Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Impulse #44

All Hallows Gettin' Even

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

Impulse is a bit behind Young Justice, but that's OK. Halloween is a great holiday to celebrate twice. And as our cover shows, Impulse had quite a fun time trick-or-treating around the world. We'll overlook the fact that many of those countries don't celebrate Halloween, the oddity of clearly labeling each bag for its country, and the unfortunate truth that this scene does not occur in the book. But none of that matters because this is a really fun and goofy cover. And that's all that matters with Impulse.

Our story begins with a group of kids dressed like the old Justice Society of America out trick-or-treating. As they pass a bunch of bushes, none of them notice Evil Eye stealing a handful of their candy. Despite his father's protests, Evil Eye has taken to hanging with a couple of older kids, Steelboy and Raffles, in hopes of joining their gang, the Tigers. However, stealing candy from babies doesn't impress the older teens. Although they are merely thugs in a gang, they actually have sophisticated, political aspirations, drawing inspiration from leaders of Colombian drug cartels who eventually began working with the CIA and later advanced to Secretary of State. Desperate to prove he can provide the Tigers the edge they need, Evil Eye races home to steal some of his dad's and grandpa's gadgets. (In his house, we see a photograph on the wall of Dr. Morlo with the Green Cigarette.)

We then return to the trick-or-treating JSA, which has reached the home of Max Crandall and Helen Claiborne. Max, dressed as a devil, gives the children homemade popcorn balls. But the kids are horrified to receive treats that aren't safety-sealed, and they ask Max if he's a perv. Helen, dressed as a witch, offers to trade the kids their popcorn balls for $5 coupons to her dental practice. This only makes the kids angrier, and they head off to tell everybody how bad this house sucks. Max doesn't get why the kids didn't want his popcorn balls, and Helen tells him things have changed since he was a kid in the 1400s. Max reminds her he's from the 1800s, and realizes that Bart is missing out on all the fun.

Bart has propped himself awkwardly in his doorframe to play his GameBoy, and we see his door has a Superman poster on it, as well as signs that say, "Bart's Room" and "No Max Allowed!" Apparently it's Bart's first Halloween (which doesn't make any sense, but whatever). Max tries to explain how fun Halloween is, but his archaic traditions of tipping outhouses and soaping windows don't impress Bart, who doesn't even know what an outhouse is. But Helen is able to get Bart to go to his school's party by telling him that on Halloween, people can say and do stuff they keep secret the rest of the year. And when Bart realizes he can wear a costume to this party, he excitedly zips out the door. Helen and Max are initially pleased with themselves, but quickly realize what kind of costume Bart had in mind.

Sure enough, Bart rushes over to the school as Impulse with plans of freeing himself from the burden of a secret identity. Bart runs up to Preston (dressed as the Tin Man), Roland (the Riddler) and Carol (Catwoman), and says, "Hi, guys! I'm Impulse!" But Preston casually responds with, "We can see that. Hi, Bart!" And Roland compliments Bart on his costume. This confuses our poor hero until Carol points out that about five other kids are also dressed as Impulse, and they all look good.

We then head to a discount store, where a bunch of T-shirts start flying into the air, frightening the workers and customers. (And once again, "Views of L.A." makes an appearance. I'm guessing it's just a nod to L.A. Williams, but I'd really like to know if it's an actual book.) We soon find out the T-shirts were stolen by Evil Eye and the Tigers, with the help of the Transparent Weapon's invisibility device. The Tigers are thrilled by this new trick, but they soon realize that they could have stolen something more valuable than T-shirts. Since the police have already arrived, they decide to try another store that's open 24 hours. And the first place the Tigers think of is Zimm-Zamm's — a thought that terrifies Evil Eye.

We soon see why Evil Eye got so scared at this plan, because his dad, the Transparent Weapon, is currently working at Zimm-Zamm's. Butler, as he's called by his co-worker, is bragging about how his discipline has shaped his son into a straight-A student and star athlete, when Max Mercury pays him a visit. Max openly calls him Weapon, and asks if he knows anything about the recent invisible burglars. Butler is angered by Max revealing his secret identity, and he says he knows better than to commit crimes in Manchester anymore. Max believes him, and says he'll give Professor Morlo a visit. But before he leaves, a nearby parent advises Max to leave the spandex costumes to the younger kids.

Max is irritated so he doesn't notice Impulse arriving. Impulse doesn't notice Max because ... well, Impulse doesn't notice. Of course, Impulse's sudden arrival only makes Butler angrier. He asks if Impulse also came to hassle him, but when Impulse gives him a blank stare, Butler says, "You sure sure weren't just running around at random trying to find a trace of the robbers and decided to drop in here for something to eat!" Impulse responds with, "Um ... no. That would be stupid. It was the first one." Evil Eye and the Tigers then arrive, and Evil Eye uses a harmonic disruptor to slow Impulse down to an absolute stop. Butler recognizes the effects of one of his dad's devices, and when the money starts flying out of the cash register, he realizes that someone has stolen his equipment.

The Tigers start to beat him up, but Evil Eye tries to protect his dad. Butler is eventually able to pull out his keychain and press a button that deactivates his invisibility device. He's initially shocked to see his son in the gang, but he quickly resumes the fight against the Tigers. Raffles pulls out Butler's taser, but he's also able to deactivate it with his keychain and fries the kid. But while Butler is distracted with Raffles, he doesn't notice Steelboy pull out a handgun. Evil Eye tries to warn his dad, but he's too late. Luckily, Max Mercury arrives just in time to stop the bullet.

The slow ray finally wears off on Impulse, and he quickly ties up the Tigers, cheering about how everything turned out great in the end. Bart then gets a call on a wrist communicator I didn't know he had. On the other end is Superboy, telling Bart he's late for the Hallow-Teen party we saw in Young Justice #3. Bart asks Max if he can go, and Max says it's fine. But once Impulse is gone, Max reveals a gunshot wound he'd been concealing, and collapses in a pool of blood.

What a horrific way to end an issue! Max has been shot! But he apparently was too proud or angry to let Bart know. I am happy to say that this crucial detail will not be overlooked in upcoming issues. Overall, I thought this was one of Messner-Loebs' finest issues. He's really having fun with the narration boxes, almost as if he were inspired by Peter David. And I loved the focus on Evil Eye and his dad. They are becoming fully-fleshed, multi-dimensional characters, which is rather impressive for what were originally background, throwaway characters. However, I am a bit confused on the names — a constant problem with Messner-Loebs. Evil Eye's real name is Eddie Parker. His grandpa's name is Dr. Augustus Morlo. And his dad's name is Butler? Is that a first name or a last name? Is it a fake name? We don't know because Messner-Loebs never bothered to clarify it.

Craig Rousseau also took a big step in this issue toward making Bart look like a modern teen by giving him a necklace and wallet chain. He also seems to have decided on a permanent length for Bart's hair, which is sadly nowhere near as large and whimsical as it once was.

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

Mary-Kate and Ashley take adventure to new heights in their brand new movie, Billboard Dad.

An old-fashioned newsboy holds a copy of the Daily Planet that says, "Superman is here." The New Superman Adventures for Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.

Collect all four Superheroes Hanger Backpack toys at Subway. We have Superman, the Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman's invisible jet for some reason.

Need some space? Jim Henson's Brats of the Lost Nebula.

Saving the world before bedtime. The Powerpuff Girls. This was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid, even though it was about girls.

For the holiday season ... a story of hope. Superman: Peace on Earth.

Kids Foot Locker. Play Big. Featuring Allen Iverson's shoe, the Reebok Answer II DMX Lite. Allen Iverson was hot stuff back then. In the lockout-shortened '98-99 season, he lead the NBA with 26.8 points per game while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Running Wild. You've never seen animals this fast. For PlayStation.

Decade to decade ... father to son ... the quest for justice never ends! Superman & Batman Generations.

You've never seen power like this! Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and JLA: Strength in Numbers.

Next time, with the Hallow-Teen party over, we'll see what new trouble Bart and his friends can cause in Young Justice #4.

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