Sunday, July 10, 2016

Young Justice #17

Stuff Blows Up

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Digital Chameleon Separations
Ken Lopez Letters
Maureen McTigue Assoc. Edits
Eddie Berganza Just Edits

This cover by Nauck and Stucker is one of the cheesiest, most wonderful jokes in Young Justice. Get it? The nose is going to blow? Of course, technically speaking, Young Justice do not blow up Abraham Lincoln's nose in this issue. But something very similar does happen, so this cover isn't any less enjoyable.

Our story begins in the middle of an intense action scene. Superboy, Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse and Secret are hiding behind a wall with troops firing at them with energy bolts. Superboy asks what they should do, and Impulse suggests they have a flashback.

So we get a flashback. Back in the Young Justice cave, Cissie is cleaning out her locker, much to the dismay of Wonder Girl. Cissie explains that she lost control and can't be a hero anymore. Cassie points out her act of heroism at the mall, but that only makes Cissie feel worse, since she saw little boys trying to imitate her, and she doesn't want the responsibility of one of them getting hurt. Cissie gives Cassie her arrows as a souvenir, and Cassie begins to cry, telling her best friend she can't leave. Cissie reminds her that they still be friends outside of their costumes, and she takes off Wonder Girl's wig and goggles to giver her friend a sweet hug.

Cissie now has to walk past the boys, and naturally, Impulse is the first to object to her leaving. He excitedly runs behind her, dramatically waving his arms in the air, saying they need her to help them go rescue Secret before Red Tornado gets back. But Cissie says there'll always be another mission and the team will be fine without her. She also says she's the main reason why Washington is coming down on Young Justice, so her departure should help them all out. But that's not good enough for Impulse. He insists that Cissie can't quit because of some pressure. He asks her what Green Arrow would do, what Batman would do, and what Brian Boitano would do (a reference to a South Park song). Cissie just pats Impulse on the head, saying, "I think I'm going to miss you most of all, Scarecrow."

Superboy smugly guarantees that Arrowette will be back, but Cissie startles him by saying, "I don't know you." She explains that she doesn't truly know what makes him or anybody else tick, deep down, so none of them should presume to know her. Cassie begs Robin to say something, so he slowly gets up from his chair and tells Cissie, "We all do what we've gotta do. Just don't be a stranger." He offers his hand for Cissie to shake, but she gives him a big kiss on the lips instead. Everybody stares at Robin as Cissie walks away, and all the Boy Wonder can say is, "It's the cape. Chicks dig the cape."

Red Tornado returns to the cave just in time to see Cissie walking away — a sight he calls unexpected. But then he sees the remaining members of Young Justice take off in the Super-Cycle, which he says is not unexpected. He flies alongside the cycle and asks what they're doing. Instead of answering him, Superboy knocks the android away with a big punch and tells Robin to floor it. Robin does continue to fly away, but he still can't believe that Superboy punched Red Tornado. Superboy justifies himself by saying he didn't hurt Red, and even if he did, he's an easily-repairable android. Superboy also argues that with their team down to four members and the government against them, they're going to have to start toughening up. Robin tells Superboy that if he ever does something like that again, they'll be down to three members. After an intense stare down, Superboy finally relents, and turns to talk to Wonder Girl, saying she'd look better without her wig and goggles. And Impulse missed this whole confrontation because he was busy playing Connect Four in the front seat with the pieces flying everywhere in the wind.

We then head to a secret laboratory inside Mount Rushmore, where Secret is being tortured by unsympathetic scientists, who refer to her as an "it." Special Agent Fite doesn't like this, telling the doctors that Secret is a she. He then goes into a long story about how he grew up in the bayou and as a kid, he once snuck into the house of a woman deep into voodoo. It was the most frightening moment of Fite's life, until he looked into Secret's eyes. He warns the doctors that Secret may be proof of God's opposite number, and they better hope that she never escapes.

Young Justice then arrives at Mount Rushmore, which surprises half the team. But Robin assures them that A.P.E.S. headquarters is inside the national monument. He almost says he got this information from Oracle, but quickly catches himself and says his sources told him. Robin says he and Impulse will head in for some reconnaissance first, with Superboy and Wonder Girl staying outside as their backup. Robin then starts to give Arrowette an order, before remembering that she's not there. So Robin hops on Impulse's back, who zips down Lincoln's nose and up his nostril. Bart jokes that instead of his nose running, he's running his nose. Robin sarcastically adds that maybe they'll blow his nose later.

Left on top of George Washington's head, Superboy begins to complain to Wonder Girl about Robin. He contends that Robin is showboating, trying to compensate for his lack of powers. Wonder Girl says Robin is just doing his best, but Superboy insists that a team's leader needs to be their point man — their toughest guy. He says that sooner or later, Robin being their leader is going to become a major problem. He asks Wonder Girl whose side she'll be on when it all comes down, his or Robin's. Cassie hesitates, so Superboy points out that Robin won't even trust his teammates with his secret identity, so why should they trust him? Wonder Girl tells Kon she'll think about it, and he tells her to take all the time she needs.

Impulse, meanwhile, is searching the A.P.E.S. headquarters, managing to be an invisible gust of wind blowing through the halls. Robin communicates to Impulse via their headsets while hiding in a vent, but when Impulse calls him "fearless leader," Robin misinterprets this as a sarcastic remark. Impulse finds Secret before too long, and quickly joins Robin in the vent, while Robin orders Superboy and Wonder Girl to hold their position. Robin starts to form a plan with Impulse to put the scientists to sleep before they can sound the alarm, but suddenly, Superboy and Wonder Girl come crashing through the wall and start fighting the A.P.E.S. agents. Superboy claims they're following Robin's orders, but Robin starts shouting that he'll kill Superboy.

We then head over to the Cook County courthouse, where Merry the Gimmick Girl is visiting the judge who heard Red Tornado's custody trial. Merry thanks Morris for helping them keep Red Tornado in line, and she returns an envelope to him with documents and photographs Old Justice were using to blackmail the judge with. Apparently this judge had a past life as a super villain, and although he's tried to make things right since then, he still doesn't want the public to know about his past. The judge accuses Merry of being as self-centered as he ever was, and she angrily leaves his office.

Back at Rushmore, Robin catches up with Superboy and demands to know what he's doing. Superboy says he heard Robin over the headset tell them to get down there. Robin says he didn't give that order, and asks Wonder Girl what she heard, but she apparently didn't have a headset of her own and just followed Superboy's lead. Superboy angrily asks Robin if he's accusing him of lying, but Robin speculates that the A.P.E.S. knew they were there and hacked into their headsets.

Seeing as how their element of surprise is lost, Robin decides they'll just have to fight to rescue Secret. Superboy and Wonder Girl try to smash open Secret's cage, but it's rigged to electrocute her if anyone touches the glass. So Robin throws a bomb on the glass container, which does free Secret, but it also knocks her out. The unconscious Secret falls right through Robin's arms, but Impulse figures out how to hold her by vibrating his arms at the right frequency. Impulse tells Robin to whistle for the Super-Cycle, but it's busy fighting off its own troop of A.P.E.S. agents. And that brings us back to the opening scene of this issue.

Robin starts to give an order, but Superboy cuts him off, and knocks down all the troopers by using his tactile telekinesis to send a shockwave through the floor. He leads Wonder Girl and Impulse charging down the hall, but Robin sulks behind. Unfortunately, Superboy leads the team right into a force field trap set by Dr. Markoff and agents Fite 'n Maad. Fortunately, Robin's pouting kept him from being caught in the force field, and he's able to sneak around and smash the doctor's remote control to free his teammates.

Secret then wakes up in Impulse's arms, sees the doctor who's been torturing her, and decides to get revenge. She enters Dr. Markoff's body through his nose, mouth and ears, and his eyes turn a scary black. More agents arrive and begin blasting at the team. Superboy says he's had it, and he uses his tactile telekinesis to cause a huge explosion, which destroys George Washington's nose.

The team is able to escape through the gaping hole, and Secret says she didn't know that Superboy could generate shockwaves like that. Superboy brushes it off, saying she's not the only one with secrets. But as Young Justice flies away on the Super-Cycle, Robin is shocked to see a bunch of news crews out in front of Mount Rushmore, seemingly waiting for them. Impulse optimistically says no one will care or link them to the destruction of the national monument. But he couldn't be more wrong. The next day, the Daily Observer newspaper blasts the headline, "Junior Justice League defaces national shrine." Old Justice gleefully read this paper, and announce that it's time for Phase Two.

This is what I love about Young Justice. Amidst all the nose puns and South Park references, we get some tender, emotional moments and an intriguing, action-packed story. Things are really heating up with Old Justice and, surprisingly, Superboy. He recently has been on a bit of role, proving very mature and sensitive in separate incidents with Wonder Girl and Arrowette. But now he's coming off as a jerk and openly challenging Robin for leadership. This could be attributed to the fact that he's a teenager in a very stressful situation, but still ... this radical shift in attitude combined with him using his powers in new ways is very suspicious.

In any case, I really am enjoying the tension on the team. Robin's doing his best to keep it all together, but he is sort of losing it. Wonder Girl is caught in the middle, too timid to choose one side over the other. And Impulse is predictably oblivious to everything. But he did come through big by figuring out how to carry Secret by vibrating his arms. I also loved his passionate, innocent pleas to keep Arrowette on the team. And Scarecrow is a surprisingly appropriate name for this scrawny kid with the big, messy hair and the tendencies to not think before acting. I also think Cissie will legitimately miss Impulse the most. True, she did have a crush on Robin and had to take advantage of her one chance to kiss him, but Impulse was the first hero she ever met, which gives them a special bond. Cissie will still be able to be friends with Cassie outside of the superhero world, but it really is impractical for her to hang out with Bart Allen.

Next time, we'll see what Bart decides to do with the technoplasm in Impulse #57.


  1. Will we see Bart Allen in DC Rebirth?

  2. It doesn't look that way so far. DC somehow has managed to create a world with two Wally Wests and zero Bart Allens. :(