Friday, December 4, 2015

Young Justice #8

The Uninvited Geeks

Guest Writer: Chuck Dixon
Pencils: Todd Nauck & Coy Turnbull
Inks: Lary Stucker & Jaime Mendoza
Colors: Jason Wright
Letters: Ken Lopez
Assistant Editor: Frank Berrios
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Razorsharp cuts in on Superboy and Secret in this cover by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker with the colors of Patrick Martin. It's nice to focus on just a couple of characters every now and then, but Superboy and Secret don't play any more of a significant role in this issue than any other character. We have seen Razorsharp once before, albeit very briefly. She was a member of the short-lived reality TV group Blood Pack, of which Impulse was a big fan. But when their phone call got cut off, Impulse became angry and called them "reverbs." And I'm still not sure what that means. But none of that matters in this issue.

Our story begins with Red Tornado at the monitor station in the Young Justice cave. But the feed is hijacked by what he calls a "moronic television program." But when the excited blond young man on the screen starts speaking directly to Red Tornado, he assumes this is an example of the boys' inappropriate humor, and he tries to take it down. But as he types on the keyboard, Red Tornado is electrocuted and shuts down. And editor's note says, "The villain Harm short-circuited Red in ish #5. This is the kind of repeated behavior that could lead into another plot line if we're not careful. See Young Justice 80-Page Giant #1 on sale." And we'll get to that next time.

Once Red Tornado is knocked out, Razorsharp enters the cave with a black kid named Hackman. The guy in the TV is called Channelman, and together they are the Psyba-Rats, hired by a mysterious client to hack the Young Justice computers. But the Psyba-Rats aren't alone. Arrowette has been in the gym, growing bored with her archery practice. Channelman finds Arrowette, and she thinks he's a prank from Impulse or Superboy, but not Robin, who wouldn't do something this lame. Channelman tells Razorsharp where Arrowette is, and the two girls soon launch into an intense fight.

The boys (and Secret, but no Wonder Girl) come back from some sort of mission, but Robin can't open the door to the cave. Impulse tells him to "jiggle it," which draw's Robin's ire and Secret's sympathy. Superboy suggests contacting Red Tornado, but he's not responding. After complaining for a bit, Robin has Impulse check all the other entrances. Superboy wants to simply tear the door down, but Robin says the door is too expensive to replace. Impulse reports that all the other doors are sealed, as well, and Robin realizes that Superboy's so desperate to get inside because he forgot to set the VCR to record "Wendy the Werewolf Stalker." (There are a couple of archaic references here, so let me explain. VCRs played VHS tapes and could be used to record TV shows, although it was a clunky, complicated process. And "Wendy the Werewolf Stalker" is a reference to a popular '90s show called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer.") Anyway, Robin finally comes up with a useful idea, and has Impulse vibrate through the door. Impulse kicks himself for not thinking of that, and Superboy demands he make it quick.

Meanwhile, Arrowette defeats Razorsharp with a gas arrow. She tells the intruder to be thankful she used a little respiratory irritant instead of a puke arrow. But while Arrowette gloats, Hackman sneaks up behind her and knocks her out with a taser. Channelman then alerts the Psyba-Rats of the arrival of Impulse, who is having too much fun keeping Superboy locked outside. For entry to the cave, Impulse demands control of the game programs for a week. When Superboy and Robin protest, Impulse ups it to two weeks.

Robin and Superboy then get into a big argument over how stupid Wend the Werewolf Stalker is, and Superboy says they should have installed a VCR into the Super-Cycle. Secret gets tired of the boys' fighting, so she decides to find a way inside on her own. Impulse, seemingly of his own volition, decides to start looking around the cave. But he does so rather sloppily, completely missing Razorsharp and Hackman, who are simply ducking behind a couch.

Impulse does find the shorted out Red Tornado, which he reports to Robin. The terrified Psyba-Rats, meanwhile, ask Channelman to find a weakness for the "human blur" they know is bound to find them eventually. So Channelman, who makes himself look vaguely like Sonic the Hedgehog, uses the cave's holographic projection system to create Vance Carnage from "Terminal Odyssey." Vance, wielding a sword and a gun, calls Impulse "mutant scum" and prepares to attack. But Bart calls the video game character his role model, and the source of his carpal tunnel pain. And Impulse gleefully battles the hologram, saying he'll race it to level 12.

We then check in with Arrowette, who is duct-taped to a pillar in the storage room. Her pride is hurt more than anything, knowing the guys are going to laugh at her for being defeated on her first night on watch duty. She manages to pull a small knife out of her boot in an attempt to free herself, when Secret comes pouring out of the vent. But nothing gets by Channelman, who turns on the fans to push Secret back into the vents, while Hackman resumes pilfering Young Justice's data.

When Robin loses contact with Impulse and Secret, Superboy's patience runs out and he smashes in the door, despite Robin's protests. Hackman finishes the job, having transferred all the files to three floppy discs (another reference to ancient, obsolete technology). Arrowette frees herself in time to shoot an arrow through the floppies, and she is soon joined by Superboy and Robin.

To everyone's surprise, Robin recognizes Razorsharp and tells the others she's not a bad guy. Arrowette complains that Razorsharp almost turned her into sushi, and Superboy offers to look at her wounds. Impulse, meanwhile, is sad that his immersive video game has suddenly ended. The Psyba-Rats begin apologizing profusely, saying they didn't know it was Young Justice when they took the job. But Superboy chews them out for not asking a lot of questions. To prove they aren't bad guys, Hackman brings Red Tornado back online.

So Robin finally starts asking questions, and we finally start getting answers. Razorsharp explains that they were hired anonymously over the Internet to transmit all files related to Magellan Imports. Robin recognizes this as one of the companies controlled by Blockbuster, who is currently causing Nightwing trouble in Bl├╝dhaven. So Young Justice works with the Psyba-Rats to send Blockbuster a virus that destroys his computers and gives him a stupid little cartoon of them laughing at him.

This issue is kind of a mess. Chuck Dixon doesn't have the best handle on these characters, and I hated how the Psyba-Rats were so ignorant and so willing to be straight-up bad guys until the very end. And it is pretty sad to bring in Blockbuster (whom Impulse fought in Impulse #8) and only have him smash a keyboard. The art was also messy, randomly switching between Todd Nauck's crisp, detailed work and Coy Turnbull's sloppy, inconsistent style. I would have preferred to have Turnbull all the way through rather than constantly swap back and forth between two contrasting styles.

Michael C. Lorah, of State College, Penn., enjoyed Young Justice #3, saying Mr. Mxyzptlk was the perfect villain for the boys. He's also interested in learning more about Red Tornado's family. asks why Young Justice costs $2.50 an issue, which was a bit more expensive than other comics at the time. Eddie Berganza doesn't have a good answer for this, but does point out how Young Justice is printed on the sleeker paper. Ironically, though, this issue was printed on the rougher, newspaper-like paper.

Jay McIntyre, of Colmar, Penn., suggests they name the letter column Scales of Justice. He also points out that "Superboy isn't any more patient than Impulse; he just takes time off to strut his stuff." And Jay asks for Terra to join the team, and for the General to fight Young Justice.

Doud Ohmer, of Covington, Ky., says Young Justice is on pace to match the old Teen Titans in popularity due to its great storytelling and art.

David Lusk asks for Mary Marvel to join the team and for a Young Justice/Titans crossover. He then goes into a lengthy diatribe about Harm and how his parents need to stop him. Now for the new ads:

"Welcome Arctic Shatter. Cold in a bottle, here to save your game." Powerade.

"After flying back from Planet TMR-IC, nothing washes the bugs out of my teeth better than Sprite."

The Mod Squad. Starring Claire Danes, Omar Epps and Giovanni Ribisi.

Konami XXL Sports Series on PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Featuring Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Glen Rice of the Charlotte Hornets. Jagr is a national hero in the Czech Republic, a country I spent two years living in. Rice was an All-Star in the 1997-98 season, his last with the Hornets before being traded to the Lakers in March 1999.

WSL Roller Jam on TNN.

Joe Kubert's World of Cartooning.

Use your special power.

Next time, we'll see the lingering effects of the Psyba-Rats' attack on Red Tornado in Young Justice 80-Page Giant #1.

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