by Ryan McLelland

Impact Winter Special #1
DC Comics/Impact Comics

Written by: Mark Waid, Len Strazewski, Tom Lyle, Grant Miehm, Mark Wheatly, William Messner-Loebs
Pencilled by: Carmine Infantino, Tom Artis, Tom Lyle, Scott Hanna, Grant Miehm, Mike Parobeck, Rick Burchett, Sandra Chiang
Inked by: Marshall Rogers, Bill Wray, Scott Hanna, Grant Miehm, Paul Fricke, Mike Chen

It’s Christmas Time and President Bush (the old one, not the new one) is preparing to light the Christmas Tree, so he can bring peace and good will and all that other stuff. So here’s Bush in front of the White House ready to light the tree for all to see and here comes the Norwegian Boys Choir to help him do so. Except they aren’t really the Norwegian Boys Choir! They are robots who kidnap the President! Who’s behind this dastardly deed? It seems it’s the mischievous villain Indigo, who wants his doublecrossing former lieutenants (a group called The Magi) on the White House lawn in return for the President. Well, who ya gonna call?

The Impact Universe superheroes of course! Like who? Well, we start with The Web, who is a government agency with these cool powersuits that can kick some serious butt. We meet The Web as they train against some powered supertank. Once they are done, they learn their mentor Walter was once part of the Magi group and this decrepit old man in the wheelchair is one of those guys Indigo wants revenge on. Doesn’t he have any respect for the elderly? No worries here for where he goes, The Web follows!

So we move to The Comet who is trying to help the government by finding a Mr. Kringle. So The Comet finds his way (not flying, I mean, he CAN fly, but he hitched a ride from some guy in a pickup truck) to Santa City where he expects to find this Mr. Kringle. Except Kringle, watching through some videocameras, doesn’t trust The Comet because he thinks Comet’s one of Indigo’s cronies. Launching an attack with reindeer laser beams and exploding penguins, Kringle goes all out to try to stop this superhero with the weird shaped helmet. Comet’s no novice, making his way through the Christmas-themed death-traps and finally finds Kringle, making good on his promise to deliver him back to Washington D.C.

The Shield has been sent to the Florida Keys to recover a man called Dr. Maurer. Except when he gets there he suddenly falls into quicksand, faces off against the first supervillain he ever faced, and fights a couple of dead soldiers. Is The Shield nuts? Nah, its all an illusion thanks to the wacky antics of Dr. Maurer. Shield fights his way through the deadly illusion and finds the next old member of the Magi, picking the old coot up and transporting him back to Washington.

It seems that high school superhero The Fly finds out another secret, this time he learns that his own grandfather was once part of The Magi. When his grandpa goes off to talk to another one of the former Magi, Fly follows him into the building, only to be mistaken for a bad guy. Fly is then launched into a videogame and before you can say ‘Tron’, Fly is fighting spaceships, killer samurai, and, um, deadly fuzzy pink bunnies. The Fly defeats the evil videogame and both old men decide are ready to go to D.C. to help their country.

The vigilante known as the Black Hood is also on a mission to take down a former Magi. Safe inside a building, the Magi known as Waldo watches as Hood takes out every videocamera and every safety device. Black Hood finally finds his man which leads us to…The Jaguar. Guess what this hot chick in the leopard print is doing? Yup, she needs to find a Magi. Which she does (I’m sure everyone gets the point).

It all comes down to this…did these random Impact heroes get all of their Magi? Of course they did! We find them all back in D.C. (sans Black Hood, he’s got better things to do then hang out with superheroes), introducing themselves to one another, as this is the first time they’ve all been in a room together. The heroes don’t know what will become of the Magi, but the Secret Service seem intent on getting the President back. Suddenly, the Magi all disappear, thanks to Indigo’s transporting device. The Magi are beamed aboard a spaceship where Indigo himself waits. It seems that Indigo has built this spaceship to take him, the President, and the Magi who went traitor on him into space where they will search for another planet to take over. With the heroes nowhere in sight, did the bad guy finally win?

Of course not, because the Magi that were beamed aboard were just the Impact heroes in disguise (thanks to Dr. Maurer’s holographic cloaker he used on the Shield earlier. Thanks foreshadowing!). Indigo really stands no chance against the heroes but tries to launch the rocket anyway. As the rocket starts to blast, Indigo’s Boy Choir Robots attack and the heroes are forced to dispatch the robots and try to stop the rocket. They are able to do so, blow up the rockets, save the President, and manage to kill Indigo in the process (serves him right, trying to leave the universe like that).

This book was the Impact universe’s first big team-up and the 64 pages here certainly blows by quickly. Sure the story might be a tad hokey, but remember the point of Impact was to be an imprint aimed to bring in younger readers. While that might be a turnoff to some quarter bin shoppers, look at some of the writing talent on this book. Waid, Strazewski, Wheatly, and Messner-Loebs to just name a few! These fellows were writing monthly Impact books and all pitched in to bring us this first big crossover. Is the Impact Winter Special a true gem? Maybe not, but it sure is fun reading from one of my favorite DC imprints. Luckily, this book can usually find its way into your hands for nothing but a mere shiny quarter.

Interest piqued in the Impact Universe? Remember the days of The Comet, The Web, and the rest? Check in tomorrow, as Ryan looks the Impact years up and down in The Final Impact