Friday, May 20, 2016

Impulse #54

Day of Judgment Night of Camping

A Dezago • Van Sciver • McCarthy • Rollins • Chiang • Taylor • Digital Chameleon • Williams production
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo

Our cover shows Impulse in a movie theater, surrounding by all the various ghosts and goblins from the Day of Judgment event. L.A. Williams said Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher drew themselves in it, and I can sort of see them in the monsters right behind Impulse and on the right side. But as fun as all this is, I am compelled to point out that technically speaking, none of this happens in this issue. In fact, as we'll soon see, Impulse doesn't even show up.

We open on Preston Lindsay, who has taken up a new hobby — filmmaking. Through his narrations, we learn that the town of Manchester lies in Jasper County, just off Route 195, and Bart lives at 323 Maple Drive. Preston is filming his neighborhood while standing on top of a ladder in a wagon, which is being pulled by Wade and Mike. As this amateur film crew makes its way past Bart's house, we see Max sporting a fresh cast on his arm, autographed a hundred times by Bart. Preston heard that Mr. Crandall broke his arm fighting a giant, which he assumes is a joke. We also see a copy of the Daily Manchester Eagle, which features a story about a mysterious bank robber known as Sir Real. (Manchester either has a lot of newspapers, or one paper that constantly changes its name.)

Helen is leaving for a dentists convention, and she thinks it'd be good for Max to get Bart out of the house for a while so he can recuperate from his battle with Kalibak. She suggests allowing Bart to have an overnight campout with his friends, saying it'll be good for the boy to have some fun. Max says with Bart, fun is usually a seven-letter word: T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Bart, meanwhile, is completely oblivious to all this, immersed in his Game Boy.

A couple of friendly dogs come out and pester our amateur filmmakers, and Preston nearly takes a hard tumble off his ladder. Max and Bart stabilize the wagon and ladder and return to their previous positions before anyone notices, leaving Preston, Mike and Wade wondering why he suddenly stopped falling. Helen's final point, that Bart would be forced to slow down to his friends' level, causes Max to finally agree to the campout.

Helen takes away Bart's game of "Revenge of the Maniacal Muskrats" and tells him he'll be roughing it for the weekend. Max sternly warns Bart to be discreet, and he and Max head inside, leaving a pouting Bart to meet up with his friends. Suddenly, Zatanna appears in Helen's house, asking Max to help battle off legions of demons from the Underworld. Jay Garrick arrives right after with the same request. And despite Helen's protests, Max agrees to help these heroes, noting the seriousness of the situation. So he rips off his cast and bandages, and heads off to the big crossover event without Impulse.

Bart and his friends have gathered up all their supplies in their backpacks, and they head over to the candy shop to pick up Rolly. What they see looks like Evil Eye keeping Rolly's sleeping bag away from him before tossing it at him and calling him a rat. Preston chews out Evil Eye, reminding him how they saved him from Sunnyside. Mike joins in, calling Evil Eye a loser, and all the campers head off, leaving Evil Eye to call the kids girls and tell them to have fun on their "stupid little campout."

The boys head down the train tracks, and Preston begins filming again, explaining that not only are they taking advantage of the last week of summer, but they also plan on sneaking into Christian Taranturro's latest film, "Pulp Dogs." Preston introduces Wade as their film crew's writer, and Mike as their top actor, since he's so animated and can draw on so many emotions. (In case you haven't figured it out, but Wade and Mike are based on Impulse's creators, Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo.)

The kids toss a football around as they walk, and when Bart is told to go long, he goes really long. For a moment, nobody knows where Bart is, but he suddenly reappears right behind his friends, and Preston laughs it off as one of Bart's "magic tricks." After 20 minutes of walking, Bart begins to grumble, asking, "Do you you always walk this slow? ... I mean, 'we'! Do we always walk this slow?!" Wade assures Bart they're almost there, explaining their plan to camp on Griffin's Hill and hike into town after dark, all without being seen by old man Griffin, who is said to shoot trespassers on sight. Rolly says nobody will see them, but none of the boys notice Evil Eye following them from the shadows.

Later, the boys get their tent set up (at a snail's pace, according to Bart). Preston asks Bart if he remembered the food, and we get a fun thought bubble of Bart thinking about himself thinking about himself thinking about ... Ultimately, Bart decides to say the food's in his bag, then hurries home and comes back with the food before anyone notices. Soon, the boys are roasting hotdogs, while a starving Evil Eye watches from the bushes.

Once it gets dark, Bart and friends take the (slow) two-mile hike into town. Mike leads them to a Lexcom movie theater where his cousin works as an usher, and left the bathroom window open so the kids could sneak inside. All the kids make it in, but when Evil Eye tries to follow, he gets caught. The usher tells Evil Eye that he and his friends are in big trouble, and Evil Eye stammers for a bit before sadly saying he doesn't have any friends.

The boys love the movie, but they do get in a bit of trouble when Rolly eats the popcorn of the old lady sitting next to him, and when Preston's and Wade's constant talking annoys the three guys behind him who look an awful lot like Todd Dezago, Prentis Rollins and L.A. Williams. The kids head back to the campsite around 11 p.m., talking about the movie and reenacting its scenes all the way there. When they reach the campfire, everyone starts roasting marshmallows, and Preston pulls out the camera once again as they tell ghost stories.

Halfway through Bart's story, just after Preston turned off the camera, all the ghosts and goblins we saw on the cover come bursting out of the fire. The demons don't bother the boys and fly off into the night, leaving Bart's friends to ask him how he did that. Bart can only say "I dunno," while realizing that if he became Impulse to investigate, he'd be disobeying Max's order to be discreet. The only boy to get scared by the demons was Rolly, who zipped himself up in his sleeping bag and refused to move, even to enter the tent. Mike realizes it's now 2:30 in the morning, so they all go to bed, glad to be among friends and not scared and alone. And Evil Eye settles in for the night nearby, with nothing more than a ratty, patched-up blanket to cover him.

In the morning, the kids are awoken by the shouting of old man Griffin. Preston worries that they'll never be able to pack up before they're spotted, but Bart does all the work for them in about half a second. Bart's friends don't have much time to wonder how this happened, since Griffin fired his shotgun into the air nearby, causing everyone to scramble away as fast as they can. Well, Bart calmly walks away, but his friends are running.

Two miles later, the worn-out boys are happy to be safely away, but Rolly realizes he dropped Evil Eye's sleeping bag while running down the hill. Everyone's surprised by this, and Rolly explains that he told Eddie yesterday they were going camping but he didn't have a sleeping bag. Evil Eye excitedly said his dad has one, and Rolly thought he meant he could borrow it. But Evil Eye was actually hoping to go camping with Rolly and the others, but he was too embarrassed and proud to admit this.

When Rolly finishes his story, Mike feels bad for assuming Evil Eye was bullying Rolly, and Preston feels bad for not realizing that Evil Eye wanted to come along. Wade suggests they buy Evil Eye a new sleeping bag, but Bart has suddenly disappeared once again. Evil Eye, meanwhile, is being shouted at by his dad, who happens to be wearing a Messner-Loebs Trucking shirt. Halfway through the lecture, the missing sleeping bag suddenly appears on the front lawn, putting a small smile on Evil Eye's face.

There was no Impulse in this issue, and I loved it. Dezago has done a wonderful job of fleshing out Bart's circle of friends while perfectly capturing the spirit of teenage boys during summer vacation. And I loved how he progressed the story of Evil Eye. He's finally given up hanging out with gangs, but he's still somewhat an outcast among the "good, normal" kids. His story really hits close to home for me, since I had a friend just like Evil Eye when I was this age. My friend was also from a broken home and was a bit of an outcast. It wasn't necessarily his fault he acted out sometimes, but sadly, I and my "good, normal" friends were too young and stupid to realize this until it was too late.

But as sweet and touching and funny as this issue was, I can't help but feel bad for any reader who picked up this comic looking a Day of Judgment tie-in. Showing Max running off to fight demons and having some demons randomly show up at a campfire is nowhere near enough to be considered a tie-in. It also doesn't make any sense for Max to be willing to rush off into such a dangerous situation with a broken arm and not bring Impulse along. I also feel bad for all the letter-writers in the past who asked for another appearance of Zatanna in this series. We were teased with a brief cameo, and that was it.

We only have two letters in this month's Impulsive Reactions, starting with Caleb L. Duncan, who admits he only knew Impulse from the Robin Plus Impulse one-shot and a smattering of Flash issues. Young Justice began to raise his curiosity, but ultimately, it was Batman's appearance in Impulse #50 that got Caleb to take the bait. Now, he's fallen for the series hook, line and sinker.

Jeff Dyer, of Dubuque, Iowa, wrote a "fast-talking" letter (with no spaces) praising issue #50 and Van Sciver's work. Now let's check out the new ads:

Wanna save the world? Relax. That's what these guys are for. The Avengers, Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot and Xyber 9 on Fox Kids.

He's big! He's green! He's just in time for breakfast! Reptar Crunch cereal inspired by the Rugrats.

You never know what you're going to win in a box of Totino's. Grand prize is a trip to the "Football Final," which I think means Super Bowl, but they couldn't get the rights to say it.

Six days a week of Pokémon only on Kids' WB! Plus, new episodes of Batman Beyond.

Who is the master spy? Spy vs. Spy for Game Boy Color.

Vatical made the great outdoors portable. Zebco Fishing! for Game Boy Color.

Buy your kid a Suzuki and we'll give you the gear for free.

Next time, we'll take another look at the Day of Judgment crossover with Young Justice #14.

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