Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Young Justice #5

First, Do No Harm

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Digital Chameleon Seps
Ken Lopez Letters
Frank Berrios Assistant Editor
Eddie Berganza Editor

Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker give us a cover to keep out of Harm's way, and Patrick Martin kept the colors in line. On this cover, Harm has already defeated half of Young Justice. I'm glad Impulse was one of the last ones to remain standing, but this isn't exactly what happens in the issue. But it is a pretty close approximation, though.

Our story begins in the Young Justice cave, with Red Tornado sending a video letter to his adopted daughter, Traya. He tells her that he hopes their meeting on Halloween won't be a one-time occurrence. Red feels his humanity is slowly returning, and he hopes he can speak to Traya's mom in time. But Red Tornado's letter is suddenly interrupted when he is attacked from behind by Harm.

We then check in with Harm's parents, Burt and Ellen. Burt is sending Ellen to her mother's house for the weekend, while he hopes to work things out with Billy. Ellen isn't quite sure about this plan, but Burt assures her he'll handle it. So Ellen reluctantly leaves, and Burt begins to cry once she's gone.

Meantime, on the way back from Young Justice: Secret Files and Origins #1, the team is flying back on the Super-Cycle, a little worried about the fallout they'll receive from the D.E.O. But Superboy is confident the DEO doesn't want to attract any more publicity toward itself, and will probably let this event slide by. Superboy then fusses over Arrowette's still-injured shoulder, and Impulse notices that this makes Wonder Girl "kinda honked." Wonder Girl angrily tells Impulse, "I'm fine, and who asked you?" Impulse then considers Wonder Girl to be a ... dog.

The team then arrives at the cave, and Impulse is naturally the first one in. He quickly pops back out, telling everyone they've had a visitor. Inside, Impulse shows them a video playing on a loop of Harm saying, "Holy Beatles, kids! Holy Beatles, kids!" Superboy notices Red Tornado is missing, and Robin and Arrowette fear he's been taken by Harm. Secret asks what "Holy Beatles" refers to, and Robin says it's reminiscent of an old, bad TV series. But Wonder Girl says she knows exactly what Harm's referring to — a big Beatles convention currently being held at Happy Harbor's Midtown Convention Center. So Wonder Girl, Secret and Impulse head off to check out the convention center.

But the three heroes are unable to find Harm or Red Tornado. Robin orders them to keep looking, while he, Arrowette and Superboy stay behind to make sure they haven't missed anything. Of course, Robin's the only one actually doing any work — pouring over all the Beatles footage he can find — while Superboy has convinced Arrowette to shoot arrows at him until he can catch one like Harm. Robin eventually comes across one of the Beatles' most controversial interviews, in which John Lennon said the group was bigger than Jesus. Robin suddenly realizes what Harm's riddle meant, and he orders the away team to meet them at St. Swithin's Cathedral. Robin interrupts Superboy's game by catching two arrows at once, and loads Superboy and Arrowette into the Super-Cycle. On the way, Robin explains that the cathedral is holding a midnight mass in honor of the visiting Pope John Paul II (John Paul for John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

Turns out Robin was right, as Red Tornado comes smashing through a stained-glass window right during the middle of mass. The away team quickly arrives on the scene, and Impulse creates a speed vortex around Red Tornado to prevent him from kidnapping the pope. The android identifies Impulse as a "bio-form," and Impulse is worried about Red's weird and cold tone. Wonder Girl then flies the pope away to safety, but as usual, she talks too much and kind of disses the pope

Unfortunately, Wonder Girl led the pope right to Harm. She begins to fight him off, but he warns her about a bomb he planted in Red Tornado's chest. Secret moves in to protect the pontiff, while Impulse continues to battle Red Tornado. Harm easily handles Wonder Girl, saying the pope's role in this is somewhat irrelevant. Harm considers himself a super-villain in training, and the fewer superheroes he'll have to deal with when he's an adult, the better.

Before Harm can deliver the final blow, Robin, Arrowette and Superboy arrive. Harm is thrilled to be face-to-face with Robin, whom he calls the "most dangerous one of all." Wonder Girl warns the others about the bomb, and Robin orders Superboy to take care of it, saying Harm is his. So Superboy heads inside the church, where Impulse is preoccupied protecting the people in the church from the rampaging Red Tornado. Impulse tells Superboy he never realized how lucky they were to have Red Tornado on their side, and he wishes he still was. Superboy says Red will be on their side again, once they remind him who his friends are. Secret joins the fight, and feels like the boys' rough tactics aren't ideal for this situation. So she pours herself into Red Tornado's mouth.

Back up top, Robin begins his fight with Harm. The villain starts with blasting the Boy Wonder with his knockout gas, but Robin learned from Superboy's mistake, and came prepared with nose plugs. But Harm is Robin's physical superior, and he soon knocks the teen down. Meanwhile, Secret finds the bomb inside Red Tornado and has Impulse vibrate it out. Impulse comments on the bomb's excellent craftsmanship, then surprises Superboy by showing some actual thought. Instead of handing the bomb off to Superboy to smother the explosion, Impulse elects to take it to a safe place and defuse it in case it's radioactive.

Harm then prepares to throw Robin off the cathedral, but Arrowette uses a trick arrow to wrap around Robin's ankle, pull him to safety, and knock Harm off the roof. Unfortunately, Harm collides with Impulse, who was trying to defuse the bomb while running up the side of the building. Wonder Girl catches Impulse, but not the bomb, which explodes high in the air, causing relatively minor damage. Superboy catches Wonder Girl and Impulse, and he teases Impulse for his disarming skills. Impulse insists he could have disarmed the bomb with time to spare had Harm not fallen on top of him. Robin, however, notes that Harm is nowhere to be found, and he suspects he used his cape to glide away on the explosion's shockwave.

The team flies back to the cave on the Super-Cycle, with the recovering Red Tornado in tow. Robin is disgusted with his behavior during the fight, saying he shouldn't have tried to take on Harm one-on-one. When Young Justice gets back, they find Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter waiting for them, and demanding some explanations.

We then catch up with Harm, now just bratty teenager Billy returning home. His dad says he saw his exploits on TV, and he asks Billy why he's doing this. Billy says he plans on being the greatest villain of all time, but right now he's just practicing on his peers, and frankly, he's not impressed. Burt says he's not going to allow this to happen, but Billy just mocks him, saying he'll be able to escape jail. As he leaves the kitchen, Billy laughs about the notion of his dad grounding him, but suddenly, Burt fires a gun, hitting Billy on the other side of the door. Billy is shocked to find that he's bleeding, and he stumbles back into the kitchen before collapsing on the floor. Burt says he promised his wife he'd handle this, and that Billy's death would be for everybody's best. Billy begs his dad not to kill him, but Burt just moans about all the blood spilling on the linoleum. And with tears rolling down his face, Burt fires his gun once more.

Woah! Woah woah woah! What an ending! This was a fun, perfectly ordinary issue of Young Justice until those last two pages. When I first read this issue, I had to immediately buy issue #6, even though it was the middle of the night. But let's try to set that unbelievable finish aside for a second and look at this issue as a whole. I loved the Beatles riddle, and the ensuing fight with Harm and Red Tornado. I think everybody had a moment to shine, combining their unique abilities to save the day ... sort of. They're still just kids, so they naturally made some mistakes like letting the bomb go off and allowing Harm to escape. But they saved the pope and didn't let anyone else get hurt, and that's what's important. I also feel like Todd Nauck took a step forward with his art in this issue. There were so many great "money" shots — especially of Impulse. And as for Harm ... well, I can honestly say I never saw that ending coming. This series is still pretty light-hearted and goofy, but it can now include some pretty intense stuff like this, and I love it. And the good news here, is that we haven't seen the last of Harm.

The letters to the editor start with Andrew Ratcliff asking for more Red Tornado, Ace Atchinson, Fite and Maad, and a Young Justice 80-Page Giant (which did come out).

Chris Fluit, of Grand Rapids, Mich., makes the case for Static Shock to join the team, but Eddie Berganza says he's not sure what the deal with Milestone characters is. And that's not a failing on Eddie's part. Milestone's relationship with DC continues to be confusing and frustrating to this day. Just a few years ago, DC was forced to erase a Milestone character from one of the comics based on the Young Justice animated series.

David Bongo asks for Martian Manhunter's very obscure sidekick Zook to return, which kind of perplexes Eddie.

Augie de Blieck Jr., of North Haledon, N.J., talks about the wonderful balance of the core group of Superboy, Robin and Impulse. One thinks too much. One doesn't think. And the third thinks too little. Augie also hopes a girl joins the team to create a romantic tension between Superboy and Robin, while Impulse never notices. Now on to the ads:

You are Luke. So look like Luke. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron for Nintendo 64.

Now you're cooking with gas. Odd world: Abe's Exodus for PlayStation and PC.

Six students are about to find out their teachers really are from another planet. The Faculty.

Blow those alien creeps a new piehole. Assault: Retribution for PlayStation.

Bone-jarring, in-your-face, muscle-in-motion excitement where winning is survival. WSL Roller Jam on TNN.

You better watch out ... you better not fry ... Parasite Eve, Xenogears, Bushido Blade 2, Musashi, Final Fantasy Tactics, Saga Frontier and Einhander for PlayStation.

15 days of 007 on TBS.

The Faculty sweepstakes with a grand prize of the movie's poster, soundtrack and official memorabilia.

Potatoes of couch, prepare ye for a mashing. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64.

Animaniacs Ten Pin Alley for PlayStation.

Next time, we'll finally conclude the epic JLA/The Titans #3.

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