Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Titans #25

Who Is Troia? Part Three: This Is Your Life

Jay Faeber Writer
Marv Wolfman Writer pp 14-18
Paul Pelletier Penciller pp 1-8, 25-35
Phil Jimenez Penciller pp 9-11
Nick Cardy Penciller pp 12-13
George Perez Penciller pp 14-18
Tom Grummett Penciller pp 19-21
Terry Dodson Penciller pp 22-24
Bud LaRosa Inker pp 1-8, 28-35
Phil Jimenez Inker pp 9-11
Tom Palmer Sr. Inker pp 12-13
Scott Hanna Inker pp 36-38
Al Vey Inker pp 19-21
George Perez Inker pp 14-18
Terry Austin Inker pp 25-27
Rachel Dodson Inker pp 22-24
Comicraft Letters
Gregory Wright Colors
Heroic Age Seps
Tom Palmer Jr. Ass't Editor
Eddie Berganza Editor

This issue's cover marks the final piece of Phil Jimenez's Donna Troy triptych with the colors of Tanya & Richard Horie. Donna naturally takes the center stage, surrounded by a whole bunch of people we don't care that much about. But there are a few we do recognize from our old New Titans days. Green Lantern and Arsenal on the left, with the Flash and Nightwing on the right. It is an impressive cover, especially when combined with the other two parts of this story, showing off everyone and everything related to Donna Troy, in the way that only Phil Jimenez can do. However, the cover does boast of having 48 pages, but the story is only 38 pages.

Before we dive in, let me issue a warning. Donna Troy has, in my opinion, the most confusing and convoluted backstory of any DC character. Even more than Hawkman. I know DC tried to straighten things out with her back in Genesis, and I'm not sure if this big three-parter changed anything or was merely trying to explain this confusion. In any case, I'm not going to try to get into it at all. I mean, this is an Impulse blog, so why should we worry about such details?

Our story begins on the JLA Watchtower on the Moon, with Kyle Rayner telling Wally West about how he was recently approached by a strange young woman who claimed to know him, but he had never seen her before. Kyle uses his ring to show Wally what she looks like, and Wally recognizes her as Donna Troy. He reminds Kyle that he used to date Donna, but Kyle has no idea what he's talking about. So Wally rushes down to the Titans Tower in New York to find out why people can't remember Donna.

The only Titan at home is Roy Harper, who's nursing a broken leg and playing with his young daughter. Wally tells him about his conversation with Kyle, and while Roy doesn't remember Donna, either, he does tell Wally that she recently approached the Titans. Accompanied by a handful of heroes from an alternate future (we recognize one of them as Wally's daughter, Kid Flash, from Chain Lightning), Donna asked the Titans to help her battle Dark Angel, who is apparently responsible for erasing everyone's memory of Donna. So the Titans agreed to help her, and they all are now battling the villain in the Netherworld.

During the battle, some strange things begin to happen to reality because of the disturbances caused by the dimension-hopping time travelers. Jesse Quick's costume momentarily changes to that of her mom's, and this kind of freaks everyone out. But things get really bad when Dark Angel is suddenly surrounded by several doppelgängers of herself. All the Dark Angels decide to open up time portals and attack Donna Troy at different points in her life. So the Titans (present and future) split up and follow the Dark Angels through each portal.

Wally's daughter, Iris, catches the first Dark Angel and easily brings her back to the Netherworld in the present. The next Dark Angel visited Donna while she was showing off her new red costume to Dick (Robin), Roy (Speedy) and Wally (Kid Flash). These heroes actually defeat Dark Angel, so Jesse Quick just has to pick up the unconscious villain and take her back. And pretty much this same pattern continues. We see young versions of Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg and pretty much every other Titan you could imagine.

The final Dark Angel traveled to the most recent event, just one year ago at the funeral of Donna's young son, Bobby. This proved to be a foolish time to attack for Dark Angel since the funeral guests not only included Wonder Woman herself, but also a reunion of the disbanded New Titans: Green Lantern, Terra, Supergirl, Mirage, Damage and Impulse.

Needless to say, the battle is quick and decisive. The two heroes from the present who came back here were Troia and the Darkstar from the alternate future, who's really Donna's son, but she doesn't know this, even though it's kind of obvious. Anyway, Darkstar takes Dark Angel through the portal, but the portal closes before Troia can follow through. And for two whole panels she's very sad and worried about being trapped one year in the past. But then the Flash comes out of nowhere and rescues Troia. I don't know how he knew he needed to go back one year in the past, or how he knew to take Troia back to the Netherworld, but he did.

So this all sets up one big final fight between Dark Angel and Donna Troy. They both call on the powers of their past selves and doppelgängers, and Donna ultimately wins in the end. She knocks Dark Angel into a "trans-warp singularity" that one of the future Titans has, and they destroy the only way out, forever entrapping the villain that I really don't know anything about, and, frankly, don't care to find out. The important thing is the day is saved, the alternate future Titans go back home, and we get to move on to a quick epilogue.

It's Donna's birthday, and all of her former teammates have shown up to celebrate, including Impulse and Wonder Girl. Cassie is impressed to learn that Bart was once a Titan, but he waves them off, mentioning the time they went into space without him. (Yes! Both Bart and I are still bitter about that!) And, that's about it. We don't see Bart interact with any of his former teammates, so maybe he really is still bitter. Our story ends with Donna happily saying she's earned the right to celebrate.

This was an ambitious story with some really good ideas, but ultimately I felt the execution was lacking. The ending was just a bit too convenient, and I didn't care one bit for the unnecessary bit with Wally traveling back in time to rescue Donna. I will say, however, that this issue handled all the different artists about as well as possible. They each got to do a different time period, and it really helped, too, that a few of these artists are some of the biggest names in the business. As for Impulse, it was nice to see someone remember his brief stint with the Titans. But that's about it.

The letters to the editor don't mention Impulse (naturally), but it is interesting to note that Eddie Berganza announced that this was his last issue on The Titans, but he doesn't say why. Well, let's check out the new ads.

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Next time, we'll continue Young Justice's adventures in space with Young Justice #29.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Impulse #69

Todd Dezago • Writer
Eric Battle • Penciller
Buzz • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Jamison • Separator
Joey Cavalieri • Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover was again the product of the steady hand of Ethan Van Sciver and the ink-stained fingers of Wayne Faucher. This is the conclusion of the Circle of Fire Epilogue, and, like last issue, it features Impulse with a guest star, Green Lantern this time, and half of a power battery. I guess you could place this next to Impulse #68 to see the full power battery, but it doesn't really form a cohesive, single image. One thing I like about this cover is how Impulse is mimicking Green Lantern's pose, showing off his sparkling costume ring instead of a power ring.

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Green Lantern and Adam Strange arriving on the planet Rann moments after Impulse inadvertently released the giant monster, Amphibitus. It isn't too hard for the heroes to follow the monster's trail of destruction. Green Lantern tries to trap it with his power ring, but Adam Strange warns him that Amphibitus grows stronger when power is exerted against it, which is why he had to place the creature in an artificial hibernation the last time he fought it. Impulse suddenly arrives on the scene, wrapping Amphibitus in special dampening bonds developed by Adam's scientist father-in-law, Sardath.

Everybody meets up in Sardath's lab, realizing that those bonds won't last forever. Adam's wife, Alanna, fills him in on what happened, and, to her credit, she takes the time to point out that everything Impulse did came from the best of intentions and he's been doing everything he can since then to fix the disaster. Kyle and Adam, however, need some convincing, so Bart profusely apologizes, saying he's trying really hard to focus and be a better hero. As he explains his side of the story, an alarm goes off, and poor Bart instinctively feels he's going to be blamed for that, as well.

Sardath explains that the alarm came from the Ranagarian nuclear reactor. Apparently, when Bart diverted the lava to the sea, it not only freed the Amphibitus, but also evaporated all the necessary water to keep the power plant cool. Now, without that water, it faces an imminent nuclear meltdown. (You can't blame Impulse for this one — this is just poor city planning! How has this place not already been destroyed three times over?) Anyway, Adam Strange quickly puts together a plan. Sardath will recreate his serum to place Amphibitus back into artificial hibernation, while Green Lantern figures out how to cool down the power plant and Adam keeps the monster distracted once it breaks free of its dampening bands. Impulse asks what he can do, so Adam sends him with Kyle.

Kyle isn't too thrilled about having to take Bart around with him, so he places the teen in a big green bubble to keep him out of trouble. Bart begs and begs to be released, finally collapsing in a heap of sadness, saying that Green Lantern doesn't know what it's like to be constantly trying to live up to everyone's expectations all the time. Kyle realizes he does know exactly how this feels, and his feelings soften toward Bart. Meanwhile, Amphibitus breaks free, and Adam Strange has to scramble to protect his family from the beast's rampage. Adam attempts to slow down the monster by placing a grav-box on its back to increase its gravity. Unfortunately, Adam has to sacrifice this plan to save a bystander.

We cut back to Kyle and Bart, who have arrived at the now dried-up sea bed that is full of stranded and suffocating aquatic creatures. As soon as Green Lantern releases Impulse from the bubble, the speedster begins rescuing the sea creatures, carrying them off to the ocean one at a time. Kyle says this is a waste of time, but Bart insists he has to save them all. He tells Kyle to go off on his own and find some water that nothing's living in and he vows to stay behind, save the fish and stay out of trouble. Bart's words actually give Kyle an idea, and he takes off for the polar ice cap.

Adam Strange continues to fight valiantly in his efforts to distract Amphibitus, but unfortunately the sirens at the nuclear reactor have attracted the beast. Green Lantern returns with a gigantic piece of ice in tow. Impulse, having finished saving all the marine life, gets back to the battle field just in time, rescuing Adam Strange from a fatal blow from Amphibitus. As Bart and Adam watch the progress of Kyle, his ice and Amphibitus all heading toward the power plant, Bart comments that it's too bad G.L. couldn't just drop the glacier on the monster. They then both realize that there's no reason Green Lantern shouldn't do just that, so Adam Strange flies up to Kyle to deliver the message, while Impulse pulls all the soldiers out of the way.

As instructed, Green Lantern drops the ice on Amphibitus, knocking it out, then picks up the pieces of ice to place in the nuclear reactor and cool it down. Amphibitus is quick to recover, but not quicker than Impulse, who retrieves the serum from Sardath and puts the monster to sleep. Four helicopters fly Amphibitus out to the ocean, and Adam Strange finally has a good word to say about Impulse. He praises the teen for not giving up and always trying to do the right thing, which is what makes him a hero. Everybody gathers together to celebrate their victory, but the Zeta-Beam suddenly returns, sending Adam, Kyle and Bart back to Earth. Just before he's teleported away, Bart manages to apologize one last time to the people of Rann.

This was an ... OK issue. Impulse proved himself to a couple of more heroes who were quick to judge him. And the poor kid shouldered more than his fair share of blame for a set of circumstances that probably would have happened even if he wasn't there. I mean, who's to say that those lava pigs wouldn't have caused that volcano to erupt without Impulse's involvement? Anyway, I still don't see why Impulse had to be the setting for Green Lantern to make up with Adam Strange and the people of Rann. Shouldn't the Circle of Fire epilogue have taken place in Green Lantern's own title?  I'm also a bit down on this issue because of Eric Battle's messy, unappealing art. I'm just tired of it. And I'm equally tired of having Impulse out in space. Between his own title and Young Justice, I'm really craving some back-to-basics, down-to-Earth adventures.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavalieri reporting on his recent trip to the Small Press Expo convention, but he really didn't have anything interesting to say about it.

Michael Bregman said the conclusion to Mercury Falling in Impulse #66 was exciting, unpredictable and moving. He loved the action, suspense, mystery and, most of all, the emotion. Michael liked how the storyline fleshed out Thad, showing he's not your typical villain. He was really moved when Inertia realized no one ever loved him, and he hopes we see him again, as there's so much more to explore with this character. Michael also suggests collecting Mercury Falling as a trade paperback, along with issues #52 and #53 to help set up Inertia. Cavalieri says he'll talk with Dale Crain, the guy in charge of this sort of thing. Eventually, Mercury Falling was collected as a trade, but as I said before, I wasn't too happy with how DC handled it.

Andy Barclay is happy that Max is back to his old self, but he's left wondering what happened to Inertia and why Wally didn't answer Morlo's call to help. Andy praised Todd Dezago for his great work and says he's sad to see Ethan Van Sciver leave. Cavalieri says he won't say anything about Inertia to avoid spoiling a potential return. He also announces Van Sciver's new project with Geoff Johns, a Prestige book called The Flash: Iron Heights.

Starmansgal's favorite part was when Impulse asked Inertia if anyone has loved him, and Inertia can only say, "No ..." She also thanks the creative team for a fantastic issue.

Rex_Tick_Tock_Tyler asks for an Impulse/Hourman crossover.

Jaikbluze also supports an Hourman crossover, noting speedsters' time-travel abilities. It's kind of sad to see readers suggest good ideas and have the editor admit these are good ideas, but realize that these ideas never came to fruition. Now for the new ads:

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Next time, we'll have a New Titans reunion in The Titans #25.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Young Justice #28

Hitting for the Cycle

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Lary Stucker Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Ken Lopez Letters
Eddie Berganza Editor

Our cover by Nauck and Stucker shows Young Justice and the Super-Cycle popping out of a boom tube and right on top of the planet New Genesis. You can just make out the figures of the Forever People (fans of the Young Justice animated series might remember these guys from the episode "Disordered"). This is a fun, dynamic cover, and Nauck perfectly captures the personality of each character even while falling down. And while this scene does happen in this issue, it doesn't happen until the very end.

While our cover scene doesn't happen until the end, our story does begin on New Genesis. Mark Moonrider and Beautiful Dreamer have taken their yellow super-cycle to an open field to enjoy the warmth of spring and their romantic company. However, the lovers' moment is quickly ruined when their super-cycle begins shuddering violently and randomly blasting lasers all over the place. Meanwhile, on Myrg, the Young Justice super-cycle is going through a similar spasm inside Impulse's spaceship, knocking over all the Soder cola six-packs, Ruffled chips, comics of the Afterlife Avenger and Spider Fighter, Impulse's GameBoy and a bunch of Mystery Science Theater memorabilia.

Of course, our heroes are oblivious to all this, since they're heading into the bottom of the ninth inning in their baseball game against the Slag to determine the fate of both Myrg and Earth. Young Justice is down 11 to 10, but thankfully Wonder Girl is up to bat. Superboy complains how the Slag cheated to take the lead, and Robin agrees, but also says they should try to defeat the aliens without escalating tensions any further. Wonder Girl connects on a pitch, and she hits the ball so hard it rips through the fielder's glove and knocks him out. However, Wonder Girl is only able to make to second base, and when she slides in headfirst, the baseman stomps on her hands, causing her to scream out in pain. Superboy can't handle this, and he immediately takes the field, punching the baseman clear out of the park. The robotic umpire ejects Superboy from the game, and Cassie doesn't seem too happy about Kon interfering.

Back in Impulse's ship, the super-cycle is repeatedly ramming against the wall. When that doesn't work, it pulls out a laser cannon and blasts itself free. Lobo's space hog motorcycle, which also seems sentient, is confused by the super-cycle's behavior and decides to follow it through the huge hole torn from Impulse's ship's hull.

We return to the game, where Robin is chewing out Superboy in the dugout. Kon claims he was just protecting a teammate, but Empress astutely notes that Wonder Girl would rather have Superboy fight alongside her instead of fighting for her. But Superboy says he'd rather be safe than sorry, and he shouts down both Robin and Empress. Lobo agrees with "Blue Boy," praising him for finding an excuse to "skrag" a "bastich." Superboy thanks Lobo, prompting Impulse to point out that he should be creeped out by thanking Lobo for a compliment. Kon admits Bart is right, but confesses he doesn't want to back down from his stand.

With Wonder Girl on second base, Secret is next up to bat, but quickly gets two strikes. On the next pitch, she's distracted by the super-cycle and space hog flying overhead, and Secret gets called for her third strike. Seeing the next batters are Cissie and Doiby, Prince Marieb begins to freak out, saying they've already lost the game. But Princess Ramia still has faith in her boyfriend and his strange friends. In the dugout, Secret tries to tell Robin what she saw, but he and everyone else are too busy cheering on Cissie, who is quickly racking up the strikes. Superboy criticizes Lobo for not joining the cheering, but the Top Teen is immersed in an issue of Playlien and asks to be called when somebody needs to be fragged.

Cissie strikes out and throws her bat in the dugout, narrowly missing her teammates and smashing it in two pieces. As she curses the game of baseball, Impulse picks up the bottom half of the bat and demonstrates how Cissie should have choked up on it. But Cissie doesn't find this very helpful, and she begins choking Bart, who can only squeak out, "Acck! Yeah ... just like that ... !" Robin tells the two of them to stop fooling around and informs Impulse it's time for Plan B. So Impulse takes off, as Doiby takes the plate.

The old man promptly gets two strikes, and he clutches his chest, sadly saying he can't do this. But Robin, Superboy, Empress and Secret gallantly cheer him on (Cissie is still too upset to join in) and Princess Ramia stands up to support her boyfriend. A trumpet solo begins playing from nowhere, and Doiby begins to take courage. On the next pitch, Doiby hits the ball while a burst of thunder and a bolt of lightning crash overhead. A gust of wind catches the ball and smashes it hard into the scoreboard. Doiby has hit a home run and won the game!

The crowd chants Doiby's name as he rounds the bases, and Prince Marieb begins grumbling now that he'll have to leave Myrg. Superboy and Wonder Girl lift Doiby on their shoulders, and Impulse excitedly says, "Did I tell ya's? I told'jas!" And Robin chews out Impulse once again for talking like Doiby. K'rnd'g, however, is not pleased. He accuses Young Justice of cheating, saying the "one with the hair" used his super speed to cause an updraft and manufacture the winds that took the ball. Impulse puts on his best angelic expression, and Robin says he is shocked to be accused of such a thing.

But K'rnd'g is not convinced. He pulls out about two dozen massive guns and threatens to blast Young Justice halfway back to their home planet. The team prepares for a fight, and somebody from the crowd throws back the home run ball, telling K'rnd'g to ram it down Young Justice's throats. K'rnd'g happily catches the ball, but soon sees it's not a baseball after all — it's a bomb that says "You've been fragged." The bomb immediately explodes, and each member of Young Justice deals with the flying debris differently. Empress teleports away from it, Impulse protects Cissie by blowing debris away with a mini-whirlwind, Superboy protects Wonder Girl with his tactile telekinesis, Robin deflects the debris with his bow staff and Secret allows it pass through her, while she says, "Wow! And I thought baseball was a boring game!"

Lobo comes down from the stands, admiring the handy work of his bomb. But Robin is furious that Lobo broke the team's no-killing rule. Lobo insists that he didn't kill K'rnd'g, but fragged him. Robin says that's the same thing, and the argument becomes quite testy. Luckily, it's broken up before it comes to blows by the sudden arrival of the super-cycle and space hog. The super-cycle rams into Superboy, Impulse jumps on the back, saying he thinks the cycle wants something and Robin hops on the driver's seat to try to calm it down. Lobo and Empress get on his space hog, trying to keep up, while Wonder Girl, not far behind with Secret, notices a new button has popped up on the dashboard. The button is clearly labeled "Push Me," so Impulse naturally pushes it before Robin can stop him.

The button Impulse pushed opened up a boom tube, and Bart immediately apologizes, saying he really is trying to think before acting, but it's always one step forward, two steps back. Lobo is pretty excited to see the boom tube, but Empress worries it could take them to the bowels of Hell, an idea that only makes Lobo more excited. Wonder Girl tells Robin to veer off from the boom tube, but he can't. And in a flash of light, Young Justice disappears. Well, everyone except for Cissie, who has to awkwardly interrupt Doiby and Ramia's kissing to ask for a way back to Earth. Sadly, all they can offer Cissie at the moment is a bagel.

The boom tube drops the rest of our heroes in the open field on New Genesis we saw at the beginning of this issue. Superboy recognizes the planet as New Genesis, and Wonder Girl is thrilled at the prospect of meeting some New Gods. Robin is glad Cissie didn't get dragged into this new adventure, and assumes Doiby will have no problem getting her home. Impulse is the first to notice the yellow super-cycle, and he cries out that their super-cycle has a pal as the two vehicles bound toward each other. Suddenly, the Forever People arrive, and they sternly say that they are the rightful owners of the red super-cycle, which was stolen from them. However, this display of intimidation is quickly ruined by Big Bear gleefully chowing down on donuts. Serafin asks what anyone could now possibly say to imply an imminent threat, and he's answered by the editor's box saying, "The super-cycle goes berserk! Plus — Darkseid!" To which Impulse says, "Works for me!"

This was another great, fun issue of Young Justice. The baseball game ended perfectly with Doiby getting a chance to be the hero. Of course, he did have some help, cleverly provided by Impulse. Actually, that was a rather sophisticated used of Impulse's powers, and if he wasn't wearing his ring in this issue, I would have once again said this was actually Inertia in disguise. Anyway, the humor was great as always, and some new team dynamics are emerging: Robin's feud with Lobo and Superboy's growing love for Wonder Girl. However, I am a bit apprehensive with the prospect of the team visiting New Genesis. It feels like we've been in space for a while now. How much longer are we going to keep these kids away from home?

Todd Nauck has demonstrated a complete mastery over these characters, which naturally comes after spending more than two years drawing them. He takes simple things like the team falling down or being near an explosion to demonstrate each character's unique personality. I think most artists would simply show all the characters bracing themselves in more or less the same way, but Nauck took the time to have everybody react differently. While we're on the subject of the art in this book, I have to issue a rare criticism to colorist Jason Wright. Last issue, he consistently made Impulse's neck red, showing that part of his Impulse uniform still covered his neck under his baseball jersey. But in this issue, Impulse's neck alternated between being red and flesh-colored. Impulse looks so weird with his mask still on his chin, but his neck exposed. And it looks even weirder when his neck is red on one page and not on the next.

Our letters to the editor begins with Scot W. Myers, of Charleston, S.C., says this book continues to delight him in every way. He enjoyed the idea of super villains competing in the Olympics, and he wonders why none of them have tried this before.

Will Dudley, of Detroit, says he's been reading the series since the first issue, but he believes it's time for a new writer. Will incorrectly says that Chuck Dixon is the writer and says he'd rather have Keith Griffen on the book. He also would like to see Damage make a cameo. Eddie Berganza points out that Peter David is and will continue to be the writer of Young Justice. He also reminds readers that Damage was originally intended to be a member of this team, but the Titans claimed him first.

Kris Wolfe says Young Justice is being too harsh to Impulse. She says he's the only reason she reads the book and without his off-the-wall antics, she can't imagine this title being any different from all the other generic teen superhero books that are too serious and boring. Kris argues that Impulse isn't stupid. And even though he doesn't pay attention, he shouldn't forget things like Robin's face. She points out that in Impulse's own book, he's been more responsible and thoughtful lately, but still fun. Kris wants Young Justice to stop treating Impulse like the village idiot or merely comic relief, saying he's much deeper than that. However, Kris does admit that Impulse looks cuter in Young Justice than he does in his own book. She ends her letter by saying that she is a girl and a junior in college, but Impulse is still her favorite. Berganza says Impulse will get the spotlight in issue #31, and while they will work on reflecting the tough times he's had in his own book, they're not ready to make Impulse Brainiac 5.1 yet.

Brandon Smith asks for Static Shock to join the team, especially since he's getting his own cartoon show. Berganza admits they's discussed this, but he points out the team's roster is kind of at max capacity with the recent additions of Lobo and Empress.

Eduardo A. Santillan Marcus, of Rosario, Argentina, is very excited to see the Baron Sin Gazz, referencing a conference Peter David had in Buenos Aires, where he apparently announced the future appearance of this cruel and merciless villain. Eduardo also brings up the possibility that when Inertia was disguised as Impulse he could have discovered Robin's secret identity. It's a fun theory, but I personally haven't seen any evidence to support it. Nor do I see how Inertia would concern himself with Robin's identity. Now for the new ads:

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Next time, we'll wrap up the Circle of Fire epilogue with Impulse #69.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Superboy #83

How Kon-El Got His Groove Back

Joe Kelly Writes
Pascual Ferry Pencils
Keith Champagne Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Comicraft Letters
Mike McAvennie Edits

Our cover by Pascual Ferry shows all the challenges Superboy has to deal with — the craziness of Cadmus, a random giant robot, a Young Justice cameo, and, worst of all, trying to wake up in the morning. It is a pretty funny cover for a pretty funny story, and I'm sure there were some fangirls who were thrilled to see the Kid walking around in his underwear. The Impulse on this cover isn't a very good-looking Impulse, but he's not the worst I've seen.

Our story begins with Superboy in the same outfit he's wearing on the cover — a bathrobe over his shredded costume, his boxers completely exposed, and some tiger slippers to complete the ensemble. He groggily makes his way through all the chaos of Cadmus, not showing any emotion until he's served decaf instead of coffee. Superboy spits out the brew and sadly wonders aloud when, exactly, his life went to hell.

We then cut to Superboy, Robin and Impulse battling a random giant robot. Robin is pulling some wires out of the robot's head and he asks Impulse to create some static cling inside the robot's skull, but first to check on Superboy. Impulse follows the order of "BossRobinSirMan" and finds that Superboy has been covered with a ton of actual snot from the robot's nose. Impulse asks, "Got stink?" Superboy answers, "Up your nose with a rubber hose."

Impulse doesn't understand what "Up your nose with a rubber hose" means and he wonders if it's a secret code. Robin tries to call the team to attention, asking Impulse to double-check the streets for some last stragglers that haven't been evacuated yet. Superboy explains that he heard the line on TV last week from Babarino, the comeback that launched Travolta's career. (Superboy is referencing the 1970s show, "Welcome Back, Kotter" in which John Travolta played Vinnie Barbarino, not "Babarino," as Kon misremembers.) Impulse asks what a "Babarino" is and wonders if Superboy is having some sort of seizure that's making him talk so crazy.

Robin says he wishes he could have spent they day with nice, quiet, peaceful Batgirl. Impulse asks Robin what a "Babarino" is, but Robin only tells him to get the people off the street. Impulse thinks Robin is stalling because "Babarino" means something dirty. He protests that he's old enough to learn such dirty secrets, but Robin shouts at Bart, so he takes off. Superboy, meanwhile, tries to finish off the "R2-Dweeb," but the robot vomits all over him. Pulling his best Daffy Duck face, Superboy says, "You're despicable."

However, Superboy is able to get inside the robot. Impulse has done a bad job of getting everybody off the street, as there's still a couple of teenage girls hanging around. Bart tries to politely ask them to leave, but when he sees one of them is enthralled with Superboy and wants to give him her number, Bart decides to take credit for the Kid's coolness. He boasts that he taught Superboy everything he knows, including "Baba-re-bop." Superboy then destroys the robot from the inside out, shouting, "I pity da fool who mess wit' dee 'S'!"

Everybody, even Robin, is shocked by this incredibly lame one-liner from Superboy. One of the girls hopefully asks if Superboy is being "retro-cute," but her friend slams that down. Impulse says he'd put his ears out with a hot poker if he had one, and Superboy is dead to him. The filthy and totally uncool Superboy flies down to his fellow teens, expecting a warm welcome for having saved the day. Instead, he's met with a giggling Robin, an embarrassed Impulse, and two girls torn on their opinion of the Kid. The more hopeful girl, Buffy, decides to still give Superboy her number, rationalizing that he's still cute. But her friend is not convinced, mocking Superboy for his "disco belts." Kon is in complete shock by this treatment, and Bart suggests a mind worm has crawled in Superboy's ear — an old mind worm — and he asks Robin for the Bat-tweezers.

Our heroes head back to the Young Justice headquarters in upstate New York, and Superboy claims it was the robot goop that drove the girls away. Impulse smells Superboy's armpit, tells him it smells like roses, then quickly runs to Robin and whispers to him that he needs to push hygiene to save their teammate. Robin tells Kon to not worry about the one girl and be happy with getting one girl's number. Lobo, meanwhile, is mercilessly mocking Superboy, saying his three-fingered Grandma Klak'chak could have come up with a better K.O. line. Impulse resolutely states that he will not rest until Kon starts acting like himself. He vows to scour the globe for a cure, first asking if anyone has George Clooney's address sine he wants a blood sample.

Superboy admits that he's had a rough past few weeks with all the turmoil at Cadmus, him losing his powers, and watching his girlfriend Tana get killed. He suggests everyone just drop this topic, but Lobo ignores him. The Top Teen offers to teach Superboy the moves to score with girls ... in exchange for a little favor involving a certain dresser drawer of a certain female member of Young Justice. Superboy asks Lobo to please die, then flies away to Cadmus. Impulse arrives a moment later, saying he has the chemical breakdowns from all five Backstreet Boys. When he sees that Superboy has left, he gloomily hopes that Kon didn't take off to go play Bingo somewhere.

Superboy helps the Guardian battle some monsters, and Guardian tells him he needs to spend some time as a normal teenager. So Superboy takes his advice and prepares to ask Buffy out on a date. But he overhears her talking to her friend, Bianca, about how lame he is. So Superboy flies away in embarrassment, coming to the sad conclusion that all his ideas of being cool come from the early '90s. Later, while helping Steel save Massachusetts from a volcano, he bemoans his worthless belts that don't actually hold up anything and are really "form over function." He does help save the day, though, and he's thanked by a sweet little girl who calls him her second favorite super-person of all time. Superboy can't help but ask who number one on this girl's list is, and she says it's Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. As if that wasn't enough to crush Superboy's spirit, the girl adds more heroes as she thinks about them — Blue Beetle, someone called Green Man, and Impulse because he's funnier.

In desperation, Superboy decides to take up Lobo's offer by first stealing all the underwear from Wonder Girl. Cassie comes out of the shower to find her drawer empty and she yells at her mom for not doing the laundry, saying that unlike Arrowette, she needs underwear to save the world. Superboy feels awful while flying back to New York with his arms full of Cassie's underwear. He tries to rationalize that there's no harm in this, but he quickly realizes that with Lobo involved, it could quickly become a pretty dicey situation. As Superboy passes by the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, he's met by Superman himself.

Kon initially tries to use Impulse's excuse of having a mind worm in his brain, but he eventually admits that he's feeling lame and like he doesn't have a life. Superman acknowledges that Kon has had a pretty rough year, and he figures that the teen is stuck in a rut. He suggests that Kon is trying to make up for the things he can't control by getting too deep into the grind of his work, leaving his life to suffer. Superman says most people look at him just as a big blue Boy Scout, to which Superboy says, "You? Wha—? Really? No ... I never heard anyone say that. Nope, not Impulse. No, sir ..." Superman says that perception doesn't matter because nobody sees Clark Kent dancing with his gorgeous life, playing hockey or listening to Metallica. (His favorite album, by the way, is "Justice for All.") Superman encourages Superboy to step back and appreciate his life, but Superboy interprets this as a call to spend time with the cool kids to learn how to be cool again. Superman tries to say that's not what he meant, but he just sighs and lets the Kid take off.

So Superboy looks up that cool girl, Bianca, and begs her to teach him how to be cool. So we get a fun montage of Superboy trying on different outfits, learning about the current celebrities, music and catch phrases, getting a new haircut, and practicing appearing more aloof and, in general, cool. Finally, they settle on a new outfit for Superboy, which thankfully isn't that much different from his old look — it's just more streamlined, I guess. Now that he's gone from "lame to game," Bianca decides to come on strongly to Superboy. He asks her if she really likes him or just his new cool makeover. He says she's too superficial and shallow for him, and he flies away, leaving Bianca crushed. But once he's gone, Bianca reveals that she was just acting, and that was Superboy's final test. She wanted to make him cool, but still hold to his principles.

This was a hilarious issue. And it addressed a real need. Superboy was the epitome of cool in the early '90s. But by 2000, that look had fallen woefully out of date. So I loved the emotions Superboy went through when confronted with this "awful" truth. Denial. Bargaining. Depression. And finally acceptance. And I'm happy with the results of this journey. His new look isn't too bad (we won't see it in Young Justice until they get back from space, and that's going to take a while). Impulse was perfect in his sincere, but flawed efforts to help. Lobo had the right attitude, but he really should have been asking for Empress' panties, and his hair was all wrong. The art in this issue wasn't great, but it didn't take anything away from the story.

Next time, we'll wrap up our epic baseball game in Young Justice #28.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Impulse #68

I Rann and I Rann and I Rann ...

Todd Dezago • Writer
Eric Battle • Penciller
Buzz • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Jamison • Separators
Joey Cavalieri • Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover is by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher. It is nice to still have Van Sciver provide some Impulse art, although I do think it's kind of misleading to have him continue to draw the covers when he's technically off the book. I'm torn. Anyway, this issue is a Green Lantern: Circle of Fire epilogue, which is why we have a giant Green Lantern power battery in the background. This issue's guest star is Adam Strange, who has never really had any interaction with Impulse before this. I welcome the opportunity for Impulse to meet more people throughout the DC Universe.

Our story begins with a high-speed police chase of a couple of rednecks in a rickety, old truck. Impulse runs up alongside the truck and very smoothly pulls the criminals out and places them in the back of a following police car.

Impulse then tries to stop the runaway truck with a small whirlwind, but the truck takes a bad bounce and careens toward a store full of people. So Impulse has to run to the front of the store and make an even bigger whirlwind to stop the truck and all the pieces falling off it. He's successful this time, and the police congratulates the young hero, although they do point out that Impulse was cutting it a little close there. Impulse sadly apologizes and immediately takes off.

Bart is mostly recovered from the events of Mercury Falling, but as we saw in Young Justice, he is determined to focus more than ever so he can prove to Max that he can be just as good an Impulse as Inertia was. So Bart goes on a patrol around the world and spots a man about to be struck by lightning in Rio de Janeiro. So Impulse shoves the man out of the way and is hit by the beam of light, that isn't lightning at all. It's actually a zeta beam that transports people to the planet Rann. And that man was actually Adam Strange, who was hoping to use that zeta beam to return to his wife and daughter.

Impulse, of course, learns all this the hard way. He's teleported to the alien planet, and just like Dorothy Gale, he astutely notes that he's not in Alabama anymore. He quickly spots a woman and a young girl zooming by in a flying car, being chased by enormous rhino/warthog-like creatures. So Impulse decides to step in and save the day by knocking the "space rhinos" back with a giant whirlwind. The creatures appear unfazed by this attack, but they do break off their pursuit of the woman and decide to burrow down into the ground.

Impulse then greets the woman he believes he's rescued by flashing the Vulcan sign to live long and prosper. However, the woman tells Impulse that he's doomed the entire city of Ranagar. She explains that she was leading the lava pigs away from the city so they wouldn't burrow nearby and flood the city with lava. Impulse meekly apologizes, and the woman realizes that he must have accidentally been struck by the zeta beam instead of her husband. Alanna explains that her father, Sardath, created the zeta beam to scan outer space, but the beam inadvertently transported Adam Strange to Rann, where he became a great hero, fell in love with Alanna, and together had a daughter, Aleea. But Adam is constantly torn between Earth and Rann, as the effects of the zeta beam aren't permanent, and he's often transported back to Earth against his will. So he makes it his life's mission to find the next zeta beam and return to his family.

Alanna sees that Impulse has super speed, so she tells him he can still help them. She takes him to Sardath to try to come up with a new plan to stop the lava pigs. Sardath calculates that they only have 17 minutes before the pigs' burrowing destroys the city, and the only thing he can think of is to create a giant trough to redirect the lava flow to the Zardonian Sea. Impulse hears this plan, and immediately heads out there with a shovel, not staying long enough to hear Sardath warn him of waking a large monster in the sea.

By the time Sardath and Alanna catch up to Bart, he's already finished digging the trough, and to his delight, it does successfully redirect the flow of lava away from Ranagar. But as the lava hits the water, Sardath delivers the bad news to Bart. He doesn't blame the boy for his ignorance, but explains that years ago, Adam Strange battled a giant monster and was only able to defeat it by placing it in artificial hibernation at the bottom of the sea. But now the lava has turned much of the water to steam, and right on cue, the enormous Amphibitus is awakened, as poor Impulse can only meekly say that he was trying to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, Adam Strange's desperation to get back to Rann has led him to Green Lantern, even though he's still mad at Kyle for attacking the planet during Circle of Fire. Adam tells Kyle they need to get back to Rann to save Impulse, but Green Lantern says they instead need to save Rann from Impulse. So they blast off into space, just manage to catch the last bit of the zeta beam up by Neptune, and are teleported to Rann.

I feel so bad for Bart in this issue. He's trying so hard, but nothing seems to turn out right. I hope he's able to catch a break next issue. All in all, I found this to be a rather rough issue to read. I've already made it known that I am not a fan of Eric Battle's art, and this issue did nothing to improve my opinion. This also didn't feel much like an issue of Impulse. This easily could have been a completely separate series that just happened to have Impulse as a guest star. If I didn't know better, I'd almost say Todd Dezago didn't write this story. Everything about this just felt off. Like I said before, I'm more than happy to have Impulse meet other heroes, but I just don't understand why the Impulse series devoted two of its issues to a Circle of Fire epilogue when Impulse had nothing to do with that story.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavalieri urging readers to check out the new Superman and Batman: World's Funnest. He correctly states that most readers of Impulse would enjoy the humor of that special.

Tobias Christopher simply writes that he hates having to wait a whole month for the next issue of Impulse, but it is worth the wait.

Max Mercury II said he wasn't too sure where the story was going after Impulse #64. But when he read Impulse #65, he had to immediately pick it up and read it again just five minutes later. He loved how Inertia accepted Bart's friends, how Carol realized Inertia was impersonating Bart, and how Bart arrived at the end. Max also says he's excited for the new Impulse and Max Mercury toys from DC Direct. (I need to see if I can get my hands on those.)

The Obsolete Man was a bit disappointed with issue #64 mainly because the Previews magazine advertised the story as Bart's oldest friend making the ultimate sacrifice. Naturally, he was assuming this would be Max, but it turned out to be Dox. However, The Obsolete Man did love issue #65, especially the look on Inertia's face when Max called him Bart. He realized that this look meant Inertia would go through with his original plans to kill Max. The Obsolete Man says this is a testament to what Ethan Van Sciver can show in just a few panels.

Kid Bucket says that while he's sad to see Van Sciver go, he is very excited to have Carlo Barberi take over, having loved his previous work during Sins of Youth.

Magikthise points out that Inertia thought in actual words, not pictogram balloons like Bart. Cavalieri admits this was another clue Dezago put in for readers.

Nightwing says he's not familiar with Glory Shredder, but he did love how Inertia dropped his innocent Impulse act to dismantle the villain. He also liked seeing a flashback of the Reverse Flash and Barry Allen. Nightwing picked up on Carol being able to solve the mystery based on how she reacted to the fake Bart. He also suspects that Robin might have known that Inertia was posing as Impulse. But that's really a moot point since this storyline didn't play out in Young Justice (as much as I wanted it to). Now for the new ads:

Pac's back in 3D on your PC! Pac-Man Adventures in Time.

Catch 'em now! Pokémon the Movie 2000 on video!

$9.99. Got game? Take-Two games for PlayStation.

Take action! Action Man Raid on Island X PC CD-ROM game.

Celebrate the holidays with music from the Looney Tunes. Kwazy Christmas available on DC and cassette.

In space, no one can hear you scream for your mommy. Galaga Destination Earth on Game Boy Color and PlayStation.

Bash, trash, smash, crash your enemies. Break Out for PlayStation.

You can't keep a good frog down. Frogger 2 for PlayStation, PC CD-ROM and Dreamcast.

You stand on the steps of a whole new adventure. Pokémon Gold & Silver for Game Boy Color.

Next time, we'll take a quick peek at Superboy #83.