Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Impulse #59

Running Rings ...

Todd Dezago Writer
Anthony Castrillo Guest Penciller
Prentis Rollins Inker
Janice Chiang Letterer
Rick Taylor Colorist
Jamison Separations
L.A. Williams Editor

Once again, Ethan Van Sciver took a break from regular pencilling duties. But he did draw this month's cover with Wayne Faucher, putting Impulse in the most romantic pose he's ever been. Meanwhile, poor Carol appears heartbroken in the background, dropping a letter she had for Bart. Now, the inside story doesn't completely match this cover, but it definitely will celebrate Valentine's Day while welcoming Arrowette back to her original book. It's also interesting to note that Impulse and Young Justice both had very pink covers this month, but that was just a coincidence.

Our story begins Impulse giving Cissie King-Jones a ride from her boarding school to his junior high in Manchester, Alabama. Bart figured his friend was in need of some major cheering up, and so far, his plan seems to be working, as Cissie actually allows herself to giggle at Bart's lame jokes as he carries her in his arms.

But once they stop, Cissie begins to express her doubts. Bart reminds her of the fun they had at two of her school dances (Impulse #41 and Young Justice #15), so he figures Cissie will have a great time at his dance. Bart quickly changes out of his Impulse uniform and shows (for the first time) how he puts it back in his ring by compressing the costume with a small super-speed whirlwind. Sadly, Cissie is still unsure about all this, reminding Bart (and the readers) about how she almost killed the man who murdered her counselor and friend, Dr. Money. Bart very sweetly points out that Cissie did not kill that man, and everything's going to be OK once she gets her mind off it. And Bart knows of no better place to take your mind off things than school.

For some reason, Bart decided to bring Cissie with him to attend the full day of school, rather than just bringing her down when it was time for the dance. And this tactic serves to create plenty of opportunities for awkward moments. It begins when Bart and Cissie walk up to school and are greeted by Carol and Ayana, who ask Bart who his new friend is. Bart introduces Cissie, saying she's a friend of his from Young — uh ... Youngstown! Ayana excitedly shows Bart that the school isn't using tickets for the dance, but instead giving the students little gold rings they can use to ask out their dates. She comes close to asking out Bart, but she's interrupted by the arrival of Preston, Mike and Wade.

Preston asks Bart to hold his ring, saying he has gym first period and is afraid of losing it. Mike is preoccupied thinking about Carol, Ayana is only thinking about Bart, Carol is wondering who Cissie really is, Cissie is wondering why Carol is staring at her, and Wade is busy playing Zelda on his GameBoy. Of course, Bart now has to introduce Cissie to the rest of his friends, and he surprisingly remembers a recent headline from the Daily Manchester Eagle: "Girl archer still sought for questioning." So Bart tries his best to be discreet, saying that Cissie is his sister. Carol reminds Bart that he doesn't have a sister, and Bart thinks of her as a back-stabbing demon. So Bart says he meant to say that Cissie is his sister's friend, which only confuses everyone even more.

The kids start to head to class, but Mike runs down Bart and tells him that he also has gym first period and wants Bart to hold his ring for him. Bart agrees, then is immediately approached by Ayana, who once again tries to ask Bart to the dance, but he cuts her off, assuming she wants him to hold her ring like Preston and Mike. Meanwhile, Evil Eye gives Rolly some money to buy his ring since he's too embarrassed to let anyone know he wants to go to the dance. Evil Eye has his sights set on cheerleader Jenny Bialecki, but before he can ask her, he sees Preston talking to Jenny. Evil Eye assumes Preston has asked her to the dance, and he angrily vows to beat up Preston after school. Vice Principal Randal Sheridan hears this and gives Evil Eye a stern warning.

Meanwhile, at the dental offices of Helen Claiborne, contractor Matt Ringer (father of Mike) is showing the dentist his final repairs after the Kalibak attack. Matt then abruptly asks Helen if she'd like to have dinner with him before the school dance, noting that they both signed up as chaperones. Helen is surprised by this offer, but she gladly accepts.

We return to school, where it's now lunch time (don't ask me what Cissie did during class). Bart asks Cissie how he ended up with everybody's rings, and Cissie tells him it's because his friends trust him. She even admits that his plan to distract her from her troubles is actually working. Mike joins them at their table and asks Bart how he should ask Carol to the dance. Bart unfortunately has to tell Mike that Carol has her eye on Jeff Weber. Meanwhile, Ayana is talking to Carol, saying that even though Bart did take her ring, he most likely didn't realize that she was asking him to the dance. Carol is still suspicious of Cissie, which then makes Ayana suspect that Bart wants to go to the dance with Cissie instead.

Cissie notices how Bart is completely oblivious to Ayana's flirting, so she tells him about it. Bart brushes her off, saying Ayana is that friendly with everybody, not just him. Besides, Bart says, he's taking Cissie to the dance. Cissie jokes that he hasn't given her a ring yet, and maybe he should give her his Flash ring. Bart says his costume ring never comes off his finger, but Cissie is persistent. So Bart heads off to get a ring for Cissie, while still carrying the three extra rings, which all look a lot like his costume ring, but has different symbols on them like hearts and teddy bears. As Bart rushes off, he doesn't notice Rolly, who had picked up Eddie's ring that he threw away in disgust, and is hoping he can get refund on it for his wayward friend.

Bart and Rolly slam into each other, and all the rings go spilling across the floor. Preston is on the scene, and he finds his ring before taking off to walk Jenny to class. Rolly also hurries off with his ring, hoping he can prevent Evil Eye from getting into more trouble. Bart then notices that Carol has confronted Cissie, who is defending herself by saying she's known Bart long enough to know his biggest secret — something that Carol highly doubts. As Bart wonders how to get these two to stop fighting, he realizes that he has lost his costume ring. He immediately begins panicking and shouting how Max is going to kill him. Cissie and Carol help him calm down enough to explain the situation, and both girls immediately realize not only the severity of the situation, but that both of them know that Bart is Impulse.

Meanwhile, as Rolly is wondering how he can prevent Eddie from fighting Preston and still preserve his friendship with both of them, he notices that he accidentally grabbed the wrong ring — one with a lightning bolt on it instead of a crown. We cut back to Bart, who is doing his best to stay calm with the aid of Cissie and Carol at his side. Carol suggests retracing his steps, which Bart does at super-speed, but can't find his ring. Cissie explains that Carol meant he mentally retrace his steps. Cissie asks him who he saw when he last had his ring. Bart recounts how he had all the rings, then Preston got his back, but Bart had bumped into Rolly. Realizing that Roland has his Flash ring, Bart immediately takes off, leaving Cissie and Carol to comment on how they hate when Bart does that. Ayana approaches the girls, asking if Bart was just there a second ago.

Before Bart can find Rolly and get his ring back, Rolly notices a small switch on the side of the ring. He presses it, which causes Impulse's costume to come flying out right in Rolly's face, knocking the poor kid out. Bart finds him a second later, and quickly puts his costume back in his ring. Before Rolly comes to, Evil Eye stumbles on them and is standing over Rolly's unconscious body just as Mr. Sheridan is walking by. The vice principal wrongly assumes that Evil Eye knocked out Rolly and Bart was trying to help him, so he takes Eddie down to his office.

And later, Jeff does ask out Carol, which breaks Mike's heart. Ayana approaches Bart, and as he tries to giver her ring back, she finally manages to explain that she wants to go to the dance with him. Bart is surprised to see Cissie was right, but he sadly has to tell Ayana that he's taking Cissie to the dance. Ayana becomes heartbroken by this, but Bart is able to smoothly redeem the situation with a small white lie. He tells Ayana that Mike secretly has a crush on her. Ayana (correctly) had thought Mike was interested in Carol, but Bart convinces her to ask him, and both of them seem to be happy to have someone to go with.

We end at the dance, where we see Mike and Ayana having a great time together, as well as Jeff and Carol. Rolly and Evil Eye are there, too, even though they don't have dates. Evil Eye is looking a bit grumpy, but we find out that Bart did stand up for him off-page and kept Eddie out of trouble. As Cissie dances with Bart, she comments on how inspiring it was to see him do everything he could to make all his friends happy. She admits that he was right — that spending the day at his school did make her forget about her troubles. Cissie tells Bart she loves him for this, and she gives him a kiss on the cheek.

I always love these issues that put the focus on Bart rather than Impulse. Dezago has given us a great supporting cast of lovestruck teenagers, and it was wonderful to see it all come to a head at a Valentine's Dance. Most importantly, though, is what Cissie said. Bart really is a good boy. Sure, he doesn't always pay attention, or think before acting, but he genuinely wants to do what's right and make sure everyone around him is happy. And this issue did a great job of showing that. And on a very random note, I have heard people previously ask if the Flash costume ring could be weaponized. Well, as poor Rolly found out, it can be.

Anthony Castrillo did a fantastic job as a guest penciller. Of course, it helps a lot having inker Prentis Rollins and colorist Rick Taylor, but on a whole, Castrillo's art did a great job of complimenting Ethan Van Sciver's work. I wish Castrillo would have been chosen as the official fill-in artist for the (all-too-often) moments when Van Sciver needed a break. Now let's check out those letters.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Natalie Mourra of Santa Ana, Calif., calls Impulse #54 a really cool issue that balanced humor with emotion and showed us Evil Eye's good side. Natalie hopes Evil Eye can become a close friend of Bart, whom she refers to as a "yellow-eyed cutie."

M.T., of Amherst, Mass., noticed some similarities between issue #54 and The Blair Witch Project. M.T. liked the issue, but felt it would have been better as an all-out parody. L.A. Williams responds by saying the issue had been finished before the first ads for The Blair Witch Project aired. But the creators of Impulse did take inspiration from another movie — Steven King's Stand By Me.

Paul Dale Roberts, of Elk Grove, Calif., really liked Shon C. Bury as the guest writer on Impulse #55, especially teamed up with Ethan Van Sciver. He loved every aspect of the issue from Bart's junk food consumption, to Max's frustrations, to the virtual reality world mimicking the Jolly Green Giant.

Ron Nelson Jr., of Bronx, N.Y., also enjoyed issue #55 with Sir Real, which he thought was a great name. He also says Impulse would make a great animated television show (and I agree with him 100%!). Now let's check out the new ads.

Love makes the world go round! The Powerpuff Girls. Your heroes save the day in all-new Powerpuff Girls books!

Call and vote for your favorite cartoon character. With special campaign stickers, posters and other cool stuff inside select Post and Kraft food packages.

Action faster than the speed of light! Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.

In the Gotham City of tomorrow, the knight is still dark. Batman Beyond. An electrifying monthly series by Hilary J. Bader, former Impulse penciller Craig Rousseau, and Rob Leigh.

Tomba! 2 The Evil Swine Return. For PlayStation.

A form for the Seventh Annual Wizard Fan Awards. If you don't mind ripping out the letters page, you could fill this out and mail it in. Unfortunately, none of the categories have anything to do with Flash, Young Justice or Impulse.

Tobacco is whacko if you're a teen.

Scooby-Doo! and the Great Mystery Search books.

Next time, we'll begin May 2000, which was a very big month for Impulse and Young Justice. But before we can get to that fun, we have to take a quick look at Relative Heroes #3.

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