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:

It's time for All-Star balloting. Vote for your favorite NBA All-Star players at these participating movies theaters.

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It's a jungle in there. Donkey Kong Country on Game Boy Color.

He can spew swarms of locusts and devour the flesh from your bones. You, however, can hit restart. The Mummy on Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, PlayStation and PC CD-ROM.

Princess Monoke now on DVD!

Situation: Napoleon needs to be taught bravery. Mission: Create El Toro bot. Lego MindStorms.

'Sects, bugs & lock 'n load! Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy.

Breaking hearts and bones on the web. Watch Lobo and Gotham Girls original webisodes at

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

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