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Robert Greenberger

by Robert Greenberger

The Flash series has always been about legacy, ever since Barry Allen’s debut in showcase #4 as he acknowledged he was a fan of Flash Comics and even collected the exploits of Jay Garrick. Years later, the parallel worlds concept was introduced as the two Flashes satisfied and ever since we have had speedsters from across time and space interact, linked with the speed Force.

As Jim Shooter exposed in legion of Super-Heroes stories, the Earth-1 Flash was just as kept in mind and cherished as was Superboy/Superman in the 30th Century. We even satisfied Barry’s descendants, Don and Dawn Allen a.k.a the twister Twins, which opened up the door for additionally exploration.

Later, as The Flash was canceled with issue #350, we learn that Iris West Allen was not killed by professor Zoom, but instead was living in the 30th Century. Barry went to join her there before he was caught up in the events of crisis on limitless Earths. before he left, though, Iris ended up being pregnant and it was well established she provided birth to Don and Dawn.

It was decades before Flash scribe mark Waid exploited Shooter’s possibilities with the creation of Bartholomew Henry Allen II, Don’s son. His mother was Meloni Thawne (yes, of that Thawne family line) and was concerned when Bart experienced from a hyper-accelerated metabolism, rapidly aging him. Iris brought Bart back to the 20th Century to be tutored by her nephew Wally West, then the Flash. eager to join his ancestors in action, Bart donned a vibrant costume and, befitting his ADHD personality, was dubbed Impulse.

Impulse by mark Waid and Humberto Ramos Omnibus

His popularity matched his powers and to Waid’s surprise, DC management requested an Impulse spinoff title. The results are collected here in Impulse by mark Waid and Humberto Ramos Omnibus collecting Impulse #1-27, The Flash #108-111, and Impulse’s origin from secret Origins 80-Page giant #1.  since DC was still publishing Flash, Waid needed to find to the new book with a fresh approach.

“Once we spun him off into his own book, which came extremely quickly and unexpectedly, that was not the plan. I mean it was just … DC decided, ‘hey, we need an Impulse book,’ and so they put it on the schedule before we got to issue 100. Bart had been in the comics for six months and he got his own book, so we had to really believe hard about, ‘okay, young Wally is a adorable idea, but it needs to be deeper than that if it’s going to carry its own series.’ What do we make with that? like I said, we came up with the idea of making it more about his naivety, more about his relationship with Max Mercury, and more about the idea that a authentic kid is a superhero doing kid stuff and being involved in kid level threats,” Waid explained to Multiversity Comics.

Impulse #12

It had everyone one needs for a situation comedy: a hyperactive teen learning to manage his powers, the father figure in Max, and a supporting cast of other teens in Manchester, Alabama, as far eliminated from central and Keystone cities as you could want. Ramos was an optimal collaborator as his characters were quirky, angular, and exaggerated in vibrant ways, matching the tone. significant was Bart’s shock of hair, which was one of his special touches. “Mike Wieringo had done the initial costume design, without the mask, but boy, Humberto went to town with the look, with the giant hair and the massive feet,” Waid told John Wells for The Flash Companion.

The series was a hit, enduring 90 problems and the characters has stayed a part of DC’s mythos, to be seen next on the DC on the internet revival of young Justice.

Impulse #24

Interestingly, Waid was still figuring things out in the rush to have Impulse go from supporting player to star of his series. “We went into the Impulse series not sure who the mentor figure was going to be. and for a long time, I believe we were speaking about it being Jay, but Jay has his wife, Joan, and I don’t know what they could have given the series that wouldn’t have been Ma and Pa Kent.” As a result, he settled on master of the speed Force, a man then going by the name of Max Mercury (the former quality Comics hero understood as Quicksilver).

“Making Bart’s mentor Max, somebody who was so dry and so much the opposite of Bart, was as well much comic potential to let go,” Waid continued. given that Wally West detested the undisciplined youth, at first anyway, it was never going to be him.

Impulse #9

Much as DC’s team couldn’t fathom the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire approach to the Justice league revival a decade earlier, the initial reaction to Impulse had the same response. Waid told Wells, “The bigger question, the bigger problem, was what do we do keeping that Impulse book? What do we make with it that’s not kid Flash? What do we make with it that’s not the exact same adventures that Flash has, but about a kid with bigger feet? So the roll of the dice we took thematically, [Editor] Brian [Augustyn] and I, was our decision to make it not a super-hero book but a sitcom disguised as a super-hero book. And, God, you would have believed from the method the people at DC reacted that we were speaking about publishing porn. one of the vice presidents who’s no longer there was literally running up and down the hall at the time, waving advance copies of the first issue around and yelling, ‘What the hell is this crap? Why are we even publishing this? What is this awful, awful comic book?’ because he didn’t get it. A lot of people didn’t get it, and conventional wisdom up there was that the book wouldn’t last past issue six. but Brian and I would always rather swing for the fences than choose the safe, solid double. and a super-hero comic with Impulse would have been a safe, solid double, but we swung for the fences and, boy, it paid off for us.”

So, what you will find throughout the 768 pages is teen shenanigans, super-heroics, young love, life lessons learned, and lots of hyperkinetic action. Waid and Ramos, ably inked by Wayne Faucher, set the tone and took their time in figuring everything out. You can enjoy as characters are introduced to bounce off Bart or Max, the slower paced life of Manchester took shape, and the growing confidence is on display with each issue.

Impulse #27

Even when one or the other needed a break, the fill-in people were consistent as you will see with Martin Pasko composing problems 7 and 14 (ask Pasko about it and he will tell you what a joy it was to utilize his sitcom television experience in composing these tales). Nick Gnazzo penciled #7, while Anthony Williams penciled problems #7 and 14 with Craig Rousseau stepping in for problems #18 and #27. Moreover, just to show you how flexible he is, Sal Buscema shown up to set out problems #26-27. Typically, that final story from Waid was about the teens of Manchester, protesting a curfew at the Mall.

Flash #109

Thankfully, DC is also including The Flash #108-111, the “Dead Heat!” storyline that introduced us to Savitar and his danger to speedsters everywhere. With problems of Impulse crossing over, they’d make bit sense without these and assists show you both the tonal contrast between speedster ongoings but also the powerful legacy that has permeated the Flash’s life (no matter who is using the costume). Those problems come courtesy of Waid and artists Oscar Jimenez and Jose Marzan, Jr.

It’s a large tome in page count and price, but if you’ve never experienced these terrific tales, it’s worth the investment.

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