Monday, August 1, 2016

Young Justice #18

Revolting Developments

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

Run for the cover by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker with the colors of David Baron of Wildstorm FX. It is nice to have a cover like this to reiterate exactly who is in Young Justice now. The team's roster has been in flux lately, but now it seems to have stabilized with these five heroes. This straightforward power shot of the team made a good cover for the second Young Justice 100-Page Spectacular (although an image that included Arrowette would have been better for that collection). My only complaint with this cover is Wonder Girl, who looks a bit wonky. But everyone else looks great, especially Impulse (and that's all that matters). Also note the sinister, shadowy figures in the background, and the flames creeping up around the cave.

Our story picks up with the news reports of Young Justice destroying Mount Rushmore. This includes a fun look at a newspaper editor, who's very similar to J. Jonah Jameson, telling Robbie he wants the headline, "JLA Junior — Threat or Menace!?" Naturally, all this publicity intensifies the Young Justice talks in congress, and Senator Perkins begins calling on the White House to take action. In the face of a large group of protesters, President Bill Clinton makes preparations for some kind of legislation against our heroes. But first, he composes a letter to his daughter, Chelsea, explaining that even though he knows she's a big fan of Wonder Girl, he has to do something before this all ends in tears.

Back in the cave, Young Justice first has to deal with the issue of Secret. Robin points out that Secret now remembers who she is. Impulse notes that she knows how she became they way she is. Wonder Girl asks if she wants to tell them any of this, but Secret declines. Robin says they have a right to know, since they put their lives on the line to rescue her and are now facing a world of trouble because of it. Superboy coldly points out that Robin still hasn't told them his secret identity. Robin starts to argue, but then realizes Superboy does have a point. So he tells Secret she doesn't have to tell the team anything she doesn't want to, but he does ask what happened to Harm. Secret does answer this question, saying when she came to, she was already in the A.P.E.S. headquarters, so Harm could be anywhere.

Wonder Girl then turns the conversation toward the negative publicity created by the Mount Rushmore incident. Apparently, none of the media outlets have reported anything on the A.P.E.S., but all of them have been decrying Young Justice for their reckless behavior. Wonder Girl is worried her mom is going to ground her forever, and Superboy says the public wants to ground the whole team. He asks why they should have any respect for anybody else, when they have no respect for them. Red Tornado arrives and says they need to show respect to gain respect. He reprimands Superboy for assaulting him, saying he was only trying to help the team by telling them to keep a low profile. Superboy accuses the android of not trusting their judgment, so Red asks them what their judgment says they should do now. Robin suggests they get their story out there — tell everyone they're not the bad guys. But Red Tornado fears they're too late for that.

Suddenly, Superman appears on their computer screen. He requests Red Tornado to report to the Watchtower, and for Young Justice to stay put and wait for a long, unpleasant talk. Red Tornado promises he'll defend the team in front of the Justice League, but he warns them to be prepared for Young Justice to be shut down. Secret passionately objects to this, saying she will no longer allow others to tells her what to do. Superboy agrees with her, criticizing the JLA for being on them since Day One. Red Tornado asks Robin if he agrees with them as their leader. Robin does agree, saying, "We know we're right, but what's the point in being right if we're not willing to fight for it?"

Red Tornado knows it's a foolish question, but he asks anyway if they're going to stay in the cave while he's gone. Robin says they will, and Impulse angrily asks what else are they going to do. As Red flies off, he has to admit to himself that Robin did make a valid argument. Superboy congratulates Secret for standing up for them, and Wonder Girl says Cissie would be proud. Secret then asks where Cissie is, and Wonder Girl has to tell her the bad news that Arrowette has quit the team.

Cissie, meanwhile, has asked Cassie's mom, Helena, to take her to her mom, Bonnie. Bonnie tells Helena to leave them, but Cissie wants her to stay. Cissie gives her mom all her Arrowette outfits and gear, saying she's given up being a superhero. Bonnie is flummoxed by this news, and Cissie argues that all this was only ever Bonnie's dream. She points out that all the pictures of her in the house are of her as Arrowette. Bonnie says this was always Cissie's dream, and that she never forced her into this. Cissie begins laughing hysterically at this, which makes Bonnie very upset. Helena tries to calm them down, but Cissie keeps on laughing, and Bonnie keeps getting angrier. Ultimately, Bonnie gets her daughter to shut up by slapping her.

Helena immediately steps between the two of them and sternly tells Bonnie to get away. Bonnie tries to justify the slap, saying Cissie was hysterical, and that's what you do with hysterical people. Helena tells Bonnie that if she touches Cissie again, she will break her arm. Helena leads Cissie out of the house, saying she thought the two of them needed to work things out, but now obviously isn't the time. Bonnie tells Helena she can't act like Wonder Woman just because her daughter is Wonder Girl. Helena responds by saying she's just a mother, and Bonnie needs to remember what that means. Once they're gone, Bonnie smashes a photo of Arrowette, falls to her knees, and begins weeping into her hands.

Back in the cave, Impulse has decided to pass the time by quickly reading a book called "Speed Reading Made Easy" by Skip N. Paige. Superboy says if they want to get their story out there, they need to do it quick. Impulse comments that the only guy who didn't treat them like a bunch of lame-os was the CDTV reporter, Ace Atchinson, who called them Young Justice in the first place. Robin tells Bart that's brilliant, and Impulse is very pleased with himself, but quickly has to ask what he said that was brilliant. Robin tells Secret that she'll need to go public, too, so they can explain that the government kidnapped one of their members. Secret agrees, and Superboy adds that they should explain how they've saved the "whole freakin' planet" so they should be treated with respect.

Robin explains that Ace is the perfect reporter for them, because even though he's a bit of a flake, he does serve a youth-oriented audience that will be sympathetic to their cause. However, Robin says that he can't talk to the media, since that will dispel his status as an urban myth. Secret pushes him on this issue, but Robin won't budge, implying that Batman will end his career if he disobeys. So, Robin suggests they appoint a spokesperson to represent the group in his place. And that person is ... Wonder Girl.

This comes as a shock to both Wonder Girl and Superboy. But Robin defends his decision by saying Cassie is well-educated and articulate, soft-spoken yet sincere, and will appeal to CDTV's huge female viewership. Robin then asks Kon if he doesn't think Cassie is capable of this, and Superboy eventually relents. So Young Justice contacts Ace Atchinson, appearing on his computer screen, just as he was looking for a hot and sexy interview. Superboy, Wonder Girl and Impulse stand in front of the camera, looking as serious as possible. Wonder Girl asks Ace if he's willing to give them an exclusive interview, and Ace eagerly agrees. But before they can work out the details, the heroes are distracted by a large noise in their cave. So Wonder Girl tells Ace they'll call him back while they all leave to investigate the commotion.

The commotion was caused by a group of intruders (the shadowy figures from the cover). The Super-Cycle tried to ward them off, but one of them threw the bike through the wall and out the cave. Impulse, naturally, is first to arrive on the scene, and says, "Okay! Nobody here move! Except for, y'know, me, because I'm supposed to be here. So I can move. But you guys better stay put, or there'll be some, uh ... some serious stay putting here!" (I love how bad he is at talking tough!) Impulse is answered by a short Hawaiian boy, who introduces himself as Short Cut — Impulse's opponent for today. Impulse tells Short Cut he picked the wrong day to come looking for trouble, and he immediately charges at the intruder. But Short Cut teleports Impulse out to a random alley in Happy Harbor, causing Bart to crash into a brick wall.

The rest of Young Justice then arrive in the garage, and are properly introduced to the Point Men — Short Cut, the Gray Lady (a gargoyle-like girl with wings), Blockade (a big, strong guy), Serpenteen (a lizard person), and Blank Slate (a guy seemingly wearing a white sheet). Robin tells the Point Men they're intruding and need to leave, but Gray Lady says their purpose is to make sure Young Justice doesn't ruin the names of superhero groups everywhere. Wonder Girl warns them that the Justice League is due to arrive soon, and Serpenteen and Blockade vow to wait for them peacefully and not throw the first punch. Superboy, however, disagrees, and immediately slams blockade through the floor.

A full-scale fight breaks out, with Robin taking on Gray Lady, Wonder Girl battling Serpenteen (who boasts that the god Quetzalcoatl is stronger than Hera), and Blank Slate takes on Secret, manifesting the same powers as her. Superboy shows little regard for their headquarters, slamming Blockade into all their computers and causing a big mess. Impulse quickly rejoins the fight, figuring he'll hit Short Cut between blinks. However, Short Cut begins teleporting himself away from Impulse, making the speedster quite frustrated.

But perhaps the most dangerous battle is between Secret and Blank Slate, who end up as giant clouds swirling around each other and becoming an uncontrollable tornado. This tornado veers into the swimming pool, lifting up the water and dropping it on the computers Superboy had damaged and are still sparking. Water and electricity don't mix, and a big fire is soon started.

Impulse is the first to recognize this problem, and he rushes Robin away from his fight to show him the catastrophe. Robin calls out to Secret, trying to get her to calm down. But Secret, who has had a pretty rough past few weeks, is in a bit of a frenzy. She incoherently yells at Blank Slate, saying nobody will ever know her, and she increases her intensity. Robin sees the fire spreading to some barrels of gasoline in the garage, and he starts to give Impulse an order, but is interrupted by a large explosion.

This issue is everything I want in a comic book. Great art paired with a great story that perfectly balances, action, emotion and humor. We're continuing an intriguing story that has been building for a while now, while planting more seeds for even more exciting stories down the road. We got a lot of teenage, emotional outbursts (without getting too angsty) combined with an interesting ethical debate. Even though Arrowette is off the team, we're continuing her story, getting a rare look at her mom when she's alone. And everything wrapped up nicely with an awesome action scene, pitting our heroes against a team that matches up very well with them. Of course, just like Old Justice, the Point Men don't necessarily feel like villains — it's more intricate than that. But it doesn't make this fight scene any less enjoyable.

I did enjoy watching Secret lose control here. I think it's a perfectly reasonable reaction to suddenly remembering her brother killed her, then fighting that brother, then being kidnapped (again) by shady government agents. That's more than enough to make anyone snap. Superboy, though ... . His behavior seems out of place (as it should be, we'll learn later). Luckily, we had Impulse around to keep things light and happy. Pretty much everything he did and said was hilarious. And I always love watching speedsters battle teleporters. I actually wish Impulse had a regular teleporter to fight in his main series.

We only have two letters to the editor this month, starting with Philip Portelli, of College Station, N.Y., praising the book for the story arc against Dante. He also speculates that Impulse's emotional naiveté may have consequences the team will have to deal with. According to Philip, Arrowette's position as resident sex symbol seems to have snared Bart. I have to disagree, however, since I think Arrowette's sexiness is mostly lost on Bart. (But not Superboy, though.)

Sean Landry, of LaPlace, La., noticed the Forever People using the Super-Cycle way back in Crisis on Infinite Earths. But Eddie Berganza explains that they were using a different super-cycle that utilizes the same technology. The Young Justice Super-Cycle is their own.

We don't have any new ads, so I'll see you next time, for a special Max Mercury story in Impulse #58.

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