Saturday, August 22, 2015

Young Justice #4

Harm's Way

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Digital Chameleon Seps
Kenny Lopez Letters
Frank Berrios Ass't Editor
Eddie Berganza Etc.

On our cover, we see that the boys have barricaded themselves in the cave. Arrowette has fired a few arrows at them, and Wonder Girl looks ready to punch her way in. I love how terrified Impulse is and how funny the whole cover is. True, nothing like this happens in the book, but that's OK when the joke of the cover is good enough to compensate. And, in a way, this is what happens in the book, as all three of these girls do join the team. My only nits are the coloring on Arrowette's mask and the vacant looks on Secret's and Arrowette's faces. This is still early enough in Nauck's career where he sometimes gets this unfocused look in the characters' eyes. But those are very small nits for an otherwise great work of art.

Our story begins with the first truly serious moment of the series. Arrowette, in her nice new outfit, has one of her own arrow sticking through her shoulder. And she says what all the readers were thinking: "Wait a minute ... this ... this isn't ... funny ..." The poor girl then goes into shock and collapses on the ground, while her attacker mocks her odd choice of words. He also mocks her for failing to give him a challenge despite all the training she's been through. Her attacker, who refers to himself as Harm, says his research indicates that Arrowette is friends with Impulse, so he has decided to let her live so she can warn Impulse and all the teenage heroes to stay out of his way.

Arrowette tries to stop Harm from leaving, but she's too weak to stand. She's so injured that she calls herself Carrie, even though her name is Cissie, and she desperately tries to call for help. When no one comes, she starts shouting, "Fire! Fire!" Eventually something does come, a flying vehicle obscured by its bright headlights. Arrowette concludes if that's another enemy, then she is "so ended."

Meanwhile, the boys of Young Justice are actually out battling crime. Today, they're in Pamplona, Spain, during the Fiesta de San Fermin, the famous running of the bulls. An editor's note does acknowledge that the festival occurs during the summer and last issue was Halloween, and asks the reader to cut them some friggin' slack. A villain named Tora is making off with some jewels, and another editor's note acknowledges that "Tora" is a Japanese war cry and has nothing to do with bulls or Spain.

Anyway, Impulse catches up to Tora and tells her that her days of committing bull-related crimes (such as robbing Wall Street and china shops) are over, as she's going to the bullpen. Tora escapes Impulse by trying to hitch a ride on her getaway plane with her bullwhip. However, Superboy catches the whip and apologizes for not being a plane or even a bird. But Tora enacts her backup plan, and her pilot parachutes out of the plane, leaving it to crash into the crowd below. When Superboy sees this, he exclaims a current popular but unprintable teen profanity. So Kid chases after the plane, leaving Tora to escape. Luckily, there is a third, unseen member of Young Justice, who knocks out Tora with a batarang. The villain falls off a building, and is caught by a very happy Impulse.

The police congratulate the "Young Caballeros," and Impulse decides that name is better than Young Justice. Impulse and Superboy high-five each other, and since Robin only works at night, the bright sunny day suddenly becomes moonlit night. Robin tells the others that the Super-Cycle has gone missing, and Superboy criticizes Robin for not getting the bike to wait for them. Suddenly, Fite 'n' Maad show up, and demand to know where the bottle girl is. Everybody knows they're talking about Secret, but the boys all plead ignorance.

Luckily, their awkward lying doesn't have to last too long, as the Super-Cycle soon arrives to pick them up. The secret agents warn the boys that they don't know what the girl is capable of, and they demand she be returned or they'll have to take unpleasant steps. Impulse imagines the All-Purpose Enforcement Squad taking a step off a cliff, and says, "Oh, we wouldn't want thaaat ..." And with that, the Super-Cycle takes off into the sudden night. Impulse excitedly chooses some music for the ride home, but Superboy makes a horrific discovery: blood in the backseat — a lot of it.

Elsewhere, a bunch of teenage boys are being beaten up on a playground by Wonder Girl. The boys were torturing a cat, so Wonder Girl tossed them around a bit until they ran away. But when Wonder Girl tries to help the cat, it claws her arm and runs away. Wonder Girl complains that nothing ever good comes from her actions. The "bottle girl" suddenly appears and tells Wonder Girl that she thinks she's great, and introduces herself as Secret. Wonder Girl wonders why she's named after a deodorant, a reference that Secret does not get. Cutting to the chase, Secret says she was hoping they could be friends, and she could introduce Wonder Girl to her other friends — Robin, Impulse and Superboy. Wonder Girl gets quite excited at the prospect of meeting Superboy, so she readily agrees.

We then cut to a middle-aged couple, Burt and Ellen, discussing their 17-year-old son. Ellen suggests the boy needs therapy, but Burt believes that won't do any good, and their best bet is to just hope their son leaves and never comes back. Ellen accuses her husband of being afraid of his son, and Burt readily admits that, showing her a long scar on his neck — just an inch away from his jugular — that his son gave him when he was only 11. Their son, Harm, enters the kitchen to tell his parents he's heading out for the night. Burt tries to be stern and set a curfew at 11 p.m. But Harm just laughs, and reminds his parents that he is allowing them to live and they shouldn't press their luck.

We then return to Young Justice arriving at the Secret Sanctuary. Red Tornado is there to greet them, saying they have a situation on their hands. Robin speculates it's down in the medlab since there's blood all over the Super-Cycle. Red Tornado mocks Robin for being trained by the world's greatest detective (yes, even the robot teases him about that!), and he leads the boys down to the injured Arrowette. Impulse rushes to her side, and Arrowette jokes that she'd rather have the arrow stuck in her than have to deal with her mom, school authorities and shrinks.

Red Tornado explains that he's managed to stop the bleeding, and x-rays indicate no permanent damage. But removing it without causing damage will be problematic. But Impulse actually gets an idea and offers to help. Superboy is hesitant, but Robin trusts him, and Impulse is able to carefully vibrate the arrow out of the girl's shoulder. Robin bandages her up, and Impulse asks who did this. Arrowette explains that she received a letter addressed to her civilian identity, but the contents inside referred to her as Arrowette. The letter appeared to be an anonymous tip to a big crime ring, and against her better judgment, Arrowette followed that tip, which led her right to Harm. Arrowette tried to pin his cape to the wall, but he caught the arrow and threw it back at her, just as fast as Impulse could have. Arrowette says that Harm told her to warn the boys to stay out of his way, but Superboy immediately flies off to find the villain himself. Impulse says, "Boy, don't you hate it when people just take off and do whatever they feel like." Everybody stares at him, and he says, "What?! What'd I say?"

Meanwhile, Wonder Girl and Secret are merrily on their way to the Young Justice headquarters when they're spotted by Harm in his spruced-up car. Harm sends out a cable to wrap around Wonder Girl's ankle. Having studied Wonder Girl, Harm knows to keep her off balance to prevent her from using her super strength, so he slams her into an overpass and drags her down the road. Secret phases into Harm's car to try to protect her new best friend, and although Harm doesn't know who she is, he does defeat her with a blast of electricity. Superboy then shows up, and Harm is excited to finally have a challenge.

Superboy saves Wonder Girl, who quickly becomes lovestruck and tongue-tied, blurting out that she's in love and that he is her biggest fan. Secret quickly recovers and tries to warn Superboy about Harm, but she's too late. The psychotic 17-year-old attacks Superboy with a huge sword, which Superboy catches with both his hands before it slices his face. Harm then pushes a button on the sword's handle, which sprays some gas into Superboy's mouth and knocks him out. Wonder Girl tries to protect Superboy, but she's already quite beat up, and Harm easily knocks her out with a blow to the back of her head. Harm hears approaching sirens, so he takes off in his car. Secret also somehow manages to get Superboy and Wonder Girl away to safety before the police and Fite 'n' Maad show up.

Back at the cave, Superboy breaks Wonder Girl's heart by showing more concern over Arrowette than her. Impulse is busying himself with a paddle ball, and Robin is chastising Superboy for going out on his own. Superboy points out that he saved Wonder Girl's life, and says he wants to go after Harm again. But Secret says they need to forget about Harm for a little bit because first she needs their help to rescue a group of beings just like her before it's too late.

Well, the status quo has officially changed forever. The team has doubled in size as well as becoming more diverse. And on top of that, the series has taken a slight shift in tone to include some darker themes. I'll always miss the simple times of the three boys getting into harmless, hilarious hijinks, but this expanded roster and slight tone shift opens up a lot more possibilities and gives this series a meaningful, lasting depth. You can't be 100 percent goofy 100 percent of the time, or you'd end up like the Teen Titans Go! cartoon, that gradually turned me away. Young Justice has taken a big step forward, which will carry them through about 50 more wonderful issues.

And as for Impulse, even though he didn't do a whole lot in this issue, I really liked what he did. I've never seen him vibrate another object quite like that, but it makes perfect sense. Impulse is starting to grow up and expand his powers bit by bit. But just to make sure he's not growing up too much, he's seen goofing off once again at the end, oblivious to the heated discussion around him. It's that same kind of obliviousness that gave him the funniest line of the issue when he complained about Superboy's impulsive behavior.

There aren't any letters to the editor this month, so let's head straight into the ads:

The face of fighting. Tekken 3 for PlayStation.

Stand tall and shake the heavens. Xenogears for PlayStation.

Come prepared. Bushido Blade 2 and Musashi for PlayStation.

Joe Kubert's World of Cartooning correspondence courses.

Can your droid cut it? Star Wars: Droidworks.

Geektronica. Gap online store always open.

Next time, we'll continue our story in Young Justice Secret Files and Origins #1.

No comments:

Post a Comment