Friday, June 23, 2017

Impulse #77

Split Decision

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: The bombs bursting in air were rendered by Carlo Barberi and Wayne Faucher. Sadly, I am not a fan of this cover. All the characters seem slightly off model, even Impulse. And although the tombstone does say, "That's not funny," I think the tone of this cover is too funny and light for the story inside. If it were me, I would have just focused on the left side, removed the speech bubble, and played up the danger of Apokolips.

Our story picks up with Impulse, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Cissie breaking off from the rest of Young Justice to begin their quest to rescue Steel. Our heroes are scaling a mountain, with Superboy and Wonder Girl flying and Cissie climbing with the help of Impulse, who wonders out loud if they're in a Planet of the Apes scenario. (And Todd Dezago provides a fun recap of the essential information of this crossover.)

Superboy and Wonder Girl are discussing their treatment of Robin, with Kon insisting their secretive leader "had it coming," and Cassie criticizing Superboy for the way he handled the situation. Cissie tells Bart he's the only monkey they'll see on Apokolips, and Impulse reaches the top of the mountain and sadly reports that not only are there no apes, but only more miles miles of the same old volcanic wasteland.

The conversation then turns to the location of Steel. Even though last issue established that Cissie had a Paradocs tracker locked on a beacon on Steel's armor, that whole idea is seemingly forgotten in this issue. The story now is that Superboy saw which direction the Black Racer was taking Steel, and our heroes are trekking across Apokolips according to his memory. Atop the mountain, Cassie asks Kon how sure he is they're heading in the right direction, and Superboy can only say he's 72 percent sure. Wonder Girl chews him out for acting so impulsively, which she says led to their fight with Robin. She criticizes him for being so busy talking that he doesn't stop to hear what he's saying or how other people are hearing it. And in a flashback, we see that besides Secret and Wonder Girl, Cissie and Empress also wanted to stop the fight, albeit somewhat half-heartedly. Lobo, however, encouraged Robin and Superboy to keep fighting, while Impulse was simply looking away.

As they try to figure out what their next move should be, Impulse explains to his teammates his new power of creating energy scouts of himself that can travel back in time. He offers to create one to check which direction Black Racer and Steel were headed. Superboy initially dismisses this idea, but Wonder Girl likes it. So Superboy agrees, but he gives Bart strict instructions to only have his scout see where Black Racer was headed and then come right back to them. So Bart sends off one scout, which returns a second later and points them all in the right direction. The whole experience leaves Superboy with a dazed look on his face, and even Bart admits it's a little weird.

Meanwhile, 20.7 kilometers away, a team of red Parademons have spotted four individuals moving across Sector 15.2. They prepare to ready an automated surface elimination program, but Granny Goodness aborts the order, saying these intruders are children and all children on Apokolips belong to her. As such, she orders the Parademons to capture the children and bring them back to her unharmed.

We return to our heroes, who are currently passing one of the many fire pits of Apokolips that can shoot flames miles into the sky when activated. This one is inert, so Impulse is taking advantage of this opportunity to run along the pit's cavernous walls — despite Superboy's warning. Before too long, Bart inadvertently breaks off a piece of a pipe, which falls down into the pit, triggering it. Luckily, Bart is able to avoid the massive column of flames and pull his teammates away to safety in time. Cassie thanks Bart for saving them, and Cissie notes that they need to avoid dropping things into the fire pits.

Shortly, our heroes arrive at Darkseid's citadel — a building the size of a small city, adorned with enormous statues of Darkseid, himself. Superboy asks Bart where, exactly, the Black Racer took Steel, but Bart reminds him that he gave his scout strict instruction to just see where they were headed and come right back. As Kon bemoans their difficult task of trying to find a needle in a haystack, Bart suggests he creates another scout that will actually follow Black Racer into the citadel this time. Kon likes this idea, but Cassie doesn't. She launches into a long tirade about how dangerous this is, and how Superboy needs to be more responsible if he wants to be a leader. Unfortunately, she talks too long, and while she was talking, Impulse created and sent off his second scout. Before anyone can process what Bart just did, a huge swarm of Parademons flies out of the citadel.

Meanwhile, about and hour ago, Impulse's scout has spotted the Black Racer zooming down a series of corridors and staircases with the lifeless form of Steel floating behind in the Racer's wake. Impulse's scout is careful to keep his distance, and before too long, he sees the purpose of the Black Racer's journey. Standing in front of two sets of armor — one Imperiex, the other decorated with Superman's shield — is the ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid. The Black Racer kneels before Darkseid, addresses him as his liege, and presents Steel's body as an offering. Impulse's scout doesn't quite understand this scene, other than it doesn't look good and he needs to tell the others immediately.

Back in the present, our heroes have quickly found cover behind a wall, and are both surprised and relieved to see the Parademons fly right past them. But then Wonder Girl worries that the Parademons are after Robin and the others, so Superboy immediately flies up to fight the winged army. Wonder Girl pulls him back down to earth, saying they need to come up with a plan or they'll waste their element of surprise. Bart admits Superboy did surprise him, but Kon agrees with Cassie. He orders Bart to race back to their ship as fast as he can so he's not seen, warn Robin of the Parademons, and tell him the rest of them will be there soon to help out. So Bart takes off and Cissie suggests they use the fire pits to distract the Parademons.

So Superboy takes Cissie in his arms as he and Wonder Girl begin flying around, dropping pieces of metal and junk into the fire pits, confusing and even killing some Parademons. But it doesn't take the Parademons too long to spot the source of this commotion, and they all begin flying after our heroes. Granny Goodness sees that her troops have veered off course, so she decides to punish them for disobeying orders. She activates the self-destruct mechanism on their armor, and all the Parademons begin to erupt in violent balls of flame that rain down hard on the ground.

Wonder Girl, Superboy and Cissie manage to take cover in an open building, and watch in horror the death and destruction of war. Impulse soon joins them, sadly reporting that their teammates have already been captured by Parademons. Before they can put together a plan to save the others, Cissie spots Impulse's scout weaving through the fireballs of the dying Parademons on his journey to return to the original Impulse. Bart notes that there's too many fireballs and his scout needs to vibrate through them. But the scout is distracted, and tries to begin telling everybody what he saw before he reaches the safety of the building. Cissie tells the scout to not talk, Cassie tries to warn him to look out and Bart shouts at him to vibrate. But it's too late.

The scout is blasted in the back with a fireball, screaming out in pain as it's torn to pieces and turned pure white with an exposed skeleton. Cissie cries out Bart's name as she, Superboy and Wonder Girl helplessly watch the terrifying image of their teammate dying. A second later, Cissie spots the real Bart, who has fallen to the ground in a fetal position. With tears in their eyes, Bart's teammates surround him, wondering how they can possibly help him.

That last page is one of the most haunting images in all of Impulse. DC had been spreading the rumor that Impulse would die in Our Worlds at War, and here they managed to give him the terrifying experience of death without technically killing him off. Pretty traumatizing stuff.

But as powerful as that final scene is, I do have a few problems with this issue. Carlo Barberi drew Superboy a bit too skinny, messed up Wonder Girl's hair, made the Parademons look completely different from last issue of Young Justice, and ultimately failed to make Darkseid look anywhere near intimidating. There are also a few nagging continuity issues — the result of having different writers and editors, I suppose. No one is wearing their red Paradocs armbands they had last issue, and as I said earlier, this issue completely ignored Cissie's tracking device they were using to find Steel. All those problems aside, though, this issue is one of the most significant issues of Impulse that will forever alter the character.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Joey Cavalieri announcing that this month's letter column will feature an online discussion about the rumors of Impulse's demise.

David Edward Martin quotes a line the Linear Men gave Superman, saying that three heroes would die: "the Patriarch, the Queen Mother, and the Young Speedster." David believes the first two are Aquaman and Wonder Woman's mother, Hippolyta, but he's doubtful the third would be Impulse. He suggests it could be Inertia, someone who has, despite his worst intentions, has shown a propensity for heroic acts.

RogerBurks doesn't think it'll be Inertia because most people don't know about him, and he believes Impulse's death would screw up DC's continuity and ruin the company's efforts of giving the character wider exposure. Instead, he suggests a temporary death for Wally West or a permanent death for Jesse Quick.

 Max Mercury II says, "I got two letters for ya: XS."

Assumpta Brava says it can't be XS since the Legion of Super-Heroes isn't involved in Our Worlds at War.

RickShaw1 asks when the Linear Men gave that warning to Superman.

SNW21 says it was mentioned in Superman: The Man of Steel #109.

Hourman14 quotes Geoff Johns as saying Wally West is not going to die.

Storyteller believes Bart will die, but it'll be a temporary death, calling it a rite of passage for speedsters.

Mild Mannered Janitor III says he used to love Impulse during the Mark Waid-Humberto Ramos run, but he dropped the title during the William Messner-Loebs run. He gave the Todd Dezago-Ethan Van Sciver run a shot, but couldn't get into that, either. However, he has been impressed by Carlo Barberi's art and is wondering what's a good jumping-on point for his run.

Tobias Christopher says Barberi started with Impulse #70, which he says is a good starting point. He briefly explains the Dark Tomorrow storyline and says Dezago and Barberi are "kicking major tail."

Rick2Tails says new readers won't have any problem starting right after the Mercury Falling storyline. Now for the new ads.

Traxtar OG: computes how far you run, how high you jump, hang time, with stopwatch. We are not alone. Reebok.

Can you unlock the mystery? Pokémon Crystal for Game Boy Color.

Rumble Robots. Interactive fighting robots.

Lady Sia for Game Boy Advance.

The Powerpuff Girls Pop-Tarts. Mojo Jojo didn't see this coming either.

The 2XS Club for Everybody with Game Boy Color. I guess you win free stuff if you buy certain games.

Run home now with See Spot Run. Out on videocassette and DVD.

Discover the Unown! Pokémon the Movie 3 on videocassette and DVD.

Cap'n Crunch's Oops! Smashed Berries . Kids smashed 'em in the factory so you can fit more in your mouth!!

Next time, the Casualties of War continue in Superboy #91.

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