Monday, March 6, 2017

Young Justice #29

Forever and a Day

Peter David – Writer
Todd Nauck – Pencils
Lary Stucker – Inks
Ken Lopez – Letters
Jason Wright – Colors
Digital Chameleon – Separations
Tom Palmer Jr. – Assistant Editor
Eddie Berganza – Editor

This month's cover is another fine piece of work by Nauck and Stucker, with Ian Hannin on colors. It's a fun race between Young Justice on their super-cycle against the Forever People on their larger super-cycle. Most of the people here are quite serious, but a few seem to be having a good time. And I'm always happy when Impulse gets to be in the front of the cover. But while this "race" is really fun and does a great job of showing all the major characters of this month's story, we'll soon find out that the "villains" of this issue are the super-cycles themselves.

Our story begins on Earth, with young Traya being called in to the principal's office. Word has gotten out that Cissie has gone missing, and Principal Foster is understandably concerned. She hears Traya's explanation — that Cissie "just kinda disappeared" — and justifiably believes the young girl is covering for her roommate, who's probably out to see a boy or something of that matter. Traya, who has been honest the whole time, is quite perplexed by this line of reasoning.

Bonnie King-Jones then enters the office, munching on a bag of pretzel sticks in an attempt to quit smoking. To Mrs. Foster's surprise, Bonnie takes a rather nonchalant attitude toward her daughter's disappearance. Bonnie asks Traya if Cissie disappeared in a bust of light or some sound, but Traya answers in the negative. So Bonnie tries to calm down the principal by saying that Cissie is likely off with Young ... (she catches herself) friends, and should be back soon. Mrs. Foster tries to emphasize the severity of the situation, saying that Cissie's not just going to materialize out of nowhere. Right on cue, there's a flash of light in the principal's closet, and out comes tumbling Cissie. Traya happily waves at her friend, and the vindicated Bonnie says, "Never argue with me. Mother knows best."

Meanwhile, at a gratuitous fight scene on New Genesis, Lobo is locked in a fierce battle with Big Bear. Well, actually it's just a playful spar, but it has been going on for twenty minutes and the two powerhouses have destroyed a lot of trees in the area, so Robin yells at them to give it a rest. Wonder Girl and Empress are complimenting Beautiful Dreamer on her hair, which smells like honeysuckle. And Superboy is telling Vykin all about Riproar and how Young Justice got their super-cycle in the first place. Vykin is familiar with Riproar, calling him a lower-echelon Darkseid minion.

Impulse interrupts everything by shouting out "Nuts nuts nuts!" Everyone turns and sees the poor boy desperately trying to hold on to the super-cycle, which has once again gone berserk. Impulse is quickly thrown off the vehicle, but Superboy manages to catch him. Bart explains that the two super-cycles were kind of nuzzling each other, but then suddenly started flipping out. Like any rational person, Superboy finds it odd for two vehicles to "nuzzle." Moonrider explains that technology is sentient on New Genesis, constantly learning and growing. Robin points out the challenges in having your technology in a constant state of flux, and Lobo calls it "fraggin' wonderful." Wonder Girl asks if he could use another word besides fraggin', but Lobo says he can't and stay code-approved, a comment that goes over Cassie's head. (If it also went over your head, check out the Comics Code Authority and its rather pointless history.)

Big Bear and Moonrider jump on their yellow cycle, but are unable to prevent it from promptly flying away. Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Lobo all try to contain their red cycle, but don't seem to have much more luck. Robin points out that their cycle is trying to follow the yellow one, and Superboy repeats his favorite joke about Robin being trained by the world's greatest detective. But an exasperated Robin finishes the joke for him and tells Kon to drop it. Empress then stands in front of the super-cycle, stretches out her hand, and with glowing fingertips and eyes, commands the vehicle to stop. To everyone's surprise, the super-cycle actually did stop moving. But when Lobo calls out, "That's m'girl!", Empress loses her focus, and the cycle flies off, knocking Anita to the ground. Superboy chews out Lobo, calling him a Kiss reject, and as Empress gathers herself up, she bemoans that on a team with Superboy, Robin and Impulse, she had to be Lobo's girl.

If you were wondering what Secret has been doing this whole time, we see that she has become entranced with the beauty of New Genesis and gone off on her own through the woods. Secret happily takes in the trees and flowers, nothing that it's so different from the violence, darkness and things that terrorize you in the night. But she suddenly grows cold, feeling like she doesn't belong here — that she doesn't deserve to be somewhere like this. Secret suddenly finds she's not alone in the woods, as she comes face to face with none other than Darkseid himself.

We cut back to the frantic heroes of Young Justice and the Forever People, completely unable to contain their wild rides. Superboy cries out that even his tactile telekinesis is ineffective, and Wonder Girl complains that Kon is once again explaining his powers as if nobody knew how they worked. Beautiful Dreamer comes up with a decent plan and slows down the super-cycles with a mirage of a hoard of parademons. When Robin points out the parademons are just illusions, Superboy tries once more to get out his "world's greatest detective" joke, but this time both Wonder Girl and Lobo tell Kon to shut up.

The illusion did halt the super-cycles' progress, but the two vehicles suddenly begin spinning around violently, shaking all the occupants off them. Superboy catches Robin, and as the two vehicles begin wrapping themselves around each other, the Boy Wonder says he thinks the cycles are making out. Lobo lands hard on Moonrider, knocking out the leader of the Forever People just as he was trying to give them some orders. The super-cycles end their "make-out" session and form into one large robot that immediately starts blasting off a bunch of lasers. Superboy takes one of these lasers to the chest to protect Cassie, who once again complains to him that she can protect herself.

The Forever People believe the only way they can stop the super-cycles is to summon the Infinity Man, even if they'll have to do so without the unconscious Moonrider. So they pull out their special box and say their special words. Impulse sees this, assumes they're playing some sort of game, and decides he wants to join in, too. So he touches the box at the same time as the Forever People, and they all merge together to become ... Infinity Man with an Impulse twist.

Back on Earth, Cissie tells her mom all about her adventure in space, which Bonnie thinks would make a great movie starring John Travolta. As they head back into Cissie's room, she's shocked to see her mom has taken the liberty of hiring an agent, Frank Balkin, and three women to handle the fan mail. The massive pile of letters is gone, replaced with desks, boxes and filing cabinets, with the women stamping Cissie's autograph on 8x10 glossies of her to send back to the fans. Frank excitedly tells Cissie about his plans for her to receive some major endorsements, but Cissie doesn't seem too thrilled about it.

We cut back to New Genesis, where Robin is desperately trying to tell Infini ... uh ... Impu ... whatever! that he probably doesn't need to fight the super-cycles and just give them some space. But Infinity Impulse (I'll call him that) insists he knows what the Forever People and Impulse knows, and that Robin should leave such matters of galactic import to beings who can fully comprehend them. He ends his speech by saying, "So, y'know ... chill!" Superboy groans that Impulse has suddenly become too fabulous for words now that he's gone a "little cosmic."

Robin and Wonder Girl spot Lobo trying to use a laser blast to light a cigar, and they both tell him that is a disgusting and dangerous habit. But Lobo takes his chances, only to receive a full laser blast to his face. The Top Teen retaliates by punching the super-cycles off into the horizon. Infinity Impulse congratulates Lobo for his impressive blow, but Lobo punches him, as well, breaking them back up into Impulse and the Forever People. Vykin blames Impulse for making their link with the Infinity Man unstable. Impulse thought it was awesome and he asks to do it again, but Big Bear and Serafin staunchly oppose this idea.

Cassie tries to take advantage of this break in the action to confront Kon, pointing out that he's been overly protective of her since the Olympics in Australia. But as Cassie talks, she realizes that Kon has been acting this way since Tana died during Sins of Youth. Kon tries to deny this, but Cassie puts it all together, saying that he loved Tana and now he doesn't want harm to come to anyone else he ... but before Cassie can finish the sentence, Lobo comes blasting by on his space hog, and Superboy seems grateful for the distraction.

All the heroes regroup near the super-cycles, which are now emanating a bright glow and are wrapped up in a strange, twisted tangle. In the excitement, Superboy instinctively grabs hold of Wonder Girl, who has to tell him to let go of her. There's a flash of light, and the super-cycles are untangled and seemingly back to normal, with a new, small blue super-cycle sitting between them. Beautiful Dreamer says this new vehicle will be the perfect size for her child, and she names the blue super-cycle Kirbee (in honor of the creator of the Fourth World, Jack Kirby). A stunned Robin says aloud that their super-cycle was having a mating cycle and it needed another one to make a ... spare, as Superboy says. Empress asks if Young Justice ever has any normal adventures, like something involving a monstrous incarnation of evil.

Just then, Secret shows up with her new friend, whom she calls "Mr. Doug Side." She tells everyone that she was feeling kind of down, but when she met Mr. Side, he told her that what she thinks are weaknesses are actually strengths and she needs to embrace everything about herself that she fears. Secret admits this sounded odd at first, but the more she thought about it, the more she came around to this line of thinking that if anyone's afraid of her, that's their problem, not hers. And that her first priority has to be doing what's true to her. Darkseid tells Secret that she has great potential, then he politely kisses her hand and excuses himself. Secret turns back to her friends, and can't figure out why she's only met with stunned, blank stares.

This was a thoroughly wacky and fun issue of Young Justice. I was getting a bit weary of keeping the team in space for so long, but when we get hilarious, bizarre adventures like this, it's worth it. The Forever People are pretty hard to take seriously, which makes them the perfect foil for Young Justice. The biggest problem with them, though, is the Infinity Man, who is so powerful that writers often have to find ways to hinder him a bit. In the Young Justice episode "Disordered," Infinity Man was essentially being mind-controlled by hostile forces. Here, Peter David swapped out the Forever People's leader with Impulse, which was a much funnier way to weaken Infinity Man.

In addition to the goofy antics of the super-cycle's mating cycle, David once again did a great job of weaving in a bunch of great subplots. We don't know exactly how Cissie got sent back to Earth, but it goes without saying that Doiby somehow figured out how to teleport her back home. And it's always great to see Bonnie, who is making actual progress at being a better mother, but at the end of the day, is still Bonnie King-Jones. Poor Superboy had a rough going in this issue. No one would let him complete his old, tired jokes, and his relationship with Wonder Girl is taking a new, awkward turn. This actually fits in nicely with Superboy #83, which shows the Kid going through an "uncool" rut after the team gets back to Earth. But the biggest bomb drop of this issue was Secret's very casual and disturbing conversation with Darkseid. She's always been a bit on the "dark side" so to say, but now things have taken a whole new intensity with this apparent friendship with the biggest bad of the DC Universe.

Our letters to the editor starts with Paul Watson, of Essex, England, expressing disappointment that Young Justice #25 wasn't a massive anniversary issue, and he calls the reveal of Empress' identity too obvious. Paul also begs for Lobo to be kicked off the team.

Scot W. Myers, of Charleston, S.C., is very happy to see things working out between Cissie and her mom, and while Scot wasn't surprised at the Empress reveal, he did enjoy how it was handled, especially with the facial expressions Todd Nauck gave everybody. Scot loved how the story quickly dived into the next adventure with the arrival of a spaceship in a giant crate filled with packing peanuts. He also calls Lobo a hysterical addition to the team.

Brian Seidman, of New York, says he sometimes groans at Peter David's visual puns, but he's always amused. Brian did have an inkling that Anita was Empress, but he never expected Bart's package to arrive from Ali Ben Stein. He wonders if David purposefully waited this long just so he could use the line, "Fedeus Ex Machina." Brian says they should name the spaceship, but he doesn't offer any suggestions. He also asks for Arrowette to officially return to the team and wants to see more of "that guy drinking brains."

Michael Bregman, of Gan-Yavne, Israel, called the revelation of Empress hilarious and silly, but it also made a lot of sense. He also says Young Justice's expressions were priceless, and he's glad this mystery didn't drag out too long. Michael said the arrival of Impulse's spaceship reminds him of Acme deliveries the Coyote would use to try to get the Road Runner — another bit of silliness, but Michael likes having something light to contrast the darker tone of the last few stories.

There aren't any new ads this issue, so I'll see you next time, when we begin the Carlo Barberi era with Impulse #70!

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