Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Trans-Universal Galacto-Storm!
Credits: Dan Raspler (writer), Dev Madan (penciler), Keith Champagne (inker), Bill Oakley & N.J.Q. (letters), Scott Baumann (colorist)
Forgotten ‘90s DC Crossover #463 has invaded the line, taking even the non-Code approved DCU titles along with it. I know nothing of “Genesis” outside of the fact that it somehow tied in with John Byrne’s Fourth World book, and that he publically disavowed the crossover almost as soon as it was published. Based on this comic, “Genesis” apparently involved every metahuman’s powers going haywire, leading all of the established heroes join in an outer space battle. Since the Young Heroes are still at the bottom of the totem pole, no one thinks to call them, so they’re stuck on Earth.
When Hard Drive learns that even latent metahumans are affected, he hitches a ride with Off-Ramp to check on his younger brother in the hospital. His sibling is an even more powerful telekinetic, evidenced by the mountain of abandoned cars stacked in front of the hospital. Hard Drive telepathically puts him back into a coma, inadvertently revealing his telepathic powers to Off-Ramp. Off-Ramp suddenly remembers experiencing these powers before, and realizes that Hard Drive has been manipulating the team all along. Hard Drive reveals that his powers only exploit feelings that his victims already have, so he finds the small part of Off-Ramp that wishes he never knew Hard Drive’s secret and erases the memory.
Oh, yeah. “Genesis” is still going on, right? Hard Drive returns home, discovers Kalibak is attacking national monuments, laments that he doesn’t have time to alert the media, and soon confronts the Big Name Guest Villain. After using his telekinesis to easily send Kalibak flying into space, Hard Drive returns home. Unfortunately for him, his telepathic manipulation has worn off on another member. Bonfire defiantly greets him at the door and proclaims that she has an announcement to make to the team.
Junior helps his crush, Zip Kid, deal with her uncontrolled growth spurt. He talks her down to insect size, which just so happens to be his favorite height.
Monstergirl reveals to Hard Drive that she only has two forms: Pretty Girl and Hideous Monster. And yet, her erratic powers soon force her into morphing into whichever person is on Hard Drive’s mind. Despite her earlier protests, it turns out she really is a shapeshifter.
Despite the abrupt shift into crossover territory, Dan Raspler still gets a lot of story out of this one. I’m sure if he were left to his own devices, Rasplar would’ve continued to spread the story out amongst cast members and not given so much of the focus to Hard Drive, but it’s actually kind of refreshing to get this much information about a single character in one issue. We learn that Hard Drive is sincere in his desire to be a hero, and to be famous, and he isn’t concerned about using his powers to “convince” people to join his cause. After all, his powers only work if some part of a person wants to follow his “suggestions,” so it’s not as if he’s truly brainwashing them, right?
It’s amusing to read about this brand of fame-whore character years before the days of Youtube or TMZ. Yeah, that girl on Baywatch had a sex tape, but surely she was embarrassed by it. It’s not as if any more of those things are going to come out, or anyone with a vague connection to a celebrity is going to use one to become famous or anything. The celebrity culture element of Young Heroes was often underplayed in favor of the romance, but I could see a new series today taking that ball and running with it.