Monday, May 15, 2017

Impulse #73

Dark Tomorrow Part One

Todd Dezago • Writer
Carlo Barberi • Penciller
Juan Vlasco • Inker
Janice Chiang • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Digital Chameleon • Separator
Joey Cavalieri • Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This issue's cover: Another well-rendered masterpiece by the masters of pencil and pen, Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher! Bart has apparently found Carol ... in the future ... surrounded by some sort of "Flash" police ... at Iron Heights. It's a lot to take in, and we'll get there in due time. Sadly, though, I have to say that once again, the Flash is not involved in this story. It's like there's a big, insurmountable gulf between Bart and Wally. Anyway, this is a pretty fun, detailed cover that rewards you for paying attention to the background — there's a bit of graffiti above Impulse's head that says "Choke on a Soder Cola."

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Bart hopping into Lucius Keller's time machine to try to rescue Carol. Max tries to stop him, but Bart's too quick for him, disappearing into the Time Stream just as he finally admits aloud that he loves Carol. Bart quickly masters the machine, and arrives in Manchester, Alabama, at almost the exact moment he wanted — just a few seconds too late. Impulse sees the mysterious kidnapper hit the past Bart in the head with the pink knockout gas then pull Carol into a blue portal. Impulse was too late to prevent Carol from disappearing, but he can, at least, follow Carol through the portal, racing by his past, knocked-out self.

Impulse comes to in an old ballroom, littered with the remains of some long-forgotten party. The room is adorned with massive windows, showing a futuristic, but bleak and polluted city. Carol approaches Bart from behind, telling him that she's responsible for this dystopian future. All the pollution, war and poverty are apparently her fault, she says. Bart rejoices to see his girlfriend, running around her, telling her all about his heroic journey through the "time thingy" right behind her. He has more to tell Carol, but she stops him, saying that she actually arrived in the future a few hours before Bart did, which gave her time to learn this awful truth.

Suddenly, the mysterious kidnapper approaches, and Bart bravely stands in front of Carol to protect her. But Carol tells Bart it's OK, since the kidnapper is actually herself — when she's 32 years old. Bart is understandably confused by the concept of adult Carol kidnapping teenage Carol and taking her to the 30th century. Adult Carol apologizes for the confusion and tries to explain her plan to correct the mistake she made, but before she can get very far, Bart and the Carols are surrounded by the Science Police in flying cars, placing the three under arrest for "violation of temporal manipulation regulations."

Adult Carol has Bart provide them a cover by hurtling the strewn silverware at the Science Police vehicles, giving her time to fire up her ship. Soon our heroes are off toward freedom, and even Impulse is impressed by the speed of adult Carol's ship. Now that they have a moment to breathe, adult Carol begins her story. At some point in her past, Carol and Bart relocated to the 30th century, and Carol became a scientist specializing in biophysics and the Speed Force. Her goal was to use the power of the Speed Force to help ordinary people burn off diseases like Bart does. Eventually, Carol developed a ray that could give people these health benefits and a fraction of super speed as well.

Carol's research was closely monitored by Bart's other, evil grandfather, Earthgov President Thawne, who sought to use the ray to create an army of hyper-soldiers (the guys on the cover). Carol warned Thawne that she hadn't studied the long-term effects of the ray yet, and the initial tests revealed most subjects suffered from physical and mental breakdown. But Thawne was unconcerned with these risks. In time, he had his team of loyal Hyper-Guards and plans to expose the Hyper-Ray to the entire human race, essentially committing genocide with Carol's life's work.

With Thawne's plan already in motion, Carol decided the only way to stop him was to change her own history. But Bart first wants to know why he and Carol decided to go to the 30th century in the first place, and where his adult counterpart is. Before Bart gets his answers, though, the ship is attacked by mecha-leeches — robots that will burrow into the ship's wiring and override the controls. Teenage Carol begins to moan that their situation is hopeless, but adult Carol inspires confidence in her. She teaches Bart a move she's done with the adult Impulse before, called the Screeching Halt. The plan is for Bart to stand still and vibrate his molecules to allow the ship to keep moving without him.

So Bart takes teenage Carol in his arms and successfully performs the Screeching Halt, while adult Carol keeps flying in the ship, set to meet up again with our teenage heroes at a designated safe spot. Once free of the ship, Bart is essentially standing in mid-air, so he pistons his legs and feet to create a cushion of air for a soft landing. As Bart rushes teenage Carol off to the safe building, he expresses his doubts in adult Carol's story. Teenage Carol tells Bart that in her few extra hours with adult Carol, she was able to confirm her identity. She encourages Bart to rush off to help her adult self, then realizes that she's not alone in this building.

Adult Carol, who has been in the 30th century long enough to adopt the word "grife," has lost all control of her ship and is bracing for a crash landing. Luckily, Bart finds her just in time and safely vibrates adult Carol free of the wreckage. He quickly takes her to the safe house, and has a bit of a panic looking for teenage Carol. But he soon finds her with ... his mom!

Bart's mom, Meloni Allen (who now speaks English), gives her son a big hug, then reveals that Bart's great-grandparents, Eric and Fran Russell, are also part of this small group set on altering Carol's past. (You might remember that the Russells helped Iris Allen take Bart back to the 20th century for the first time.) After all the pleasantries are taken care of, Bart happily proclaims that his and Carol's mere presence in the future must have altered history. Adult Carol says that sadly, it appears they still haven't altered things enough. Eric confirms this statement and theorizes that the only way to guarantee the survival of the human race is to displace Carol even farther into the future to entirely prevent the development of the Hyper-Ray.

Naturally, Bart objects to this plan and returns to his previously unanswered question: Why did he and Carol relocate to the future in the first place? Meloni gently takes Bart in her arms and says that he and Carol come to the future a few months after Max is killed. Bart happily explains that he saved Max's life at the Speed Force, but Meloni explains that she wasn't referring to that. Both Max and Helen were killed in the desert in New Mexico by Lucius Keller. And as Meloni says this, we return to the 21st century to see Keller eye a distracted policeman's gun.

This is the beginning of what looks to be an epic adventure for Bart and Carol. I'm very glad we've returned to the era of Bart's birth, surrounded by several of his family members we hardly ever see. Unfortunately, I do have a few problems with this issue. Beyond the disappointment of not visiting Iron Heights or actually battling this Hyper-Guard, I'm not really buying the premise of this story. So this whole thing is supposed to begin with Bart deciding to return to his mom in the 30th century after Max and Helen were killed. I know that Wally's in no position to look after a 15-year-old, but couldn't Bart go live with his reclusive grandmother Iris? I only ask this because Meloni and President Thawne made a pretty serious deal to essentially end the Allen-Thawne feud by agreeing to keep Bart in the 20th century and Meloni in the 30th. So how could Bart risk breaking this agreement and the lives of all his family members by going to the future?

And an even bigger question: How could Carol ditch her family to follow Bart to the future? Does Todd Dezago not realize that Carol has an older brother and a younger sister she lives with? And how could she make such a big commitment when she's just 15? OK. Let's pretend that there are some very good answers to all of those questions so far. Now let's play this out. Bart and Carol set up new lives in the 30th century and live there for about 17 years. Where is the Legion of Super-Heroes? Where is Bart's cousin, Jenni Ognats, aka XS? And why is Carol blaming herself for the destruction of mankind, when, according to her story, President Thawne really hasn't done that much yet? And why does Eric Russell want to take Carol farther into the future? Why doesn't he suggest keeping her in the past? That way, she'd never have access to the technology to create the Hyper-Ray and the crisis would be solved.

Ugh. Dezago's stories seem to be getting muddier the further away we are from editor L.A. Williams. No offense to Joey Cavalieri, but I don't remember Dezago's stories raising this many questions when L.A. was editing them. Oh well. I guess we'll have to look for the good amidst the flaws. On the bright side, Carlo Barberi's art is improving nicely as he becomes more comfortable with Impulse.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Cavalieri saying he's working late on a Friday night, waiting for a package to arrive. In the meantime, he's answering letters from the DC Message Board.

Zortnac says Barberi's art is awesome and "kicks major butt."

Max Mercury II says Impulse is better than it's ever been, saying Barberi is second only to Ethan Van Sciver in terms of drawing Bart. However, Max thinks Barberi is superior with all of Bart's friends. He also praises Dezago for perfectly capturing the romantic drama of teenagers.

Datalore thanks Cavalieri for printing his letters and calls Impulse "a little sunshine in comics."

StarmansGal loved the idea of Bart's friends making an Impulse movie, especially how they all got the details of Impulse wrong. She also particularly enjoyed the ending of Preston saving Bart's dog.

Grovermy said he checked out JLA Jr. #1 when he heard Barberi was taking over on Impulse #70, and was impressed with the way he drew Kid Flash. Grovermy says Carol has never looked better, and says he prefers Barberi's take on Bart's hair over Van Sciver's, which made Bart's hair look a little girly. Grovermy also liked the gag with Bart and Carol looking at his big feet since it reminded him of Robin Plus Impulse #1.

Cleetus said this was the best issue of Impulse in a long time, ranking up there with the best of Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos. He loved the idea of the movie and the relationship between Bart and Carol. Cleetus asks for the return of White Lightning, and Cavalieri promises she'll be back in issues #79 and #80. Now for the new ads:

Their mission to fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind! Super Friends.

All-new soft toy from DC Direct. Green Lantern Alan Scott.

Look for 2 free Topps Major League Baseball cards in Post cereals!

Next time, we'll explore the Wendy the Werewolf Stalker universe in Young Justice #33.

No comments:

Post a Comment