Monday, May 8, 2017

Young Justice #32

Anita's Date With Lobo (Because, Y'Know, What Else Can We Really Call It?)

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 issue's cover is by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker with the colors of Ian Hannin. I have to admit, this is the rare Nauck cover that doesn't really work for me. And I don't think it's necessarily Nauck's fault, I just have a strange bias against headshots like this. Everyone looks unnatural without their necks. But looking past this, I will say everyone looks good, and it is nice to finally put the spotlight on Empress, who has been on the fringe for so long.

Our story begins at the home of Donald and Anita Fite, where a mysterious caller with a voice that "sounds like gravel tumbling around in a cement mixer" is asking for Anita. The teenager assures her father she's a big girl and can handle any unwanted attention herself. Anita tries to gently let down the caller, saying she's busy tonight, but her date says he's already arrived at her house. As he begins knocking on the door, Donald offers to send him away, but Anita says he might not be able to handle this one. She tells him how there's a new member of Young Justice who's interested in her ... and is kind of psycho. Donald says he's always considered Young Justice a bunch of good kids, even if his job often put him against them. But he will not allow one of them to intimidate his daughter. He answers the door, fully prepared to send the young "psycho" away.

But to Donald's and Anita's surprise, on the other side of the door is a very polite and well-dressed Lobo. His hair is combed, his usual biker outfit is swapped out for a suit and tie, his red eyes somehow have pupils now, and he has a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates in his hands. Donald turns to Anita, saying he'll let her choose whether she wants to go with this odd, but well-behaved young man. Lobo gives the chocolates to Donald, promising they're the best in the galaxy. He hands the flowers to Anita, who's still trying to figure out when she arrived on Bizzaro World, but she ultimately agrees to the adventure of a date with Lobo. The Top Teen asks what her curfew is, and she starts to say midnight, but her dad says it's ten. Lobo promises to bring her back at 10 o'clock. He leads Anita to his space hog, but before they fly off, he removes the contacts that Wonder Girl apparently gave him to make his eyes look more normal.

We then head over to the Catskills resort, where Cassie, Cissie and Bart are hanging out in their normal clothes. Superboy joins the giggly bunch, and initially thinks they're laughing at his new costume. But they tell him they're still laughing about their fun afternoon they had with Lobo. Cassie explains that Lobo came back with Bart's spaceship, which the Myrgians were nice enough to install an invisibility screen on, so it could be parked out back inconspicuously. Bart wonders if they should be called Myrgians or Myrgites, but Cassie tells him they're getting off track. Bart excitedly tells Kon that he helped Cissie and Cassie, and Cissie takes over the story, lifting up her hair to impersonate Lobo.

As Cissie begins her impersonation, she uses the word "frackin'" instead of "fraggin'," and Bart corrects her, taking the chance to mention again that he helped. Cissie continues, saying that Lobo was distraught, because all he can think about is Empress. Bart interrupts again to say that they asked him to help. Cassie thought it was very sweet to see a love-struck Lobo, so she told him that Empress likes him, too. They then spent the next hour convincing and preparing Lobo to ask out Anita, not warning the poor girl, because, y'know, where's the fun in that? Bart says once more that he helped, and Cissie says he wound up being the star of the show. Cassie wishes she could have seen Anita's face when she answered the door, and they all burst out into laughter once more. Superboy, however, is quite stunned by all this, and he asks his friends to tell him they didn't actually do what they just said they did.

We return to the big date, where Lobo and Anita have arrived at a fancy Mexican restaurant called Sergio's. Unfortunately, the maitre'd denies the young couple a table, even though there are plenty of empty seats available. As Lobo tries to reason with the man, Anita turns away and covers her face in embarrassment. The maitre'd tries to explain that he can't accommodate Lobo as easily as he can snap his fingers, but when he does snap his fingers, Lobo suddenly becomes vicious. His hair flies up, his eyes glow red, and spit froths from his mouth. The intimidated maitre'd agrees to seat Lobo, and snaps his fingers to summon a waiter. On the second snap, Lobo instantly returns to the well-behaved version from the start of the date. Anita missed what happened, and Lobo isn't sure why the maitre'd changed his mind, either.

As soon as Lobo and Anita sit down, every nearby table asks for their check and leaves as soon as possible. Lobo orders a bottle of the restaurants best wine, which he promptly snaps open, shattering the neck of the bottle. Anita can't help herself and begins laughing out loud at the over-the-top absurdity of this situation. Lobo seems a little worried that she's not having a good time, but she assures him she is, and she politely refuses the wine, pointing out that she's underage. Lobo asks Anita what her story is, so she delves deep into her background, telling Lobo all about her grandmother, a Haitian Vodoun priestess, who moved to Louisiana to raise her daughter, Oshi, who eventually grew up and fell in love with Donald Fite.

We cut back to the Catskills, where Superboy is trying to explain to his friends that they've just sent Empress out on a date with a ticking time bomb. Cassie says it was just a joke and that Anita can handle it herself. Cissie says maybe Anita will find out it's not so easy to fill her boots. Kon points out that Cissie is jealous that Anita replaced her on Young Justice, an accusation Cissie denies. Cassie quickly calms Kon and Cissie down, saying that they did give Lobo some additional help. This is where Bart comes him. The speedster happily shows off his newest book, "Hypnosis Made Easy" by Dr. M. Johnson. Bart explains that after reading the book, he hypnotized Lobo to control his aggressive tendencies. Once he snapped his fingers, Lobo became calm and sociable. Cassie and Cissie assure Kon that Bart had mastered the technique of hypnotism, but Kon asks if he mastered it as well as he "mastered" lip-reading by reading a book. At this comment, everybody stops laughing and begins to worry.

Continuing Anita's story, Donald and Oshi were married and Anita's Grandmere slowly came around to Donald — after she used her Vodoun ways to curse him with baldness. Anita displayed a natural athleticism at an early age, and she lived a happy childhood until her mother was killed by the Baron Sin Gaaz. Donald worked for the justice department at the time, and almost single-handedly took down the Baron's crime organization. In retaliation, the Baron burned down the Fite's apartment with Anita and her mother inside. Anita miraculously survived, then spent the next few years with her Grandmere, learning her Vodoun ways. On her Grandmere's deathbed, she gave Anita a magic staff that granted her the ability to teleport. Anita also performed a ritual that required her to slice open her hand, but that's where she decided to stop sharing her story with Lobo.

So Lobo tells his story, about how he was born on Czarnia and the nurse who delivered him went insane. Later, Lobo killed his entire race and spends his days fragging bastiches and drinking people under the table. Anita decides she'll pretend Lobo never told her that. The restaurant then brings out some live music and a dancer, who unfortunately has a habit of snapping her fingers. The snaps start slowly, giving Anita a chance to figure out what's going on. But as the snaps speed up, Lobo increasingly loses control, essentially becoming a ticking time bomb, just as Superboy feared. Eventually, the "bomb" does go off, leaving a ragged Lobo lying in a pile of rubble that used to be the restaurant.

Superboy, Bart, Cassie and Cissie rushed over to Donald Fite's house to explain the situation and warn him that his daughter might be in danger. Donald regrets ever trusting Young Justice, but just then, Lobo and Anita fly in on the space hog. Lobo is back to his usual self, wearing his Wink 281 shirt, and, while not acting overtly aggressive, certainly is a long way from the polite Lobo that showed up earlier this evening. Donald notes the change in Lobo's appearance, but Anita says she prefers him this way, and she even gives Lobo a kiss on the cheek. Lobo happily exclaims that "one evening with me, they'e mine, just like that!" He snaps his fingers, which causes Bart, Cassie and Cissie to become aggressive, Lobo-like versions of themselves (Bart even swears, saying, "You're @*!$% right we are!). Superboy says, "Nice hypnotizing there, Impulse." But Lobo says these three look great to him.

I do like this recent trend of Young Justice to focus on two characters. First was Robin and Secret, then Impulse and Superboy, now Empress and Lobo. It was nice to get Empress' backstory, as well as a mention of the Baron, whom we haven't seen since that quick glimpse during the Olympics in Australia. Most of all, I loved how Bart was able to have a huge comedic impact on this issue even in a limited role. And it was refreshing to see these teenage superheroes kicking back and relaxing on a Saturday night, living life as normally as is possible for them.

Our letters to the editor begin with Paul Watson, of Essex, England, enjoying the origin of the Super-Cycle, especially since Impulse got all the best lines in the issue. He, did, however, feel that Superboy's "machismo running wild" was a little out of character. Paul was surprised that Cissie didn't hit the game-winning home run, but he was glad Doiby got a chance to shine, with some more help from Impulse. Paul also stands by his request for Lobo to leave the team as soon as possible.

Gerry Brown calls Empress redundant and lacking in motivation. Gerry suggested adding Static or Rocket to bring some diversity to the team, noting that Static's personality would work great with Bart. Eddie Berganza admits they have been working on ways to bring Static Shock to Young Justice.

Brian Seidman, of New York, was surprised that Young Justice #28 had so much baseball and so little of the Forever People. But he did like the interaction between the Super-Cycle and Lobo's space hog, suggesting they bring in the Batmobile, Robin's Redbird and Wonder Woman's invisible jet. Brian was also thrown off a bit by Superboy's behavior toward Wonder Girl, and he notes that the team still has some unresolved leadership issues. Now for the new ads:

Where are they now? Legion Worlds.

It's time to kick some butt. (Well, the ones that have butts, anyway.) Pokémon Stadium 2 for Nintendo 64.

Her life is a bed of roses. Poison Ivy statue.

Green Lantern Dragon Lord.

Agents of Planetary figurines.

Green Lantern Hal Jordan power ring prop.

Powerpuff power. got milk? with the Powerpuff Girls in banana, chocolate and strawberry flavors.

Next time, Bart hunts for Carol in Impulse #73.

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