Impulse #44 (1999)

Impulse #44 (January, 1999)
“All Hallows Gettin’ Even”
Writer – William Messner-Loebs
Penciller – Craig Rousseau
Inker – Barbara Kaalberg
Letterer – Janice Chiang
Colorist – Tom McCraw
Assistant Editor – L.A. Williams
Editor – Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $2.25

Heyyy, it’s Halloween in Manchester, what could possibly… well, ya know…

Trick-or-Treat… it’s Halloween night, and this being the DC Universe, we see that several of the neighborhood tots have taken to dressing up like their favorite superheroes… even the Golden-Age Sandman.  I mean, I love the character, but I dunno if a six-year old would share that opinion.  You gotta figure he was disappointed when he saw his friends in their bright colorful outfits… and his mom gave him a gas mask and gloves.  Anyhoo, the kids get their booty, and turn to leave… only to get heisted by some… and I say this as unironically as I can… street toughs… *snicker* okay okay… 

Meet the Tigers… and Evil Eye.  The Tigers are the *ahem* toughest gang-bangers in town.  There names are Raffles and Steelboy… Oh Lord, I’m not gonna be able to get through this… Evil Eye is sort of like a pledge to the gang… and is the son of the former supervillain Invisible Weapon.  As we opened our titanic tale, we learned that Evil Eye left home that evening wishing his father was dead.  Raffles tells Evil Eye he needs an “edge” if he ever wants to be a Tiger.  Well, our cyclopian friend’s got “edge” for days.  He runs to his house, and digs out one of his dear ol’ dad’s pistols.

We return to the Junior League of Trickortreaters as they head to their next house… the home of Max Mercury.  Well, rather than hand out candy… he *plops* unwrapped popcorn balls in their bags.  It’s pretty gross… they’re sticky, they stink… and might just be filled with poison and/or razor blades… probably even hypodermic needles.  The kids are not pleased… even going as far as to suggest Max Mercury is a “perv”.  Luckily… well, kinda luckily… Max’s daughter Helen is there to hand out “fun” coupons… $5 off their next dental cleaning.

After the kids split, Max turns his attention to his young ward Bart Allen.  He calls to him, but he’s busy playing with what looks like a Tiger Electronic game… hey, Tiger… Tigers… hmm… Anyhoo, Max and Helen try to get Bart into the Halloween spirit… after all, this is his first Halloween.  There is apparently a Halloween party at Bart’s school… and the growed-ups are able to get him to go by telling him he can wear a “costume” and tell “secrets”.  It doesn’t dawn on them what this could mean until Bart’s out the door.

And so… Bart bolts to school, decked out in his Impulse duds.  When he arrives, the first thing he does is announce that he is Impulse!  Luckily… at this Halloween party, there are about 45 Impulses already present.

We shift scenes to the local Save*Mart where there ain’t a whole lot going on.  The proprietors lament the fact that the shop is empty, and celebrate that Halloween will soon be behind them.  Just as they wish something interesting would happen (famous last words, right?) a bunch of t-shirts appear to levitate and walk out of the store… b-b-but how?  Why, it was those lovable scamps, the Tigers.  I guess the gun Evil Eye stole was some sort of invisibility ray.  The geeks celebrate their thievery until they realize they left the store with t-shirts instead of cold hard cash.  I’m tellin’ ya, they’re hopeless.  Oh well, next stop the only other 24-hour joint in Manchester… Zimm-Zamm’s.  Evil Eye seems a bit trepidatious.

Speaking of Zimm-Zamm’s… let’s go there.  Here we meet a pair of… I dunno, soda jerks?  Anyhoo… one of them is called Butler, and he is bragging about his son… straight A’s, star athlete… you know the deal.  Max Mercury zips in and gets in Butler’s face… nearly outing him as the former supervillain Invisible Weapon.  He tells him about the goings-on at the Save*Mart, and wants to make sure he’s not involved.  Max is really kind of a jerk to this poor guy.  I mean, dude’s wearing a paper hat… and Max is waggin’ his finger in his face.

Well, Max is somewhat satisfied that Butler is innocent… and so he leaves.  As he leaves, Impulse enters… looking for something to eat… because he’s Impulse.  Just then, the mighty Tigers approach their next heist.  After zapping Impulse with a slow-down ray they go invisible, and proceed to empty the cash register.  This is a rather stupid thing to do, as the man who designed the invisibility-thingie is standing right there… and he has a diddlybop on his keyring to negate the powers.  All the while here, Evil Eye is pleading with his gang-bangin’ heroes not to hurt the burly soda jerk.

Boy is he surprised to see his son, Eddie “Evil Eye” Whatshisface dancing with Steelboy… while Raffles drops a stack’a dough.

The mighty Tigers don’t pay any heed to their one-eyed pledge, and a sad little skirmish ensues.  Butler soundly beats down the punks, and soon finds himself staring into the business end of Steelboy’s pistol.  He pulls the trigger… but a blue blur catches the bullet before it hits its target.

Max Mercury arrived just in the nick of time.  The effects of slow-down ray wear off, and Impulse quickly ties the Tigers down.  Just then, Superboy calls to remind him that he and Robin are waiting for him at the Hallow-Teen Party they are hosting at the community center.  Hmm, a Hallow-Teen Party… that takes place in Young Justice #3?  I think I just found our invite…

We wrap up with Impulse jamming Superboy-bound… and Max Mercury slumping to the ground in a puddle of blood.  He caught the bullet alright… but he appears to have done so with his chest!  Obviously we are… [to be continued…]

Now this one could’a went one of two ways… and I was afraid it was heading down a direction I didn’t wanna go.  For a moment, I really thought we were gonna do the “kid steals his parent’s gun” route… which, we kinda did… with a supervillainy twist.  I was hoping the gun that ol’ Evil Eye swiped was of the super-powered variety, though I couldn’t quite tell with the stylized art.

Helluva twist ending here, right?  I remember the first time I read this one, I’d missed the last page.  Like I got to Impulse taking off to join up with Superboy and Robin, and for whatever reason just shut the book… it was a total shocker when I opened the next issue.  So, we still do get a shooting… but not from the gun I’d expected.

Now for the way to evade an awkward conversation in Detroit… howsabout dem Tigers, eh?  I mean, have you ever seen a geekier “gang”?  It would be adorable if it weren’t so sad.  I mean… Raffles and Steelboy???  Come now… are these gang-bangers or pound-puppies?  And we open with them literally stealing candy from little kids… dudes be hardcore!

We get some Impulse naivete that could’ve outed his secret identity.  Luckily, Walmart Save*Mart had some wicked hot deals on Impulse costumes this year.  I really dug how pre-kneecapped-and-read-the-entirety-of-the-San-Francisco-Library Bart would take things literally.  Wear your costume… share secrets… sure!

A scene I particularly liked was with Invisible Weapon.  Here we have a… retired? supervillain, who from the looks of it is trying to start over.  Best he can do is working overnights at a sorta-grocery store, sorta-malt shoppe… and still if something goes down, he gets his chops busted.  You gotta feel for the poor guy… probably barely making minimum wage… I mean the man’s wearing a damned paper hat here… just trying to keep on that straight and narrow, only to have Max Mercury up in your business.  That’s gotta be rough.

Overall, fun issue of Impulse… most of them are.  I’ll always say if you come across any odd issues of Impulse in the cheap-o bins, you could do far worse.  They’re often a lot of fun, in that late-90’s kinda way.  Anyhoo… I hear there’s a Hallow-Teen Party going down, maybe we ought to crash it tomorrow!

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