Thursday, August 11, 2016

Awesome Comic Finds - Impulse: Reckless Youth

I'm starting a new feature on this blog called "Awesome Comic Finds." It's going to detail...well...particularly great comic finds. Not every comic I purchase is going to show up here, it's not going to be a weekly series or anything like that, but when I find either unexpectedly amazing comics, unheard of comics, comics at a super cheap price, or what have you, I'll blather on about them here.

As I said in my last update, I've been reading a lot of comics lately. This was originally spawned by how absolutely awful Batman v Superman: Dawn of Blech was, and how much I hate Zach Snyder and the current DCCU take on Superman--morose, somber, dickish, violent, nihilistic. So I started purchasing some of the preboot Superman trades to cheer myself up. That led me to buying more and more DC comics from before the New 52. And here we are.

Today's offering is a happy little accident that wasn't even on my radar: Impulse: Reckless Youth.

Impuse is one of those characters that I imagine would make newbie comics readers likely shake their head and go, "Aaaah! What? No! No!" Bear with me, though, because this shit is going to get kinda Silver-Age goofy here, but it's also kinda awesome.

Most superhero premises are very simple:

  • Superman: Can fly and punch things good. Also very moral. 
  • Batman: Dresses like a bat. Punches bad guys. Also good thinker. 
  • Wonder Woman: Can fly and punch things good. From an island of only women.
  • Booster Gold: From the future. Went back in time to save people for a profit.
  • Batwing: Batman but in Africa (No, I don't care about Lucius Fox's grandson.)
  • Donna Troy: Just kidding. Her backstory is a clusterfuck wrapped in a nightmare.

So then we get to Impulse, aka Bart Allen. If that last name sounds familiar, it should. Bart is the grandson of Barry Allen (the 2nd Flash).

Bart was born in the 30th century, but his metabolism was so fast he was aging too quickly--think that Robin Williams movie Jack, but with super speed, too. By age 2, he already looked 12. To try to help his brain develop semi-normally, scientists hooked him up to a virtual reality machine that raced his brain through 12 years of development. They also ran tests and experimented on him because they're scientists in a superhero comic, so of course they did.

Bart's grandmother, Iris Allen, smuggled him back in time to try to give him a normal childhood away from laboratories and scientists.

My first experience with Impulse was from from the Geoff John's run of the Teen Titans, wherein he adopted the name Kid Flash.

I instantly liked Impulse in that series because he kind of reminded me of myself. He had difficulty focusing because everything moved so slow (relative to him) that his attention was pulled in 100 directions at once. He wasn't just some dumb slacker, though. He was very intelligent and retained everything he read. In the first volume of John's Teen Titans run, Impulse actually runs to a library and literally reads the whole thing.

This reflected my own experience in school. Classes were often slow and boring unless I really liked a teacher's personality. I always made A's and B's, but I spent most of the class doodling in my notebook or writing stories, and usually just crammed the night before a test. Even most of my essays were drafted out the night before--or in one case, 20 minutes before class--and I made good grades on them. It was always hard to sit down and really focus on something for a long time - one job I had that involved combing through spreadsheets for minute details was damn near the death of me, I tell you.

Imagine my surprise then when I stumbled across this beauty at my local comics shop. I regularly go to my comics shop. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to have a monthly pull list like a lot of people, so I get my kicks by browsing their trades. Browsing through this, at first I didn't recognize the character, I was just drawn to Mark Waid's name, as I really dug his Daredevil run. But reading the back--and the hilarious introduction, I quickly realized who this character was, and jumped at the chance to read not only the issue that featured his introduction, but the first several issues of his solo series.

I wound up dropping $7.99 for the trade, and in pretty pristine condition for a book released in 1998 or so. When I got home and did a little more research, I was shocked that 1) Impulse's solo series actually ran for ninety frickin' issues--I didn't even know Impulse had a solo series, much less that it lasted for ninety issues!--and 2) the trades were going for $25 (or more)! That's quite a steal.

It's honestly a huge shame that DC hasn't released more trades from the series because I dug the everloving hell out of this little graphic novel, and it's got me interested in picking up the Young Justice titles where he featured prominently before joining the Titans.

I might write up a proper review of Impulse: Reckless Youth sometime in the future, but for now, let me just say that if you can find it for a decent price, I highly recommend picking it up.