Monday, August 14, 2017

Impulse #81

Don Coyote: The Man of La Jolla

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

This issue's cover: Signs point to Carlo Barberi and Wayne Faucher as the names behind this one! To be honest, I don't get this cover. Why doesn't this guy know how to spell Impulse? I do know this cover is based off The Flash #181, which came out this same month and sadly, once again, did not include Impulse. But really, I just don't think this cover is funny or engaging.

Our story begins with another fun recap page, showing how Bart is finally out of his funk, is back being Impulse again, and is loving it. He considers himself the latest and greatest in a long line of speedsters (with Wally West actually being the most primitive one).

Bart is in rare form, fully utilizing his powers and training to minimize the effects of his running on the environment. He is literally running on air, neutralizing the sonic boom when he passes the sound barrier and is eliminating his backdraft when he stops to catch some french fries and a soda that was dropped by a waitress before it hit the customer in the face in Chicago. Bart's path takes him to Southern California, where a movie set designer named Dan Coyote has failed to properly secure three large fake aliens he's built. The aliens just happen to fall on Dan right as Impulse passes by, so Bart decides to make sure the man is all right.

To Bart's astonishment, Dan proclaims himself to be a superhero named Captain Saturn. He quickly throws on a costume with a flowing yellow cape and shoves a golden helmet on Bart's head, calling him Snacky, the Boy Comet. Seeing Bart's obvious confusion to all this, Dan assumes that some insidious villain has scrambled his sidekick's brains. He then immediately begins running off nowhere in particular to find adventure. Bart decides to humor Dan for a bit, asking him how he gained his superpowers. Dan explains that he was abducted by aliens, who gave him his superpowers, turning him into Captain Saturn (although the aliens didn't come from Saturn).

Bart is now thoroughly convinced that Dan is not actually a superhero, so he starts to suggest they head to a hospital to have the bump on his head examined. But before Bart can stop him, Dan leaps off the edge of a cliff, believing he can fly. Bart quickly runs under Dan, creating a mini vortex below him to safely suspend him in midair and carry him across six lanes of traffic. Bart sets Dan down at a gas station, where an overwhelmed mother is trying pump gas and corral her three young boys. Dan sees the woman as a damsel in distress, with the boys as dwarves and the gas pump hoses as monstrous serpents.

Dan "rescues" the family by tying the gas hoses up in a knot, while all Impulse can do is embarrassedly tell everybody he doesn't know that man. Dan once again insists that "Snacky" put on his helmet, which Bart does for about a second, grumbling that it looks more like a cockroach than a comet. He then pulls Dan aside and asks if he can explain how he became Snacky. So Dan tells Bart that several years ago, a group of ninjas sabotaged some trapeze artists' ropes, causing the performers to fall on Bart's parents, who were sitting in the crowd. The impact killed Bart's parents, making him an orphan. Captain Saturn then took the young boy in, calling him Snacky since that was apparently his mother's name. He then gave his ward a blood transfusion to give him powers and make him his sidekick.

The owner of the gas station comes out to yell at them for messing up his pumps, and the three rowdy boys convince their mom to take them to the mini golf course next door. Bart tries once again to take Dan to the hospital, but he has spotted his next challenge — the mini golf windmill, which he believes to be a dragon. Dan grabs a pole and charges at the windmill. Impulse quickly pulls the family out of the way, as Dan smashes the "dragon" into oblivion. In his exuberance, Dan accidentally bumps a large replica of Paul Bunyan, which begins to fall on the family. Bart, however, noticed that the gas station owner was just about to drop his cigar on a large puddle of gasoline.

Impulse catches the cigar, preventing what surely would have been a massive explosion. This left Paul Bunyan to "Captain Saturn," who stunned everyone by catching the large prop. But then Bart realized Dan's pole actually stopped the statue from completely tipping over. Just then, Dan is approached by two men he recognizes, Geoff and Tom. They thank Impulse for watching over their friend, explaining that he occasionally acts eccentric like this, but is otherwise harmless. Dan takes off with his friends, telling "Snacky" that he's going to be part of a big crossover team-up, leaving Impulse (and most of the readers) completely confused at what just happened.

It took me a while to figure this out, but Dan Coyote sounds an awful lot like Don Quixote. Knowing that, though, I still have to say I didn't like this issue very much. I did think the origin of Snacky was pretty funny, but the rest of the issue was just a bit too weird and random for my tastes. But mostly, I'm upset that Dezago and Barberi interrupted their narrative for what felt like a fill-in issue. In the previous issues of Impulse, we saw Bart's friends start to figure out he's Impulse, Max Mercury investigate a new threat through the Speed Force, and Helen move closer toward marriage. Why did we put all those storylines on hold for a retelling of Don Quixote? It just felt like a complete waste of Barberi's art.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Andy Oliver, of Upminster, England, saying Impulse #77 boasted another inventive cover. He admits to feeling a little drained by Our Worlds at War, as he grew tired of multipart crossovers years ago. Andy also says Bart's new power is imaginative, although he worried it would grow old quick. But he was pleasantly surprised with what happened involving Bart's power in issue #77. Andy even praises the creators for taking advantage of the big crossover to shake up the status quo of Impulse. Joey Cavalieri hints at Bart's new power being used to set off another big storyline.

Andrew James Shaw, of Torrance, Calif., believes Bart's new power will prove to be too powerful in the long run. But he does admit the new power isn't as lame as he thought it'd be. Andrew also praises Barberi's skill with drawing hair, and he asks for White Lightning to gain super speed.

Next time, we'll return to our Dark Horse crossover with SpyBoy/Young Justice #2.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SpyBoy/Young Justice #1

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Pencils
Jamie Mendoza Inks
Guy Major Colors
Clem Robins Letters
David Nestelle Designer
Philip Simon & Tom Palmer, Jr. Assistant Editors
Phil Amara & Eddie Berganza Editors
Pop Mhan Cover Art
Special thanks to Neela Weber at DC Comics

I'm not usually a fan of Pop Mhan's art, but I think this wraparound cover turned out nicely. On the front, we have SpyBoy and Robin, the leader of Young Justice. On the back, SpyBoy's mentor, Prime Number and Young Justice's mentor, Red Tornado. And for a bit of random fun, Impulse is zooming by to help fight this horde of skinheads. Unfortunately though, these random skinheads do not appear in this story.

So, since this is a DC/Dark Horse crossover, this story is not in continuity. But the timeline for Young Justice suggests this is happens right before Our Worlds at War (without the imminent threat of said war). Anyway, our story begins at the secret headquarters for an organization called S.H.I.R.T.S. (Secret Headquarters, International Reconnaissance, Tactics, and Spies). A helicopter flies over the building and lets down five doll-sized figures that resemble Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl and Arrowette. The "chibi" Young Justice sneaks inside, running past Prime Number, who's having a discussion with SpyBoy's father, Sean, about pushing the teen too hard. Apparently SpyBoy is really a normal kid named Alex Fleming with a sleeper identity that can make him the most efficient and deadliest espionage agent in the world.

Prime Number spots the small figures running past him, but before he can stop them, "Arrowette" shoots a tiny arrow into his chest. She wonders if she should kill him, but "Robin" tells her to keep moving. Prime manages to press an alert on his watch, but by the time more soldiers show up, the tiny intruders have already downloaded the data they needed and made their escape.

We then cut to Mount Rushmore, which has apparently been repaired since Match blew up part of it, and still serves as the headquarters for A.P.E.S. (the All-Purpose Enforcement Squad). Agent Donald Fite asks Agent Ishido Maad if he's coming over for Christmas dinner, but Maad is mad at Fite for not telling him that his daughter was Empress. As Fite tries to explain his reasoning, a gas bomb goes off in the hallway. Right before he loses consciousness, Maad manages to catch a glimpse of three tiny figures resembling SpyBoy and his female companions, Bombshell and SpyGirl.

Fite and Maad later visit Young Justice at their Catskills resort to tell them about this break-in. None of our heroes have heard of SpyBoy, believing him to merely be an urban legend. Impulse, however, isn't paying attention to anything, as he's working through a big stack of Game Boy games, occasionally saying, "Done! Next!" as he swaps out cartridges. Fite and Maad continue the briefing, saying that they don't know what SpyBoy stole from them. And when they contacted S.H.I.R.T.S. about it, they were only met with a denial and an accusation that Young Justice broke into their headquarters. Eventually, Maad gets sick and tired of Impulse's video game playing, and he takes the Game Boy away, placing it in his pocket. Bart's furious to his toy imprisoned, so he quickly steals it back, trying to pull off an innocent, angelic whistle when Maad looks at him.

The agents admit to Young Justice that they don't believe the teens broke into S.H.I.R.T.S. headquarters. And they're willing to accept the possibility that both Young Justice and SpyBoy are being set up by someone else. To try to get to the bottom of this, Fite and Maad suggest they send someone in undercover to SpyBoy's high school in New Jersey. Fite points out that even though he trusts Young Justice, the A.P.E.S.' upper echelon is still suspicious of the team, and a little cooperation would constitute serious fence mending. So they agree to send in Robin, Empress, Wonder Girl and Secret, keeping out Superboy because he's too recognizable and Impulse because he's just too ... Impulse.

We head over to Julius Rosenberg High School, where Alex (SpyBoy), Yukio (SpyGirl), Marta Hari (Bombshell) and Butch Moody are consumed with finding dates to the Mid-Winter Dance. Well, actually, Alex doesn't want to go, but Yukio wants to go with him, and nobody wants to go with Butch, who passionately cries out for someone to go to the dance with. Anita steps forward and offers to go with Butch, but then Cassie (dressed as a goth) claims him as her own. Thrilled to have two girls fighting over him, Butch offers to take both of them, which Anita and Cassie readily agree to.

As Butch walks away with his two new girlfriends, Alex is approached by "Rob Roy," a new student dressed in a preppy vest with glasses and a goatee. Rob asks the class president to tell him where "the happening stuff" around the school is. But Alex's SpyBoy persona (represented by a mini version of himself) becomes suspicious. As do Yukio and Marta, who quickly usher Alex away to a class president meeting.

We then go to the Sea of Japan, where a shark-shaped submarine serves as headquarters for a petite villain named Annie Mae. She is working with a mysterious figure named REMbrandt (REM as in the sleeping REM). He apparently tapped into the subconscious of Young Justice and SpyBoy and worked with Annie Mae to create the little troublemaking duplicates. But Annie Mae feels REMbrandt is withholding information from her, so she threatens him with her bodyguard, Slackjaw, a beefy half-man/half-shark. But REMbrandt counters with his own bodyguard, Rip Roar, the four-armed thug who originally stole the Super-Cycle, then was imprisoned in hardened lava. REMbrandt explains he freed Rip Roar from his "self-made imprisonment" and watches with glee as he easily overpowers Slackjaw.

Back at the high school, Alex, Yukio and Marta have snuck outside to discuss the new kids at school. They correctly assume these kids are Young Justice in disguise, referencing the intel Prime Number gave them earlier. But before they can formulate a plan, Principal Reichenbach calls them back inside. Secret was disguised as steam rising from an air vent, and is pretty upset she just missed hearing SpyBoy's plan. At lunch, Yukio flirts with Robin and ruffles his hair, while Butch complains to Alex that his two new girlfriends only want to talk about Alex. Butch correctly assumes this is another matter for SpyBoy, and he begs Alex to let him join this mission. Alex gives in, even though his inner SpyBoy knows he'll regret it.

So what happens when you leave Impulse and Superboy alone? They get up to no good. Well, it's more of a harmless prank. They invite Cissie out to the Catskills resort and encourage her to enjoy some private time in the sauna. This gives Bart ample time to steal Cissie's clothes, replace them with her Arrowette outfit, and chemically treat her towel to dissolve when it reaches 180 degrees. Bart worries that Cissie's going to kill them, but Kon believes she needs to be pranked back for masterminding Anita's date with Lobo. Besides, Kon really wants Cissie back where she belongs.

Cissie emerges from the sauna, sees her clothes have been replaced, and announces she'll just stay in her towel until she gets her clothes back. Right on cue, the towel dissolves, and just as Bart predicted, Cissie vows to kill him and Kon. While she yells at them from the locker room, Bart and Kon are meeting up with the rest of Young Justice, hearing about their undercover mission. Robin reports that Secret learned SpyBoy is on to them, and Impulse is impressed with how quickly they figured that out. Empress and Wonder Girl aren't sure, though, believing Yukio was genuinely attracted to Robin. As Robin recalls his interaction with her, he suddenly realizes that she placed a homing device in his hair. Suddenly, there's a big explosion, and SpyBoy, SpyGirl and Bombshell come bursting through the window.

So this was an interesting concept. I'll admit I've never heard of SpyBoy before this, and I personally would have preferred a Young Justice/X-Men crossover, but this actually worked out quite well. There are quite a few similarities between SpyBoy and Young Justice, which might be inevitable since Peter David is the writer for both those books. In any case, he did a good job of fully utilizing those similarities to make these teams feel as equal as possible (even though Young Justice has more members). David also did a good job of giving newbies like me enough material to grasp the basics of SpyBoy without bogging me down in too many details.

The story itself was silly and odd. True, we have seen Young Justice go undercover in a high school before, but it's still fun. And the great lengths Impulse and Superboy went to to bring Arrowette back were probably unnecessary (YJ already has enough members), but once again, it was fun. In crossovers like this, it's tradition to have equal representation for not only the heroes, but the villains, as well. Annie Mae and Slackjaw are for SpyBoy, and on the Young Justice side, David dug deep to find one of their earliest and most-likely forgotten villains, Rip Roar. I appreciate the callback. REMbrandt, however? Well, I won't spoil it just yet.

The oddest part of the story, though, is the miniature versions of the heroes. I guess it's funny, but it's mostly weird. And it makes no sense whatsoever that two separate groups of highly trained government intelligence agencies would even for a second mistake those little guys for the real teenage heroes. I mean, even in a quick glance, the first thing you'd notice, is these figures are only about two feet tall. And even if that tiny figure looks like SpyBoy, you'd have to know that the real SpyBoy is not that short!

The production of this book was mostly good. Todd Nauck on pencils is always a beautiful thing. But when you switch out his regular inker and colorist, you can tell there's a difference. Impulse's hair suddenly had the shape and color of straw. Also, this comic was produced by Dark Horse, meaning it used different paper, different binding and different ad placement. It's funny how much those little things can affect your reading experience when you're used to the DC methods. And speaking of ads, we get a nice balance between house ads for DC and Dark Horse:

From the pages of Hellboy. Mike Mignola's B.P.R.D.

Starman: A Starry Knight.

SpyBoy: The Deadly Gourmet Affair and SpyBoy: Trial and Terror.

He's lived a thousand lives, and been a hero in them all! Hawkman by Geoff Johns.

United we draw. The greatest writers and artists in comics. An unprecedented coalition of publishers. 9-11. Two volumes reflecting on a tragedy that changed the world.

At last — a full-service super-hero firm you can count on! The Power Company.

To the death! Batgirl #25. Cassandra Cain vs. Lady Shiva. The rematch you've been waiting for!

Things from Another World. The hottest comics! The newest movies! The coolest collectibles!

Horsepower. This letter column talks all about the new villain for Star Wars: Episode II, Jango Fett, and how he's cooler than his son, Boba. (They're right. Boba Fett doesn't do anything.)

The Dark Knight Strikes Again statue.

Next time, we'll return to the world of DC with Impulse #81.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Young Justice #40

The Night Before Doomsday

With apologies to Clement Moore ... or maybe Major Henry Livingston.
Writer Peter David
Pencils Todd Nauck
Inks Lary Stucker
Colors Jason Wright
Separations Digital Chameleon
Letters Ken Lopez
Assistant Editor Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor Eddie Berganza

This month's cover is by Nauck, Stucker and the colors of Ian Hannin. All of DC's covers this month had the titles in the art, which is a pretty fun change of pace. And this is an incredible cover, putting the entire team above a theater's marquee sign. But as much as I love this image, it is a bit jarring for a couple of reasons. One, Arrowette left the team a long time ago, and Impulse and Robin just left the team recently. Two, as we're about to see, the story inside actually takes place long before Slobo, Empress or Snapper Carr were brought aboard. So I really don't know what to make of it.

Our story is a Christmas poem patterned after "The Night Before Christmas" told by Robin. The Christmas he describes took place two years ago, back when the team was just Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl, Secret and Arrowette. Superboy was still in his old costume, Wonder Girl was wearing her black wig, and the team was still based in the old JSA headquarters in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. We open on Robin in the bathroom (or Bat-room as he renamed it) because he ate too many of Arrowette's crab cakes. The rest of our heroes are busy putting up Christmas decorations, with Impulse getting tangled up in the lights. An alert suddenly pops up on their monitor, and Impulse hopefully suggests it could be Santa, but Superboy shoots that down.

Robin emerges from the toilet and is quickly told about the incoming energy wave blast from deep space. His teammates have dubbed this "Doomsday" (not to be confused with the Superman villain) and Robin readily agrees. He puts out a call to the JLA, but they're off-planet. In desperation, Robin calls everyone he can think of — the Titans, Outsiders, Doom Patrol, JSA, Ravers, Inferior Five, Suicide Squad and Legionnaires. But they were all busy fighting or partying. So, it's left up to just Young Justice to save the world. They all load up in the Super-Cycle, trying to not let on how terrified they were — except Impulse, who begins openly writing his Last Will and Testament on an incredibly long piece of paper.

Our heroes head toward the moon, and soon come in contact with the energy blast, who identifies himself as Mordrek of the Great Khund Alliance. He explains that he created a bomb to destroy Earth, and to ensure its success, he placed his essence in it — being perfectly happy to sacrifice his life to destroy the human race. So the Super-Cycle pulls out every gun and cannon it has and begins unloading on Mordrek. But its weapons have no effect. So our young heroes unanimously agree on a suicide mission, hoping that a head-on collision with Mordrek would save the world.

Suddenly, Santa Claus appears out of nowhere, being pulled in his sled by his eight reindeer. He turns to wish a happy Christmas to the teens, not realizing he has flown right in the path of Mordrek. It's too late for Santa to get out of the way, and he collides with Mordrek, causing a huge explosion. All that's left is the smell of burned reindeer, as both Mordrek and Santa have been completely vaporized.

However, the presents Santa was set to deliver miraculously survived and neatly fell into the Super-Cycle. Not only that, but the toys came pre-addressed and accompanied with a map. At Bart's urging, Young Justice agrees to deliver the presents in honor of the late Santa Claus. Unfortunately, it took our heroes more than two months to complete this task, which made a lot of people quite upset. Robin concludes his poem by wondering if Santa Claus is immortal and is reincarnated each year. He hopes that Santa will be back next Christmas, but if he's not, Robin and his teammates refuse to deliver the presents again.

On a side note, the scroll that contained the words of the poem got longer and longer on each page. On page 16, Impulse breaks the fourth wall and notices this. He calls in his teammates to try to help him prop up the scroll, but despite their combined strength and the various contraptions Bart builds, the scroll wins out in the end, completely filling page 22. On that final page, Secret and Impulse phase through the paper and comment on how many words are on the scroll. Impulse says it's all the words they didn't use in issue #31.

This was a delightfully dark Christmas tale. Not only did Santa Claus die in a horrific, fiery explosion, but then it took our heroes more than two months to deliver his presents around the world. Beyond that, it was a fun change of pace to have a prose-focused comic. And it was a bit nostalgic to return the team to the original six members. Speaking of which, Todd Nauck once again demonstrated his genius. This story takes place two years ago, and all the characters actually look two years younger. Superboy doesn't have his scruffy little goatee yet, and everyone — especially Impulse — is a bit smaller and skinnier. All in all, another classic issue of Young Justice, which is especially welcome now that Impulse is technically not on the team anymore.

Our letters to the editor begin with Jason Smith asking if Our Worlds at War was Peter David's idea because he enjoyed Young Justice's role in it so much, particularly how it put the spotlight on people who work behind the scenes and never get the glory. Eddie Berganza, however, says that David would rather stay clear of crossovers, and it was the Superman writers who came up with the event.

Justin Asbell enjoyed the homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths, as well as the reverse psychology scene with Lobo. He does worry, however, that his favorite Young Justice member, Impulse, will be hurt or killed, since he was not shown in the future scenes of the Young Justice Our Worlds at War special.

Kristen McClure, of San Clemente, Calif., thanks Todd Nauck for spending so much time at the San Diego ComicCon. Kristen worries that Bart is going to quit Young Justice like Cissie did, saying it's too soon for her favorite big-haired, big-footed speedster to go. She also worries that the end of Young Justice is looming. Now for the new ads:

Drive dangerously. Burnout for PlayStation 2.

Coin collecting, advanced. Warioland 4 for Game Boy Advance.

A darker justice must be served. Batman Vengeance for PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Xbox and Game Cube.

You've never played like this before ... RZone at Toys R Us, featuring the Nintendo Game Cube.

If one is good, a handful must be better. Starburst.

Racing has evolved. Kinetica for PlayStation 2.

In the world, only this island is ... Dragon Warrior VII for PlayStation.

Are you seeker material? Harry Potter trading card game. I actually did try this game out. It sucked.

Pikmin for Game Cube.

Prepare for a beating ... Virtual Fighter 4 for PlayStation 2.

Culture, advanced. Golden Sun for Game Boy Advance.

This time, Crash is going to need all the help he can get. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for PlayStation 2.

How far will you go to get your prey? Looney Tunes Sheep Raider for PlayStation.

Super Smash Bros. Melee for Game Cube.

They're revolting! Oddworld Munch's Oddysee for Xbox.

Next time, we'll begin a three-part crossover with Dark Horse in SpyBoy/Young Justice #1.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Impulse #80

Sometimes a Hero

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 striking portrait of White Lightning by Carlo Barberi and Wayne Faucher! It is a pretty funny cover, and I am glad that it reflects the reality that Bart currently is not Impulse (although it would have better had he been wearing street clothes). On a personal note, three years ago I won a ticket to Salt Lake Comic Con and was able to have Barberi sign this cover. I had just started collecting Impulse at the time and had mistakingly believed this was the first Impulse cover he drew. In any case, it is neat to have been able to meet someone who drew my favorite character.

Our story begins with a one-page recap of all the trauma Bart experienced the past few weeks, emphasizing how much happier he is now that he's given up being Impulse.

We then head to Bart's house, where he, Preston and Mike are waiting for Rolly. Preston again admonishes Bart to stop fiddling with Carol's necklace, since it only makes him sad. And Mike encourages Bart to look forward to their monster truck rally later that night. Rolly eventually arrives, distributing copies of their Impulse movie. But as he hands Bart his VHS, Rolly tells him about the strange scene he discovered, where Bart suddenly disappeared and was replaced with the real Impulse. Bart tries to explain this by saying that Impulse must have been moving so fast that it tricked the camera. Rolly seems doubtful, and as he ponders this, Evil Eye rides up on a Razor scooter. He starts making fun of everybody, but suddenly stops when he sees Bart holding the broken heart necklace.

Later, Matt Ringer and Helen Claiborne are having a deep conversation in her kitchen until they're interrupted by Mike and Bart, excitedly asking if it's time to go to the monster truck rally yet. Helen tells the boys they have to wait for Max to finish his work first. Bart immediately starts to say that Max doesn't work, but he catches himself when he realizes what Helen is actually referring to. Helen then tries to talk to Mike, commenting on how his dad must know him really well to have come up with this monster truck idea. But Mike's attitude suddenly darkens. He hangs his head, barely mutters a reply, then hastily drags Bart outside to play with Dox. Helen apologizes to Matt, saying his son just doesn't seem to like her. But Matt says that Mike is mad at him, not Helen.

Helen then checks in on Max, who is having a very intense Speed Force meditation session. Helen tells him it's time for the monster truck rally, but Max says something's come up and she needs to go in his stead. While he's talking with her, he continues his conversation with Johnny Quick and Barry Allen, assuring Barry that he taught both him and Bart to be careful. With that, Max suddenly zooms out of the room to face this mysterious threat.

So Helen heads to the rally with Matt, Mike and Bart, even though she doesn't like monster trucks. Bart was picturing monster trucks to be a bit more like King Kong scaling the Empire State Building, but he's still pretty happy with the real things. Helen suggests the boys run — er, walk — to get some snacks, and Matt offers Mike some money, but Mike coldly turns him down. Bart's image of a monster truck climbing a skyscraper turns to a giant Mike snarling and swiping at airplanes. As he and Mike head off to get the snacks, Bart asks him why he's so hard on his dad. Helen asks Matt the same question, so the two Ringers simultaneously tell their story separately.

Matt met his wife, Grace, in college, while he was a pre-med student in the ROTC. After they were married and had Mike, Matt was sent to Sarajevo as a paramedic. But the horrors of war convinced Matt to change careers when he got back home. So he took over his dad's business in construction, excavation and demolition. One day, when Mike was about 4 or 5, Grace decided to sneak up and surprise her husband. But Matt had laid out some explosives to remove a couple of boulders, and he wasn't able to warn Grace fast enough. Matt lost the hearing in his right ear because of the blast, but worst of all, he and his young son watched their wife and mother die. And now, even 10 years later, Mike still blames his dad for giving up his medical training, believing that he would have been able to save his mom had he still been a paramedic. So Mike deeply resents his father's attempts at connecting to him.

Neither Bart nor Helen know what to say after hearing this story, but they're all soon wrapped up in the rally and have a great time. At the end, the driver of the Equalizer, Andy Hartner (who looks a lot like Carlo Barberi) is presented with a suitcase of $200,000 in cash. Suddenly, White Lightning flies in on a rope and takes the prize money. When Hartner tries to stop her, she uses her psychic powers to turn him into an agreeable, drooling lovestruck fool. White Lightning then grabs the microphone and instructs the crowd to hand over their wallets and purses to her squad of teenage boys. Bart remembers his previous encounter with White Lightning, where she angelically swore to a path of righteousness. Now Bart is furious to see she lied to him.

Whispering, Helen says she hates to ask, but she wonders if Bart is going to do something. Bart tells Helen how White Lightning lied to him, and he admits that when he quit being Impulse, he thought there wouldn't be trouble anymore, and — referring to Carol — maybe things wouldn't hurt anymore. Helen tenderly tells Bart that life is full of hard stuff for superheroes and regular kids alike. But everyone has to learn from the difficult things they face and then do the best with what they've got. As she tells Bart this, she takes his hand in hers, showing that even though Bart has given up being Impulse, he's still wearing his Impulse ring.

While this heart-warming conversation is happening, all around them is pandemonium with White Lightning's boys robbing the crowd. One of them gets a bit too rough with a middle-aged woman, who doesn't want to give up her purse because it has pictures of her granddaughter in it. The commotion causes the woman to clutch at her chest and collapse in the stands. Matt immediately rushes in, shoving the teenage boy aside, saying the woman is having a heart attack. He takes control of the situation, tending to the woman while ordering someone to call 911 and request an ambulance. Mike's jaw drops to see a side of his dad he thought was long gone.

Helen asks Bart if he wants to call the ambulance, but he tells her to do it, saying he has something else he needs to do. Bart pops open his ring, and becomes Impulse once again. He makes quick work of White Lightning's boys before confronting her for breaking her promise. White Lightning turns her charms on Impulse, telling him that she really did try to be good, but it didn't work and her mom is still in jail, so she needs the money to get her out. Impulse starts to agree, but he's able to shake off White Lightning's powers and quickly ties her up. He tells her that good things do happen to you when you do good, but sometimes you have to work a little harder and be a little more patient.

White Lightning is taken away by female police officers, and Bart quickly changes back to civilian clothes and rejoins Helen, Matt and Mike. Bart excitedly asks them if they saw Impulse, but Mike is too busy congratulating his dad for performing CPR and saving that woman's life. Helen, though, makes sure to tell Bart that she was really glad that Impulse showed up. When they get home, they find Max waiting for them, and Bart enthusiastically tells him all about Matt's heroism, combined with Helen's inspiring words that convinced him to become Impulse again. Helen asks Max where he went to, but he chooses to let Bart have the night, saying he'll explain everything later. Meanwhile, Evil Eye is trying to sleep, still thinking about the necklace Bart's always carrying. Suddenly, he remembers where he saw that necklace before.

Impulse is back! And I was really happy with how it happened. It wasn't a huge, planet-threatening event. Just a simple robbery, combined with some encouraging words and an example of heroism. I liked how Helen didn't pressure Bart to become Impulse, giving him the opportunity to still be a hero by calling 911. But Bart realized on his own that no matter how bad he felt being Impulse lately, he'd feel a lot worse knowing he had his powers and didn't use them to help people. I think it was natural of Bart to walk away from being Impulse like he did, and I feel he spent an appropriate amount of time away. Now, as for Young Justice, I think it's best for Bart to continue to keep his distance for a little bit. They weren't particularly understanding of his feelings, so I could see Bart letting things cool down a bit more before coming back.

This issue also started planting seeds for a new, mysterious threat involving Max Mercury, which could be good because I'm craving a legitimate villain now. Bart's friends are also slowly figuring out that he's Impulse, which is pretty fun. But at the end of the day, I don't think it matters that much. I've always had the impression that half the adults of Manchester, Alabama, already know Bart's secret identity. I'm also enjoying the relationship between Helen and Matt. It would be nice to see them get married, and it would throw a new dynamic in Bart's "family" life. Would he live with Helen and Matt and Mike as his "brother"? Or would Bart have to go back to living with Max alone? Sadly, I know we're not going to get to ask those questions.

Impulsive Reactions begins with Corndog7 praising the cover of Impulse #77 for being funny, despite the situation it conveyed. He liked the part when Bart created his first scout in front of his teammates and admitted it's a little weird. Corndog7 hopes Bart doesn't retire after this accident, but he does hope it took away his new power, believing it had too much potential to be overused.

Hawkman thought issue #77 was very funny, and he liked how Wonder Girl told off Superboy. He asks a question about Flash: Our Worlds at War #1, in which Wally tells Linda that Bart is "gone."

Brentac explains that Wally was talking about Bart and Young Justice being stranded on Apokolips, and how nobody knew they went there.

JLAmember believes Wally may have received partial word of Bart's whereabouts, curtesy of garbled messages due to the war. JLAmember also says issue #77 was funny, exciting and powerful — everything you'd want from a comic book.

SNW21 explains in further detail that Young Justice's mission was to go to the moon to rescue the Suicide Squad, but then they went to Apokolips without telling anyone, leading Wally to believe they had gone missing. But apparently Linda was more hopeful than Wally, reminding him how he and Jay have both disappeared during similar crises, yet managed to find their way back home. SNW21 also points out that at this point in time, Wally is unaware of Bart's new power, which could also explain why he thinks Bart died.

BartAllen12 says the last couple of pages in issue #77 hit him hard. He believes Bart lost a part of his soul after watching one of his copies be killed. BartAllen12 also believes that word initially spread that Impulse died on Apokolips, but not everyone realized it was just his scout.

TitanBoy is curious to see how Bart will handle losing another part of himself after going through a really tough separation from Carol. He pleads with Todd Dezago to give Bart a little break, considering the emotional abuse he's taken the past few months. But TitanBoy does credit Dezago and Carlo Barberi for creating a run to rival that of Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos.

Scott Redding enjoyed Dezago's handling of Superboy and Wonder Girl, saying it was an accurate depiction from what Peter David had established in Young Justice. But he does wonder why Cissie would be so willing to put Parademons' lives in danger since she quit being Arrowette after she nearly killed two men. Now for the new ads:

The next level of fruitensity. Jolly Rancher gel snacks.

Go ahead, knock yourself out. Prehistorik Man, Planet Monsters and Kao the Kangaroo for Game Boy Advance.

Wear the watch that's also a game. Timex Power Fighter.

Sour Punch Straws. The official candy of ogres everywhere! Shrek on video and DVD.

Spyro: Season of Ice for Game Boy Advance.

Boxing Fever for Game Boy Advance.

Four(!) separate one-page ads for Magic: The Gathering Academy.

No Rules Get Phat for Game Boy Advance.

Win free Tiger toys from Lunchables.

Justice League premieres November 17 on Cartoon Network. (Without Impulse! Sorry, I'll never get over that!)

Casper: Spirit Dimensions for PlayStation 2.

Well, that was the one and only comic Impulse appeared in with a January 2002 publication date. Luckily, things will pick up next month, beginning with a flashback Christmas special in Young Justice #40.