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Bart Allen’s Life In The Fast Lane

Bart Allen’s Life In The Fast Lane
By Michael Fitzgerald – Posted June 21, 2007 1:00 PM at

With issue #13 marking a momentous shake-up for the Scarlet Speedster, we take a look at Bart Allen’s journey from impulsive preteen to responsible adult

The big reveal everyone’s been talking about finally hits stands as Bart Allen, the latest Scarlet Speedster, heads for that big marathon in the skies in The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #13. The life and times of the teen from the future have been somewhat complicated, but Wizard has the scoop on how it all went down.

It all started during Mark Waid’s run on the second volume of Flash. Bart’s legacy began with his grandfather, Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, and his grandmother from the 30th century, Iris Allen. Iris became pregnant shortly before Barry died in the 20th century Crisis on Infinite Earths. Their twin children, Don and Dawn Allen, would later become the Tornado Twins. As the siblings grew up, Dawn gave birth to the Legionnaire XS, while Don married Meloni Thawne, distant descendant to Flash rival Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash. Their marriage would produce young Bart, but the speedster genes would create a great difficulty in the infant’s metabolism.

Bart was growing at an accelerated rate. At the age of 2, Bart had the physical body of a 12-year-old. While 30th century scientists attempted to find a cure, they kept the boy in a virtual reality environment that could keep up with his accelerated growth.

These scientists weren’t doing Bart any favors; instead, all his speed was kept bottled up and would be almost completely out of control. Iris took her grandson back to the 20th century so that her nephew and protégé to Barry, Wally West, could save Bart from his rapid growth. Wally was able to help Bart gain control over his powers and stop the preteen from aging so quickly.

Bart’s arrival came days before the events of Zero Hour, a storyline that streamlined the DC Universe’s conflicting futuristic timelines, affecting Bart’s own home in the 30th century. In the pages of Flash, Zero Hour was followed by the landmark storyline “Terminal Velocity,” in which Wally became aware of the Speed Force, the source of Wally, Bart and other speedsters’ powers. The young speedster came out of a virtual reality world and was then thrust into some of the most tumultuous battles in the DC Universe—proving himself a hero, if a bit…impulsive.

After the events of “Terminal Velocity,” Impulse was left in the care of Max Mercury, a time-traveling speedster with the experience and patience to deal with Bart. Max took Bart to Manchester, Ala., where he lived as a normal teenager as much as he could, attending school and making friends. Impulse would also spend time with the Titans, and become a founding member of teen superhero group Young Justice.

Bart saved the world on more than a few occasions during his tenure in Young Justice. Moreover, he clearly enjoyed spending time with a group of superhero friends in a clubhouse environment. His solo adventures brought him face to face with Extant, the villain who ignited the timestream-altering events of Zero Hour. Extant had finally escaped from his time-controlled prison by fooling his captors to alter the timestream before him. Since Bart was the only one not affected, since he was a bit of a time anomaly in the first place, Impulse was the only one who could and would stop the villain.

After the death of Donna Troy following the Titans-Young Justice crossover “Graduation Day,” both teams disbanded. Subsequently, a new Teen Titans was formed, with old members Starfire, Cyborg and Beast Boy mentoring former Young Justice members Superboy, Robin, Wonder Girl and Impulse, who’d just entered high school. Bart, anxious to return to the lighthearted weekend adventures of Young Justice, was shocked to find that his friends didn’t share the same level of optimism after Graduation Day. Shortly after hearing that the Titans had reformed, Deathstroke appeared, found Bart and shot him in the knee, rendering the Titan ineffective. While healing at a rapid speed, Bart left the hospital and read every book in the San Francisco public library. He emerged with a new costume and a new name—Kid Flash.

Bart hoped the transformation to Kid Flash would help others take him more seriously. After the battle with Deathstroke, Tim Drake warned Bart that the change to Kid Flash would move him into the shadow of the Flash, but Bart replied, “The Flash is going to be in mine.”

When the Titans got a peek at themselves 10 years into the future in the “Titans Tomorrow” storyline, they found that all of them had been corrupted save one: Bart Allen. Having taken over the Flash mantle from Wally West, the future Bart worked as a mole amidst the new, evil Titans West for their East Coast counterpart, Titans East. With the Bart of the future and the Bart of the past working together, the Teen Titans were able to return to the present and prevent the dark future from occurring.

During the DC mega-event Infinite Crisis, an army of current and former Titans stood against a rampaging Superboy-Prime. The malevolent Boy of Steel literally ripped through a few Titans before Jay Garrick, Wally West and Bart Allen grouped together in an effort to push Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force. Jay wore out and Wally disappeared with his wife and children, leaving Bart to take on Superboy-Prime on his own. But just then, Barry Allen appeared alongside his former mentors Max Mercury and Johnny Quick to take Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force, where he would remain for a number of years.

But after only a short while in our time, Superboy-Prime returned with a fully grown Bart, now wearing the Flash costume his grandfather wore.

While the Crisis raged, Bart worked with the Titans and other superheroes to fight the massive villain uprising while another group of heroes left Earth to stop Superboy-Prime. When it was all over, Bart handed his grandfather’s costume to Jay Garrick, claiming he used up all his speed powers during the final battle.

Bart still had his powers, but faced with the guilt over Superboy-Prime’s escape, he initially decided to retire his costume. He took a job as a factory worker in Keystone City, but soon realized he must use his abilities to protect innocents. Bart resumed the identity of the Flash. Robin asked him to join the Titans but Bart declined, saying he’d rather work towards membership in the Justice League of America.

Shortly after resuming the mantle, the speedster was faced with a threat he never suspected: his own ascendants, Iris Allen and Professor Zoom. Iris later admitted she was only visiting the past to warn him that if he fought the newly formed league of Rogues, he would not survive. Bart rejected the warning and headed into battle, leading to the appearance of the Black Flash and finally, his hero’s death.


End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author