Thursday, February 28, 2008

Impulse #1

Today I'll feature this gem, found in another of those three discovered boxes of random titles: Impulse #1, from April 1995.

Here we have Bart Allen, grandson of Barry Allen, the Silver-Age Flash, who's come from the era of the Legion of Super-Heroes to the end of the 20th Century. Recently instrumental in Wally West/Flash's success in the "Terminal Velocity" storyline, Bart spins into his own title.

It's a great issue, using Bart's first day in high school as the framing sequence for a recap of his origin. Having been raised by machines in the future and possessing the attention span of a flea, it's a riot to watch Bart try to figure out 20th Century technology, like when the class is assigned to write an autobiography, and he can't find the ON switch for his pencil.

Bart's living in Birmingham, Alabama, with perfect slow and easy backdrop for a kid from the future who's learning to control his super-speed. Because Wally's got so much going on in his own life, he's sent Bart off to live with Max Mercury, one of the Golden Age speedsters, whose known as the "Zen Master of Speed."

You can feel Bart's frustrations, when he has finally figured out how to use the pencil and told his origin tale, and Max rips it up, launching into a lecture about protecting one's secret identity. There's also a great set-up for future storylines, when Bart races some kind of secret guided missile and begins to uncover a mystery.

Ah, Bart, what a short time you were with us (is a spoiler warning really necessary to tell you that Bart died at the hands of the Rogues Gallery last spring, after taking up the red costume of his Flash forebears?). As fitting for a speedster, it went by all too quickly.

But there's been teases of a possible return, so we'll have to wait and see. Hey, nothing improves your chances of a return from the grave than dying in a comic book!

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