Young Heroes in Love #4 (1997)

Young Heroes in Love #4 (September, 1997)
“Cry Me a River of Nigh-Irresistible Beams!”
Writer – Dan Raspler
Guest Penciller – Mike Manley
Inkers – Keith Champagne & Ande Parks
Letters – Bill Oakley & N.J.Q.
Colorist – Scott Baumann
Assistant Editor – Ali Morales
Editor – Dan Thorsland
Cover Price: $1.75

What say we do one more day with the Young Heroes?

I swear, you guys… without that #Action100 thing looming over me, it’s almost as though I’ve got too much freedom here on the site.  I think I’ve become a fella who needs that kinda direction… too many choices lead me to, well… doing nothing!  And that ain’t good.

So, uh… one more day with the Young Heroes!

We pick up right where we left off last issue… a weepy Hard Drive storms away from Superman and the Young Heroes (in a very “Romance Comics” pose)… leading to Superman suggesting that perhaps Hard Drive isn’t the best choice to lead their fledgling superhero team… which, of course, might be exactly what Monstergirl wanted to hear.  Worth noting that Superman looks like a very smiley Jay Leno when “breaking the bad news”.  Hard to take him seriously, Electric Blue notwithstanding.

Suddenly… a tiny voice rings out, and we meet Zip-Kid!  She’s sort of like the Wasp… without the wings.  She asks Superman not to be so hard on Hard Drive, because, as it turns out, Hard Drive’s best friend had been kidnapped by a Giant Mummy… and seeing this Giant Mummy, just triggered an extreme reaction in him.  Sounds perfectly legit!  Superman strokes his gigantic chin for a moment to consider this… and decides that maybe Hard Drive deserves another chance.  He tells the kids to try and set an example… and flies off.

Once big blue is out of the picture, the Young Heroes set to questioning Zip-Kid.  Turns out she was lying about Hard Drive’s “best friend” (duh), and that she is more or less just a fan of the team.

After the meet ‘n greet, Bonfire and Frostbite break off from the group to head over to Hard Drive to make sure he’s okay.  Thunderhead wants to “go with”, but Bonfire tells him to hang back.  Along the way, she reveals to Frostbite that she was able to read his “heat-signature invisible-ink message” from last issue… which, of course, was the point all along.  Turns out the message was preeeeeetty filthy… which might just be the way to her heart, because she can’t stop thinking about him either.  They briefly discuss their “connection”, then Bonfire breaks off to check on Hard Drive…

… who is rather displeased that she has gone against his “suggestion” of suitors.  He “suggests” again that she be with Thunderhead.  Moments later, they return to the group… and Hard Drive gets his first eye-ful of Zip-Kid.  They all decide to return to HQ.

Back at HQ, Monstergirl is still petitioning to have Hard Drive removed as leader.  The first ear she bends belongs to Bonfire, who feels like she’s really overreacting.  This is important for a couple of reasons… first, Monstergirl’s true colors are beginning to surface… and second, it’s made perfectly clear that Bonfire has no memory of Hard Drive’s threats.

Elsewhere Thunderhead and Junior are at the soda machine… and the latter is shocked and perplexed that the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen is just his size!  Thunderhead suggests he “go for it”… which is pretty good advice considering how rare it is to find a four-inch tall woman.

In the living room, Hard Drive is giving Zip-Kid the nickel tour of the facilities.  He is totally oblivious to the fact that his team is discussing his Superman-emotional-freakout like three feet away.  Monstergirl is still politicking… but nobody seems overly concerned.

Bonfire enters the room, drawing Frostbite’s attention… then, she walks right past (or is it “passed”?  I never have to worry about grammar when I talk) him and over to Thunderhead.  This really bugs him… and he stomps off.

Speaking of stomping off, Monstergirl… tired of having her concerns fall on deaf (or disinterested) ears, heads off to confront Hard Drive.  She walks in on Zip-Kid turning down membership to the Young Heroes (seems like Hard Drive might not be the best recruiter).  After Zip-Kid zips off, M-G confronts H-D… she plays it off, however, as though Superman was in the wrong.

We shift scenes to Junior and Zip-Kid getting to know one another.  He makes it pretty clear that he’s interested… and suggests she maybe go full-time with the Young Heroes.  She declines again… because she doesn’t think her boyfriend would be cool with it.  Record scratch… or something.

Back in Hard Drive’s room, Monstergirl has left… and he is now joined by Frostbite, who is asking a whole lot of questions.  I mentioned it yesterday, but Frostbite definitely knows something is up.  Hard Drive doesn’t take the questioning as intrusive… and just looks happy to have somebody interested in his story.

Back in the living room, Junior blurts out his smoothest line yet… giving Zip-Kid props for having the guts to lie to Superman.  This, of course, makes Zip-Kid realize that she did, in fact, lie to Superman!  She freaks out, and grows to her normal size.

The Young Heroes gather around and comfort her, knowing that she only did what she did in order to help them out of a jam.  All the Young Heroes gather… except Junior, who keeps calling out from the table.  It’s here that we learn that Junior… has no powers… he’s just a four-inch tall boy!

Off-Ramp asks if he can shrink any smaller… a comment that Junior definitely doesn’t appreciate.  He asks if it’s time for him to spill his “secret origin”, to which Off-Ramp suggests sharing only “a few panels worth” of it… which is pretty great.  Turns out Junior was in an accident at a Pharma company… and was shrunk.  Easy peasy.  He then storms off threatening to quit the team.

Frostbite goes after him to try and talk him down… he follows Junior around a corner to find… Thunderhead and Bonfire gettin’ it on.  Now it’s Frostbite’s turn to storm out!

Well, this is one damn charming series, ain’t it?

Let’s get my one complaint out of the way.  The art is a bit uneven.  Looking at the credits, we have multiple inkers… and even multiple letterers.  I wonder if there might’ve been a time crunch on this one… especially considering that the next issue will be a Genesis tie-in, which might’ve been getting more attention from the creative team and editorial.  We go from some very Madan-looking pages to… some overly-angular, rushed looking art.  Almost felt as though I was reading an issue of X-Men Unlimited… except that the story was actually worth reading.

Anyhoo, today we meet Zip-Kid… and learn that Junior cannot size-shift.  I guess the clues were there all along (if we were looking for them)… I mean, Junior has never increased his size yet.  Hell, first time we saw him, his mother was dropping him off for his “superhero meeting”, and he was even tiny for the car-ride in.  It’s an interesting concept for sure, and it’s cool to consider that he has zero metahuman powers… so, he’s just a regular human… who happens to be the size of a G.I. Joe.

Zip-Kid is a pretty neat character… not too keen on her design, though that might be due to the art.  She’s drawn to look, I dunno, kinda middle-aged.  Maybe it’s the retro-style facemask… but she doesn’t seem as teen-agery as the rest of the team.  Looks like she should be leading a Jazzercise class or something.  Though, again… that might just be the fill-in art.  Or maybe I’m projecting Janine from Ghostbusters onto her.

I don’t know about you… but I’m actually starting to feel bad for Hard Drive.  I mentioned yesterday that it’s been around twenty years since I last picked this up… so, this might as well be a brand new book for me.  I don’t remember where this is going… though, I’m expecting a pretty big reveal to explain why he is the way that he is.  He definitely has control issues… and seems to like any attention he’s given.  He’s a real odd duck.

A whole lotta “storming out” this time around.  I don’t know if this is a commentary on the old romance comics where lovesick fools go from swooning to storming in no time flat… but it’s pretty funny either way.  From Hard Drive, to Monstergirl, to Junior, to Frostbite… and probably Zip-Kid, if the Young Heroes didn’t gather ’round… there was a whole lotta stormin’ goin’ on!

Now… let’s look at “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”

Bonfire is still with Thunderhead… though, she has a connection with Frostbite.  Frostbite knows that she has the same feelings he does, but doesn’t know (at least it isn’t clear) that Hard Drive is manipulating her with his “power of suggestion” to remain with Thunderhead.

Monstergirl is still “with” Hard Drive.  She tries to help him through his Superman-freak-out… though, is also politicking to have him removed from his leadership position due to the Superman-freak-out with everyone else on the team.  This is something that Hard Drive is either too aloof or too oblivious to realize.

Junior is suddenly smitten with Zip-Kid… unfortunately for him, she’s taken.  We don’t really see Roadshow this time around, so I can’t comment on how Off-Ramp feels about his ride this time around.

Our ending was… I dunno… not as much of a cliffhanger as I think it was meant to be.  I mean, it shouldn’t be that surprising to see Bonfire and Thunderhead gettin’ it on, right?  I mean, even Junior looks shocked… and for all he knows, Bonfire and Thunderhead are a legitimate couple.  Frostbite too… not sure he should have been quite this surprised, considering earlier in the issue she gave him the (heh!) cold shoulder.

Overall… another fine issue, hampered slightly by some intermittently rushed art.  Still worth grabbing if you happen across it!

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