Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Impulse #58

Flashing Before My Eyes

Todd Dezago • Writer
Jamal Igle and Grey • Guest Pencillers
Prentis Rollins • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Rick Taylor • Colorist
Digital Chameleons • Separators
L.A. Williams • Editor
Impulse created by Waid & Wieringo

Craig Rousseau returned to do this cover with Wayne Faucher, paying homage to the cover they did for Impulse #46. It is nice to see a familiar face return, but, sadly, this is not the best work we've seen from Rousseau. I think we would have been better off having Ethan Van Sciver draw this cover, putting his own spin on Rousseau's previous work. Because, you know, this is Van Sciver's book, now (even if this is the first of three consecutive issue penciled by guest artists). Anyway, this is a pretty fun cover with Max acting out of character, and the goofy reference to No Man's Land. I suspect there was a certain segment of comic readers back in this time that got pretty sick and tired of seeing No Man's Land on everything. Also note the cold medicine and tissues around Bart. That will be important later on.

Our story begins with Max reading the morning Daily Manchester Eagle (yet another name for this town's paper), which features the headlines, "Junior JLA outlawed" and "Girl archer sought for questioning." Helen leaves for work, and Bart takes off for school after a mad scramble to get all his things. As he leaves, Bart derisively considers Max a couch potato, but as soon as he's gone, Max leaps off the couch, throws on his costume, and goes on patrol around the world.

Max first takes out a super villain in Rome before thwarting a bank robbery in Chicago. He then checks on Bart in school, but makes sure to take off before his "nephew" spots him. Bart did notice something zipping by the window, and his teacher reprimands him for not paying attention.

Max returns to Europe, where he saves a woman from falling off a gondola in Venice and rescues a young girl from gunfire in war-torn Eastern Europe. He then heads to Rio de Janeiro to catch a construction worker who's fallen off a skyscraper. Often, Max is confused for Flash or Superman, but he doesn't mind, preferring to work in anonymity.

Max then goes to China (the text says Kiamen, but I think it should be Xiamen). By this point, Max is dripping with sweat, exhausted from the day's labors — he is still feeling the effects of his gunshot wound and the battle with Kalibak. However, there's been a powerful earthquake here, and Max is eager to help. He speaks with the authorities in fluent Chinese, and they tell him about a woman trapped under the remains of her store. They can't rescue her because of a nearby gas leak that could cause a huge explosion with the slightest spark. So Max takes an oxygen tank, and carefully enters the hole to see what he can do.

The woman is happy to see an experienced hero coming to her aid, saying she heard the firefighters talking above her, and she was worried that those young men would act impulsively. Max says he's had plenty of experience with young, impulsive heroes, and he begins the slow, careful process of removing the rubble from around the woman. She says she takes pride in knowing about the world's superheroes, but has never heard of Max Mercury. She asks him why he chooses to be anonymous. So Max tells her his backstory while he works.

Max explains that when he first became a superhero in the 1800s, he was fairly prideful, spending time soaking in the cheers and adoration of everyone he saved. Although he didn't have a superhero name yet, he had developed quite a reputation, which he enjoyed. One day, a scientist named Lucius Keller developed a rocket-powered locomotive. But on the day of the machine's debut, it erupted in a fiery explosion, killing Keller's friends and family, leaving him badly scarred and enraged.

Four months later, Keller found Max and accused him of letting his family die. Max tried to explain that he was in Texas on the day of the disaster, but Keller wouldn't hear it, pulling out two guns and trying to kill Max on the spot. Max easily caught all the bullets and apprehended Keller. But Keller managed to escape a few months later, and began to hunt down and kill everyone Max had ever saved.

The Chinese woman tells Max that just as Keller blamed him for something that wasn't his fault, Max is now blaming himself for something that's not his fault. She tells him he can't be responsible for the actions of others, and she assures Max that he is, indeed, a hero and can help other people. By this point, Max seems to have recovered enough to attempt something we've never seen him do before — vibrate the woman out from under a large beam. She says she's honored to have been saved by Max Mercury, but Max says the honor is his.

Later that day, Max checks in with his old nemesis and friend, Dr. Morlo. The reformed mad scientist has built a device that spins Max around like a tornado, and Max wonders if the machine is really necessary, or just Morlo having some fun with him. Morlo laughs off the comment, then decides to be blunt with his findings. As a result of all the trauma Max experienced, he is now only performing at 80% of his previous potential. Morlo suspects that Max's injuries have corrupted his link to the Speed Force, and now his condition is worsening at an accelerated rate. Morlo says if they don't find a way to reconnect Max to the Speed Force, then it will destroy him.

Max then hurries home and plops down on the couch with his paper right before Bart comes in. Bart once again considers Max a couch potato, and walks away, shaking his head. Helen comes home right after and asks Max how his day was. Max says with a small grin, "Oh ... the usual."

And now for something completely different ...

Bart Gets a Virus

By Todd-Ethan-Janice-and-Rick

We begin our backup story with Max yelling at Bart to get ready for school. However, it quickly becomes apparent that poor Bart isn't quite his usual self.

Max notices Bart is running a fever, and he asks him if he's feeling nauseous. Bart doesn't know what that means, so Max starts to explain that it means it feels like he's going to throw up. Right on cue, Bart "blarts" right there in the hall. Bart's never thrown up before, and he asks Max what it is. Max says it looks like breakfast. Bart says he's sorry about Max's shoes, and Max says he's sorry about Bart's dog.

Max lays Bart down on the couch with a pillow and blanket, saying it's odd for Bart to be sick, since speedsters' accelerated metabolisms usually burn out fevers before they get to them. Max says he needs to run a few errands, and he needs Bart to stay put and go off and do anything impulsive since he's sick, dizzy and doesn't have complete control of his body. Bart agrees, and turns on some cartoons while Max takes off.

But Bart's cartoons are interrupted by a special news report of a bank robbery and hostage situation in Mobile, Alabama. The news anchor says it's too bad there's nobody around who could end this standoff, and Bart realizes she's talking about Impulse. So Bart defies Max's orders and rushes up to Mobile as Impulse.

Later, Max comes home to find Bart still on the couch, still feeling a bit under the weather. Max checks Bart's temperature and asks if he didn't go out like he asked him to. Before Bart can answer, the TV shows the Mobile bank robbers being arrested and loudly complaining about the little guy who came at them like a bullet and "yakked" all over them. Max looks at Bart, who cries out, "I HAAAATE BEING SICK!!!"

That backup story really stole the show. So let's talk about that first. This was a hilarious and sweet side story that this series really needs more of. And Ethan Van Sciver did an amazing job of setting aside his detailed realism for a simple, cartoony style that feels like a wonderful combination of Foxtrot and Calvin and Hobbes. And look at how big Bart's feet are! It's so ridiculous! And here's the best part — this backup story is not as insignificant as one might think. Stay tuned!

Back to our main story, it was pretty nice to see what Max does on a normal day. Igle and Grey did a really decent job as guest pencillers, and keeping the usual inker and colorist helped a lot. I think it's nice to have a periodic reminder of Max's past, and Dezago added another tragic element to a past that's already full of tragedy. This helps explain why Max is so reluctant to tell anyone about his past lives, but I did find it a bit odd that he was so willing to open up to that Chinese woman. I found it even odder that he was able to vibrate that woman out from under a beam, since we've seen several stories deal with Max's inability to vibrate through solid objects. Only Bart and Walter West can do that. Wally can, but when he does, he causes an explosion.

It was also nice for Max to meet up with Morlo again. The two are a great comedic pair, and, more importantly, they have been looking at Max's injuries for a long time now. Maybe, finally, things will start moving on that front.

Impulsive Reactions begins with a plea from L.A. Williams for more letters, which is interesting, because that plea is followed by two full pages of letters.

Caprice Corbett, of New York, admits that she's not a comic book reader, but a friend gave her Impulse #54, and she really enjoyed it. She asks a bunch of rather basic questions that L.A. is kind enough to answer. Then Caprice answers a suspicion of mine by saying she enjoyed the "eye candy" for female readers, saying Bart is a "cute boy with real COOL hair and beautiful eyes." L.A.'s most useful answer is identifying the demons Bart and his friends saw — Baal, the Gentleman Ghost, Mawzir, and Bloodklott.

Michael Bregman loved how Bart never put on his costume in issue #54, which allowed for great character interaction. He asks if Dezago and Van Sciver were sitting behind the boys in the movie theater, and L.A. confirms this (although he doesn't mention that he was also there).

Eileenk98 simply says the issue was "nice and quiet (relatively speaking) for a change."

Rypta Gud'n complained that the issue had nothing to do with Day of Judgment, and said it wasn't the best by Dezago and Van Sciver, but he liked it anyway.

Flashcar simply said it was boring and nothing happened.

Cheryl Hogan wanted to see where Zatanna, Max and Jay went, felt Preston's narrations were boring, and thought the boys' reaction to the campfire demons was understated. But she was touched by the moments with Evil Eye.

Brian Siedman, of New York, says he usually complains about too much crossover material, but in this case, he actually wanted more. He also said he usually asks for more Bart and less Impulse, but in this issue, he wanted to see Impulse. He says he felt the Inertia storyline went too long, and he vows to stick with the book at least until the Young Justice guest appearance. Now for the new ads:

Even superheroes get hungry. Batman Beyond toys at Burger King.

In the wake of No Man's Land, Gotham City is reborn! Batman, Detective Comics, Gotham Knights, Robin, Catwoman, and Azrael: Agent of the Bat.

Where have all the cookies gone? Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme.

Watch Kids' WB! and you could win a big screen TV, a PlayStation game console, the new game Um Jammer Lammy and other great prizes.

I got your hand signal right here buddy. Crash Team Racing for PlayStation.

The hometown heroes of Metropolis are back! Supermen of America.

Next time, we'll take a look at Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DC Universe 2000 #1. (How's that for a title?!)

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