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.

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