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.

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