When I mentioned that I was going to do a few Retro-Reviews this week, JT(of Jason Todd's Comic Spot) asked me to post a review of Impulse #50... Okay, that's a lie... He begged me to review that comic! It was kind of pitiful actually... He even cried a bit... Anyway, not wanting to hurt JT's feelings, I decided I'd review this comic because I'm a such a classy gentleman! God, JT's gonna kill me when he reads this, but it'll be worth it! :P
Summary: This issue gets started with Bart(that would be Impulse to those not in the know) discovering that it was April Fool's Day, meaning he could pull pranks on people and not get into trouble for it. Needless to say, Bart can't wait to make Robin's(Tim Drake at the time) life miserable, since Robin was always bossing him around. After flipping through an issue of Mad Magazine, Bart discovers the address of a novelty warehouse in Gotham City and rushes off to get there. Unfortunately, the Joker has broken into the same warehouse and was holding about a dozen people hostage. Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham PD are on scene just as Batman arrives and tells Gordon to keep his officers back so that he could handle things. Joker tosses a walkie-talkie out the window of the warehouse and torments Bats with it for a while, before Bats tosses the radio down and vanishes into the night. By now Bart has arrived on the scene and overhears Gordon mentioning Bats to one of the other cops. Excited by the opportunity to help Bats, Bart grabs the walkie-talkie and rushes to the roof of the warehouse, where he discovers a sprinkler pipe that had been tampered with. Before he could puzzle out what that meant, Bats confronts Bart and tells him to leave the scene since it was WAY too dangerous. The Joker, who was listening to the conversation through the radio, tells Bats that he wanted Bart to enter the warehouse or he'd start killing hostages. With no recourse, Bats tells Bart to go inside, but to always stay 20 feet away from Joker and to use his brain for a change. Bart enters the warehouse and keeps his distance from Joker, who was wielding a flamethrower and holding a hostage. Joker reveals to Bart that he had placed Joker gas in the warehouses sprinkler system before informing Bart that he had already killed one of Batman's Robins, and wouldn't think twice about killing Bart, meaning that Bart had better do whatever Joker asked. To that end, Joker gives Bart a list of ridiculous errands to run(from taking pictures in front of famous monuments, to catching piranhas to bringing Joker a Happy Meal). Bart completes all the tasks and quickly checks in with Bats, giving him a hand-drawn diagram of the inside of the warehouse, including where the hostages, Joker's henchmen and Joker himself were situated before rushing back inside. Having enjoyed sending Bart around, Joker begins to write out more errands, while Bats gets rid of the Joker gas hidden in the sprinkler system. Bats then begins to take out Joker's men, causing one of the men to call Joker from the other room to tell him that something funny was going on. Figuring Bats had finally snuck in, Joker shoots the flamethrower into the air figuring that would unleash the Joker gas, but is surprised to see only water fall from the air. Bats tries to attack Joker, but Joker swings the flamethrower around wildly, setting the warehouse on fire. Bart offers to help catch Joker, but Batman instead orders him to rescue the hostages and Joker's unconscious goons from the burning warehouse. Bart does as he's told, while Bats sneaks around the smoky warehouse. Joker manages to sneak up on Bats and prepares to shoot Bats in the back just as Bart fools around with the phone of one of Joker's goons, causing Joker's cell phone to ring. Bats quickly spins around and lays Joker out, ending his threat. With Joker finished, Bats meets up with Bart outside and commends him on the way he followed orders and helped catch Joker. Before leaving though, Bats warns Bart to try not to be so damn impulsive since he had the potential to be a great hero.
Thoughts: I have the entire Impulse run, and I'd wager that this was the best issue of the entire series. Everything that happened here felt natural and not at all forced, which is what usually happens when you get high-profile characters like Batman and Joker popping up in a series, so kudos to Todd Dezago for a great story. Bats sounded like Bats, Joker was his usual psychotic self, and Bart was Impulse, easily one of my all time favorite characters. Besides the great story, the art was fantastic, Ethan Van Sciver's Bart Allen is the one I see when I close my eyes, and his Joker was amazingly good. I honestly don't have a single complaint here... This was truly a perfect comic book.
Score: 10 out of 10.HA!! Man do I miss Impulse...