Thursday, August 10, 2017

Reboot: Impulse #21

Impulse #21 (January 1997)
title: "A Little Knowledge"
writer: Mark Waid
penciller: Craig Rousseau
inker: Wayne Faucher
lettering: Chris Eliopoulos
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt
editor: Paul Kupperberg
with thanks to: Otto Binder
cover: Humberto Ramos & Wayne Faucher
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Saturn Girl, Spark

Guests: 
Impulse, Koko, Max Mercury; statues of Flash I, II and III

Opponents: 
Velociraptors

Recap: 
Half the Legion of Super-Heroes has been stranded in the 20th Century. A short time earlier, the Legionnaire XS was also briefly stranded in that time period, but with the help of her cousin Bart's extended family and a Cosmic Treadmill, she was able to make it back.

Synopsis: 
The stranded Legionnaires hit up Bart Allen, the hero known as Impulse, for help getting home, seeing as their team mate XS once found a way back to the future thank to the Flash family. In exchange for the temporary use of a flight ring, Bart agrees to help and brings the group to the Flash Museum, where he experiments with the Cosmic Treadmill's time travel properties.
Unfortunately, he's both inexperienced and reckless, leading to all sorts of shenanigans, including various paradoxical meetings between past, present and future selves; Saturn Girl gets psychic feedback from trying to calm three Barts; an incident in which a white monkey jumps on Brainiac 5's face, and velociraptors following Impulse back from the Cretaceous. In the end, the Legion is forced to abandon the plan when the Treadmill is dragged back into time. As they leave the Museum, it poits back into the present, but they never realize it.
Commentary: 
Shotgun
Next time the Legion wants to ask Bart for help they should consider this first: His codename is IMPULSE!! That should’ve been a clear indication on how he would react to following orders. I’m saying this while being known as an impulsive girl. The problem here isn’t that he was impulsive. No, the problem was him being so reckless. The Legionnaires were counting on him to help them get back home and all he did was fool around like it didn’t matter. It’s totally selfish of him not to realize how important this attempt was for the group. They should’ve ask another super-speedster to help them out. I am so not a fan of Impulse…
The team was so close to finding a way back to their own time. I guess we’ll keep on seeing more attempts with every issue. It’s fine, but I really took no pleasure at all in reading this one. It wants to be funny, but all I could feel was annoyance. The story annoyed me, the art as well, but most of all, the Legionnaires' incapacity to stop the kid made me cringe so hard. I mean come on!! You should’ve been able to do something instead of just standing there and letting him do whatever he wanted with such an important piece of equipment. I hope their next move will bring them closer to the 30th Century and that it will be more enjoyable.
Is the monkey staying? If he does then it wasn’t all for nothing.

Siskoid
The monkey does stick around, and I remember thinking this was an odd addition, discovering only later that it was a tribute to the original Brainiac's space monkey from the Silver Age. Well, Koko works much better as a teen hero's pet, especially in an issue so built on slapstick as this one is.
I personally enjoyed Impulse's comedic stories, though Rousseau is nowhere near as good as Ramos when it comes to successfully putting that across in the art. Everyone's a silly, gooey caricature and the action isn't very easy to follow. Which it needs to be when there are multiple versions of characters gallivanting about because of time travel. One joke Shotgun would not have gotten, of course, is the opener with the call-back to their very first story with Superboy.
I see that Gilligan's Island syndrome has set in. I don't blame you for being annoyed. I think I can safely promise the series moves away from this model fairly soon, or at least, that's how I remember it. At some point, they've got to accept this is their new home, right?

Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue leads into Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #88 and has a scene in common with it.
  • First appearance of Brainiac 5's pet monkey Koko. This is the post-Crisis/Reboot version a Silver Age concept - Koko the Space Monkey, an identical-looking creature that served as the villainous Brainiac's pet, first appearing in Action Comics #242 (1958). Koko was created by Otto Binder (with Al Plastino) who gets thanks in this issue's credits.
  • The opening sequence with the Legionnaires in civilian clothes saying hi to Impulse and plainly knowing his secret identity is a mirror of the Legion's first meeting with Superboy/Clark Kent in the original continuity (in Adventure Comics #247).

Milestone: 
First Post-Crisis/Reboot appearance of Koko.

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