Monday, May 22, 2017

Impulse #74

Dark Tomorrow Part Two

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

This issue's cover: A shadow of things to come by Ethan Van Sciver and Wayne Faucher! It is a thematically dark cover — just Impulse and Carol together against the oppressive world of the future. And it is a pretty nice trick with the shadows, showing how this dark tomorrow brings Bart and Carol closer.

Our story picks right up where last issue left off, with Bart learning the horrible truth that Max and Helen were killed in New Mexico by Lucius Keller. Naturally, Bart freaks out a bit and begins simultaneously confronting everyone around him — Carol and her adult self; Bart's mom, Meloni; and his great-grandparents, Eric and Fran Russell.

Meloni asks her Sunshine to calm down, which he has a hard time doing, until she explains that the Science Police are able to detect him using his super speed. The Russells apologize, saying they never intended to involve Bart in their plan to change the past so that Carol doesn't create the Hyper-Ray. Adult Carol repeats her story, adding a few details. After she created the Hyper-Ray to help people burn off sickness like Bart can, Bart's grandfather, Earthgov President Thawne, co-opted Carol's work to create his personal team of Hyper-Guards, each possessing two-thirds of Impulse's speed. Initial testing showed the Hyper-Ray left more than 80% of test subjects with rapid neural degeneration, but Thawne still pushed forward with his plans to expose the entire world to the ray. So Carol traveled back to the 21st century in an attempt to convince her younger self to help alter history and save the world.

After Carol finishes her recap, our heroes are discovered by the Science Police, led by President Thawne himself with his Hyper-Guard. Eric advises Bart to hold back until they know what they're up against, and Bart complies. President Thawne opens his remarks by gloating of his absolute power and ability to stop Carol Bucklen, even with the help of her ex-boyfriend. He soon spots teenage Bart, and immediately asks if Carol is insane to risk altering history just to stop him. Privately, Thawne is thrilled to see teenage Bart, as he believes he can influence and mold the boy into his personal weapon.

Thawne orders the Science Police to bring everyone in custody, so Impulse decides to act. He quickly disarms all the Science Police officers before they have a chance to react. Thawne angrily refers to his Hyper-Guard as "chabboes" (no idea what that means) and he sends the three-man squad after Impulse. Bart has a fun time playing tag with these slower speedsters, and he even dances on one of their heads, calling himself "that lord of the dance guy." Bart takes out the second guy by goading him into attempting to vibrate through a wall, which, the guard was unable to accomplish. As Bart heads for the third and final "chabbo," Thawne manages to grab teenage Carol and stick a gun to her head.

Bart immediately stops fighting, and Thawne mocks him for his soft heart, recalling their previous encounter, where he threatened Bart's cousin, Jenni Ognats. Thawne also mocks Carol, saying he could alter her past, just like she wanted by simply shooting her younger self. As the Science Police move in to arrest our heroes, the officers are suddenly knocked out by someone very fast — adult Bart Allen.

(This adult version of Bart is much beefier than the versions we saw in The Ray and Sins of Youth. This is likely due to the rough life this Bart has been living in the 30th century under President Thawne — a life that has given him a large scar on the side of his face, and a rather dark personality.)

Thawne curses at the adult Bart, who quickly appears behind the president, holding his own gun to his head instead of Carol's. Adult Bart says he should just shoot the "scroach" for everything he's done to his family and the world. Adult Bart blames Thawne for every atrocity that has occurred in the past nine years, and he says he's sickened to be related to him. Teenage Bart intervenes, telling his adult self that he can't kill Thawne because he's a hero. Adult Bart yells at his past self, saying he doesn't understand what Thawne has done. Thawne finds some courage at this, saying he's known Bart too long and that he'd never kill. But adult Bart pulls the trigger anyway, causing everyone to gasp in amazement.

But adult Bart caught the bullet right before it touched Thawne's nose. And he threatens to keep firing bullets to see if he can catch them all. Teenage Bart breathes a sigh of relief, as adult Bart demands that Thawne call off the Science Police. Adult Carol, with tears in her eyes, also begs Thawne to call off the Hyper-Ray launch. Thawne laughs at this request, saying the Earth is overpopulated and he's saving humanity with this. It's also too late to stop the launch, he adds, since the Hyper-Ray satellites will be launched from the Hela Space Station in less than 20 minutes. Adult Bart tosses aside his grandpa, reminding him that he's Impulse and always has plenty of time to save the day. Teenage Bart enthusiastically agrees and begins racing off with his future self. Eric manages to call back the Impulses, reminding them that they need to get into a rocket to go to the space station.

Minutes later, everyone has loaded up in a space ship, with President Thawne in tow as their prisoner. He naturally demands to be set free, but Meloni points out that with him on board, his "trogs" won't dare attack them. Teenage Bart takes the moment to talk to his future self, who refuses to give away any details, only telling his past self to remember his love for Carol and make sure he tells her about it. The two Carols join them, and things get really awkward between the adults. So teenage Carol drags teenage Bart away to give their future selves some privacy.

As adult Carol apologizes to adult Bart, telling him he was right about her research, teenage Bart renews his doubts about whether this adult Carol is actually Carol. Teenage Carol once again confirms this, pulling out a piece of paper to prove it. On the paper is the drawing of Bart in his Impulse outfit that Carol made back when she discovered his secret identity. She explains to teenage Bart that about a week after she gave the drawing to him, she saw it was left out in the open in his house, where everyone would see it, so she took it back and kept it in her diary ever since. The adult Carol cherished that drawing her whole life and gave it back to teenage Carol to help convince her.

Teenage Carol tells teenage Bart that she has to help with this plan since she wouldn't be able to live with herself for being responsible for the deaths of so many people. Bart asks what's going to happen to them, and Carol begins to cry, saying this is bigger than that. She takes Bart's face in her hands, and he starts crying, too. As they embrace, Carol asks Bart to promise to never forget her. They're then interrupted by Meloni announcing their arrival at the space station, and Bart happily exclaims that once they destroy the satellites, they can return home and everything will be back to normal.

Eric briefs the two Barts on the mission, explaining that they'll have three minutes to totally destroy the satellite launch rockets. Their ship pulls up alongside the space station to enable the Impulses to vibrate through the hull. Once they're out of sight, Thawne begins laughing, saying he made sure to protect the most vital component of his plan. And this protection is in the form of three massively huge and possibly insane Hyper-Guard soldiers.

To be continu — oh, wait, there's more ...

Hundreds of years earlier, in the present, Max and Helen are in New Mexico, talking to a police officer about placing Lucius Keller in a maximum security facility before possibly transferring him to Iron Heights. The other officer had placed Keller in the cop car, but before he closed the door, he turned to wipe the sweat from his brow. This momentary distraction was enough for Keller to grab that cop's gun and fire off four quick rounds.

The story's starting to come together, and I'm glad that Dezago is referencing Impulse's previous trip to the 30th century. I would like more information, though, regarding President Thawne and this timeline. When did he become president? When did he create Inertia? When was he involved in Chain Lightning? It would be nice to see all this laid out. Ultimately, though, I think he is an excellent villain for Impulse, and it's great to see him again.

I still am frustrated that nobody has mentioned Carol's family, though. Nor do I buy the idea that in order to change the past, she needs to come to the future. It would have been a lot easier for future Carol to convince past Carol to stay in the 21st century. I do like the concept of Bart and Carol meeting their future selves, and I'm also always open to a return to the 30th century, but I think this whole story could have been set up better.

Future Bart is rather interesting. His suit isn't too bad, neither is his hair. The big surprise was how buff he is, but I think it makes sense in this dark world, where he's constantly on edge, fighting, struggling and hiding. But I like how even though he is darker and more serious, he still does have that trademark impulsive nature.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joanne M. Nott, of Lorain, Ohio, said Impulse #71 was great and she's eagerly waiting for Bart to tell Carol he likes her. Joanne also requests some Impulse merchandise, saying she has the action figure and the statue, but would really love a T-shirt. (I also have the statue, and it is absolutely perfect!)

Max Mercury II said the first three pages of Impulse #72 were some of the best ever since he's a big fan of Carol. He didn't except the return of Lucius Keller to be so short, but he liked the characterization all the same, and is excited for the Dark Tomorrow storyline.

Rick2Tails is thrilled that Bart and Carol have finally kissed, and is distraught that Bart can't enjoy a first kiss without an abduction taking place. Rick does feel that Bart should have been more distressed when he ran into Max, but he liked the rest of the issue with Helen in the robot, Max pointing out the flaw in Keller's logic, and Bart impulsively leaving to save his girlfriend.

Vanguard also felt the Return of Lucius Keller was a bit short, but enjoyed it all the same. Vanguard believes the mysterious kidnapper was Meloni Allen, pointing out the similarity in costumes.

JKane calls Dezago the most evil (yet best darn) writer around, having delivered a few panels of pure magic before snatching it away. JKane is very excited for another time travel adventure with Impulse, and says Barberi is getting better and better drawing Bart and the rest of the crew. Now for the new ads:

Shrek Sour Punch Straws. The official candy of ogres everywhere.

Reebok Demolition. Take no prisoners.

Look who's back! Lego Island 2: The Trickster's Revenge for PlayStation, PC CD-ROM and Game Boy Color.

Shrek Fairy Tale FreakDown for Game Boy Color.

New Pop-Tarts for Pokémaniacs!

X-Men: Evolution now on video. (It feels odd having a Marvel ad in a DC book.)

Spy Fox: Operation Ozone on CD-ROM.

Wanna bite an octopus? Trolli Sour Brite Octopus.

It's even more fun in real life! Lunchables Chocolate Cookies 'n Frosting.

Next time, Impulse will have a quick cameo in Superboy #88, which will help set us up for the next big DC crossover event, Our Worlds at War.

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