Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Impulse #56

The Best of Both

Todd Dezago • Words
Ethan Van Sciver • Pencils
Prentis Rollins • Inks
Janice Chiang • Letters
Rick Taylor • Colors
Digital Chameleon • Separations
L.A. Williams • Edits
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

Our cover by Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher shows Impulse, Secret, and a strange, green composite of Robin and Superboy. Hmm ... who do we know who's a green shapeshifter? Hmm ... Well, while you think on that, I'll heap my usual praise on this pretty funny image. Impulse's face is brilliant, as is his simple "Sorry." Secret does look slightly off, though, as she will throughout the issue. As amazing as Van Sciver is, for some reason, he just couldn't quite nail Secret. And some of this probably has to do with the inks and colors. And really, that is a very minor complaint in an otherwise beautiful comic book.

Our story opens with Helen telling Bart to clean his room before he hangs out with his friends. And Bart's room is pretty darn messy. There aren't a whole lot of Easter Eggs in it, but of note is a miniature helicopter Bart apparently built out of vacuum parts, more comics of the After-Life Avenger, a sleigh named Rosebud, a few pieces of Batman memorabilia, and posters of the Flash and Superman logos. Anyway, Bart does clean his room — by stuffing everything in his closet.

Unfortunately for Bart, Helen is too clever for this trick. As she reaches for his closet door, Bart likens their encounter to a Wild West duel at high noon. But while Bart draws a pistol, Helen pulls out a bazooka and blows a hole through Bart. She opens the closet, and all of Bart's junk spills out onto the floor. Helen tells Bart to clean his room properly this time, saying he should probably look into getting rid of some stuff, since she doesn't even want to know everything he has in his room. As she leaves, Helen also tells Bart to clean the cage of his "Pinky and the Brain" mice we met in the first Dezago-Van Sciver Impulse story.

So Bart throws a little hissy fit, in which he says darn a bunch of times, but he ultimately realizes Helen is right, and begins the long, arduous process of cleaning his room. Five minutes later, Bart comes across a jar of leftover technosplasm from his fight with Craydl. Apparently Bart had the sense to scoop up the goop and not leave it in the forest. Now he realizes that it probably could still be dangerous and shouldn't be sitting in his closet. So he decides to take it to the Young Justice cave.

Impulse comes in to see Robin, Superboy and Secret working out. Superboy has chosen the music, a rap album by Hard Kore, which Robin absolutely despises. Superboy shouts at Robin, saying he never complains we he plays the Matthew Davis Band or the Goo Fighters. Impulse quickly becomes distracted by this argument, and he leaves the technoplasm on the computer, not noticing that it has come to life, escaped the jar and entered the Young Justice computer.

Craydl begins downloading the chromosomal data on Young Justice, starting with Robin and Superboy. While Superboy rambles on about how great Hard Kore is, Robin hears the computer running and decides to check it out. Craydl has to abort his transmission prematurely, but the data he did acquire enables him to transform into the composite Superboy-Robin we saw on the cover, a form that is more than powerful enough to send Robin flying down the hall.

Meanwhile, back in Manchester, at the half-demolished dental offices of Helen Claiborne, Max wonders why his daughter won't let him make the repairs himself at super-speed. Helen actually has some pretty good points (which I'm surprised Max didn't think of) — first, the neighbors would be suspicious of the sudden repair; second, the insurance company already approved the project, filed under an act of God (or act of a god, Kalibak to be precise); and third, Helen wants Max to take it easy with all his injuries that seem to keep piling up. Helen then meets her contractor, a hunky man named Matt Ringer, who looks remarkably like the guy on the Brawny paper towels. Max gently tells Helen that her jaw dropped when Matt arrived.

Back at the Young Justice cave, Craydl is beating the snot out of Robin and Superboy. He explains that he is a composite of the two heroes, possessing all of Robin's skills combined with Superboy's powers. And once he defeats Young Justice, Craydl will resume downloading their detailed genetic scan files and will acquire the abilities of all of Young Justice and the Justice League. Impulse tries to tell his teammates what they're up against, likening Craydl's technoplasm to programmable Jell-O.

Robin orders Secret to cover Craydl's head with fog, and for Impulse to get him off balance with a vortex. Unfortunately, these two orders contradict each other, as Secret gets caught up in Impulse's vortex. She yells at him for messing her up, and he yells at her, saying he was just doing what he was told. Craydl goes back to wailing on Superboy and Robin, who begin pleading with Bart for any information on their enemy. Impulse tells them that Craydl is like a combination of Robin and Superboy, split right down the middle, but they already knew that. They yell at Bart to think, but he comes up empty.

So Robin comes up with a new tactic. Craydl has the files on himself and Superboy, and he has experience fighting Impulse. But he knows nothing of Secret. Robin tells her to go inside Craydl and find a way to take him down. So Secret enters Craydl through his nose, but is immediately met with suffocating darkness. This brings up bad memories of being trapped and studied by the D.E.O., and before too long, Secret comes flying out of Craydl's mouth, trying to escape her memories.

Impulse catches Secret as Craydl knocks out Robin and Superboy. Bart wonders how they can stop something that can imitate anything. Secret wishes they could imitate something to stop Craydl, and Impulse very slowly gets an idea. Luckily, he's much faster at implementing his ideas than forming them. He tells Secret to grab Superboy's rap CD, while he takes off. Craydl, meanwhile, returns to the computer to download the information on the Justice League.

Bart's first step is to pick up a book on sewing, which happens to be next to a copy of Views of L.A. and a book called Drawing Tiny, Microscopic Panels. After reading the book, Bart grabs some scissors, fabric and a wig. He returns to the cave, looking just like his arch enemy and Craydl's boss, Inertia. Bart has Secret pop the rap CD in the computer, then pulls off his best Inertia impersonation by telling Craydl to download the Justice League files, saying, "As soon as we have the strength of the entire Justice League, we can ... um ... er ... y'know ... kick butt!" Craydl is shocked to see Inertia back in the 20th century, but he doesn't dare disobey his boss.

Impulse's plan works perfectly, and he even thinks of Craydl as a turkey, since the technoplasm creature unwittingly downloads the Hard Kore CD instead, transforming himself into a green version of the rapper. Robin recovers enough to deliver the final blow to Craydl, admitting it felt real good to punch out the rapper.

Epilogue/Prologue. In Chicago, Red Tornado has somehow figured out how to disguise himself as an ordinary human to take his adopted daughter, Traya, out kite-flying. He's approached by Doiby Dickles, who remarks that there isn't enough wind today for flying kites. After commenting how children need to be protected these days, Doiby gets to the heart of the matter, telling Red Tornado that Old Justice sent him to appeal to the android one last time before something really terrible happens.

Continuity is killing me! This is our second-straight issue with a Young Justice cameo and an awkward, contradictory to the current Old Justice storyline. First of all, we have never seen Red Tornado disguise himself as a human like this before. I'm not opposed to the idea, I just wish it had been previously established. Secondly, is Doiby Dickles meeting with Red before or after the court hearing? Their conversation could be read either way, although the editor's note at the end of Impulsive Reactions invites readers to check out Young Justice #16 to find out what this final page was about. And thirdly, Secret should still be missing. True, I am glad that Arrowette didn't show up, but where was Wonder Girl? What it really comes down to, is Todd Dezago wanted to use the Young Justice team he last wrote about — just the boys and Secret. So the only way I can sort of make this work, it to pretend that this happened after the Old Justice hearings began and Secret was rescued. And maybe Wonder Girl is still trying to cheer up Arrowette? I don't know. My head hurts.

Setting aside my nitpicky continuity problems, this was actually a very fun issue. Composite Superman is a classic old school villain, so it was really nice to have a Superboy-Robin version. It was also really neat to see Robin slip up by giving Secret and Impulse contradictory orders — and then to have the kids yell at each other just like ordinary kids. And everything Impulse did in this issue was hilarious. The best, of course, was when he impersonated Inertia and had a hard time talking like a bad guy.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Dominic Sheehan praising Impulse #52 and the idea of Inertia being the Reverse-Impulse. Dominic says every hero needs an archenemy to clarify their reason for being. He also thanks the creative team for building on and honoring the past, while making the present such a darn good read.

Kevin Dragone, of Phoenixville, Penn., admits that he stopped reading Impulse after Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos left. But he came back with issue #50 when he saw Todd Dezago and Ethan Van Sciver would be on the book. Kevin wants to see Bart train more and become a bit more serious, and he also asks for some Impulse posters and T-shirts.

Charlie Seelig praises the decision to have Walt Simonson draw the Kalibak scenes, saying it complemented that part of the story like no one else can.

Grant Winship says he loves Impulse because it pairs hilarious storylines with cool action moments and heart-stopping cliffhangers. Now for the new ads:

Tiny Toon Adventures Toonenstein Dare to Scare! for PlayStation.

The journey continues. Only now you've got help. Pokémon Yellow. Starring Pikachu on Game Boy Color. I did have this game, and found it a much easier and cheaper version of the Red and Blue versions.

Donny Kong Country The Legends of the Crystal Coconut. This was a terrible, terrible computer-animated cartoon show of what was one of the best games ever for the Super Nintendo.

These guys protect the planet. What do you do with your friends? Big Guy and Rusty and Digimon on Fox Kids. Big Guy and Rusty sucked, but Digimon was mildly interesting for the first season. My littler brother actually got really into Digimon.

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy action figures.

May the Force be with you. Star Wars: Episode I: Racer for Game Boy Color. I also had this game, and it was actually pretty awesome. It was one of those Game Boy games with a rumble pack, which was a pretty big deal back then.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing action figure model kits.

The Flintstones Bedrock Bowling for PlayStation.

What would your dream Furby look like? A contest through Post cereal and Jell-O with the grand prize sending four people to the Furby Design Studios to create your custom Furby.

Scooby-Coo! Mystery of the Fun Park Phantom. A PC mystery game.

Next time we'll find out what it means if you want to date Impulse in Wonder Woman #153. No, seriously!

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