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.

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