Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #2

True Colors

Geoff Johns & Lee Moder Writer/Storytellers/Penciller
Dan Davis Inks
Tom McCraw Colors
Bill Oakley Letters
Heroic Age Separator
L.A. Williams Asst. Ed.
Chuck Kim & Mike Carlin Editors
Courtney Whitmore created by Johns & Moder

The cover by Moder and Davis shows the Star-Spangled Kid and S.T.R.I.P.E. battling a bunch of weird green men (boys?) and a villain named Paintball who can apparently steal color from people. Whatever that does. I'm quite confused by all this, but I don't think it really matters as far as Impulse is concerned. I'm also not a big fan of Moder's art, but he does have a fun, light-hearted tone appropriate for a teen book.

Most of this story has nothing to do with Impulse, so I'll just hit on the basics. Courtney Whitmore is your typical teenage girl, dealing with braces, high school, and a recent move from sunny California to boring Blue Valley, Nebraska, the former home of Wally West. Courtney has somehow acquired a special belt that gives her super strength, and has become the new Star-Spangled Kid. Courtney's stepdad is Pat Dugan, who used to be the sidekick for the original Star-Spangled Kid, and is now running around in an armored suit called S.T.R.I.P.E. (Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer). The two have a pretty acrimonious relationship so far, but they have managed to work together to stop some small-time villains from destroying Blue Valley High School.

Word has spread quickly of this feat, and Oracle sent a message to Red Tornado about this possible new hero, although she thinks the Star-Spangled Kid is a boy. Robin likes the idea of being aware of all potential teammates, and he suggests they make a trip to Blue Valley sometime to check him out. Red Tornado asks if they can leave Impulse behind, then adds that they should probably leave all of them behind after catching them all at a particularly immature moment.

It's pretty innocuous stuff — Impulse is teasing Wonder Girl for reading an article called "Ten things to do to get a cute boyfriend," and Superboy's flirting with Arrowette caused him to accidentally detonate a smoke arrow in his face. Robin still wants to take the whole team to Blue Valley, but says they don't need to run out this minute. And that's really all we need to know about this issue.

When Impulse was first created, Geoff Johns was just a letter-writing fanboy at Michigan State. Now here he is with his first comic book series, which is steeped in DC Universe legacy characters. So it should be no surprise that as DC's Chief Creative Officer, he is currently trying to restore a sense of legacy through DC Rebirth. As for this particular issue, I thought the story did a good job of setting up high school life, reminding me a lot of the early Impulse issues. And I am happy that Young Justice has another teenage hero to interact with.

This series is still too new for a letters column, but we do get two-thirds of a page urging kids to "recycle" the comic by giving it to a friend, briefly explaining what Mike Carlin does as DC's Executive Editor, and advertising the upcoming event, Day of Judgment. The other third of the page is an ad for Now for the rest of the ads:

It's time to get hooked up. (Or, how to set up your Coke voicemail box for free). I guess this was a pre-cellphone way for kids to feel like they had their own phones. I don't know.

Tangy. Fruity. Chewy. Spree. It's a kick in the mouth.

Use your smart bomb. Command & Conquer for Nintendo 64.

Driver. You are the wheelman. For PlayStation.

Lasts longer than your attention span. Starburst Hard Candy.

Six Flags is just a fast ride away!

All the muscle you don't have yet. World Driver Championship for Nintendo 64.

It better be ice cold for Stone Cold. Got milk? with Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Next time, we'll finally return to The Flash for the first time since Chain Lightning.

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