Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Impulse #52

Tumbling Down

Todd Dezago Writer
Ethan Van Sciver Penciller
Prentis Rollins Inker
Pages 14, 16 & 17 by Walt Simonson Penciller • Scott Williams Inker
Janice Chiang Letterer
Rick Taylor Colorist
L.A. Williams Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid & Mike Wieringo
The New Gods created by Jack Kirby

Our cover by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher is pretty darn awesome. Inertia looks gleefully evil, monitoring Impulse being drowned by a green gooey monster, while Max Mercury battles Kalibak,  son of Darkseid. Kalibak's presence here seems random, but it is quite explosive. Max really hasn't ever had someone big like this to fight one-on-one. I also liked how this series again found a creative way to present the barcode, comics code, and credits — this time, by making them all separate monitors in Inertia's base. So how about we dive into this story and find out what's going on here?

Our story begins with a rare appearance by Bart's grandma, Iris Allen. We find out that she's secluded herself to a lonely cabin in an unknown location so as to not accidentally reveal the future to any of her family members. Her modest abode is full of family photos — her deceased husband, Barry; a rare photo of her deceased twins, Don and Dawn, as children; and, of course, Bart, who is still alive ... for now! However, Iris' quiet night is ruined by the explosive arrival of Inertia, who introduces himself by quoting the most ominous line from Iris' seminal work, "The Life Story of the Flash:" "I will comfort Impulse when he learns a harsh lesson about life ... and I will worry the day his greatest challenge arrives in the form of his own dark twin."

Inertia causes a bit of ruckus in Iris' home, knocks her down, and stands over her as he says, "Hello, 'Grandma' — I read your book — I thought I'd show up a little ... early." Iris recognizes Inertia, who promptly destroys the entire cabin.

We then check in on Bart, who is multitasking just like any normal teenage boy with super speed. He's reading the After-Life Avenger comics, eating junk food, playing video games, and watching a rather violent knockoff of the Simpsons with the Homer stand-in pointing a gun at the Bart stand-in, saying, "Ave, lambada!" Naturally, Max isn't too pleased by this, especially when he finds out that Bart is also mowing the lawn.

Max mutes the TV and orders Bart to give him some undivided attention. Bart's report card came in today, and although he did pass, it was just barely. And most of Bart's teacher's agree that he could do better if he focused more. As Max lectures Bart, he has trouble focusing on the conversation, before he ultimately gives an odd defense: "Well ... as long as they know I can do better, I don't really see any sense in overdoing it ... right?"

This doesn't sit well with Max. He tells Bart that his level of focus has been backsliding lately, which is crucial to both his lives as Bart Allen and Impulse. But once again, Bart becomes distracted during this lecture, to the point where Max decides to give up. Bart asks to go to the Fourth of July celebration at the park, and Max agrees, as long as Bart cleans up the living room. However, Bart has the whole place clean and is out the door before Max can finish telling him to do his chores at normal speed.

Helen tells Max that he needs to stop giving Bart orders and needs to start finding ways to make these things "cool" to Bart. Since Helen seems to know so much about raising kids in Max's eyes, he decides to put her up to the challenge of overseeing Bart's learning skills and personal growth, citing his recent injuries as an excuse. Helen accepts the challenge, then notices that Bart left the lawnmower going, which has now crashed through the fence and is cruising into the neighbor's yard. Max races off after it, while Helen un-mutes the TV right on cue, as the Homer stand-in says, "D'ahh!"

Somewhere else, Inertia steps through a teleportation ring back into his lab. His computer, Craydl, assures him that 2,560 liters of technoplasm has been prepared, a boom tube has been put in place and timed to go off at the exact moment Inertia encounters Impulse, and a special pointy ring has been loaded and initialized. Inertia is excited to finally realize all his schemes and see his family's eons-long crusade triumph when he defeats — no, becomes Bart Allen. Inertia slides on the ring, which Craydl warns him not to poke himself with.

At the Manchester Fourth of July Fair, Bart has joined up with Preston and Wade. Bart's soaking in the paradisiacal atmosphere, while Preston tells Wade that "In Brightest Day" was great with Mel, his ring, and the ILM effects, but he claims "Pulpdog" will be the movie of the summer. Wade says Preston will never be able to see it, since LexCo recently bought the theater and jacked the prices sky-high. The three boys are joined by Mike, who says he knows an usher there who will be willing to help them sneak in the theater.

Bart spots Carol, who's hanging out with her friend, Ayana, and her latest crush, Jeff. Ayana greets Bart in a very flirty way and asks if he's staying for the fireworks tonight. Bart's pretty confused by Ayana's tone, but he does tell her they're all going up to the hill to watch the fireworks. Carol agrees to catch up with the troublemakers later, and gives Bart a high-five right in front of the stricken Mike. As Bart and the guys take off, Ayana comments on how cute Bart is. Mike asks Bart if he and Carol are boyfriend and girlfriend, while Jeff asks the same question of Carol. Carol easily laughs if off, saying Bart's like a brother to her. Bart, however, gets a little panicked by the question, but manages to tell Mike that Carol is just his best friend. Roland (now called Rolly by his friends) shows up with a bag of M-80s, while Mike begins romantically daydreaming about Carol.

Across the farthest reaches of space, on the vile planet of Apokolips, Inertia's boom tube opens up in a prison cell, freeing the mighty Kalibak. The two guards standing watch are horrified by this sight, saying that Darkseid will execute them immediately for this — if they're lucky. (I'll admit, I haven't kept up with the New Gods since Genesis, so I don't know why Kalibak was in prison to begin with.)

Meanwhile, in the woods on the far side of the park, Bart and his friends are having a blast blowing stuff up with Rolly's M-80s. Mike has forgotten about Carol momentarily to return to his idea of sneaking into the movie theater. Mike says his folks would turn him down if he just asked for the money, and he calls his dad a tool. Wade says his dad's a tool, too, and asks Bart whether Max is one. Even though Bart has lived in the 20th century for at least one year now (possibly two), he still encounters new slang words from time to time. And this is one of those times, causing him to wonder if Max is like a hammer or a screwdriver.

At the dental office of Helen Claiborne, Max is dropping his daughter off to get some last minute work done before the fireworks show. Helen's been short-staffed lately, and is pretty backed up. But Max doesn't mind the delay, saying at his age, he's in no rush to see more explosions. Unfortunately, Max gets at least one more explosion, as Inertia's boom tube opens up right behind him. Kalibak emerges from the boom tube, and recognizes Max, whom he believes freed him from his cell. However, Kalibak says he still hasn't properly thanked Max from their previous encounter, which sounds pretty ominous.

We then see that Inertia has teleported into the woods just out of sight of Bart and his friends. Inertia uses his teleport hoop to bring in the technoplasm, which he has Craydl form into a large monster. Bart, meanwhile, is close to figuring out his friends' use of the word "tool," imagining that if Max is a screwdriver, then he must be the screw. Preston wants to move on to blowing up a watermelon, but before he gets the chance, Craydl approaches the boys in his giant, green, gooey monstrous form.

All of Bart's friends are freaked out by this monster, especially Wade, who leaps into Mike's arms. Bart, however, is more curious than frightened. He does initially run away with his friends, until Craydl calls him Speedy. Bart realizes that he knows his secret identity, so he quickly changes into Impulse and engages Craydl. Bart asks the green monster what it is, and Craydl explains that he's a coded compound called technoplasm, programmed to alter his molecular makeup in any way to defeat Impulse. Bart runs up to the top of Craydl's head, and gets a bit worried when the monster continues to march through the forest and toward other people. But then Bart realizes that if Craydl is programmed, then that means he's a computer, which means he's basically a big Jello robot, which means that, technically, Bart wouldn't be killing Craydl, just terminating the program.

So Impulse decides to vibrate into Craydl and shake at a rate to send him flying apart. Craydl adjusts his molecular structure to match Impulse's vibrations, so Impulse vibrates his hand at a different rate, which does the trick. Craydl collapses in a big sploosh, leaving Impulse wet, sticky, but pleased to have saved the day. But when he tries to shake the technoplasm off him, he discovers he can't free himself. With Impulse stuck in the green goo, Inertia makes his grand entrance. Impulse asks the new guy who he is, and Inertia mockingly answers with, "Are you really that dim ... ? Isn't it obvious ... ?"

What an amazing issue! Besides the obvious excitement of Inertia putting his plan into place, this story rocked in every other aspect. I love Bart's expanding group of friends, the teenage love triangles, and the exciting plans for summer vacation. And I love all the little details Todd Dezago threw in, proving he's done his homework. Not only did we get to see Iris, but we got a direct quote from her book. And even seeing Helen work as a dentist was great. I've known she was a doctor of some sort, but I don't recall her being referred to as a dentist, specifically. I'm also pleased with how Impulse is continuing to develop his powers. Vibrating his arm at a different rate from his body is pretty advanced technique. But even though he's growing, his development is still slow, as Dezago found plenty of humorous ways to illustrated Bart's impulsiveness and inability to focus.

And everything is pulled together brilliantly by Ethan Van Sciver. His luscious details and exciting action scenes make this a beautiful book to look at, as always. He also excels at simply drawing normal people with great facial expressions. Bart's group of friends are all varied and interesting, showing the full range of emotions typical for teenagers. And it's really fitting to have Bart often staring vacantly off in the distance. I also have to mention Walt Simonson's contribution. He's somewhat of a comic book legend, especially in the area of Jack Kirby's Fourth World. So it's fitting that he'd be brought in to handle all the Kalibak scenes. However, his style is noticeably different from Van Sciver's, creating a slight distraction in this otherwise awesome issue.

One final note of random trivia. Preston's reference to the movie, "In Brightest Day," is likely a Green Lantern movie starring Mel Gibson. Back in 1999, few things would have sounded more exciting than a live-action Green Lantern movie. Well, we did get one in 2011, the same year this issue was collected in the Impulse 100-Page Spectacular, which is chock-full of Green Lantern ads.

All the other comics this month didn't have any letters to the editor, but Impulse managed to sneak in a two-thirds page of Impulsive Reactions. Heidi Brooks, of the Catholic Relief Services in Kenya, really enjoyed the philosophical debate presented by Superman and Max Mercury in Impulse #47. But she was most pleased to see the reference of land mines in Burundi, reminding me of how big a problem this was in the '90s.

MJM67X called issue #47 excellent, praising the artwork and the story, and mostly the fact that Bart actually concentrated. Well, that's all the room for letters that could be squeezed in this issue. Let's check out the new ads:

Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries now with Jungle Berries! And a Terk Talking Keychain offer through Disney's Tarzan. I still like Tarzan. Very '90s, yes. Very Phil Collins, yes. But still a pretty good film.

Find the Chips Ahoy! bag without chocolate chips and win up to $1,000.

Rock their world! Pokémon Pinball on GameBoy. This is truly a great game, and I still play it from time to time.

So you want to be Tarzan? Then you'll love Tarzan on PlayStation. Outrun wild animals. Surf on trees. And go one-on-one with a deadly hunter.

It came from outer space! The Iron Giant. This is one of the greatest animated films of all time. And this retro ad is equally a work of art.

Next time, we'll finally get around to that JLApe event, starting with The Flash Annual #12.

No comments:

Post a Comment