hours to deal with this international terrorist, and even his fiancée, Linda Park, is helping out. While reporting on the story, Linda learns that Kobra has raided the Air Force armory and has his hands on a major warhead. She conveys this information to Wally, who interrogates one of Kobra's goons to learn he's set up a makeshift base in an office building under construction at Broome Plaza (named after legendary Flash writer John Broome).

As soon as Flash arrives at the building, Kobra and his lieutenants teleport away. Flash just missed the order Kobra gave to his men, but he's somehow able to move faster than the speed of sound to catch up to his words (yeah, it doesn't really make sense to me). But the important thing is Flash heard Kobra order his men to pull out from City Hall. So Flash decides to catch Kobra another day, and first focus on evacuating City Hall. He gets all the people out with ease, but by the time he find the warhead in the basement, it's already begun to detonate. Wally does his best to contain the blast with a cyclonic vortex, but the first floor of the building is destroyed. And this is what worried Wally most, since that floor contains the license bureau and his marriage license. Luckily, he is able to sort through all the papers flying around in the air and finds his license. The document validated by Paul Kupperberg is a little charred, but it'll get the job done.

Wally and Linda return home and begin the frantic preparations for their wedding, which is less than 24 hours away. They're planning on having the wedding at the Park family ancestral home, and a small crisis arises when Linda's grandma reports that the cake hasn't been delivered yet. Wally panics and runs to France to borrow a baker named Pierre to have him make them a new cake right then and there. But Linda resolved the crisis with a simple phone call, finding out the cake was delivered to the wrong address by mistake. Wally sheepishly takes Pierre back to Paris, and Linda found the whole gesture quite romantic. The two lovebirds begin to make out, but they're interrupted by the arrival of Linda's parents. The last time Wally saw them was at Linda's funeral, and Linda's mom slapped Wally. But they seem to be on better terms now.

We skip ahead to the day of the wedding at the Park family ancestral home, which is actually a cozy farm in Iowa. Wally is terrified to learn Linda made Bart the ring-bearer, worried he'll be chasing penguins in Antarctica at the time of the ceremony. But Linda says you just have to know how to play him. She pulls Bart away from attempting to stick a fork in an electrical outlet, and she orders him to protect the golden bands of Matrimor from the Volkon forces and to deliver them promptly at 1400 chronomarks, Earth-time. Ensign Allen salutes Commander Park and accepts this serious mission, leaving Max to wonder why he's never thought of that.

Wally's boozy and indifferent parents arrive — Rudy West has a new trampy girlfriend, and Mary West Valentino has a new husband, Rudolpho. Luckily, Wally is able to send them away by mentioning Aunt Charlotte and an inheritance. Next to arrive is Wally's best man, Dick Grayson, who has disguised himself in a curly blond wig. Wally teases his old Teen Titans buddy for being the only crimefighter whose secret identity has a secret identity. Dick can tell Wally and Linda are both nervous, but he points out what a great couple they make, filling in for their shortcomings with their respective strengths.

Three more former Titans show up — Donna Troy, Garth and Roy Harper — and Wally puts their gifts on the table with the others, not noticing a small brown package labeled "Urgent!" The splashiest entrance though, goes to the JLA. Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Plastic Man all fly down in full costume. Wally's quite happy to see them, since he doesn't even know half his family that Linda invited.

But the biggest surprise guest is Iris Allen. Wally wanted to invite her, but didn't know how to contact her. Iris explains that she's willing to make exceptions to her self-imposed exile for big events like this. Even more surprising is that Iris brought along her father, Ira West, who thought Iris was dead for years. But Iris didn't like concealing that fact from him, and talked it out with him some time ago.

All this talk of family makes Wally realize why Linda's been acting so nervous around his extended family. She sees how coldly Wally treats his family and worries he'd do the same to her once they're married. They have a sweet conversation about it, and he assures her that won't be the case. With all that cleared up, they finally head to the ceremony.

The guy on the left of Wally is Dick Grayson in disguise. Bart is to Linda's right, having successfully protected and delivered the wedding rings. And the girl on the far right is not Jesse Chambers, but a random friend of Linda's named Barb. Wally mentions a bunch of people who made it but were not shown (thanks a lot, Pop Mhan!), including Jay and Joan Garrick, Chunk, Hartley Rathaway and Jesse.

Anyway, everything goes smoothly until it comes time to exchange their vows. Wally realizes he forgot to write his vows, and he quickly darts out of the room. He frantically tries to come up with something, remembering how they first met, how he entered and left the Speed Force for the first time, and how he recently saved Linda from the Speed Force. This helps him sort things out, and he quickly returns to the ceremony and delivers a sweet, heartfelt vow, where he says that Linda is his beacon, and with her in his life, he's forever safe. But when Wally puts the ring on Linda's finger, there's a big flash of light.

The next thing he knows, Wally is in his living room and wearing his Flash costume. He's not sure what he's doing there or what he was talking about. He remembers it had something to do with Dick, so he calls up Nightwing and asks him if he's ever heard of Linda Park. Dick says he knows of Lindbergh Park down the block, but that's about it. He asks Wally to repeat the name, and he suddenly can't. Wally figures he's been overworked and really should get a girlfriend. He hangs up the phone and fails to notice one leftover present from the wedding — the small brown package labeled, "Urgent!" As Flash heads out on patrol, we see Linda in her wedding dress, trapped in a dark room with a dark figure.

It's very nice to have Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn back. And it's nice to see that something as monumental as the Flash's wedding can't come easy. Sadly, this story is crippled by the horrible art of Pop Mhan. If this were the actual wedding issue, I'd be very upset. There were hardly any cameos, everyone looked really angry most of the time, even when they were supposed to be happy, and there were a few instances of straight-up character confusion because of the poor art and coloring mistakes. I've never had an issue with Tom McCraw before, but in this issue he gave Wally yellow hair a couple of times. What's up with that? Luckily, the issue ends on a really strong note to help ease those problems. It's one thing to have Linda get kidnapped on the day of the wedding. It's a whole other thing to have everyone forget that Linda even existed. Now that's some serious stuff right there.

Next time, we return to the main series with Impulse #42.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Young Justice #2

Sheik, Rattle and Roll

Peter David, Writer
Todd Nauck, Pencils
Lary Stucker, Inks
Jason Wright, Colors
Digital Chameleon, Seps
Ken Lopez, Letters
Eddie Berganza, Weeping
Harem Scarem cover by Nauck, Stucker & Patrick Martin, color.

Our cover shows that our heroes have apparently used the Super-Cycle to crash land in the middle of a harem. I like that Impulse is excitedly in three places at once, but I don't like the expressions on Robin's and Superboy's faces. Robin looks really grumpy, and yet he's the one giving the "chicks dig the bike" joke. Maybe Superboy should have been saying that. Either way, I'm still disappointed in Superboy. This is heaven for him — so why doesn't he look more excited?

Our story begins in a desert somewhere, where a group of people are riding camels on their annual pilgrimage to their sheik (an Arab ruler). A teenager named Ahab, making his first pilgrimage, is shocked to see snow surrounding the palace of Ali Ben Styn. Ahab's uncle tells him it's been that way for 2,000 years — next Ramadan — and they continue their trek to pay homage to the sheik for permitting them to graze on his fertile land. Little do they realize that a great tragedy is about to occur. Because if they did realize, they wouldn't go. D-uh.

Speaking of tragedies, we go to the maiden voyage of the Titanic II, a $500 million replica of the original doomed vessel. And just like that original doomed vessel, this replica is heading straight for an iceberg in the middle of the night. All the guests on board assume this is part of the experience — a planned re-creation of the infamous disaster. But the captain and crew had no such desire to skate by an iceberg, and they begin to panic when the ship doesn't respond fast enough to avoid collision. Luckily, at the last second, the iceberg is destroyed by Young Justice and the Super-Cycle.

Apparently, the cycle spontaneously sprouted an anti-proton cannon right behind Impulse and nearly blew his head off. But Superboy points out that Impulse wasn't using his head for anything anyway. Superboy then complains again about the cycle ignoring his tactile telekinesis, and Impulse gets him back by saying, "Why shouldn't it? The rest of us do." Robin then says he's figuring out how to control the bike, since he was able to prevent it from taking them into space and activate the weapons in time to destroy the iceberg.

Almost as if to defy Robin's control, the Super-Cycle suddenly zooms to the Great Wall of China (which Impulse mistakes for the Berlin Wall) and knocks a bunch of tourists off the wall. Superboy flies down and catches a couple of pretty girls, and Impulse rushes to the ground and vibrates a cushion of air to help the tourists float down. Robin begs the cycle to get them off the wall, and it responds with, "Request granted." But it flies off the wall and straight toward a group of nuns with a station wagon full of explosives. Luckily, robin notices a message on the control panel: "Phase out sequence armed and ready." So he presses the button, and he and the bike basically take the substance of a ghost and phase right through the nuns and their explosives. As Robin heads deep underground, he begins to suspect the cycle is not on a random, out-of-control flight, but is actually searching for something.

Meanwhile, on the next page, Sheik Ali Ben Styn is visited by our new A.P.E.S. friends (All-Purpose Enforcement Squad), special agents Fite 'n' Maad. It seems these guys are actually quite good at their job, because with one glimpse at the Super-Cycle, they were able to immediately recognize it and deduce where it will go even before it is able to find out where it wants to go. Fite and Maad warn Styn that three teen heroes are headed his way, and are likely to bring mischief with them. The vaguely Jewish sheik bemoans that he's not the sheik of Arabee, who never has this kind of tsuris (Yiddish for trouble).

We return to our heroes, where Superboy is investigating the ground Robin phased through. Impulse isn't impressed, saying he goes through stuff all the time. "Yeah, like friends," Superboy says, before being hit by the Super-Cycle. Kid's not hurt, but he does point out that now that Robin has pretty much got the hang of the cycle, they should be taking it back to the archaeological dig they stole it from. But Robin says they can't do that since he thinks the Super-Cycle has finally found what it's looking for and is homing in on it. Suddenly, the Red Tornado shows up, saying he finds the boys an interesting study in character conflicts — plus, the thought of them without adult guidance is a terrifying notion. Superboy says he's not an adult — just a vacuum cleaner with attitude. Red Tornado responds by saying he'll use his repair circuits to attend to his damaged ego.

Young Justice then arrives at Ali Ben Styn's palace underneath the snow-covered mountain in the desert. As the Super-Cycle approaches, the mountain begins to shake, and the cycle produces another weapon, this time next to Superboy. Impulse is a little sad it didn't blow Superboy's head off, but he acknowledges there's still time for that. Robin then notices this gun's blast isn't destructive, but some sort of high-energy particles causing the snow to melt. But once the snow is gone, the mountain is revealed to be an active volcano, and lava starts pouring out from it.

Superboy flies down, and decides to save everyone in the palace by lifting the whole building up and moving it away from the lava. It's not easy, but by pushing his tactile telekinesis to the limit and beyond, Superboy is able to accomplish the monumental task. The volcano, meanwhile, reveals another surprise. A large, four-armed man was trapped inside the rock, but now is free. Robin says this is a depressing turn of events, and Superboy begins to miss the pretty girls he met in China.

The four-armed man reveals himself to be Rip Roar, imprisoned 2,000 years ago by the gods of New Genesis. But Rip Roar revels in his one victory over the gods — he stole one of their precious super-cycles and they were never able to find it. Rip Roar says he now has these gnats to thank, and he turns his head toward the boys and says, "Thank you, gnats!" Robin remarks on how people keep thanking them for the weirdest things. Rip Roar then demands to have his vehicle returned, but Impulse sticks out his tongue and tells "Armboy" to find his own wheels. Rip Roar's gratitude quickly turns to wrath, and he moves to attack our heroes.

Red Tornado steps in and briefly immobilizes Rip Roar with a tornado. Robin cheers, and a jealous Impulse says he could have done that. But Red Tornado's swirling winds can't hold Rip Roar for long, and he soon knocks out the android. He then chases down the Super-Cycle and chews it out for not rescuing him centuries ago. Superboy tackles Rip Roar and says no one talks to his Super-Cycle that way. Impulse yells that they're not calling it the Super-Cycle, but Rip Roar confirms that's its name. Superboy is quite pleased by this, but Impulse says, "Fine. Go believe a super-villain."

Remembering that they're actually fighting, Rip Roar pounds Superboy and sends him flying through the palace wall. Impulse tries to stop Rip Roar by kicking up a whole bunch of sand, but he uses his ice power to cause Impulse to slip and go shooting through the palace window. Red Tornado recovers and finds Impulse and Superboy in the harem, where Superboy appears to be enjoying himself a lot more than he was on the cover. Red Tornado tells the boys they should be getting back to the fight, and Superboy reluctantly agrees.

Robin is now the only hero standing between Rip Roar and the Super-Cycle. And since he can't beat him physically, Robin decides to try to reason with the beast, by saying the Super-Cycle doesn't want to be with him. Rip Roar says that's impossible, since he set it to imprint on him after he stole it. But Robin says he's just afraid to find out what the Super-Cycle really wants. Impulse, Superboy and Red Tornado finally come rushing out of the palace, and find that Robin's sorta flipped. Robin and Rip Roar are standing on either side of the Super-Cycle and are trying to call it to them by clapping their hands and whistling as if it were a dog. Rip Roar tells the bike if it comes with him they can lay waste to this pathetic world and make blood flow like milk. Robin says they'll have fun adventures and improve people's lives. Fite 'n Maad, who've been pretty quiet on the sidelines, comment on just how weird this area is.

Ultimately, the Super-Cycle chooses Robin, and Impulse complains about the bike's name once again, saying, "What next, the Justice Mobile?" Rip Roar is devastated by the cycle's decision, saying that if it has rejected him, that's the same as him rejecting himself. The Super-Cycle blasts a bunch of exhaust in his face. Rip Roar screams in despair, and possibly causes the volcano to erupt again. Our heroes are able to get away in time, but Rip Roar is caught in the lava, and is soon frozen in the hardened rock once again.

Robin comments on how Rip Roar's greatest captor was his own dark nature, and Superboy asks whether they'll have a moral at the end of every adventure. Robin says that is a possibility. In the meantime, it looks like they'll get to keep the Super-Cycle. Impulse angrily protests the bike's name once more, and wishes he could shove Superboy into a wood-chipper for suggesting it. Ali Ben Styn then thanks the boys for rescuing them, and offers a reward — anything except his money, of course. Superboy eyes one of Styn's girls, but Impulse has a different reward in mind. And we will find out what Impulse asked for, but it'll take a while.

What a wonderful followup issue. Peter David has proven that the humor of the first issue was not a fluke, and that we can expect the same high standard throughout the rest of the series. The funniest part for me was the nuns and their car full of explosives. And Impulse's banter with Superboy is killing me, as is the running gag of Impulse not liking the name of their team and the Super-Cycle. And I love the expressions Todd Nauck is giving him, from exasperated to downright angry. This issue was also really fun because it actually gave the boys somebody to fight. But lest we get too serious, the villain basically defeats himself in comedic fashion. It was also nice to learn more about the Super-Cycle, although I am confused as to why it doesn't talk more, since we've seen it talk twice already. And I still don't know why the Super-Cycle transformed Nina Dowd into Mighty Endowed, but who really cares at this point? Just enjoy the joke and move on.

It usually takes three issues before a new series gets letters to the editor, but this issue includes a few letters that came in before the series even started. None of them mention Impulse, since most of them excitedly talk about the rumor that Damage would be a member of Young Justice. Eddie Berganza explains that Comic Shop News reported on Peter David's early thoughts on the makeup of the team. Ultimately, they decided not to use Damage, who will be appearing in The Titans. The one non-Damage letter praises Young Justice: The Secret #1 and asks for Young Justice to be a monthly title.

This summer, terror won't be taking a vacation. Halloween H20. Starring Joseph Gordon Levitt before he played "Robin" in The Dark Knight Rises.

Konami XXL Sports Series featuring Carlos Valderrama, captain of the Colombian national soccer team. On Game Boy, PlayStation and Nintendo 64.

Celebrate the Century stamps with super hero stamp albums.

Happily ever after? The Flash #142 featuring the wedding of Linda Park and Wally West, and the return of writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn.

Size doesn't matter! Gone Wild!

In a dark tomorrow, Gotham's god is the bat. And its devil. I, Joker.

Pro Fleece Gap Athletic sweatshirt $38.

Next time, we'll join Bart as a guest at the wedding of Wally West in The Flash #142.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Young Justice #1

Young, Just Us

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Penciller
Lary Stucker Inker
Jason Wright Colors
Digital Chameleon Separations
Ken Lopez Letters
Eddie Berganza Editor

Our cover by Nauck and Stucker gives us a wonderful look at our three heroes swinging off into action. Of course, Impulse hasn't finished his Lotsa Fries and Mongo Gulp, and as we can see in the background, it seems the boys were having a pretty wild party in the old JLA headquarters. But most importantly, this cover announces the most amazing news ever. After years of repeated requests and clamoring from fans, Impulse, Superboy and Robin now finally have their own series! And I'm not even going to try to contain my excitement!

Our story begins with the horrific image of Robin's hand being eaten by cockroaches and replaced with a batarang. Batman tells him no one will notice the difference, and he suggests his young ward grow a beard. We then cut to Superboy, who has suddenly sprouted large, fiery angel wings. Superman tells him it was only a matter of time before that would happen, since Superboy has such a holier-than-thou attitude. And Impulse is caught in a series of high-speed changes in clothes and personality, in which he turns into the Reverse-Flash, Han Solo, and the Incredible ... Impulse? (Hey, if anyone can get away with a Hulk reference, it's Peter David, who had a legendary, award-winning run on the title over at Marvel.)

The three boys then all wake up screaming from their bizarre nightmares. They've decided to officially form their own team, and use the site of their victory over Bedlam, the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, as their new base. Naturally, the kids had to break in the place with a sleepover, although I do think it's a little weird they each chose to sleep in their superhero uniforms.

Anyway, Robin is the only one to admit he had a bad dream. And when he describes it, he might also be commenting on the state of the comics industry at the time: "I was turning into someone unrecognizable. Grim, gritty, depressing ... as if some maniacal power was doing terrible things to me just to serve some demented whim." Impulse has no idea what Robin's talking about, and considers him a screwball. He then complains about how boring their new team is, and demands some action.

Meanwhile, as fate and parallel story construction would have it, at a convenient archaeological dig not far away, we see Professor Nina Dowd beginning the 18th day of her excavation. She is convinced the crater they've been investigating was caused by an extra-terrestrial object several thousand years ago. Suddenly, her crew unearths a wheel with a tire and everything on it, and it appears to be attached to something. Nina notices the tire is not made of modern-day rubber, but something else entirely. Against the warnings of her colleagues, Nina touches the wheel, and is immediately engulfed in a bright flash of light.

While back at the ex-JLA HQ, Robin is trying to convince Impulse that it's too soon to start chafing from inaction. They've just barely decided to be a team, and have spent the night swapping stories and getting to know each other. But even Superboy agrees with Impulse, and says they can't just sit around waiting for a "call to action." So Robin reluctantly fires up the old JLA computers and offers to take monitor duty. Impulse, meanwhile, finds a can of spray paint, and decides to redecorate. Robin gets face full of the stuff, but Superboy is able to protect himself with his tactile telekinesis.

Impulse draws pictures of the three of them on the ceiling, accompanied by "We rule!" He also writes "Hanson bites" on the Red Tornado statue. For those who don't know, Hanson was a popular boy band at the time with their 1997 hit, "MMMBop." Superboy actually likes Impulse's artwork, but Robin is upset, reminding them that the JLA is loaning the meeting space to them and they need to treat it with respect. Robin asks how they can even function as a team if they behave this way, and Impulse suggests they drop the whole idea of being a team. Once again, Superboy agrees with Impulse, saying they have nothing in common.

Suddenly, the Red Tornado statue reveals itself not to be a statue at all, but the actual forgotten robotic hero. Red Tornado tells the boys they should view their relationship in Freudian psychoanalytic terms. He explains that the three of them perfectly fit the archetypes of id, ego and superego. Impulse, who grew up in a simulated environment and has no real concept of danger is id — all instinct, no before-or-after thought. Superboy, a clone raised with developmental knowledge not experienced firsthand, is ego — having a grasp of morality and ethics. Robin, the only one with anything close to a normal childhood, is superego — having a highly developed moral sense and being the natural leader.

Superboy is furious he's not the superego, saying Robin should the Boy Ego. But Robin is more concerned with what the Red Tornado is doing in the Secret Sanctuary. Red explains that he had lost his humanity, and believed their was no reason to continue to exist. But in the past few minutes, he realized there is some small human feeling left in him, because he finds the three boys incredibly annoying and wants to smack them, particularly Impulse. And for annoying him back to life, Red Tornado graciously thanks the boys. Suddenly, Impulse notices an alert on the monitors about the nearby archaeological dig.

The four heroes race over to the site to check it out, with Robin catching a ride on Red Tornado's back. The android explains that he has detailed, constantly updated files on more than 1,500 super beings — with 19 files on Hawkman alone. Impulse explains that the exploration was sponsored by McGuffin University, and one of the diggers got zapped by an artifact they found. And Superboy is shocked and unnerved to hear Impulse deliver such straight lines.

By the time our heroes arrive at the crater, there's already a large gathering of reporters and D.E.O. officials. The two men in charge of holding the media back are Donald Fite and Ishido Maad, special agents. Ace Atchinson, a reporter for CD-TV, was on his way to a Black Lung Disease concert, when he decided to make a detour and check out this strange event. But Fite 'n Maad (which I think sounds like "fightin' mad") refuse to grant anyone access, and destroy Atchinson's camera.

Robin tries to politely approach Fite and Maad, but Impulse doesn't care about their authority and zooms down into the crater himself. At the bottom, he finds a large, blue crystal/cocoon thing. Maad pulls out a gun on Impulse, but Superboy blocks the bullet to protect his teammate. Fite, meanwhile, shows off all his impressive credential to Robin — apparently he and Maad work for the DEO, FBI, Interpol, CIA, Secret Service, Scotland Yard and more. He says they're from the All-Purposes Enforcement Squad, and have more clearance than God.

Impulse then decides to take a peek inside the cocoon, and despite the warnings of Maad, he vibrates his head through the crystal. This causes it to explode, but Impulse was quick enough to get to safety before being injured. But Robin still scolds him for taking a chance like that, saying Superboy is better suited for such tasks. The smoke begins to clear, revealing Nina Dowd, who has now been transformed into a tiger lady and calls herself Mighty Endowed. And she is mightily endowed in more ways than one. Robin turns to Monty Python to describe her — "huge ... tracts of land."

Mighty Endowed vows to defeat the heroes, and Impulse feels a bit uncomfortable with the idea of fighting the buxom beauty. But Superboy relishes in the opportunity. However, Mighty Endowed, soon discovers she is too top heavy, and fall flat on her face. And Superboy has probably the only fitting response to this whole spectacle: "Awww nerts."

Robin again politely asks Fite 'n Maad for permission to investigate the crater, and the excited Ace Atchinson vouches for the Teen Titans. Superboy tells him they're not the Teen Titans, so Ace calls them the Young Justice League of America. Impulse says, "No ... we're young, but just us." Ace misunderstands, and calls them Young Justice. Impulse wishes he could drop an anvil on Ace's head, and repeats, "No, young, just us!" Ace enthusiastically responds with, "Right! Young Justice!" So Impulse gives up and says, "Fine, whatever."

Fite agrees to let the newly christened Young Justice check out the crater, and Impulse again zips down there without a second word. Robin and Superboy are close behind, and Robin asks Superboy if he pull the wheel out of the ground. Superboy then launches into a lengthy explanation on how he'll use his tactile telekinesis, and Impulse (who is standing on Mighty Endowed), tells him to stop blabbering about his powers as if he needed to fill in someone who's just met him. Robin gets the two to stop arguing, and Superboy pulls out the wheel, which is connected to a large motorcycle/car thing.

Superboy excitedly claims the vehicle as his own and names it the Super-Cycle, which makes Impulse quite mad. Robin begins to investigate it and wonders aloud why it transformed Nina Dowd. Superboy says she turned into a booby trap, and Robin slams his head down on the bike in response to that terrible joke. But then Robin realizes he inadvertently activated the vehicle. As the engine revs up, Robin realizes he's stuck in the driver's seat. Impulse and Superboy try to pull him out, but fail, even with Superboy's tactile telekinesis. The bike then tells them to hold on, and it immediately flies up into the sky.

Maad demands to know what just happened, and Red Tornado says id, ego and superego have been unleashed. He says he could explain more, but he'd need a slide projector and some charts. And Ace feels, a fan of Hanson, is a bit offended by Impulse's graffiti that is still on Red Tornado's chest. Meanwhile, as they rapidly approach the ionosphere, with the Super-Cycle ignoring both Robin's guidance and Superboy's you-know-what, we find our team finally united in one thing ... pure, undiluted panic ... for the most part. Robin is screaming, Superboy is worried, but Impulse is saying "cool" the cool way: "Keeewwwll!"

I am so excited to begin this series! THIS was the team book Impulse was always meant for! He never fit in with the New Titans, and Marv Wolfman didn't want him there, ultimately coming up with lame excuses to write him out of the story. Then poor Impulse had to suffer a couple of years where he barely made any appearances outside of his own title. But now he's finally landed on something that is a natural, perfect fit. He's paired with kids his own age, and with story and art in the same tone as his own series. As Robin said at the beginning of the issue, this series is basically a backlash against the increasing trend of grim and gritty comics. But like Impulse's series, Young Justice isn't too goofy for the sake of being goofy. Yeah, this issue is downright hilarious, but it also stays true to the characters and shows off how cool they are. I wish I could go back in time to 1998 and give the 11-year-old version of myself this comic.

On one hand, it is a little surprising that Todd Dezago was not chosen as the writer of this series. He had already done Young Justice: The Secret #1 and JLA: World Without Grown-Ups. And he did a fantastic job on both of them. But it only took me a few pages to make me fall in love with Peter David's writing. He takes the humor up to unprecedented levels — even his narration captions are hilarious. But more than being funny, David demonstrates a deep understanding of who these characters are and what makes them work. And eloquently matching them up as id, ego and superego was pure brilliance. So don't feel too bad about not having Dezago on Young Justice. We're in good hands with David. Besides, Dezago will be taking over Impulse before too long.

And how could I go this far without mentioning the stellar art of Todd Nauck? Combined with the great inking of Lary Stucker and the fine colors of Jason Wright, this issue gives me everything I could ask for art-wise. The lines are crisp and clean, the backgrounds are detailed, the characters are consistent, the faces are emotive. Somehow, Nauck has found the perfect balance between cartoony and realistic. And that's exactly what this series demands. And the best part is we'll get to see Nauck slowly refine and improve his style over the course of this series. The best is yet to come.

Since this is the first issue, there aren't any letters to the editor. But there are a few new ads:

Grab what's real. Always Coca-Cola.

You know the names, but you don't know the secrets of — Tangent Comics.

Hey, feeling good is folding A to B. Fruitopia.

Secrets of two worlds. Jack Kirby's New Gods Secret Files & Origins.

The Dome: Ground Zero. It came from nowhere. It's ten miles wide. It's going to destroy the world.

Deadly ninjas! He-man heroes! Astounding dinosaurs! It all adds up to high adventure in ... Guns of the Dragon.

Now here's a fun house ad drawn by Nauck and Stucker:

This individual issue cost $2.50, but a subscription of 12 issues only cost $23. Unfortunately, this ad also includes Chase, Chronos and Resurrection Man, but not Robin, Superboy and Impulse. That might be because the prices didn't match. I don't know about Robin and Superboy, but Impulse went for only $2.25 at the time. In hindsight, a quarter difference seems really petty. Nowadays, comics are either $2.99 or $3.99. Nothing in between.

Watch This Space does feature Robin, Superboy and Impulse, carefully cut out from this cover. But this lame newsletter really doesn't say much about Young Justice, other than it coming right out of JLA: World Without Grown-Ups.

Who is the Martian Manhunter? Find out.

80-Page Giant. The greatest heroes by the greatest comics talents!

Milk. Where's your mustache? Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. It seems Milk didn't pay for the right to mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so it had to settle for an awkward mention to "the undead."

Next: The boys' wild ride! or Splatter Mountain!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Impulse #41

The Return of Arrowette

Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Guest Writer
Ethan Van Sciver Guest Artist
Chris Eliopoulos Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist
L.A. Williams Assistant Principal
Paul Kupperberg Principal
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo

Our cover by Craig Rousseau and Wayne Faucher gives us a pretty cheesy joke. But I think it's funny because it's cheesy. Both characters look pretty good, even though Impulse still has relatively short hair. And I like how happy both of them are. Arrowette's encore is a cause for celebration.

We haven't seen Arrowette for a while. She did make a brief cameo in JLA: World Without Grown-Ups, but that's been it since her first appearance in Impulse #28. (Interestingly, that issue was also written by a guest writer, Tom Peyer.) Since then, Arrowette has apparently been taken away from her overbearing and borderline abusive mother, and placed in a boarding school in Pennsylvania. But she still keeps a picture of her mom on her desk. She also still maintains her secret identity as Arrowette, and fights crime whenever the need arises.

Our story begins with Arrowette stalking a thief in her school. She manages to shoot a net arrow around his legs, but he still escapes through a window and cuts himself loose, making off with a stolen floppy disk. (For kids who don't know, floppy disks were basically ancient thumb drives.) When Arrowette fails, she decides to call in the only other hero she knows — Impulse.

Bart is out on a geography lesson with Max, visiting the Tanzanian plains of Central Africa. Bart is fascinated by all the animals, and on their run back, he asks Max whether elephants, hippopotamuses or baboons can tap into the Speed Force. Max answers in the negative on all three, then wonders why Bart would want to know that.

As soon as they get home, Bart is called by Arrowette. I'm not sure how or when she learned Impulse's secret identity, but Bart seems OK with it, so I guess he must have told her at some time. Anyway, Arrowette asks Bart to come to the dance and help her out on the case, but for some reason, neither she nor Bart want Max to know the truth. I guess it's a matter of pride for them, or they're worried he'd tell them not to go after thieves themselves. Who can understand the logic of teenagers? So Bart tells Max he's been invited to a dance in Pennsylvania, and a suspicious Max sits down to read his newspaper (with the headline "JLA seeing ghosts?") and sip from his Radu coffee mug (Radu was Kyle Rayner's neighbor and owner of his favorite coffee shop).

We then get a pretty fun montage of Bart trying on various outfits for the dance. His first attempts are quite nerdy, and he realizes on his own that an Elvis Presley suit won't work. With Max's help, he eliminates clothes inspired by Devo, Saturday Night Fever and Robin Hood. Carol and Preston are called in, and they get a good laugh at his Jughead outfit. Bart then gets pretty close with a formal, 18th century suit, and finally settles on a classic tuxedo with a cummerbund and bowtie. And the really impressive thing about this, is Bart had the discipline to try on all the outfits at normal speed — he started at about 6:10 and didn't finish till 7 o'clock.

Bart runs up to Pennsylvania and knocks on Arrowette's door. He is left speechless when he sees the stunning girl in a sparkling red dress. But I'm more interested in the quick glimpse of Arrowette's room. She has a Superman poster on the wall, and a Batman doll on her bed. And her bookshelf is a goldmine of Easter eggs. There are the usual books you'd except for an archery ace — Robin Hood, William Tell, Advanced Archery, the biography of Oliver Queen and the more clever Broken Arrow and Shaft. Then there are a bunch referencing the real people working on this book — Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt, Ethan Van Sciver, Chris Eliopoulos, Paul Kupperberg and L.A. Williams (again through "Views of L.A.," which seems to be popping up everywhere). There's also a reference to Trent Kaniuga, who was apparently a fellow artist and friend/mentor of Van Sciver.

So the two teens head over to the Fradisson Hotel, which is not only hosting the school dance, but also a wedding and the 18th annual Sporting Goods Conference. Bart asks Arrowette how she likes Pennsylvania, and she says boarding school is a bit weird. When a couple of hunky guys walk past, she admits she's getting to like it. Bart returns the favor by checking out some pretty girls before getting down to business and asks Arrowette what they're looking for. Arrowette explains that she's tracking a thief who has already broken into three schools in Connecticut and planted undetectable post-hypnotic suggestions on the computers to lure kids into stealing their parents' cash and credit cards for him. Arrowette's only problem is she doesn't know how or when he collects his loot.

Bart munches on a few Cheetos and begins to wonder why they're even at the dance. Luckily for Bart, he doesn't have to wonder too long, as the lights suddenly turn out. Bart immediately rushes out to get his and Arrowette's superhero costumes just in time for the lights to come back. Impulse excitedly rushes upstairs to look for the thief, and he is shocked to see a bunch of gorillas hanging around an enormous wedding cake. Impulse doesn't know which one is Grodd, but he beats them all up anyway, and destroys the cake, as well, believing it to be a space-time rift generator pod from the video game Time-Traveling Zombie Chimps. With the threat easily neutralized, Bart is amazed that Wally and his grandpa Barry made such a big deal of Grodd and his apes.

But the day hasn't been saved yet, as Impulse soon notices a man carrying a bag of boomerangs. Not noticing that the man works for Kupps Sporting Goods, Impulse takes out who he believes to be Captain Boomerang. Impulse then randomly decides to vibrate through the floor and ends up in a walk-in freezer, filled with frozen people — including Santa Claus and some Greek goddesses. Impulse immediately recognizes this as the work of Captain Cold, and vows to have the people back to normal in a flash.

Impulse vibrates through the freezer door and into the kitchen, where he startles the cooks into accidentally creating a grease fire. Impulse knows that wherever Captain Cold is, his pal Heatwave can't be far away, and he quickly subdues all the cooks. Realizing that the dance is crawling with super villains, Impulse decides to do the responsible thing and contact the Justice League. He runs off in no direction in particular, and ends up in a room full of mirrors. He sees some girls practicing ballet, but he knows they must be light-forged constructs created by Mirror Master. Impulse runs head-first into the mirror, but only knocks himself out and scares all the ballerinas away.

Impulse quickly recovers, and when he sees Mirror Master isn't anywhere to be found, he decides to move on. He heads downstairs to a startling sight. The "gorillas" were actually the thieves in disguise, and they've all been captured by Arrowette. Her exploit has drawn a large crowd, which somehow includes the Beatles, Peter Parker and Aunt May.

Later, Arrowette explains that she knew the lights going on was the signal for the thieves, because as soon as they came back on, she noticed a bunch of computer geeks crowding around a trash can. Impulse was already upstairs by this point, so Arrowette checked the can herself, and found it filled with cash. The thief in a gorilla suit then tried to make off with the loot, but Arrowette stopped him, prompting him to say he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for meddlesome girls.

The next day, somewhere in the South Atlantic, Bart happily tells Max how he saved the day. Max asks what, exactly, was Bart's role in the whole thing, and all Bart can come up with was how he distracted everyone so Arrowette could flush out the villain. Bart tries to explain himself, by saying there was a bunch of people upstairs pretending to be the Rogues, and a bunch of gorillas jumped out of a wedding cake, but they weren't really gorillas. Max says he's heard enough, and asks what lesson Bart learned from this. Bart says, "That I think I want to form a superhero team. Or maybe join one." These words put Max into a bit of a panic, and he rushes off ahead of Bart.

What a wonderful issue! I have never been so pleased with a fill-in, guest-creator issue! Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt spent a good amount of time editing Impulse, so he clearly got to know the character inside-out. I just wish he would have written more issues. And Ethan Van Sciver was simply phenomenal. He brought a detailed realism that the series never had previously. But he also kept things light and cartoony enough to fit the tone of Impulse. Van Sciver filled each page with beautiful, colorful action, and threw in so many hidden gags — I know I missed a bunch. And I am happy to say that this is only the beginning of Van Sciver's relationship with Impulse. He will be taking over after Craig Rousseau decides to move on.

Impulsive Reactions gives The Big Salute to Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt and Ethan Van Sciver. L.A. Williams also thanks Van Sciver for his work on The Flash 80-Page Giant, and says he'll also help out on the DCU Legends 3-D Gallery. This School Rules goes to Parsons Elementary in Harrison, N.Y., because one of their former teacher's aides, Sharis White, recently married Van Sciver.

Matt Child, of Bolton, Mass., called Impulse #37 the best issue William Messner-Loebs has written, mainly because it mocks the trend of heroes toting huge guns and a multitude of sharp pointy objects. Matt also asks to see more of Dr. Morlo.

Kevin J. Frey called it refreshing to see a small-time villain such as Evil Eye's father struggle to rob a convenience store. He hopes to see more of Evil Eye and the Transparent Weapon, and was also glad to see more characters from Max Mercury's past. And Kevin actually liked Bart's buzz cut, but still hopes he grows his hair back.

Jennifer M. Contino, of Ellwood City, Penn., isn't sure whether the covers or the stories inside are the best part of each issue. She declares the current creative team the greatest Impulse team so far, and asks for Impulse to team up with Prysm. L.A. says they'll likely meet up in the upcoming JLA vs. Teen Titans miniseries. For now, let's take a look at the ads:

WWF War Zone for PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin.

JNCO glow-in-the-dark shoes.

The Caped Crusader meets the Big Cheese. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese DC Superheroes.

Mega Warheads Mega Sour Collect & Win Game. Grand prize was a $5,000 Sony mega electronics system.

Lunchables could get you that hosting gig on Nickelodeon. Grand prize was a trip to Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando.

Bacon isn't just for breakfast anymore. Tomba! for PlayStation.

Dragon Ball Z. The Namek saga continues. Each VHS contained only three episodes and cost $14.98.

One free ticket to Six Flags inside specially marked boxes of General Mills cereal.

A colossal animated musical movie! The Mighty Kong, straight to video.

Man-eating shark. Boy eating shark. Pop-Tarts with shark-shaped sprinkles.

Well, Max may not like the idea of Bart forming a superhero team, but I love it! Next time, we'll finally begin the amazing Young Justice!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Flash #141

The Black Flash Part 3 The End

Mark Millar ... Writer
Pop Mhan & Joshua Hood ... Pencillers
Chris Ivy ... Inker
Gaspar ... Letterer
Tom McCraw ... Colorist
L.A. Williams ... Asst. Editor
Paul Kupperberg ... Editor

This is actually one of the better covers Steve Lightle has done on this series. He keeps things pretty simple and basic, and for the most part, it works. It's funny how sometimes using less detail can improve your artwork. I like the colors, and I think the Flash looks pretty good. I'm not quite sure why he's running straight up a cliff, though.

Our story begins with a brief flashback of the deaths of Barry Allen, Johnny Quick and Savitar. Wally West narrates that despite the great speed each of those men possessed, they were all caught by the Black Flash in the end. And now, a powerless Wally is staring down the Black Flash in a frozen airport. Wally says that Max Mercury told him the Black Flash corrupts time when it enters our dimension, and just about anything that hasn't been connected to the Speed Force for a number of years slows down to an absolute stop. I don't know how Max could have known this, or when he would have had the time or reason to tell Wally this. But as it stands, we do have an explanation for why Impulse is frozen in time, but Wally is not.

Wally starts throwing things at the Black Flash, and actually manages to put some distance between himself and the omen of death. He sneaks down the luggage chutes and tries to escape the airport, but finds the doors are locked. So Wally throws on a Wayne Flight Support hat, and tries to blend in with the motionless crowd. However, Wally's plan doesn't work, and the Black Flash sneaks up behind him for the kill.

Suddenly, Wally is swept away to safety by Jay Garrick. Jay explains that Max felt the Black Flash's presence and rounded everyone up. Their plan is to keep Wally hidden until they can take care of the Black Flash, but Wally says that thing won't leave until it kills someone. So Jay locks Wally inside a utility closet and races off to fight the Black Flash with Jesse Quick and Max Mercury. Max realizes the Black Flash has given up looking for Wally, and is now headed straight toward the frozen Bart. So the three speedsters coordinate their efforts to lure the Black Flash away, and Jay manages to use a food cart to shove it out the window and into a gasoline truck, which explodes in a fiery burst.

Wally hears the explosion and fears the worst. As he cries out in anguish, lightning begins to spark in his eyes. Meanwhile, Max and Jesse catch up with Jay, who was knocked unconscious by the blast. But the Black Flash was completely unfazed. Wally realizes he's regained his connection to the Speed Force, and he breaks out of the closet, armed with a plan to take the Black Flash somewhere it can be contained. But before Wally reaches the others, Max knocks out Jesse and offers himself up to be taken by the Black Flash.

Wally arrives in the nick of time, and leads the Black Flash away with a really stupid line: "Let's boogie!" Wally says it's been nearly six weeks since he last ran like this, and now he's determined to not stop running until the threat of the Black Flash is neutralized once and for all. He leads Black Flash on a race around the world, and they soon start running fast enough to travel through time. They travel millions, even billions of years into the future before the Black Flash catches up to Wally. He keeps pushing forward another hundred million years until they reach the end of time. Billions and billions of years in the future, the very concept of life and death cease to exist. And so does the Black Flash, which is engulfed in a blinding white entropy. Wally keeps running and experiences the Big Bang as the universe resets itself. But Wally can't face the prospect of going back home to a world without Linda Park.

Back in the present, time is back to normal, and Jesse tells a recovering Jay that Wally beat the Black Flash and should be returning shortly. But Max isn't so sure Wally can return. He explains that Wally was able to reconnect to the Speed Force because his friends were in trouble, but now that the threat has been eliminated, Max worries that Wally doesn't see any reason to return now. Impulse then meets up with everybody just in time to hear Max say he believes Wally committed suicide.

Bart does not take this news well, and collapses in an emotional heap. He yells at Max, saying Wally would never do that in a million years, and that he's the Flash — the hero Bart wants to be when he grows up. Tearfully, Bart says the Flash can do anything so long as you believe in him, and he begs Max to believe in Wally.

Luckily, Bart's sadness doesn't last too long. Wally suddenly arrives with Linda in his arms. Her clothes are in tatters, but there's just enough strategically placed fabric to keep her decent. Everyone is shocked and thrilled to see the couple, and Max surmises that Wally dove into the Speed Force and pulled her out. Bart shouts, "Ya-hoooooo!!!" and gives Wally a big hug, before quickly pulling off him and trying to act cool by saying, "Uh, I mean 'nice job,' man. You're a real pro." Jesse then gives Wally his engagement ring back and tells him to just say what he feels.


Wally takes Linda to her grave, and she comments on how odd it is to know exactly who attended her funeral. Wally admits there was one good part about the funeral, Superman and Captain Marvel teaming up to read a passage from the Bible, which Wally describes as the most powerful thing he's heard in his whole life. Linda then complains about the reporter her station sent to cover her funeral, and Wally awkwardly changes the subject by pulling out the ring. Linda says they shouldn't be doing this in a graveyard, so Wally rushes them to Paris and gets a nice dress for her and a tuxedo for himself. Wally then finally asks his longtime girlfriend if she'll marry him, and ... she doesn't say anything. However, an editor's note says, "Next: Waid & Augustyn return for ... the wedding of the Flash!"

There were a few things that I did like in this issue, but a few other things I didn't like. The art was awful as always, although I do suspect it was Joshua Hood who drew Impulse's emotional breakdown, which seemed a bit different and a little better than Pop Mhan's usual work. And that meltdown was my favorite part of the issue. It's kind of refreshing and humanizing to see Bart lose control of his emotions like that. I also liked how Max was willing to sacrifice himself to stop the Black Flash and right the wrong he basically caused.

But I didn't like how Max was used to inexplicably explain every single detail. Yeah, he's the Zen Master of Speed, but how did he know all that stupid stuff about the Black Flash freezing time for everybody except those who've been connected to the Speed Force longer than two or three years. When it comes down to it, that was a stupid excuse for Mark Millar to have his cake and eat it, too. He wanted to keep the cool visual of last issue with Impulse being frozen in time, but he also wanted to bring in the other speedsters to have a big showdown with Black Flash. So he came up with a really lame loophole to explain why Bart froze and the others didn't.

As a whole, I really did not like the Black Flash story at all. I don't like the idea of death being personified as a fallible, corruptible being. Death is a natural, necessary and inevitable part of life. While it's kind of neat for speedster to have their own version of death, I don't like that it can accidentally kill Linda instead of Wally, and then wait six weeks before attempting to rectify the problem. And how did it cease to exist at the end of time but Wally survived?  I also would have liked more explanation as to how Wally was able to save Linda. Was she sent to the Speed Force because the Black Flash killed her? And if so, what then? None of this makes any sense. Millar got too wild and vague for my liking.

Next time, we'll return to the main series with Impulse #41.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

JLA: World Without Grown-Ups #2

Story Todd Dezago
Kid Pencils Humberto Ramos
Grown-Up Pencils Mike McKone
Kid Inks Paul Neary
Grown-Up Inks Mark McKenna
Jason Wright Colorist
Digital Chameleon Separator
Cover: Humberto Ramo & Wayne Faucher, Mike McKone & Mike McKenna
Heroic Age Cover Separator
Special thanks to Grant Morrison

As with issue #1, the wraparound effect of this cover is lost due to the binding. This time around, McKone did the characters in the foreground — the entire Justice League of America battling large rock hands — and Ramos did the characters in the background. Superboy, Robin and Impulse are quite heroic on the front, while the back shows Metallo, Gorilla Grodd and the Joker. When these two issues were first collected as a trade paperback in 2000, Todd Nauck drew a new cover, which followed the basic principles of the two main covers.

I'm assuming there was no wraparound with this edition — I don't own it, and took this image from MyComicShop.com. I really like how Nauck put the main heroes of this story in front of their mentors. And the group of cheering kids is a nice touch, as well. In 2010, this story was reprinted as a 100-page spectacular in DC Comics Presents: Young Justice #1, which uses the cover of issue #1, and is the only available digital format of this story.

This issue picks right up where the last one left off, with Billy Batson saying, "—zam!" In case you're confused, that was Billy completing the word "Shazam," which transforms him into Earth's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel. Billy was afraid of what would happen when he said the magic word in a world without grown-ups, but he's finally summed up his courage to give it a shot. However, once Billy says "Shazam," he doesn't turn into Captain Marvel, and instead finds himself floating out in space. Even stranger, Billy sees two Earths, one with a smiley face of clouds, and the other looking rather plain and boring. Billy correctly deduces that one world is for the kids and the other is for the grown-ups. So Billy somehow steers himself toward the Adultworld in an attempt to contact the Justice League.

Meanwhile, on the Kidworld, Robin is still hanging onto Impulse's ankle over a large cavern. Impulse is hanging onto Superboy's waist, and Superboy is being attacked by some nearby trees that Bedlam has brought to life. Robin asks Impulse if he can do anything, but Impulse can't think of anything while he's stuck in the middle of this monkey chain. Robin tries to get a line out, but he can't get a clear shot. Impulse suddenly realizes that the trees attacking Superboy are the same ones from Nazi Dinosaurs from Venus. Impulse starts to explain the video game, when they're suddenly attacked by a large Tyrannosaurus rex wearing a Nazi jacket.

The dinosaur actually provides Robin the opening he was hoping for, and he throws his rope around the beasts uvula. The three boys are soon pulled to safety, and Robin orders Impulse to lift the dinosaur up with a whirlwind. Robin then sends Superboy on the dino, and he blasts it far away with one mighty punch. Superboy and Impulse cheer over their teamwork, but Robin says he hopes they can work together on purpose next time. The teen heroes then see the entrance to the cave has been decorated with tons of goofy signs directing them right to Bedlam. (And one of the signs features the lovable Captain Carrot.)

Inside the cave, Matthew Stuart, now Bedlam, is lounging on a beanbag chair, reveling in his wonderful birthday present, which can turn him into a knight, an astronaut, and anything else he can imagine. On two large screens, he monitors Adultworld and Kidworld. He was able to create the second Earth by "borrowing" the mind of the most powerful child, and the more people believe in his warped reality, the more power he accumulates. Bedlam turns his attention to the Nazi Dinosaur battling the intruders, and he suddenly gets a craving to play the actual game on his Playtendo. He has a brief internal struggle, which is put to an end by his large and silent purple companion. As more purple energy flows into the 13-year-old boy, Matthew agrees to postpone his fun until the heroes are dealt with.

On Adultworld, the JLA is trying to come to grips with Batman's discovery that their world is an intricate illusion created only hours ago. Billy soon arrives at the Watchtower on the moon, and for some reason, a handful of the JLA members don't know he's really Captain Marvel. Plastic Man and Green Lantern quickly capture the boy, but Martian Manhunter frees him and pulls him aside with the other heroes who do know his secret identity. Billy whispers the whole story to a select few, because it's somehow a bad idea to let Green Lantern know who he is. Anyway, once Billy mentions the weather anomalies in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, most of the League immediately jumps to action.

On Kidworld, Superboy, Impulse and Robin realize the entrance to Bedlam's cave keeps getting farther away from them, no matter how much they walk/run toward it. Robin suggests they pause for a bit and consider the type of force they're dealing with — someone powerful enough to bend reality to turn the old Justice League headquarters into a twisted Tim Burton cartoon. At these words, a bunch of cartoon animals dressed as the JLA come rushing by. A terrified Impulse realizes he unintentionally created those characters by thinking about the Justice League and cartoons. When Superboy realizes their enemy is reading their thoughts, he begins to panic and proclaim their doom. He says this is like facing your worst possible villain, and as soon as he says that, the three heroes all disappear in a cloud of smoke.

Superboy finds himself alone in a construction yard, where he is soon attacked by a teenage version of Metallo. But this time, Metallo is made entirely of kryptonite, making things a lot harder for the Kid. Impulse, meanwhile, appears in a jungle, where he comes face-to-face with a young Grodd. Impulse starts to laugh at the baby version of the classic Flash villain, but Grodd soon grows to enormous size, chasing Impulse up the Empire State Building. And Robin is in Arkham Asylum, where a teenaged Joker engages the Boy Wonder in a deep, depressing conversation. Joker points out how hard it is trying to live up to Batman's standards. And he causes Robin to doubt how he can keep up with his super-powered friends.

But when Joker says Robin must be out of his mind, Robin realizes that his enemy is merely making his own thoughts a reality. So Robin thinks up an escape route — a cartoonish black hole to stick his hand through to find Superboy. Robin has Superboy "tag" him in, and he's easily able to defeat Metallo. Superboy quickly figures out the trick, and tags out Impulse, taking care of the giant Grodd for him. Robin reunites with Superboy, and they both worry about how Bart can deal with Li'l Joker. But they had no reason to worry, since Impulse drove Joker nuts by asking the question "why" a million times. Robin tags Impulse out, and soon the three heroes are back in reality, ready to face Bedlam once and for all.

On Adultworld, the JLA and Billy Batson arrive at Happy Harbor, where they quickly find a purple glowing cave. Billy can feel the evil magic resonating from it, and all the heroes are soon attacked by gigantic hands made from the ground (just like on the cover). In Kidworld, Impulse, Robin and Superboy finally get inside the old Justice League headquarters, which mostly looks the same. Robin points out the old JLA shield, and Impulse thinks they literally used it as a shield to protect them from attacks, which sounds pretty stupid to him.

Impulse then finds an old storage room, and Robin and Superboy realize it should be on the other side of the mountain. Superboy gently reminds Impulse they're not there for sight-seeing, and they move on in their exploration of the twisted version of the old headquarters. They next find the old meeting room, which includes a large portrait of the old team — Aquaman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and Barry Allen. Superboy wonders aloud whether the three of them will ever be like those legendary heroes. He and Robin then move on, beginning to suspect that Bedlam is stalling by creating this maze. Bart, however, becomes transfixed with this rare photo of his grandpa, and he spends an extra few seconds staring at it.

We return to the JLA, still battling the giant rock hands. Billy slips away unseen, and investigates the purple cave himself. The League soon finds out where Billy has gone, and they join him in the cave to find Captain Marvel in some sort of suspended animation. J'onn J'onzz telepathically links Billy and Captain Marvel and learns that Marvel was enveloped in purple energy after returning from an exhausting adventure the night before. Bedlam then used Captain Marvel as a nexus through which to focus his magic — forcing the 13-year-old imagination of Billy combined with the wisdom of Solomon to dream up an entire second world. Martian Manhunter tells the rest of the League that they are currently residing inside Captain Marvel's dream. Green Lantern suggests they just wake Marvel up, but Plastic Man worries about what will happen to them when he stops dreaming.

Impulse, Robin and Superboy finally come face-to-face with Bedlam, who tells the heroes he'll soon be calling himself God once everyone accepts this new reality and make him invincible. Bedlam chastises the heroes for being such adults about all this, and he vows to crush them. Impulse wonders who the big purple guy behind Bedlam is, and Superboy demands to know where the grown-ups are. Bedlam simply says he sent them away with his imagination. He then admits he probably can't imagine a proper way to defeat the three heroes, but he does say it would be easier to tap into their imaginations to let them defeat each other.

Bedlam taps into Robin's mind to create a kryptonite robot to battle Superboy. And from Superboy's mind, Bedlam creates a trap for Impulse that won't let him move or vibrate away from. And from Impulse, Bedlam makes a ninja to fight Robin. At first, Robin thinks his deathtrap is pretty lame, but he soon realizes that Impulse also made Robin's thought go fuzzy, making it impossible for him to focus on the battle. But once again, Robin is reminded that all they're fighting is the manifestation of their thoughts, so he encourages the others to think of nothing. Robin's plan works, and all the deathtraps disappear. Bedlam congratulates Robin for fighting through a muddy mind, but he points out that Impulse is having a hard time thinking of nothing. Poor Bart breaks out into a cold sweat, telling himself to think of nothing over and over again, but it doesn't work. The room is soon filled with Nazi Dinosaurs and psychotic clowns. Impulse apologizes to his friends, and Robin questions whether he's really on their side.

Batman finally arrives at Happy Harbor and tells the JLA that it's not a matter of waking up Captain Marvel, but of what they're willing to believe. Although Captain Marvel's imagination is maintaining the reality, the details of the dream were planted there by someone else. Batman suggests they link their minds through J'onn's telepathy to influence Marvel's dream and combine the two worlds. Wonder Woman asks whether this would work, and Batman admits there is the chance they could inadvertently erase themselves from existence.

Bedlam, meanwhile, is absolutely thrilled that by giving life to Impulse's thoughts, he has created tons of cooler monsters than he ever could have thought up. Poor Bart can only watch helplessly as all his favorite video game monsters are destroying his friends. He imagines having to dig graves for Superboy and Robin, but then he imagines Max Mercury pouring molasses on his head and telling him to slow down and think. A desperate Robin calls out for Impulse to do something, and Superboy reminds him they only have one life — unlike Bart's stupid video games. But Impulse realizes this actually is just like a video game, and he shouts out the word, "Reset!!!"

Just as pressing the resent button ends the game, Impulse's command caused all the monsters to disappear. Bedlam tries to create more monsters, but Impulse keeps interrupting him by saying "reset" again and again. Robin and Superboy notice that the big purple guy is also looking worried, and they encourage Impulse to keep it up. Bedlam screams and yells at Impulse, but Bart is too quick with his steady stream of resets. The 13-year-old villain begins to lose confidence in himself, and as the purple guy shrinks and shrivels away, Matt Stuart collapses in an emotional, exhausted heap. Robin convinces Matt that he's tired of all the trouble and confusion, and just wants to go to sleep. Once Bedlam is subdued, the Justice League appears, having successfully merged the two worlds back together, and Billy Batson back with Captain Marvel.

Some time later, the D.E.O. arrives to take away the catatonic Matt Stuart and promises to keep him in their care until they can assess the extent and potential threat of his abilities. The rest of the heroes are celebrating their victory, and Impulse asks Max if he's still grounded. Batman prepares to take Robin back to Gotham, but when he sees how sad Superboy and Impulse are to see him go, he decides to let Robin hang out with his friends a little while longer. Robin rushes back to Impulse and Superboy and tells them he thinks they really can take over for the JLA one day. As the Junior Justice League, Robin says, they seriously rock! Impulse cheers, and Superboy is also happy, but he says the name Junior Justice League "just hurts." The boys then eagerly return to the party, and Superboy reminds his friends not to look at Wonder Woman's "eagle" when talking to her. Bart doesn't understand, and Superboy says he'll explain it to him later. Amidst all the celebration, though, nobody  notices the glowing eye coming from the forgotten Red Tornado robot.

Too much fun! This issue, and whole story put together, was simply amazing. Impulse, Robin and Superboy each had a chance to shine heroically and comedically. And since this is an Impulse blog, I am especially happy that Bart was able to use his love for video games to ultimately save the day. It was absolutely perfect. I did find it a little odd, however, that Impulse's worst-imagined villain was Gorilla Grodd, someone he really hasn't dealt with directly. But when I really think about it, I'm not sure who else it could be. Kobra and Savitar don't really feel appropriate, and President Thawne would only provide an emotional battle for Bart, but none of the physicality that the scene really demanded. It is kind of telling, though, for Todd Dezago to use Gorilla Grodd in back-to-back Impulse stories.

My only real complaint with this story was how only half of the Justice League knew Billy Batson's secret identity. This led to some very awkward exchanges of Billy pulling several heroes aside to whisper to them, or only communicate telepathically to Martian Manhunter, while the other heroes sat off to the side, wondering aloud what was going on. What's so bad about having Billy just tell everyone who he really is? Especially in a crisis of this proportion!

Another slight complaint I have has nothing to do with the story, but rather the title. Truthfully, this is a Young Justice story through and through. The JLA are merely the guest stars. But I guess DC thought this story would sell better if they put JLA in the title. I would have called this Young Justice: World Without Grown-Ups, even though the Young Justice series hasn't started yet. But that didn't stop DC from creating Young Justice: The Secret #1. So I say call it what it is.

The Young Justice episode "Misplaced" is directly based off this story. It is cut down quite a bit to fit it into one episode and have it tie in with the over-arcing story of the show. Impulse isn't in the episode (he wouldn't join the show until the second season), and as a whole, the episode is much more serious than this story. Instead of showing kids celebrating and causing juvenile trouble, the episode focuses on the older teenagers responsibly and depressingly taking care of the much younger children. While the comic only lauded to the rioting on the Adultworld, the episode actually showed us that, and how the villains were able to take advantage of the chaos. Bedlam is replaced by Klarion the Witch Boy, who was only creating an insanely over-the-top distraction for his fellow super villains. And ultimately, it's Doctor Fate who saves the day, although Captain Marvel did play a big part in the story by being able to switch back and forth between the two worlds. All in all, it's a pretty fair adaptation, although it lacks the heart of the original. Instead of being an amusing and touching story about young teenagers learning to grow up, the animated series used this story merely as a diverting backdrop against which to tell a much larger story, thereby weakening the idea of a world without grown-ups to a mostly irrelevant piece of the puzzle.

Next time, we'll finally get to the bottom of the Black Flash story in The Flash #141.