Thursday, June 24, 2010

JLApe Prelude: "Manchester Monkey Business"

Oh, geez, this is going to be tougher than I thought...longtime readers will remember that not only do I not especially share DC Comics love of apes, generally they creep me out; thanks to an early childhood viewing of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Luckily, this issue starts out with Impulse, who's not my favoritest character ever, but he's fun and can ease us into this. You can see him in the panel above, thinking, "Brain," as the narration builds up the creep factor on student Gordon Matthews.

Meanwhile, at the...Manchester Monkey Business School (that pause there was me nearly quitting this) Impulse and Max Mercury are investigating the disappearance of a gorilla, two chimpanzees, and an orangutan. At super-speed, Impulse mounts a search but finds nothing. That night, as Bart leaves for a friend to study for a chemistry test (since Gordon is wrecking the curve) Max feels something wrong with the Speed Force.

Super-fast monkeys, giving France (and elsewhere) the business? Terrifying. Max sets off chasing them around the globe, realizing they're tapping the Speed Force somehow. And somewhere, someone's clamoring for Xong Tsai, super-fast panda, to get his own book or miniseries...

Meanwhile, Bart leaves his friend Carol's, but realizes he left his books behind. Returning, he finds his friend Preston tied up, and Carol kidnapped by Gordon. Bart leaves to get Impulse, which I'm pretty sure never fooled anyone: how many kids in town could have that hair? Or giant feet? Still thinking of chemistry, Impulse checks the chem lab at school first:

Impulse rushes in, but Gordon has "the entire room blanketed with an anti-speed forcefield," which would be the end of Impulse and Flash comics. Those things would be up everywhere. Gordon explains that he and Bart--he knows Impulse is Bart Allen--have been enemies since before they were born; and that Bart is a worthy foe, since he wasn't lured away by the super-fast monkeys...that Bart never saw. Gordon reveals himself as...Gorbul Mammit! I said, Gorbul Mammit!...nothing? How about, the son of Gorilla Grodd! There's a little better name recognition.

Perhaps not quite grasping the import of that, Impulse asks if Gorbul stole the gorilla from the monkey school, and Gorbul indignantly explains that she is going to be her soon as he upgrades her with Carol's brainwaves. While explaining his plan, the 'bride' tries to eat a banana-colored plug, killing the power...and the anti-speed field. Impulse pretty much kicks Gorbul's ass after that: while not especially strong, he can hit him about a million times a second, so that's pretty much game.

Gorbul does escape, teleporting out with his bride, leading to this eye-scarring panel:

Yeah, you're welcome. Anyway, Grodd makes a cameo, clucking his tongue at his boy for thinking too small...

This one doesn't have a helluva lot to do with the rest of the JLApe storyline, and I couldn't even guess if Gorbul returned since. Still, I do kinda miss Impulse: man, DC dropped the ball trying to make him Flash or Kid Flash or dead or whatever. I personally see a straight-line of character development from Impulse's no-attention span cheerful apathy to the bitter omnipresent impatience of Marvel's Quicksilver; so I guess it's kind of tough for Bart to grow at all as a character without wrecking him.

Today's scans from Legends of the DC Universe #19, written by Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt, pencils by Pop Mhan, inks by Romeo Tanghal. Next week: JLA Annual #3, part one of JLApe!

1 comment:

CalvinPitt said...

I would probably buy a one-shot about a superfast panda.