Thursday, August 6, 2015

Young Justice #3

"The Issue Before the One Where the Girls Show Up!"

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Penciller
Lary Stucker Inker
Ken Lopez Letterer
Jason Wright Colorist
Digital Chameleon Separator
Eddie Berganza Editor

This month Mxy plays a trick on the boys with a cover of a scene nowhere to be found in the book. Halloween haha by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker, with Patrick Martin providing color and apples for bobbing. It is a pretty fun cover, putting our teen heroes in the too-big costumes of their mentors. And I really like that Impulse was given a rock. But this really isn't Nauck's best work, as he once again gets a little goofy on Superboy's face.

As you can probably guess, our story begins on Halloween night. But instead of starting with Young Justice, we first see a group of people in purple cloaks. After chanting some magic words, the cloaked individuals turn to their computers to tap into the "science-magic core" of the multiverse. They have five computers connected to a central printer on top of a pentagram and surrounded by plenty of candles. The incantations of the coven initially fail to bring them techno-magic spells. But one of them suggests hitting the "retry" button, which surprisingly works.

A bolt of lightning strikes the printer, knocking out all the cloaked kids. The printer sends out a page of an impish man that looks a lot like Mr. Mxyzptlk, except he has black hair, glasses, suspenders, a bow tie and a graduation cap. The two-dimensional imp becomes three-dimensional and tears himself off the page. He sees this as a wonderful opportunity to conduct research on primitive three-dimensional beings, but he reminds himself that the life of a scholar has no place for fun. As he flies off into the night, we check in on Young Justice's Hallow-Teen party.

Superboy is bragging about his tactile telekinesis as usual, and Impulse is bobbing for apples, posing in photos, sampling the dip and demanding the deejay stop playing Hanson music. Somebody asks Robin if there are 20 different kids dressed as Impulse, and Robin pleads ignorance. A cheerleader then tries to flirt with Robin, but he doesn't get what's happening. But her football player boyfriend does get what's happening, and he challenges Robin to a fight for his girl.

Robin just walks away, but this only causes the football player to loudly mock Robin with his teammates. So Superboy stands up for his friend by giving the football player an exceptionally hard high-five, and Impulse demonstrates his variation of Superboy's power — textile telekinesis — which involves removing all the football player's clothes. The nude and embarrassed bully escapes the party, catching the attention of our scholarly imp.

Meantime, in Chicago ... the Windy City ... someone is complaining about all the wind. He's answered by someone else saying, "It's the Windy City, fella! What, can'tcha read?" We then see that this particular gust of wind is caused by the Red Tornado, who is heading toward the suburb of Elk Grove Village. Once there, the android locates a young girl named, Traya, who is dressed as a witch and is trick-or-treating with some friends. Traya was Red Tornado's adopted daughter from his human life, and when he sees her, a tear actually rolls down his metallic cheek.

Back at the Hallow-Teen party, Robin astonishes his friends by not applauding them for standing up to the bully. Robin reminds them that the city asked them to host the party to provide a safe alternative to kids trick-or-treating, and they need to set an example. Plus, Robin felt insulted to see his friends act like he couldn't have handled the situation on his own. Superboy says he just doesn't want to see anyone dissing his friends. But Robin, intent on proving his maturity, lists off all his worries he's accumulated since they formed the team, such as, what happened to Mighty Endowed, how Fite 'n' Maad are able to track them so well, and what they'll do once Impulse's gift from Ali Ben Styn shows up.

Throughout this whole conversation, Impulse has been trying to get Superboy's and Robin's attention, but as usual, nobody's listening to him. Finally, Impulse grabs his friends' heads and turns them toward the party. A bunch of the kids have suddenly turned into old people, while some other kids are dancing out of control. Robin states the obvious, and Superboy teases him for being trained by the world's greatest detective. Meanwhile, the scholarly imp is floating above the chaos, taking careful notes. Apparently his alterations have increased total panic by 83 percent, and shock bordering on stupor by 11 percent.

Our heroes soon spot the imp, and Superboy flies up to him, demanding to know who he is. The imp says Superboy's simple mind couldn't begin to comprehend 5th-dimensional linguistics. But he is intrigued by Superboy's ability to fly, and he wonders whether he's susceptible to hexnology. The imp answers his own question by zapping a couple of anvils around Superboy's ankles, which cause him to come crashing down. Robin picks the Superboy's locks, and explains to the confused Kid that this imp is likely using a combination of science and magic. Robin speculates that the imp could be Mxyzptlk, but from the JLA files he's seen, Mxy has always been much older.

Impulse then attacks the imp by racing up the wall and onto the ceiling. He grabs the scholar's suspenders and rushes him into the wall, which Impulse harmlessly vibrates through, but the imp slams into hard, and is flattened like a pancake. The scholar pumps himself back up like a balloon, but before he can do anything, Robin summons the Super-Cycle with a whistle. The vehicle crashes through the wall and runs over the imp, who is beginning to become annoyed.

Back in Chicago, Traya is heading home alone when she runs into some bullies looking to steal her candy. She runs away from them, but soon trips over her broomstick. However, a gust of wind suddenly appears and scoops Traya up on her broomstick. The bullies think she's an actual witch like Sabrina (the Teenage Witch), and they cower in fear, as the little girl happily flies away in moonlit night.

We return to our heroes, who are trying to come up with a plan to stop the imp. But they're suddenly smacked by a giant purple gloved-hand. The boys' torsos are fused to the glove, essentially becoming the imp's fingers, and Superboy blames Robin for failing to come up with a plan. The scholar shouts at the boys, demanding to know why they attacked him before he could explain his scientific inquiry. Superboy tells him not to try to trick them, since they know all about Mxyzptlk's usual method of operation.

Superboy's comment confuses the imp, and Robin finally realizes what's happening. They're facing a younger Mxyzptlk, pulled from earlier in his time stream. Robin warns Superboy not to tell Mxy about his future, but Superboy decides to use this opportunity to save Superman a lot of heartache. Superboy tells Mxy that he spends his future tormenting the Man of Steel with a bunch of stupid pranks, always acting like a jokester until Superman tricks him into returning to his dimension. Mxyzptlk finds this future banal and unappealing. Impulse then asks to be turned back to normal before Mxy forgets and tries to pick his nose with one of the boys, and the imp complies. Mxy turns all the kids back to normal, as well, and he vows to never indulge in the foolishness Superboy described, only dedicating himself to science and learning.

But before Mxyzptlk can return to the 5th dimension, Robin asks him to stay behind for a moment, just to make sure that this time-altering resolution didn't mess anything up. Sure enough, Robin was right, as the whole world has been transformed into an apocalyptic wasteland, which Superboy describes as being redecorated by Tolkien. Impulse is excited to see he won't have to worry about Monday's algebra test anymore, but Robin points out that somehow Mxyzptlk's deeds in the past helped preserve the world as they know it. So Robin begs Mxyzptlk to change his mind and resolve to torment Superman in his future. But the imp doesn't like being called something that sounds like it was randomly typed, and he reiterates his decision to remain a serious scholar throughout his life.

Back in Chicago, Traya realizes the gust of wind that saved her was caused by her dad, the Red Tornado. She turns around and talks to him, saying that her mom said he wouldn't come back since he couldn't feel human anymore. Red Tornado says that is still mostly true, but he decided to pay her a visit on Halloween, since that is the day to pretend you're something you're not. As Red flies with his daughter, the world below them changes into a fiery inferno, and Red Tornado wonders why he suspects the boys are behind this.

We cut back to the boys, who have decided to try to change Mxyzptlk's mind by showing him old Three Stooges tapes. Superboy doesn't think it'll work, but Robin tells him to be patient. Impulse is totally engrossed in the films, and he asks Mxy what he thinks about the concept of humor. The scholarly imp initially describes it as juvenile and frenetic, but the more he sees of it, the more it grows on him. He begins to smile, then chuckle, then fall into a complete fit of uncontrollable laughter. The graduation cap and glasses fall off, and Mxy's hair begins to turn white.

A completely joyous Mxyzptlk begins to imitate the Three Stooges, and he pokes the projector kid in the eyes for having a goofy name, Mick Gurk. Mxy tries to poke Robin's eyes, but he deftly blocks the attack. Unfazed, Mxyzptlk thanks the boys for opening his eyes to the world of pointless stupidity. He shakes Impulse's hand, but shocks him with an electric buzzer. Superboy punches Mxy, but he happily spins around in a circle and again thanks the boys for giving him the ability to temper his great intellect with laughter. And with that, Mxyzptlk takes off, vowing to torment Superman in honor of his new friends.

The boys quickly rush outside, where they meet Red Tornado, and a Mxyzptlk-themed fair. Robin's worried that the rest of the world looks like this, but Red says the carnival is confined to the immediate area. Impulse instantly falls in love with the place, and quickly wins some stuffed animals and cotton candy, saying that Halloween is better here than it is in Manchester. (And we'll see Halloween in Manchester soon enough). Robin sighs and wonders whether Impulse and Mxyzptlk were switched at birth.

What a fun issue. Mr. Mxyzptlk is a perfect and natural choice to guest star in Young Justice. And I love the added twist of making this his first chronological appearance. Adding to the fun is the fact that Young Justice's silliness actually saved the universe. So you see, it is a good thing to be goofy every now and then. But amidst all this frivolity, we were given a brief, yet emotional moment with Red Tornado and his daughter — something that will be built upon as this series progresses.

We do have a couple of letters to the editor, although they're still too early to talk about Young Justice #1. Instead, they focus on JLA: World Without Grown-Ups and all the rumors swirling around the upcoming series.

Robert Hope-Murray, of Pokfulam Gardens, Hong Kong, is excited to see a team book with a much smaller roster than the bloated roster of the JLA. He also asks for a dream team of Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Secret, Captain Marvel Jr., Inferno and Wonder Girl. He mentions Arrowette, but thinks her mom wouldn't let her join a team.

Sarah Beach, of Los Angeles, loved seeing Robin and Superboy team up with Impulse, and speculated that they're the only ones who can come close to controlling Impulse because he thinks they're cool. Now for the ads:

Chucky gets lucky. Bride of Chucky.

If Washington rejects Bruce Wayne's plan, Gotham City is history. Batman: Road to No Man's Land.

Joe Kubert's World of Cartooning. A series of correspondence courses on comic book art.

An eternal curse holds her. Only one man can set her free. Superman: Silver Banshee.

Give a gift subscription and receive an erasable memo board absolutely free. In 1998, an individual issue of Young Justice cost $2.50, but you could get 12 issues for $23.95. Interestingly, this subscription form includes Robin, but not Superboy or Impulse.

There are no new jokes ... only new victims. Batman/Judge Dredd: Die Laughing.

0900 Field Update: Central American armies invading ... Pacific Ocean to the west ... certain defeat to the east ... better roll sixes ... Risk: The Game of Global Domination. I spent many an hour playing this game with my friends. It is a true classic.

Next time: Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1, featuring Young Justice.

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