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!

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