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!

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