Sunday, February 21, 2016

Young Justice #10

Kali'd Away

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

It's just another Kali-day in this cover by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker. I especially love the joke on this cover. New comics usually come out each Wednesday, and every week, it essentially is the end of the world in at least a handful of titles. This cover gives us a great action scene of the entire team fighting the crazy blue henchmen of Kali, while Kali's demon face superimposes the sun. Impulse seems to be the only hero struggling in this fight, which makes sense, given that his young mind is susceptible to Kali's brainwashing.

Our story begins with Red Tornado making another attempt at reconnecting with his family by having dinner with his wife, Kathy, and their adopted daughter, Traya. Red, or John, as his wife calls him, doesn't really need to eat, but Traya insisted upon serving him a big bowl of baked beans since she heard that beans were good for wind, which is her daddy's power. Traya then asks Red Tornado if he'll stay to watch the Hugga-Tugga-Thugee special with her, and maybe even stay the whole night. The android thinks it's still a bit too soon to stay the whole night, but he does agree to watch the cartoon with them.

We then return to Superboy, Wonder Girl and Secret, who are shocked to the sun covered by the face of Kali. They assume it must be an illusion, but before they can figure out what's going on, the carvings of large warriors on the side of the building come to life and begin attacking the heroes. Superboy and Wonder Girl begin smashing the statues, while Secret looks for a crack or hole in the trap door that Robin, Impulse and Arrowette fell down.

Our heroes' progress is being carefully monitored by the leader of this facility, a man with blue skin, red eyes, ram-like horns and a large purple cloak. Turns out, he has Superboy and Wonder Girl swinging at illusions caused by his broadcast beam, which he believes will keep them busy until the real Kali returns.

Meanwhile, Robin, Impulse and Arrowette finds themselves in the large cavern, surrounded by the strange blue guys. Robin wants a chance to look around, so he has Impulse distract all the goons. Unfortunately, there are too many guys for Impulse to handle, so Robin and Arrowette have to start fighting their way through the crowd. Arrowette ties some up with her bolo arrows and freezes other with her cryonic arrows. Robin wields his bow staff at lightning speed, and the narrator's captions desperately try to keep everything clear.

Impulse is simply dodging every goons' attack, and Robin shouts at him to hurry up, which Bart thinks is pretty weird, since that was probably the first time anyone ever told him to hurry up. Suddenly, the subliminal messages of Kali return to Bart's head, telling him he can't resist Kali. This momentarily freezes the speedster in his tracks, which gives the blue goons enough time to get in a couple of good hits and send him flying into the wall. Robin quickly grabs him, and he and Arrowette pull Impulse aside to a ledge away from the goons, worried their friend might be concussed. Robin asks the boy with shattered goggles if he knows where he is, and Bart says Calcutta. He also correctly identifies Robin. But when Arrowette asks if Bart knows who he is, Bart dramatically proclaims himself to be Batman.

Our heroes then meet the leader of the place, who calls himself The Acolyte. He proclaims that soon a million children will simultaneously spill the blood of a million parents, which will bring Kali to the Earth, who will then destroy everything with her host of demons. The Acolyte laughs for a moment about the impending end of the world, and then he randomly offers the teens some Kali cookies. Robin tries to lead the others to attack the villain, but Impulse is shocked to discover the fiend must have taken his batarang. The attack is short-lived, however, as the Acolyte blasts the three of them with some blue lightning coming from his eyes.

We then check in on Red Tornado and his family watching the Hugga-Tugga-Thugees special. John thinks Traya might be a bit old for this show, but she says she watches it mostly to laugh at its stupidity. John thinks it's absurd to deliberately watch something beneath you to make you feel superior, but Kathy says it's just like how people watched "I Love Lucy." Unfortunately, neither John nor Kathy notice Traya falling into a Kali-induced trance and accepting the call to spill the blood of her parents later that night.

Meanwhile, Superboy and Wonder Girl are getting a bit tired of fighting the endless hoard of statue warriors. Wonder Girl then gets an idea, and tells Superboy to drop his tactile whatsis and not defend himself. Superboy's not sure about this, but he gives it a try anyway, and is promptly pummeled and goes flying off into the nearby trees. Wonder Girl quickly joins him and tells him to check for damage. Even though he just took a big hit to the face, Superboy doesn't have a scratch on him. Wonder Girl explains that Superboy imagined being hit and flew backwards, but really nothing is fighting them. Superboy praises Wonder Girl for having brains and looks, which makes Cassie's day.

Secret then finds a crack in the trap door and slips through it before Superboy and Wonder Girl can stop her. Superboy tries to punch his way through the door and he asks Wonder Girl why she had him test out her theory. Wonder Girl admits she wasn't sure they were fighting illusions, and Superboy calls her a piece of work, which she takes a compliment. The two heroes are then surrounded by the blue goons, but they assume these guys are also illusions. Unfortunately, these bad guys are real.

The Acolyte has chained Impulse, Robin and Arrowette to the ground, while he speaks of darkness and bringing in new gods to replace the one they have. Bart complains that his utility belt was taken, and Robin tells him he's not Batman. Bart is shocked to see that his old friend doesn't recognize him, but Robin tells him that he's really Impulse and he can easily vibrate through his bonds. Bart decides to humor his old friend and tries to vibrate, but it ends up more like a spastic seizure.

Arrowette distracts the Acolyte by getting him to debate the merits of the Judeo-Christian god vs. Kali. Robin realizes that Impulse is quite worthless in his current state, so he starts to pick his locks. Bart praises his old chum, knowing he's taught him well. The Acolyte then ends his monologue and turns on the signal to make a million children kill their parents.

Meanwhile, Red Tornado has left his family, and Kathy is standing by an open window in their high-rise apartment. She is optimistic about John's returning humanity and knows he'll come back to stay one day. Suddenly, Traya comes after her mother, wielding a butchers knife and chanting the name of Kali. This startles Kathy into falling out the window and hitting the ground hard.

The Acolyte rejoices in the culmination of his plan, but Robin has freed himself and immediately attacks the villain. This time, Robin is careful to stay on the Acolyte's back to avoid his devastating eyebeams. Secret then enters the cavern and turns herself into the head of Kali to distract all the blue goons. This allows her to grab the keys to free Arrowette and Impulse, who thanks the citizen. The Acolyte throws Robin off his back and tries to tell his goons to stop bowing down the fake Kali. Arrowette fights back with some explosive arrows, and Impulse slicks his hair up into two points to look like Batman's cowl. All while the cavern begins to tremble and a black energy begins to emerge from the Kali seal on the ground.

Meanwhile, above ground, Superboy and Wonder Girl learn the hard way that the blue goons are not illusions. But they manage to fight them off easily enough, before realizing that the large satellite dish on the temple is the source of all their problems. The dish is protected by a force field, but together Superboy and Wonder Girl are able to break through it and destroy the dish. Elsewhere, Traya is snapped out of her trance and is devastated to se her mom has fallen out the window.

And back below, the Acolyte bemoans the failing of his plan as the black energy dissipates and becomes a large fireball. He tries to blast Impulse with his eyebeams, but Bart easily dodges the evildoer's attack, not realizing he was using super speed to do it. Robin sees this, and he sees that the cavern is beginning to cave in, so he tells "Batman" to get them out. Bart agrees to help his old chum, scooping up Robin and Arrowette. As he runs, Bart says, "Great Scott! I'm moving with superhuman speed! I'm — ohhhh yeah. I'm Impulse." Robin tells him not to look back, but he does, and freaks out at the giant fireball coming after them.

Robin continues to shout at Impulse, but he manages to get Robin and Arrowette back to the surface with Secret close behind. Superboy cheers that they've saved the day, but then he checks with Robin to make sure they actually did. Robin says he thinks so. With the worldwide phenomenon of children assaulting their parents, he's positive they'll be able to convince the authorities that Cissie was just defending herself against the toddler twins. Superboy makes fun of Impulse's Batman hair, and Wonder Girl says Red Tornado should be pleased with their efforts. But Red Tornado was too late to prevent Kathy from hitting the ground. All he can do is comfort Traya while an ambulance take Kathy to the hospital.

We then end on a rather confusing note with the Acolyte in a motor home removing his makeup and red contact lenses. He chalks up Kali as a loss, but reminds himself he's had other triumphs in the past, such as Jack the Ripper, Vlad Tepes (the inspiration for Dracula), and Richard Nixon. The normal-looking man puts on a shirt and tie and drives off into the sunset, looking for a new way to bring about the end of the world. I'm not sure if he's immortal or just delusional or what. And sadly, we'll never know, because we'll never see this bad guy again.

But lets set aside all that confusing stuff for a moment. Yeah, I don't know who the Acolyte really is, what those blue goons really were, or how exactly that cavern collapsed and burst into flames. But all in all, this was another great issue of Young Justice. There was fun action, an interesting turn in the Superboy-Wonder Girl relationship, a shocking moment with Red Tornado's family, and a new, wild way for Impulse to be hilarious. Not only did he think he was Batman, but he thought he was the 1960s version of Batman, which was absolutely priceless. If only those few confusing elements could have been cleared up, then this comic would have gone from great to amazing. I will give a special shoutout to Todd Nauck for being consistent with Impulse's shattered goggles throughout the whole issue, which couldn't have been an easy task.

Valeries Bingham, of San Antonio, Texas, really enjoyed Young Justice #6 with Arrowette and Wonder Girl making great strides and the exciting prospect of parent/teacher conferences.

Mike McCullough, of Selbyville, Del., also liked Arrowette and Wonder Girl becoming friends and Arrowette telling off the JLA. But Mike is most interested in the talk of Secret and the Abyss.

Mary Catelli, of Berlin, Conn., liked how Impulse proposed the three guys go out and fight, since it was a clever way to split up the forces. She also would like to see Arrowette meet some members of the Green Arrow family.

Sarah Beach, of Los Angeles, really liked how Young Justice was able to handle Despero, and how Robin stood up to Batman about Secret. Sarah also says that Secret needs a more personal name.

Ryan Reels, of Narragansett, R.I., says Peter David's stories get stranger and funnier each month, and the art by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker make for indescribable greatness. His one request is a poster of Young Justice to hand on his wall.

There aren't any new ads, but it is worth mentioning that this comic also has the house ad for the new creative team on Impulse. So on that note, I'll leave you until next time, when we'll meet the Dark Knight's new partner in Impulse #50, with Todd Dezago, Ethan Van Sciver and Prentis Rollins!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Young Justice in No Man's Land #1

"Road Trip"

Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty Story
Andy Kuhn Pencils
Chris Ivy Inks
Digital Chameleon Colors & Seps
Comicraft Letters
Joe Illidge Associate Bat-Guy
Eddie Berganza Young Jedi
Scott McDaniel & Danny Miki Cover

This cover was used as the house ad for this issue, and thankfully, they corrected the red nose Impulse had on that ad. But it's still a pretty mediocre cover. Nobody really looks that good — except perhaps Lagoon Boy, but who cares about him? I like the idea this cover is trying to convey, but the execution leaves something to be desired.

DC's big summer event of 1999 was No Man's Land — a massive story spilling out of the Batman books detailing the chaos of Gotham after a devastating earthquake. This one-shot special can be hard to find and I'm not even sure exactly what to call it. Some sites just call it Young Justice Special #1 without a mention to No Man's Land, and others just omit the word Special altogether. This issue is also included in DC Comics Presents: Young Justice #2, and Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 2.

So, without further ado, let's begin our story, which opens somewhere east of Gotham. The green scaly teenager Lagoon Boy has decided to journey from Atlantis to Gotham City by himself just to see what it's like. But on his way, he encounters a bunch of submarines belonging to a group called Kobra Prime. (Apparently the followers of Kobra are still active despite being defeated by Flash and Impulse quite a while ago.) Kobra Prime perceives Lagoon Boy as a threat and launches several missiles at him. The fishy boy manages to escape with minor injuries, but he vows to strike back.

While somewhere in the Cave H.Q. of Young Justice, Superboy is showing Impulse a poster of a sexy robot and quoting Monty Python: "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!" All Impulse can say is that she looks pretty shiny. Superboy calls him a moron, so Impulse tries to show he does like the poster by sticking it to the wall with a million pieces of tape.

Superboy notices that Robin is too sullen to even lecture him on the evils of objectifying women, so he calls on Impulse to cheer up the Boy Wonder. Bart begins by throwing on a very large chef's hat and an apron that says "Cookin' with gas" to make a very sloppy cake with pink frosting. He then dresses like a clown and juggles a bomb, an axe, brass knuckles and anvil. Finally, Bart dresses like a female cheerleader with the letter I on his chest, pom-poms in his hands, and a sign that says "Fly Robin Fly." But Robin ignores all this.

However, Robin does finally tell his friends what's bugging him. Batman has kicked him out of Gotham, and things have only gotten worse since the earthquake. The government has blown the bridges and sealed off the city, declaring martial law inside. And now Batman stands alone against the food riots, Arkham escapees and looting. Robin knows this is too big for Batman, but he's too stubborn to ask for help. And now Robin has to live in Keystone City with his dad.

Impulse points out that Keystone isn't that bad, while Superboy is glad he doesn't have to deal with the rules of being a sidekick. Impulse says Max calls him a "juvenile ward," and Superboy tells Robin he should go solo, be his own man, follow his heart and feel the force. But Robin angrily slams his fist down, shouting that he's banned from action.

So Superboy starts putting two and two together. Robin is sidelined from helping Gotham City, but Batman never said anything about teammates — never once mentioning that Young Justice should steer clear of Gotham or Robing would be waxing the Batmobile. As Superboy works this out, Impulse mimics his every move, and Robin reluctantly agrees that Superboy is technically correct. This is enough for Superboy and Impulse, who declare they've found a loophole and immediately rush out the cave before Robin can stop them.

Superboy and Impulse buzz past a surprised Red Tornado, and Robin tries to catch up to them on the Super-Cycle. But first he stops to ask Red Tornado to tell Batman they're not there if he calls — and that they're not in Gotham City, either. Red asks the young detective where they will be, and Robin admits they'll be in Gotham, but he begs the android to not tell that to Batman.

We then return to Lagoon Boy, who has lost the Kobra submarines and has decided to happily return to his quest of being a tourist in Gotham. But when he emerges close to the city, he's shocked to find it in ruins. Even though he knew all about Gotham's famous cheese fries, he apparently hadn't heard about its cataclysmic earthquake. Lagoon Boy is soon spotted by a U.S. Marshals helicopter, which mistakingly orders him back to Gotham. The green fish boy complies, and the soldiers simply consider him an ugly resident and proof that the city needs to be quarantined.

The helicopter then spots Superboy flying in and Impulse keeping up by running on the water. Superboy notes the heavy security and he warns Impulse to be on the lookout for mines in the harbor. Impulse thinks this is pretty cool, and he sets them off for fun. The soldiers in the helicopter realize they can't catch these intruders, so they decide to let them go, not being able to imagine a worse punishment than allowing them to enter Gotham.

Once inside the desolated ruins, Impulse says it looks like Level 50 of Doom, and he fetches a turkey dinner for an old man wearing a sign that says, "Will work do anything for food." Superboy then sees smoke rising over the horizon and flies up to get a better look, with Impulse joining him by creating mini-tornados with his hands. The boys see the fire coming from the zoo, which has been overgrown with vegetation. As they race over there, Superboy recounts that Gotham's had plagues, earthquakes and infernos, and now all it needs is raining frogs, which Impulse thinks is pretty funny.

Turns out the fire was caused by a group of hungry people looking to make a meal of the zoo animals. Superboy and Impulse confront the heavily armed men, and Superboy jokingly speculates they must be burning everything for weed control. Impulse says they could be fighting roaches, but in either case, Superboy has a feeling these men skipped the five-day waiting period for their guns, so he has Impulse confiscate them. With the guns out of the way, Superboy tells the guys to go home since it's a school night. But when they try to leave, they become entangled by vines. The boys then see the forest is being controlled by a beautiful plant woman, which Superboy calls a "prickly pear" and "veggie supreme."

Robin finally reaches Gotham on the Super-Cycle, and once again the U.S. marshals give up trying to stop this latest intruder. Robin quickly comes across Lagoon Boy, who is being chased by an angry and hungry mob (at least one of them thinks the fish boy will taste like tuna). Robin doesn't recognize Lagoon Boy, but he decides to rescue him anyway. Lagoon Boy, though, has heard all about Robin and is quite awestruck to be saved by one of Gotham's heroes. Robin tells his new friend that he should blend in with all the freaks of Gotham, despite the recent evidence to the contrary. The Boy Wonder then decides to let Lagoon Boy tag along until Robin finds his friends.

We cut back to Superboy and Impulse, who are now being attacked by the plant lady. She starts wrapping a bunch of vines around the heroes, and Impulse actually tries to reason with her, saying they're here to help. But he gets covered in vines anyway. Impulse sarcastically says, "Oh no. Drat. You've got me." before vibrating free with a very '90s "N-n-n-not!" He then starts to free Superboy, when Robin suddenly arrives and takes out a few vines with his batarangs before hitting the plant lady with the Super-Cycle.

Lagoon Boy is having the time of his life and asks to go fight the Joker after this. Impulse, meanwhile, grabs a large weed whacker to use on the plant lady. Lagoon Boy mistakingly calls Impulse the Flash, and Impulse proclaims that "Miss Herbal Life is getting her hedges trimmed — or my name isn't ... Bart ..." He kind of trailed off at the end of gloat, not because he realized he was giving away his secret identity, but because the plant lady caused a large tree to suddenly sprout in front of the speedster. Impulse crashed hard into the tree, causing Robin to cover his eyes, Superboy his ears, and Lagoon Boy his mouth. Lagoon Boy thinks this is all a big game and that Impulse said his name was Bark. Robin groans that Nightwing never had days like this with the Titans.

And then Robin's worst fear comes true — Batman arrives. Armed with a gas mask and a special glove, Batman addresses the plant lady, saying he knows this is Poison Ivy's turf, and these boys are just lost. He suggests they say they're even and call it a night. Lagoon Boy is simply overjoyed to see the Dark Knight in the flesh, and is really hoping he can see Poison Ivy, as well. But Robin calls it quits and says he's done.

The plant lady doesn't listen to Batman and grabs the still dazed Impulse. Batman gives Impulse his gas mask and begins fighting the lady. Superboy wants to help, but Robin tells him he'll just get in the way. Sure enough, Batman has little trouble with the plant lady, easily freeing Impulse before blasting the lady with some herbicide from his glove. As the plant lady shrivels and dies, Batman explains to the boys that the locals called her Ferak, and she was one of Poison Ivy's creations — never truly alive. Batman then tells the boys the same thing he told the JLA — to get out and stay out of his city. He promises to talk to Robin more about this, then swings off, while the boys sadly load into the Super-Cycle, with Superboy bemoaning the loss of the beautiful Ferak.

As the boys fly back home (somehow avoiding the U.S. marshals), Robin complains how they just got their butts kicked by a plant lady, and now Batman is going to come up with new ways to punish them. Impulse is trying to sleep in the back, but he's disturbed by Lagoon Boy excitedly talking about how this was the best day of his life. He recounts his adventures, including his run-in with the Kobra submarines, which prompts Robin to slam on the brakes.

Robin asks Lagoon Boy where he last saw the subs, then decides to redeem the day by doing something useful. He orders Superboy and Lagoon Boy to dive in the water and lead the charge, while he converts the cycle into a submarine. While Superboy begins smashing up the Kobra subs, we get one small panel showing the girls of Young Justice wondering what the boys are up to. Secret and Arrowette are reading Super Hunks magazine, while Wonder Girl works out with enormous weights. (I'm 90 percent convinced this panel was a last-minute addition to the comic because the writers genuinely forgot those characters existed.)

Back to the fight, Robin has taken the Super-Cycle underwater, but he's still worried about Impulse. But Impulse says he and Kobra go way back (which is true), and he wouldn't sit this out for anything. The cycle then provides Impulse a video game controller and visor to man the weapons, and he gleefully mocks Max for saying video games have no educational value.

With their subs sinking, the Kobra cultists decide to abandon their plans of conquering Gotham and instead destroy it with their bio-chem torpedoes. Impulse blasts all the torpedoes, while Lagoon Boy is joined by one of his Atlantean friends — Blubber, a whale with robotic arms and legs. Lagoon Boy excitedly starts bragging to Blubber about how he met Batman, and Superboy has to remind the two "Land Lovers" that they're the good guys, which means they need to make sure all the Kobra cultists safely escape the sinking subs.

All the Kobras get away, and one of them shouts that the Naja-Naja will triumph. Our heroes have a hard time hearing him, and Impulse thinks he said, "Nyaah nyaah," which Superboy calls "bass ackwards." With no talk of actually putting the Kobras in custody, the boys of Young Justice bid farewell to Lagoon Boy and Blubber. Robin admits the day wasn't a total wash, and Impulse says the only downside was that they hacked off Robin's dad, Batman. This gives Robin a big laugh, which Superboy and Impulse think must be caused from him spending too much time in caves.

This was a pretty fun one-shot that did a good job of giving Young Justice a taste of No Man's Land without interrupting the regular series. Of course, Peter David would have remembered that there are six members of Young Justice, and Todd Nauck's art would have been much better. But what we got wasn't that bad. I'm not that big of a fan of Andy Kuhn's style, but I will give him credit for making sure Impulse was constantly doing something hilarious in the background.

The biggest disappointment in this issue was Lagoon Boy. He showed up for no reason and ultimately did absolutely nothing. Even when he was in the water, supposedly helping fight the submarines, we never saw him throw a single punch. If DC was trying to promote Lagoon Boy as an equal of Young Justice, then they should have shown him as more than an excited fanboy.

There aren't any letters or editor's notes, so let's dive in on the few new ads:

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Superman faster than a speeding bullet ... to an ARC distributor near you. Begin your Superman die-cast collection with this Jeff Gordon NASCAR replica.

Next time, we'll return to the full team with Young Justice #10.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Resurrection Man #26

Millennium Now!

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Story
Anthony Williams Pencils
Andy Lanning Inks
Carla Feeny Colors
Pat Prentice Letters
Frank Berrios Edits

Our cover shows Resurrection Man battling Vandal Savage in front of the robotic hand of the true villain of this story — although we don't really see said villain in this issue. The cover isn't particularly impressive, but it's not bad, either. In fact, it sort of has an old-fashioned charm to it.

So this issue is the penultimate issue of the series, which makes it a terrible jumping-on point. The story is epic and complex, but since Impulse's appearance is minimal, I'll just gloss over everything.

Apparently there is a massive reality warp in Antarctica, which has attracted the attention of Vandal Savage, Resurrection Man and a whole bunch of other heroes. We see the Ray with a group called the Forgotten Heroes, Arsenal and Jesse Quick with the Titans, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, and, of course, Young Justice.

Well, the boys of Young Justice, anyway. For some reason, there are still a bunch of creators at DC who haven't heard about the three girls joining the team. Anyway, Red Tornado flies in right behind the boys, hastily apologizing for their behavior. And that's all we see of any of these heroes because, in spite of their great powers, none of them are actually able to deal with this reality-warping event. The only ones who can are Resurrection Man and Vandal Savage.

So the two immortals strike up an uneasy alliance. Savage explains that the reality warps are being caused by a creature that crash-landed on Antarctica in a meteoroid. To help them battle this creature, Savage releases the only other person immune to the reality warps — the original Immortal Man, who has been Savage's prisoner for years.

And that's all I have to say about this issue. The story was alright, I guess, setting up an epic ending with tons of cameos and a crisis that can only be solved by the hero of the series. The art wasn't particularly good, but it didn't hinder the story. And it was refreshing to see a version of Vandal Savage that is much more interesting than the one in the current Legends of Tomorrow TV show.

Next time, Impulse and Young Justice will make their only appearance in the big Batman event No Man's Land, via a special one shot.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Supergirl #34

We'll Always Have Parasite

Peter David, Writer
Leonard Kirk, Penciller
Robin Riggs, Inker
Gene D'Angelo, Colorist
Digital Chameleon, Seps
Bill Oakley, Letterer
Frank Berrios, Asst. Ed.
Mike McAvennie, Bougoise

No Supergirl and Parasite — it's "Eiffel" Tower, not "I Fell" Tower! Leonard Kirk, Robin Riggs and Patrick Martin took the plunge for this month's cover. I'm actually not too impressed with this cover, and that's mainly because of Kirk's art. It's just really blobby and unimpressive. But, I am happy the inside artist was the cover artist, and he did draw a scene that actually happens in this book.

Impulse and friends only make a very brief cameo in this issue, so we'll just breeze through this. Supergirl got her dates mixed up and accidentally scheduled an art exhibit for her alter ego, Linda Danvers, in Paris at the same time Supergirl was supposed to give a speech at a charity event in Columbus, Ohio. I'm not sure exactly how that worked with the time difference, but it was pretty fun watching her come up with lame excuses to abruptly leave one event to rush off to the other in a futile attempt to be in two places at once.

While flying to Columbus, Supergirl passes through a thick cloud of fog and nearly crashes into Young Justice on the Super-Cycle. Robin manages to phase them through the heroine, which comes as a big shock for Supergirl, who only recognizes Superboy from the group. Collision averted, Superboy shouts at Supergirl for being a "skyhog" and Impulse makes a really stupid mocking gesture. All Arrowette cares about is Supergirl's hair, while Supergirl flies away, considering Superboy real immature.

And that's all we see of Young Justice in this issue. Where were they going? What were they doing? It doesn't matter — it was funny! Sometimes, that is my favorite kind of cameo. Completely random and utterly goofy. Anyway, while Supergirl is hoping back and forth between Columbus and Paris, the Parasite escapes the D.E.O. in Paris, kills a bunch of agents and gets into a big fight with Supergirl, ending the issue on a cliffhanger.

Even though I breezed through this issue, it was actually really good. Peter David supplied his usual sense of humor with some truly terrifying moments with Parasite. And since he's writing Supergirl and Young Justice, it was only a matter of time before they crossed paths (and they will again before too long). Of course, Impulse had previously met Supergirl for about five minutes with the New Titans, but I'm not entirely sure if that was the same Supergirl we have here. In any case, I really did enjoy this issue, even with the lackluster art.

None of the letters to the editor mention Impulse or Young Justice, so let's head straight to the ads:

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Next time, Impulse and friends will make another quick cameo in Resurrection Man #26.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Impulse #49

The Old Reform School Dodge

Janice "Chiang Gang" Letters
G.C. "B4" W. Separations and
L. "Alcatraz" Williams Warden, grant unconditional parole to:
Bill "Midnight Express" Messner-Loebs Writer
Craig "The Prisoner" Rousseau Penciller
"Caged Heat" Kaalberg Inker
Tom "Cool Hand" McCraw Colorist
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo

And so we come to the end of an era, with one more cover by Craig Rousseau and Wayne Faucher. The best thing about this cover is the bus driver is actually Rousseau himself, while Messner-Loebs is reaching out to grab Evil Eye. Messner-Loebs had his right arm amputated as an infant because of a cancerous tumor, so his comic book representation got a robotic arm. Unfortunately, this cover is otherwise kind of a mess. The bus looks really wonky, and Impulse is rather lackluster. Apparently, this cover had a rather troubled production history. On Rousseau's website, he has the pencils for two different versions of this cover, both of which look better than the finished product. It seems like there were a bunch of hasty, last-minute alterations, which is especially unfortunate on the final issue of these creators' run.

Our story begins with Max Mercury finally getting that meeting with his former nemesis, Dr. Morlo. Morlo measures Max's speed with some advanced equipment, and as he tallies the data, he tells Max he's willing to do whatever it takes to help him since he feels a little responsible for Max being shot by the gang his grandson, Evil Eye, was running with. Morlo tells Max that even though they're a family of meta-criminals, he and Evil Eye's father, the Transparent Weapon, are concerned about the boy's behavior, so they decided to send him to a very exclusive, very pricey reform school called Sunnyside Boys Camp.

Morlo tells Max that one of the features of the camp is that the counselors themselves will "gently, but firmly" remove the boy from his usual environment, then take him to their facility in international waters, which allows them the freedom to give the boy the best treatment possible. Max says this sounds a bit harsh, and as we see, it really is. Evil Eye was harshly abducted right in front of Preston and Roland (at the corner of Dezago Way and Van Sciver Road). Evil Eye was then taken to the "camp," which is really a prison with barbed-wire fences. Evil Eye also had to surrender his trademark eyepatch, which covered up a dead, completely white eye.

The abduction of Evil Eye and several other kids at Manchester Junior High worried Preston and Roland enough that they teamed up with Carol and Bart to confront Assistant Principal Sheridan about it. In Sheridan's office, they meet with the director of Sunnyside, Dr. Rudolph West, the less-than-admirable father of Wally West. Rudolph West is rather rude to the kids, scolding them for shouting and throwing tantrums when they were actually quite calm. He also assures them that his program has had five successful months of reforming troubled young men.

(And just because I love these things, here are all the books in Sheridan's office: Craig & Trish A Love Story, New Horizons, Views of L.A., L.A. Confidential, Ethics for the New Millennium, The Third Wave and 1984.)

It doesn't take long for Evil Eye to attempt an escape. He climbs over the wall using a rope made of bedsheets, but he's quickly caught by the Sunnyside staff of Craig Rousseau, William Messner-Loebs, Tom McCraw and Barbara Kaalberg. Evil Eye is beaten, chained up and placed in solitary. Sometime later, Evil Eye befriends a kid who calls himself Dr. Richard Renquist, the smartest boy on Earth. (I strongly suspect Richard was the winner of the Running Wild Sweepstakes that was advertised in Impulse #45. The timing fits, and it seems a bit suspicious to focus so much on a rather throwaway character.) Evil Eye tests Richard's knowledge by asking him the gross national product of Markovia, but Richard says he doesn't care about stuff like that. As the boys run laps in the prison yard, we also catch a glimpse of a forgotten Impulse/Arrowette villain, the Spazz.

We then cut back to Bart and his friends leaving Sheridan's office. Bart complains that their meeting was boring, and Carol is upset that the adults didn't even listen to them. Preston begins to wonder if Evil Eye does deserve this treatment, noting he was a wannabe gangster, bully and thug. But Roland is quick to defend him, saying he saw Evil Eye leave the gang and even protect Roland from them. Carol then starts to get a little paranoid that even more kids, including themselves, could someday be shipped off to Sunnyside. So Roland decides to research the camp on the Internet, and Bart says he'll ask Max ... and some other people ... about Rudolph West.

So Bart tells Max the whole story, but Max says they shouldn't interfere since Morlo is helping him with a delicate situation and he doesn't want to alienate him. Bart then goes to Helen, but she says this may be what Evil Eye needs, pointing out that he hasn't exactly been a friend of Bart's. Bart then somehow gets up to the JLA Watchtower on the moon and tells the Flash the whole story. Wally admits that his dad has been involved in a lot scams in the past, but he thinks he's now trying to atone for that by legally helping society. Wally then teleports Bart back to Earth, but he does make a note to check in on his dad after he cleans up this current mess with the Titans. Bart then sadly reports to his friends that nobody wants to listen and they have to do it themselves.

Meanwhile, the foul-mouthed Sunnyside staff (all their swear words are censored) have taken offense at Evil Eye's insistence of using a nickname. They make all the boys run laps for Evil Eye's cheek, but Richard supports his friend in his quest to drive the guards nuts. At dinner, Evil Eye notices a boy becoming sick with the gruel, and upon hearing the staff is eating hot dogs in the kitchen, he tries to get some for the ill boy. When he's denied this, Evil Eye slops some gruel on Kaalberg, and is sent to solitary once again. But he happily accepts his punishment, since he succeeded in annoying the staff once again.

Bart, Carol, Preston and Roland ride the bus down to the Gulf of Mexico, and Bart complains about how long the bus ride was. The kids conveniently find an abandoned rowboat and decide to row it out to the island. Upon realizing the island is hundreds of miles away, Carol craftily cons Bart into propelling them like a motor boat with his hands sticking out the back, which she explains to the others as the natural effect of the Gulf Stream. Thanks to Bart's super speed, the kids arrive at the island in no time, and quickly locate the back entrance to Sunnyside. It is a fierce-looking barbed-wire fence, but the lock to the gate is a rather simple padlock. Carol says she wishes Impulse were there with them so he could pick the lock at super speed. Bart says that's dumb, and Impulse would just vibrate through the fence instead. Preston agrees with Bart, saying the Flash or Jesse Quick would pick the lock, but Impulse isn't smart enough to do that. So to prove Preston wrong, Bart picks the lock so fast it looks like it just fell off its hinges by itself.

Inside the prison yard, Evil Eye's friend Ricky is having a hard time with the day's activity of smashing rocks since the staff took away his asthma inhaler a week ago. Unable to breathe, Ricky soon collapses, and Evil Eye rushes over to the staff, begging for the inhaler. The guards use this opportunity to force Evil Eye to tell them his real name, Wilfred Riodan Parker, which they immediately mock. And to add insult to injury, they deny Evil Eye the inhaler, saying they're not allowed to administer medications. Evil Eye attacks the guards in a fit of rage, but is easily subdued and thrown into solitary once again. But Evil Eye is met by Impulse in the cell, who hands Evil Eye back his eyepatch and tells him to stay quiet.

Out in the yard, the other boys see Richard still struggling to breathe and the injustice to Evil Eye, who was just trying to help. They all rally together to take on the guards, who try to fight off the boys with firehoses, but Preston secretly shut off the water. The guards then try to call in for reinforcements, but Roland had disconnected their communications systems. As the rioting boys break into the administration building, Carol further cripples the staff by shutting off the power. And when the guards try to get their taser rifles and tear gas, they find all their weapons have been stolen by Impulse and Evil Eye.

Meanwhile, Max has brought Morlo into his garage to continue their tests. Morlo reports that Max has lost about 10 percent of his normal speed and any additional exertion may aggravate his discomfort. Max vows to let Impulse carry more of the load until he's back to normal, but Morlo's worried that Max's condition is permanent. This bad news is interrupted by Helen, who found a note left behind by Bart, detailing his plans to storm Sunnyside.

One of the Sunnyside guards manages to get Rudolph West on the phone to tell him about the riot. Rudolph tells the guard to break out the fragmentation grenades to kneecap a couple of the brats. And we see why Rudolph is so desperate. His office is a small rundown trailer, filled with threatening notes from Blockbuster and Lex Luthor to pay back the money he's borrowed. Max suddenly arrives at Rudolph's door and tells him not to hurt the kids. Rudolph contends that the law is on his side, and he's technically the victim in this case. Morlo walks in behind Max, and says he knows something about victims — he creates them. And this shuts up Rudolph pretty quick. (And since this wouldn't be a Messner-Loebs story without some name confusion, Morlo introduces himself as Sebastian Parker. So, is Augustus Morlo just his stage name, then?)

Our story ends with Rudolph ordering his guards to surrender and the boys making the staff run laps in their underwear. Roland speculates that Impulse was following them all along, secretly helping them. Bart quickly confirms that makes sense. Preston wonders aloud how they'll all get home now, and Evil Eye jokes that he could steal a Lexus for them. And we end with a hearty thanks to Impulse readers from the creative team of Craig, Bill, Barb and Tom!

And so ends the Messner-Loebs/Rousseau run. This wasn't exactly the strongest issue to go out on, but it was really fun to see the creative team cameo as the bad guys. We also got to finally find out what's going on with Max, and we got a bit of closure with Evil Eye. He definitely did deserve to be punished for hanging out with the Tigers gang and firing a gun at the Riddler. But nobody deserved the type of punishment exhibited at Sunnyside. So hopefully Evil Eye learned a lesson here and will start to be a little less evil.

But altogether, this issue really was rather weak. It didn't really make sense that Bart and friends would freak out that much about Evil Eye being taken to a reform school. They needed to have some sort of proof of abuse to validate their concern. And I was disappointed with the Flash's role in all this. If he's not going to come back to help out at the end, then he should at least have a valid excuse — not just "helping the Titans." And, sadly, the artwork in this issue was not as good as we've seen in the past from Rousseau and Kaalberg.

In a special edition of Impulsive Reactions, all the letters to the editor have been replaced with farewell messages from the departing creators.

Tom McCraw, who's been Impulse's colorist since issue #1, doesn't have too much to say. He thanks all the creators he's worked with over the years, says he'll miss seeing Bart and company, and says he'll be coloring Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., Legion of Super-Heroes and The Flash.

Barbara Kaalberg also doesn't have much to say. She says her favorite memory was being flown in to Cleveland for a signing with Bill and Craig, and that Impulse's enthusiastic fans spoiled her.

Craig Rousseau says his introduction began with a surprise phone call from Paul Kupperberg to pencil a fill-in issue. So Craig ran down to the comic shop and picked up a big pile of Impulse comics. One fill-in issue became two, and soon a full-time job. After 26 issues, an annual and a few odd jobs, Craig decided it was time for someone else to play with all these cool toys. He thanks all the creators he's worked with, especially Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt who recommended him, his girlfriend, Trish, and everyone who picked up the book.

Bill Messner-Loebs naturally writes the longest letter, which begins with a pretty nice story. Two maggots fall off a gravedigger's shovel. One lands on a dead possum and is able to eat to his heart's content. The other fell down a crack in the sidewalk and starved. The fat maggot eventually finds his lost companion, who is thin and weak, and asks his plump friend how he managed to be so successful. The fat one's answer: "Brains and personality."

Bill begins by thanking Mark Waid, who went out of his way to make sure Bill took over Impulse after he left. Bill talks about all the fun he had with Paul Kupperberg, and Craig Rousseau, saying that Craig's speed saved his behind more than once when the script was late. Bill thanks just about everyone else who helped him get into comics, and closes by saying he became a writer because of his "brains and personality."

L.A. Williams closes by praising the departing creators for being extremely talented, reliable and nice. He points out that this creative team worked on Impulse longer than Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos, which is quite an accomplishment. L.A. says Rousseau will next be working on Batman: Gotham Adventures, and Messner-Loebs will be writing Brave Old World with Vertigo.

This run of Impulse will always hold a special place in my heart since it was my introduction to the series. Sure, I had a few frustrations with names being confused, characters not being developed, and the art not always being up to par, but by and large, this was a solid run of comics. Messner-Loebs and Rousseau did a good job of continuing what Waid and Ramos started, while adding their own brand of heart-warming stories mixed with plenty of humor. But as Rousseau said, I also am ready for someone else to play with these toys. Now let's check out the ads.

Lots of peanut butter cups were destroyed in the making of this ad. Chips Deluxe with Peanut Butter Cups.

Scary rides. Crazy characters. Win a trip to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure through Nabisco.

Scooby fans have spoken! The 4 most popular Scooby-Doo mysteries are now together on one video!

Kick evil in the asteroid. Starshot Space Circus Fever on Nintendo 64 and PC CD-ROM.

Detective Comics #27 is worth $160,000! Don't risk missing this milestone. Fanboy #5. Today, the first appearance of Batman has sold for more than $1 million, and could be worth more than $2 million if it's in good condition.

Free Batman Beyond comic book with the purchase of Jell-O Low Fat Yogurt. Batman Beyond: The Movie available on VHS.

That's it for June 1999. As we head into July, we'll get an all-new, all-exciting creative team for Impulse! But first, we need to take a very quick side trip to Supergirl #34.