The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

Bart Allen, the impulsive Kid Flash

Posted in flash,Profiles by mrread7 on April 16, 2009

Man, I’ve had some late nights between the hell at work and the wonderful laughter for my play opening in a few weeks. I haven’t had much time for updates but that will change the next few days. Today, I thought I would talk about a favorite Flash of mine, Bart Allen, formerly Impulse, formerly Kid Flash, formerly the fourth Flash and then back to being Kid Flash again. It’s a interesting cycle but you don’t have to take my word for it:

The first mention of Bart Allen occurred in 1991, As depicted in a Legion of Super-Heroes story, Barry Allen’s children — the Tornado Twins — were arrested in 2995 A.D. by the government of Earth, which was under the covert control of the Dominators. Following a one-day trial on trumped-up charges of treason, the Twins were executed. According to a Daily Planet news report, Don Allen is survived by his wife Carmen Johnson, his mother Iris West Allen, and his 2-year-old son: Barry Allen II.[3] However, this timeline was erased by the events of the Zero Hour miniseries. uffering from a hyper-accelerated metabolism, Bart Allen was aging at a faster rate than that of any human being thus causing him to appear the age of twelve when he was chronologically only two years old. To prevent him from developing mental health problems, he was raised in a virtual reality machine which created a simulated world that kept pace with his own scale of time. When it became clear that this method was not helping, his grandmother, Iris Allen, took him back in time to the present where The Flash, Wally West, tricked him down in a race across the world. By forcing Bart into an extreme burst of speed, Wally managed to shock his hyper-metabolism back to normal.[5] Because he had spent the majority of his childhood in a simulated world, Bart had no concept of danger and was prone to leaping before he looked. The youth proved to be more trouble than Wally could handle, and he was palmed off onto retired superhero speedster Max Mercury, who moved Bart to Manchester, Alabama. As retconned in Impulse #50, Batman named him “Impulse” as a warning, not as a compliment.
Bart joined the Titans early in his career before going on to become one of the founding members (along with Robin and Superboy) of the superhero team Young Justice. For a time, Impulse became the owner of a spaceship granted to him by a rich sultan in appreciation for having helped save his castle. The team used this ship to reunite Doiby Dickles with his queen and restore the rightful rule of Myrg. Impulse stayed with Young Justice for an extensive period of time during which he developed the ability to make speed-force energy duplicates. This allowed him to be in multiple places at once. The newly acquired power proved useful until one of the duplicates was killed during the “Our Worlds at War” storyline when half the team was lost on Apokolips. Bart quit Young Justice temporarily as the death of his duplicate led him to come to terms with his own mortality.
Following Max Mercury’s disappearance, Bart was taken in by Jay Garrick, the first Flash, and his wife Joan. After the breakup of Young Justice, Bart joined some of his former teammates in a new line-up of the Teen Titans.

Shortly after Bart joined the Teen Titans, he was shot in the knee by Deathstroke (who at the time was possessed by Jericho) and received a prosthetic one. While recovering, Bart read every single book in the San Francisco Public Library and reinvented himself as the new Kid Flash. Once healed, the artificial knee did not affect his ability to run at speeds approaching that of light. When Robin reminded him that by becoming Kid Flash, he would be forced to live in the Flash’s shadow, Bart said firmly, “No, he’ll be living in mine.”
In the “Titans Tomorrow” storyline, Bart assumed the mantle of the Flash after the current Flash died in a “Crisis”. In this alternate future he was able to steal the speed of others, a power he used on his past self. This reality shows a grown Bart posing as a member of the so-called Titans of Tomorrow. However he is really a spy working on the behalf of Titans East, a resistance group led by the future Cyborg. Additionally, the future Bart is romantically involved with Rose Wilson, The Ravager. During the Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime attacked Conner Kent (Superboy) and injured or killed several Teen Titans, thus prompting Bart to stop his rampage. He accomplishes this by running him at top speed into the Speed Force with the help of veteran speedsters Wally West and Jay Garrick. The feat took its toll on Garrick, who reached his limit before entering the Speed Force, and West, who turned into energy and vanished, leaving Bart alone in the fight against a vastly more powerful Superboy-Prime. Luckily for the young speedster, Barry Allen, Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, all of whom had been previously absorbed into the Speed Force, appeared and aided him.
Bart spent four years in an alternate reality’s Keystone City, where along with Wally, an alternate version of Jay Garrick and the ghosts of Max and Barry, Superboy-Prime managed to escape from his prison. The speedsters rallied together to return to their dimension. In an attempt to get there before Superboy-Prime, Bart absorbed the Speed Force using Wally’s ring and Barry’s costume to help him survive his journey.
Wearing his grandfather’s costume, an aged Bart reappeared in Tokyo just in time to fight alongside Superman and many other heroes in the Battle of Metropolis unleashing his anger against Superboy-Prime for killing Conner Kent and so forcing the villain to retreat from battle. When the crisis was over, Bart explained to Jay where he had been and how the Speed Force was destroyed. Having used up the residual speed locked in his body in the fight for Metropolis, Bart gives Barry’s costume to Jay proclaiming him “the fastest man alive.”

Suddenly older than his friends, unable to remember his missing years, and harboring a secret—that the speed force was still around, and threatened to overwhelm him—Bart set about creating a normal, mundane life for himself. He got a job as a factory worker at Keystone Motors and tried to leave super-heroics behind him however trouble around him would eventually lead him to donning the costume.
When his roommate gained super-powers and became the Griffin, Bart was forced to accept his legacy. He discovered that he had absorbed the speed force, and began learning how to control the power. Following in the footsteps of his cousin and grandfather, Bart Allen became the Flash. Not long after defeating the Griffin, the latest Flash moved to Los Angeles to start a new chapter in his life. As a civilian, Bart began training at the Los Angeles Police Academy, focusing on forensics.
Soon after donning the Flash identity, Bart is considered for Justice League membership and gets particular support from Batman, who feels he is more than ready for the position. Robin contacts Bart and asks him to return to the Teen Titans. However, after fighting Steppenwolf with the newly reformed Justice League, Bart tries to join the League rather than rejoin the Titans.
When Bart confronts Captain Cold at his apartment, Zoom appears and attacks Bart. Zoom apparently was enlisted by Bart’s grandmother, Iris. It’s later revealed that Iris only came to the past to warn her grandson about the Rogues (consisting of Abra Kadabra, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, the Pied Piper,the Trickster, Weather Wizard, and Captain Cold), led by Inertia, teaming up. Together they are trying to build a machine that will stop time. As their plan begins to come to fruition, Bart is arrested for the fight with Steppenwolf, who was a New God. Bart reveals himself as the Flash in order to fight the Rogues. During the battle, it is revealed that the machine built by Inertia actually drains the Speed Force from an individual instead of freezing time. When the Rogues use it on the Flash, Bart’s powers are stripped away from him, leaving him surrounded by the Rogues and leading to the appearance of the Black Flash. Inertia’s machine proves unstable, however, and will destroy the West Coast if the Speed Force is not safely released from it. In order to buy Valerie time to release the Speed Force, Bart fights the Rogues before chasing after Inertia. After catching and beating Inertia, Bart again fights the Rogues. Panicked, Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Weather Wizard strike him down fatally. His sacrifice saves thousands of lives.

ourners hold a candlelight vigil at the Flash Museum. Outside of Titans Tower in San Francisco, a memorial statue of Bart in his Kid Flash uniform was placed next to the statue of Superboy.
As Wally West’s return to New Earth coincides exactly with Bart’s death, Inertia alleges that Bart’s loss of powers is a direct consequence of Wally absorbing the newly released Speed Force. However, no further blame is put on Wally, who avenges his protégé by freezing Inertia’s body in time but leaving his mind active. Inertia is put on display in a new area of the Flash Museum, dedicated to Bart’s life. In Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge, Inertia is unfrozen and continues his rampage trying to kill Bart Allen’s family, but is stopped by the Flash’s enemy Zoom. Zoom reveals that he wants Inertia to become the new Kid Flash. Inertia steals Zoom’s time manipulation power, leaving Zoom unable to even walk, and renames himself “Kid Zoom.” The Rogues and Kid Zoom battle, and, Kid Zoom is incapacitated by the Pied Piper, at which point the Rogues kill him. The Rogues deliver Inertia’s corpse to Keystone City with a message reading “Tell the Flash we’re even – The Rogues.”
Marc Guggenheim, writer of the story arc in which Bart dies, has stated that this was an editorial decision, and that he was instructed that his five-issue run would have to end with Bart’s death and the involvement of the Rogues.
Keystone City holds a funeral for Bart, in which Jay Garrick, Cyborg, Wonder Girl and Robin give eulogies. At the end of his own speech, Robin plays a video Bart made soon after he had taken on the mantle of Kid Flash. In it Bart relays to his friends that no matter what happens to him, he will always be proud of having been a part of the Flash legacy and how happy he was being a member of the Teen Titans. Shortly after the Keystone funeral, a more private funeral is held for Bart at Titans Tower, where they have erected a golden statue of Bart as Kid Flash beside the statue of Superboy.
During the Sinestro Corps invasion of Earth, Superboy-Prime’s first act was to visit and defile Bart’s grave which was inscribed “Bart Allen: The Flash”. Superboy-Prime used his heat vision to cross out “The Fastest Man Alive” and write in its place “stupidest boy dead.”

In Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3, Bart Allen returns as his teenage self in his Kid Flash attire when Brainiac 5 enacts phase two of his plan to defeat Superboy-Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains. His resurrection is brought about by the activation of the “living lightning rod” first seen in The Lightning Saga.
Writer Geoff Johns confirmed that Bart will return to the past and play a large role in the forthcoming The Flash: Rebirth. The first issue has Bart being the only one not happy about Barry Allen being back as he feels Wally West has proven himself as the true Flash. He also wishes his mentor Max Mercury has escaped the Speed Force as well.

There you have it, the whole history of Bart Allen but were afraid to ask. There is a lot coming up for Bart in the months ahead in Flash: Rebirth. I’m excited for his character to have returned and moving back towards his roots. Now, we just have to get Max Mercury back.


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