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Kid Flash II

Alias: Bart Allen
Formerly: Impulse, Flash

Titans Member
Joined: 
New Titans #0 & 115 [1994]

Related Links:  Flash (Barry Allen)Flash (Wally West)
Jesse QuickYoung Justice

Kid Flash II Quick Bio: Bart Allen – grandson of the Flash – was born with hyper-velocity and was raised in a virtual reality environment in the far future. Traveling to the past, Bart became the act-before-thinking speedster who was quickly dubbed Impulse. Bart later tried to live down his impulsive ways and joined the Teen Titans as Kid Flash.

Teen Titans File Photo:

Teen Titans Group Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

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History


Growing Up Fast

Originating from the 31st century, Bartholomew “Bart” Allen is the latest addition in the long Flash family legacy. When Barry Allen (the second Flash) was reunited with his time-lost wife, Iris Allen, the couple conceived twins. Before learning of this, Barry became trapped in the Speed Force for a number of years. Alone, Iris gave birth to twin speedsters, Don and Dawn Allen.

Bart was born to Don Allen and Meloni Thawne Allen, instanty connected to the Speed Force. This ended up being a curse of sorts, as Bart aged alarmingly quickly, appearing to be 12 years old when he was truly just 2. Bart’s father, a super-speedster himself as one half of the Tornado Twins, was killed in battle. And due to the oppresive Earthgov rule, Bart’s mother was forced to go underground, believing her son had died after birth.

In truth, Earthgov was interested in studying Bart for their own interests. They attempted to solve Bart’s aging problem with 31st century technology, as the hyper-powered child was placed in a virtual reality simulation. This VR world, comprised of real environments and game components, allowed Bart to develop higher brain functions that kept up with his accelerated aging.

Iris Allen explains Bart’s origins in FLASH #92 [1994].

Bart’s grandmother Iris investigated the situation, and learned her grandson’s powers were killing him. In desperation, Iris freed Bart from his corrupt Earthgov captors and escaped through the timestream. Arriving in the present, Iris sought help from her nephew and current Flash, Wally West.

Wally’s powers enabled him to stabilize Bart’s hyper-fast aging, but failed to tame the young teen speedster’s penchant to act before thinking. Bart’s personality quickly earned him a new moniker as Impulse – reluctantly joining the Flash as his unwanted sidekick.

Flash had recently uncovered a plot by the terrorist organization known as Kobra and enlisted Bart’s help in taking them down. And when Wally learned that his own future may be in jeopardy, he rallied the efforts of a combined super-speed team – including Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, Jonny Quick and Jesse Quick.

Impulse earns his moniker in FLASH #95 [1995].

Secretly fearing he was losing grip on his own humanity, Wally named Jesse Quick as his successor as the Flash. This was actually a deception by Wally to teach Bart responsibility, and force the immature speedster to rise to the challenge as Wally’s eventual replacement. Wally’s duplicity was soon exposed, raising the ire of both Bart and Jesse.

But Wally’s fears were ultimately unfounded, as this experience was actually his first brush with the Speed Force, a mystical source of energy from which all super-speedsters drew power. After this problem had been solved, it quickly became apparent that Wally and Bart were not going to be partners. Wally could not stand Bart’s lack of common sense and impulsive behavior, and Bart resented Wally as an authority figure.

Bart and “Uncle Max” in IMPULSE #2 [1994]. 

Reckless Youth

Due to his life in virtual reality, Bart had little concept of the consequences of life and death. This terrifying lack of reality led Wally to entrust Bart to the care of Max Mercury, The Zen Guru of Speed. It seemed reasonable that he, with his many years of experience training speedsters, would be able to pass on his values to the impetuous young speedster.

Posing as Max’s nephew and given false identity papers, Bart initially had a very hard time adjusting to life with “Uncle” Max in slow-moving Manchester, Alabama. It was not just the lack of any consideration of the consequences of his actions, but the complete misunderstanding of just about every lesson that Max tried to teach him. Bart did at least gather a close group of friends, including a young woman named Carol who would come to be very important in Bart’s life.

ABOVE: Impulse recounts how he joined the Titans in NEW TITANS ANNUAL #11 [1995].
BELOW: Impulse tries to reach out to Rose in NEW TITANS #126 [1996].

During this time, Bart briefly joined Arsenal’s team of New Titans following the events of Zero Hour. Impulse enjoyed interacting with other super-powered kids his own age, and developed an unrequited crush on fellow teammate, Rose Wilson. Eventually, this newest incarnation of the Titans disbanded, as each member seemed less dedicated to the team at the time.

After months and months of trying to teach Bart how to act responsible, Max came to the painful conclusion that he had failed. Just then, Bart was temporarily reunited with his mother, Meloni, who brought Bart back to the 31st century. Once there, Bart learned that his mother’s maiden name was Thawne, whose family had a century-spanning feud with the Allen clan. After years of truces, the feud exploded again when Meloni Thawne married Don Allen. So much so, President Thawne had started a one-man conspiracy against the entire Allen bloodline.

Bart reunites with his mother in IMPULSE #25 [1996].

In his mission of vengeance, President Thawne kidnapped Bart’s infant cousin, Jenni Ognats. To protect the surviving Allens, Meloni brokered a deal with her father and sent Bart back home. Bart traveled back to the 21st century, and gained a new appreciation for his “Uncle Max.”

As Bart continued to evolve as a hero in his own right, he helped form the Young Justice team, which hoped to emulate and exceed their adult counterparts. Robin was the brains of the operation and Superboy the brawn. Impulse, however, was the soul of the team.

ABOVE: Young Justice forms in JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS #2 [1998].
BELOW: Young Justice gels in YOUNG JUSTICE #1 [1998].

 

Future Shock

Bart faced perhaps his greatest challenge to date in Inertia, his evil doppelganger. In the 31st century, President Thawne mixed Bart’s DNA with Thawne genetic material to create a speedster clone whom he named Thaddeus Thawne. Whereas Bart grew in a hyper-accelerated world, Thaddeus’ childhood was the exact opposite; His development was super-slow, which led the young speedster to become more calculating and methodical. After years of indoctrinated hatred for the Allen family, Thaddeus – now named Inertia – traveled to the past and began to observe Impulse with the help of his technological servant, Craydl.

Inertia later ambushed Bart and held him prisoner in a virtual reality, while he assumed Impulse’s identity on earth. Once gaining Max Mercury’s trust, Inertia led him into a dangerous trap within the speed force, intending to kill him. When Impulse raced to save his mentor, Inertia witnessed the love and trust between the speedsters. At that moment, Inertia realized that his whole life had been dedicated to a centuries-old hatred – leaving his own life cold and empty as a result. Now enraged, Inertia bolted from the scene.

A short time later, Meloni Allen arrived from the 31st century and kidnapped her son’s potential future love, Carol. It was revealed that if Bart and Carol stayed together, they would greatly jeopardize the future, with Carol creating a weapon that could duplicate speedster abilities in normal humans. In the ensuing battle to save the future, Bart was struck by this weapon, giving him the ability to send scouts forward and backward in time. In the end, Carol decided to leave the time stream with Meloni to protect the future. With the gift of a heart locket, Bart’s own heart is broken as he returned to the 21st century.

With Max Mercury mysteriously trapped in the Speed Force, a listless Bart moved in with the original Flash, Jay Garrick. Compounding Bart’s loss, Young Justice disbanded when the team was unable to prevent the deaths of Titans members, Troia and Omen.

ABOVE: Bart becomes Kid Flash and gets serious in TEEN TITANS (third series) #5 [2003].
BELOW: The next generation of Teen Titans, as depicted in TEEN TITANS #21 [2005].

Kid Flash Cometh

The members of Young Justice, especially Wonder Girl, felt responsible for the tragic deaths. This led Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse and Superboy to form a new group of Teen Titans under the guidance of the more experienced Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy. Despite Wally West’s misgivings, Bart accepted an invitation to join the new Teen Titans.

Bart was later injured when Deathstroke put a shotgun to his leg. Thankfully, his accelerated healing enabled a handful of surgeons to replace his kneecap with an artificial one, and Bart was back on his feet in a matter of hours. But the effects of this encounter were much more than physical. Tired of being underestimated, Bart went to the local public library and read every single book in the building. He retained that knowledge and balanced it with lack of experience. With a renewed sense of confidence, Bart left his impulsive rep behind and returned to the team as Kid Flash.

Bart dons the Flash costume in INFINITE CRISIS #7 [2006].

An End Run as The Flash

When Superboy from Earth Prime ran amok during the Infinite Crisis, Kid Flash and the super-speedsters raced to stop his rampage. While running to subdue the deranged Teen of Steel, Wally West disappeared in a a burst of lightning. Meanwhile, the speedsters combined might defeated Superboy-Prime, but severed their connection to the Speed Force in the process.

Bart returned to warn the heroes of Superboy-Prime’s escape. But while mere moments had passed in the present, Bart returned from his time-bending journey four years older. 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. Although Bart found new challenges in harnessing the speed force, he accepted his destiny as the latest Flash in the Allen family tradition.

Once accepting the mantle of the Flash, Bart moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the Police Academy. Bart’s grand-mother Iris warned Bart that if he fought the newly formed league of Rogues, he would not survive. As a depowered Bart fought valiantly against the combined might of the Rogues and Inertia, he seemingly gave his life in battle.

Superboy and Kid Flash are back in FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS [2009].

Back In A (Kid) Flash

As his friends and family mourned him, they remained unaware that Bart’s life force was harnessed in a lightning rod secured by the Legion of Super-Heroes during one of their time jaunts. When Superboy Prime threatened the very fabric of time in the 31st century, Brainiac 5 released the teenage essence of Bart Allen from the living lightning rod – returning Kid Flash to life in a burst of lightning. After the defeat of Superboy Prime, Bart Allen returned to the 21st century and resumed his super-heroic career.

Bart was then reunited with his grandfather, when Barry Allen miraculously returned from the Speed Force itself. Long believed dead, the advent of the so-called “Final Crisis” brought Barry Allen back to the land of the living, reuniting him with long-lost family and friends. The entire Flash Family joined forces and put an end to Barry’s archnemesis, Professor Zoom, enabling Barry to resume his life in the present with his wife, Iris Allen.

Kid Flash quickly rejoined his friends as a member of the Teen Titans.

ABOVE: Barry Allen returns, welcomed back by his closest friends and 
allies – in FLASH SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS 2010 [2010].
BELOW: It’s Titans Together in TEEN TITANS #93 [2010].


Powers & Abilities


Super-speed; Ability to vibrate through objects. Bart Allen’s powers mirror those of Wally West, with one major exception: Bart also has the ability to remember everything he reads at super-speed.

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Essential Reading


Flash (second series) #91-94 [1994]: Wally’s Aunt Iris travels to the 20th century for refuge for herself and her grandson, Bart Allen. (Iris West returned to the 30th century and was reunited with her husband Barry Allen just before his death). Iris sought help for Bart, who had accelerated super-speed and was aging rapidly. Wally was able to cure Bart, who went on to become Impulse, a superhero in his own right. First appearance of Bart Allen in issue #91. First full appearance in issue #92.
Flash (second series) #96-100 [1994-1995]: Shortly after Iris’s arrival, the evil organization Kobra threatened Keystone City. Bart, Iris and Linda Park aided Wally in defeating Kobra, with the help of other fellow speedsters, including Jay Garrick, Max Mercury and Jesse Quick. In an effort to teach Bart responsibility, Wally named Jesse as his successor. This was actually a deception by Wally to get Bart to rise to the challenge and take adventuring more seriously.
Impulse #1 [1994]: Bart settles into Manchester with Max Mercury.
New Titans #0, 115 [1994]: Under government control, Arsenal leads a new team of Titans, including Impulse, Damage, Green Lantern, Darkstar, Mirage, and Terra. Government funded and based in New Jersey. Changeling betrays the team. First issue with new Titans members Terra II, Mirage, Impulse and Damage having already joined the team.
New Titans Annual #11 [1995]: A YEAR ONE tale featuring Arsenal’s Titans team. The Time Trapper reveals Mirage, Deathwing and Terra are all from this timeline. Mirage is a street urchin from Brazil. Terra destroys the Time Trapper’s message before it reveals her origins, and later unearths the original Terra’s coffin to find it empty. Minion adjusts to like on earth. Supergirl recounts how she first met Arsenal and when she was asked to join the team.
New Titans #126 [1995]: A great downtime issue featuring Arsenal’s Titans team and art by Rick Mays. Arsenal assesses his new role as leader. The Titans play war games. Fellow Titan Donna Troy tries to reach out to her, but Rose rejects her, still reeling over the death of her mother. Fellow Titan Impulse confesses a crush on her but she is oblivious to his affections. Mirage continues to exhibit new abilities.
Impulse #23-25 [1996]: Bart’s mother brings him back to the future.
Young Justice: The Secret #1 [1998]: First Young Justice team-up of Impulse, Robin & Superboy. First appearance of Secret.
Young Justice #1-2 [1998]: Young Justice officially forms with Robin, Superboy and Impulse.
Impulse #52-53 [1999]: First full appearance of Inertia. Inertia seeks revenge against Impulse in the name of the Thawnes.
Impulse #62–66 [2000]: Inertia poses as Bart in an elaborate plan to exact his final revenge.
Young Justice #53-55 [2003]: Secret is corrupted by Darkseid and turns against the team. As punishment for failing, Darkseid turns her human.
Graduation Day #1-3 [2003]: The tragic deaths of Troia and Omen result in the dissolution of both Young Justice and the Titans.
Teen Titans #1 [2003]: What do teenage super-heroes do on the weekends? They hang with the Teen Titans! The invitations go out to a handful of reluctant heroes: Superboy, Robin, Impulse and Wonder Girl. Walk into the new Titans Tower with Cyborg and Starfire as they gather together the next generation of Titans.
Teen Titans #3 [2003]: The new Teen Titans disobey a direct order from their elders and go on a hunt for Deathstroke! Plus, Wonder Girl comes face to face with an unlikely ally – Ares. And Bart becomes Kid Flash.

Infinite Crisis #4 [2005]: Superboy-Prime attacks Superboy. Superboy calls on his Titans allies to subdue his Kryptonian doppelganger. The misguided Superboy-Prime inadvertently decapitates Pantha and slaughters Baby Wildebeest and Bushido; He then freezes Red Star into crystal ice and rips off Risk’s right arm before being pulled into the Speed Force by the combined might of the super-speedsters. Death of Pantha, Baby Wildebeest and Bushido. Flash, Linda and the twins race to parts unknown.
Infinite Crisis #7 [2006]: Superboy-Prime returns. Bart returns wearing Barry Allen’s Flash costume, emerging from his time-bending journey a few years older. With his connection to the speedforce gone, Bart relinquishes the Flash identity to Jay Garrick.
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1-6 [2006]: Bart Allen – after settling in Keystone City following the events of Infinite Crisis – finds that his speed powers have returned him. Now twenty years old, Bart assumes the mantle of the Flash and must battle his friend Griffin, who was acquired dangerous super-powers of his own. In defeating his former-friend, Bart remembers the final moments of the Crisis before he returned to earth.
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 [2006]: Inertia and the Rogues brutally murder Bart Allen after Inertia tries to steal the speed force energy.
Legion of 3 Worlds mini-series #1-5 [2008-2009]: Superboy Prime arrives in the 31st century and plans to remove Superman from history with the help of the Time Trapper and the Legion of Super-Villains. In this reality-bending adventure, Superman joins forces with the Legion of Super-Heroes from three alternate worlds. They are joined by Bart Allen, who returns from the brink of death in a super-charged lightning rod, and Conner Kent, who is restored to life in a Kryptonian regeneration chamber. Together, their combined forces defeat Superboy Prime and his evil allies. Kid Flash returns to life in issue #3. Superboy returns to life in issue #4.

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A Bart Allen tribute sketch by Mike Weiringo, from 2007.

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 Creating Impulse


Way Back In The Thirtieth Century…

Like many things Mark Waid is involved with, IMPULSE starts out as a time-travel story. As you’ve no doubt read in the origin recap elsewhere in the interesting, comic-art portion of our magazine, young Bart Allen comes from the home-era of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Through machinations so complex they make my temples throb, Bart is the grandson of Iris West-Allen and Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash. As must be obvious, Bart’s here in the twentieth century for the long haul now, having made his debut in the pages of FLASH where the young speedster played a mondo-major role in the just completed smash-hit storyline “Terminal Velocity.”

Regardless of how far in the future Bart was born, or when in the very near past he first appeared, the story of Impulse begins more than three years ago, shortly after Mark took over the writing of FLASH. For reasons lost to the mists of time, somewhere in the midst of plotting the “Born to Run” four-parter it suddenly dawned on us to remember that Barry and Iris had children while they lived in the future – but before Barry went off to sainthood in the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS maxi-series. We didn’t make this up; the unfortunately named Tornado Twins had been around for years, were known as Don and Dawn Allen, and had been for some time all but officially acknowledged as the twin offspring of the fastest man alive and his time-tossed newswoman spouse. While we were traveling down this road, Mark mentioned that it had since been established that Don had married and had himself become a parent of an as yet unknown child – “…the grandchild of the Flash!” Mark and I shouted into the phone at each other with way too much giddy enthusiasm for a couple of adult media professionals.

As far as I’m concerned, if Mark said all of this was true, it was gospel. Never a big reader of those colorful super-teens from the future, I defer to Mark in his capacity as Legion fan #1 (a gift of knowledge that serves him well as writer and guiding spirit of both LSH and LEGIONNAIRES). Beyond the simple fact of my lack of clubhouse familiarity, I have a now legendary lack of time-travel convergence. Even talking about time paradoxes and guys meeting and dating their great-grandmothers makes my head ache like a bad tooth. That Mark and I remain close friends and collaborators in spite of this is testament to something touching, since Mark is gaga for tales of temporal traversal.

So while the glow of that fan-boy satori was still on our cheeks, I began to grow restive because I could sense where the conversation about Barry’s unknown grandchild was going to lead us. Any time Mark and I start out a story concept with evil, let’s-get-away-with-something chuckling, we’re headed for trouble. So, because I don’t know my way around the Science Police, and because time travel makes me queasy, and mostly because we were both feeling way too sneakily gleeful. I began to balk. But that’s always a lost cause, because even more than our telltale smug amusement, my early resistance almost always means we’re onto something good.

An early character sketch of Impulse, by Mike Weiringo.

Oddly, the incredible senses-shattering story that grew out of that first realization never happened. As we had it figured then, Bart Allen (actually, Barry Allen II, at the time) would leave the future twenty-five years past his birth during the Legion’s time and arrive on a desperate mission in Wally’s time as an exact replica of his grandfather. If memory serves, he would’ve shown up at the door on Christmas Eve to blow Wally’s bright yellow booties right off. We chortled, we schemed… we went way too far. In what seemed like a great idea then, we were bound and determined to bring a Barry Allen/Flash to life, if not specifically the Barry Allen/Flash – thereby having our cake and scarfing it too.

In the cold light of day, we began to realize the error of our ways; having a Barry replica would be cool, but not terribly interesting and much, much too expected of a couple of Flash-fanatics like Mark and me – that along with the fact that the idea of Barry’s seeming return transmogrified into something way, way cooler.

“What if we give everybody their fondest desire – Barry’s return – and just when they’re starting to really enjoy it and planning statues in our honor, we twist the knife and have him turn totally evil?” Mark asked with a voice dripping with ill humor. The evil chuckles quickly swelled to malefic howls and we knew we had it. The story that began as a visit from a good-guy doppelganger relative of Barry’s morphed and twisted into “The Return of Barry Allen” story arc that put FLASH back on the map.

It is, by now, a given that the first amazing idea that Mark and I come up with while plotting a story will enthrall us, draw us into a great story and suddenly become irrelevant to the evolved plot and have to be tossed out. The more we love an idea like a beautiful child, the more it is doomed; it serves its purpose to prime the pump, then drops out of sight as if it had never been there. Rest assured, though, out of sight does not mean out of mind. No truly good idea is ever completely discarded around here. After we knew where the “Return” story was going to go, we began to plan to head to what became “Terminal Velocity,” and Mark said, “You know, I still want to do this ‘Barry’s Grandchild’ thing somehow.” I asked how, and we were off figuring out all of the everything that eventually became Impulse and IMPULSE. So there.

“Reckless Youth” Trade Paperback cover, chronicling Bart’s debut.

My Hero, Mark Waid

Between my FLASH letter columns and Mark’s of late copious interviews we’ve fostered the idea that the reason Mark is able to make Wally West such an appealing and realistic character is that Mark and Wally are very similar. I almost always point out that, apart from the fact that Wally is in terrific shape, has an incredibly healthy head of hair and the ability to move at super-speed, he and Mark are virtually identical, although Mark almost never brings this up. Still, this is more than just hyperbole; Mark seriously identifies with all his characters, and none more so than the impatient, slightly hotheaded Mr. West. It’s just one of the secrets of Mark’s genius: he’s writing about people he knows and understands – people just like him.

If all of this is true (and of course, it must be), I’m here to guarantee that Mark is going to write Impulse better than any of his previous characters! Mark may be like Wally in many ways, but he is Bart in many more (except for the fact that Bart is in terrific shape, has an incredibly healthy head of hair and that super-speed deal). How are the writer and his creation alike? Let me count the ways:

1. Bart is really a two-year-old in the body of an older person – Mark is really a two-year-old in the slightly puffy body of a much older person.
2. Bart learned everything he knows about life in virtual reality simulation – Mark learned everything he knows about life from reading comic books.
3. Bart does now, thinks later – Mark spends hundreds of dollars on himself every week at Toys ‘R’ Us.
4. Bart is trapped in a primitive world and doesn’t know how to fit in – Mark learned everything he knows about life from reading comics.
5. Bart entered junior high at two, looking fifteen – Mark entered college when he was fifteen, looking two.
6. Bart, not yet mature, wants to do everything, right now – Mark is writing twelve comics a month.
7. Bart thinks he should become Flash someday – Mark thinks he should be Flash someday.

And the amazing synchronicity goes on and on. Mark is the perfect writer for IMPULSE – and now you know why.

Impulse by Humberto Ramos

Living In A Southern State Of Mind

As you must have noticed, IMPULSE takes place in the fictional city of Manchester, Alabama. This is partially to put the impulsive and impatient young hero in a place that moves considerably more slowly than he; more to the point, IMPULSE is set in the American South because Mark wants to write about places he knows intimately. That’s right, yet another similarity between hero and creator; Mark was born and bred in the heart of Dixie (a phrase that Yankees like me are probably not even allowed to utter).

Born in Hueytown, Alabama – a place presumably named after that beloved first among duck nephews – Mark knows the environs of this book firsthand and remembers it all with great fondness. From Richmond to Memphis to Dallas, our scribe has wandered through more of the south than most tractor-pull touring shows and has a wealth of experience that should serve stories for years to come.

None of this explains why Mark would rather listen to ABBA and K.C. and the Sunshine Band more than Willie and Waylon, but some mysteries are best left unsolved.

Our fabulous penciller, Humberto Ramos, is not literally a southerner, though being from Mexico City at least means he can be considered as coming from farther south than most. His terrific art teammate, Wayne Faucher, is from Pennsylvania and, like me, doesn’t really know the south at all. But, we all trust in Mark and his regional knowledge and photo reference. We’re all gonna be just fine. (By the way, now would be the perfect time to profusely thank Birmingham resident Nick Patterson. Nick, a longtime Flash fan, is an old junior high chum of Mark’s and is currently a reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald. Ever the pal, Nick hit the streets and provided tons of photos, books and eyewitness accounts to make sure we got the area down cold. Thanks a million, Nick, we couldn’t have done it without you!)

– Brian Augustyn

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A 2008 commission by Humberto Ramos.

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 New Titans At Zero Hour


The Titans: Beyond Zero Hour
[from Wizard Press Presents: Beyond Zero Hour]

“The Titans have had a series of problems in the past year,” says Titans writer Marv Wolfman. ‘They lost a number of members. They were sued by the government and people generally hated them. Finally, their leader Dick Grayson – Nightwing – left them.”

Left in such disarray, the road to rebirth has been a long one. “Even before Zero Hour, Ray Harper, once known as Speedy and more recently known as Arsenal, was approached by Checkmate’s leader, Sarge Steel, to align the Titans with the government,” Wolfman says. “It seems that the JLA has broken ties with the government and Checkmate wanted a new superhero team to replace them. After going over the problems and being assured [his team] will have complete autonomy, Roy agreed to sign with Checkmate.

“Trouble is, he had no members to go with him. On his own and with Sarge Steel, new members are found recruited and a brand new Titans is formed.”

Wolfman reports that this new group will have a slightly different focus than past Titans teams. “Long ago, when the Titans were first created, the team featured already-existent heroes. In many ways we are going back to that original premise,” be maintains. “Arsenal leads a group consisting of Damage, Green Lantern and Impulse, characters who either have their own titles, or in Impulse’s case, is featured in Flash. Also in the New Titans are Mirage and Terra from the now-defunct Team Titans. Finally, rounding out the title is Donna Troy, now a Darkstar. So we’re bringing in characters from other books as well as several already-known Titans.

“Interestingly, all the heroes mentioned are in one way or another orphans whose past lives are shrouded in mystery,” he continues. “Where the last Titans team came together to fight Raven’s demonical father, Trigon, the new team comes and stays together because they are all in a similar situation. The Titans is a place for these people to get together, to find themselves, to be with others like themselves. They are not coming together to fight some great battle, but to understand themselves and to grow. This common need will allow them to become close and eventually became friends.

“So the role of the New Titans is a club for the young DC heroes, a way of getting together with their peers, a place where they can he with their own kind and learn from each other as they grow.”

Of course, no new team can be formed without problems. “For the present, Roy Harper is in charge of the Titans. Dick Grayson is off with Batman doing whatever he’s doing. But Dick will want to return,” reveals Wolfman. “When he does, he will find a group that doesn’t necessarily want him as their leader. They are quite happy with the one they have, thank you. What will Dick do? Will he try to take over? Will he form another group of Titans? Who will stay with Arsenal and who will go?

“The book has gone under a lot of changes in the past few years, but all were evolutionary,” Wolfman says. “Heroes died, new heroes replaced them, tempers flared and, because they were young, mistakes were often made. That is the way life is. But now we begin with a new group. A revolution, so to speak. New heroes, all with their own lives, hopes and desires. This allows us to create a very different kind of Titans book.”

ABOVE: The New Titans play wargames in NEW TITANS #126 [1995].
BELOW: New Titans at Zero Hour, by Bill Walko.

Marv Wolfman: New Titans, New Faces And The End Of An Era
[An interview from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC: What brought about the shake-up in the line-up where new characters like Green Lantern and Supergirl joined and the older members left the group?

MW: This was the decision of an editor whose name I will never mention. It’s the only editor that I would say that about. Even if I disagreed with the others, they were all good guys, and sometimes their ideas were great, sometimes not as great. Sometimes mine were great, sometimes mine weren’t so great, either. In this case, every decision was incorrect, was stupid. He was in charge of plotting. He wouldn’t let me plot a story. When I tried to take my name off it and asked for my name to be off it, he wouldn’t do that, which is what finally prompted me to quit. I hated working with the editor to such a degree that I couldn’t take it anymore, and I finally decided that as much as I loved the characters, I hated the book. I hated the concepts, I hated the plots that I was being given, and my hate factor was larger than my desire to keep it going. [laughs]

TTC: How much say did you have in who the new members would be?

MW: None. I was given the lineup.

TTC: So did you have to start reading books like Impulse and Damage to find out who these guys were?

MW: Yeah. Impulse, I knew who he was to some degree, because occasionally I’d read the Flash and Mark Waid’s stuff was good. Damage I did not know at all, and I thought it was a stupid grouping of characters because there was no logical reason for those characters to be together.

TTC: How hard was it to write someone else’s plots?

MW: Oh, it was impossible. I hated every minute of it, and, as I say, it suddenly hit me that I had stayed on the Titans to help protect the characters that I had created with George, and suddenly I was on a book that was only the Titans in name. That’s when I suddenly realized, “Wait, I’m no longer on a title I need to protect. Let somebody else do it,” and I quit.

I asked at a DC Christmas party if I could get off and go on to something else, mainly Night Force – the first revival of Night Force – and they asked me to stay on four more issues. I said, “I can’t,” and they said, “We’ll bring in another editor for the four issues,” and I went, “Okay, as long as I can wrap up the storyline without much interference, and try to bring it back to some sort of a status quo.”

TTC: Did you get to do everything that you wanted to do in your last storyline?

MW: No, because I could not use Nightwing. I was told I would not be allowed to use him, and to me that was a disaster, but at least I was able to get most of the other characters back. It was a far more complex story than it needed to be, but the attitudes between the characters came about. I didn’t have a chance to bring back Raven’s body, which I had wanted to do, but I got the group caring about each other again. I got them to be a family again, and that’s all I cared about. What the exact plot was was still not that important to me in this particular case. I think it was a fine plot, I just don’t remember it that much. But I got the characters to be a family again, and that’s all I was really concerned about.

TT 

A Kid Flash commission by Mike McKone.

TT

 Teen Titans and Kid Flash


2003: Titans Together
[from “DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle”]

The Teen Titans had been one of DC’s most popular teams of the 1980s, and while some successive series had been well-received, none had reached the heights of the Marv Wolfman and George Pérez era until writer Geoff Johns and artist Mike McKone’s relaunch.

Following the events of Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, Cyborg and Starfire decided to form a new team of Teen Titans to train the next generation of heroes. The team was partly made up of former members of Young Justice: Superboy (Conner Kent), Robin (Tim Drake), Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), and Impulse (who renamed himself Kid Flash shortly after joining). The new line-up was completed with Beast Boy and the subsequent return of Raven.

The first story arc, “Child’s Play,” put the new team through their paces as their old for Deathstroke set out to kill them. The team soon learned that Deathstroke was being possessed by his son, Jericho, and old Titan long thought dead. Jericho was insane and wanted to stop the team from reforming, hoping to prevent more deaths like his own. The series succeeded in pleasing fans of all eras with its mix of old and new characters to the foreground, making the reader feel empathy toward the teenage heroes. It wasn’t long before the Teen Titans was one of DC’s best-selling titles again.

The next generation of Teen Titans by Mike McKone.

Geoff Johns on Kid Flash
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: Now, your Titans contained a mix of old and new Titans. What sort of dynamic were you shooting for there?

GJ: Well, I looked at the original – what George and Marv did – and they had a reverse pardigm, kind of. They had the old standbys – Wonder Girl, Robin, and Kid Flash – and then they brought in the new characters Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy, who was established already as a Doom Patrol sidekick, and they made him Changeling.

And from that, I kind of saw it as, “If this is the next generation, Nightwing, Donna and Flash had already gone off on their way, and we want to make this the Teen Titans,” so I would bring in Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy as the old guard, and the new guard would be Superboy, Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash.

[…]

TTC: I want to talk now about Bart’s transition from Impulse to Kid Flash. Why not just leave him as Impulse?

GJ: Because I felt that his transformation – where we were going to take him – [was,] again, going from junior high to high school. I also wanted to make another statement that this is not Young Justice. This is not a funny book. It’s a fun book; it’s not a funny book, so that’s why we kneecapped him at the end of issue two. Issue three and four, he starts to reconsider himself and what he did, and what he’s all about, and he reads the library, and comes back as Kid Flash.

[It’s] a symbol of him saying, “I’m gonna grow up. It’s time to take the next step,”and so for us, it was always a process that we wanted to get to, an idea we wanted to get to. Plus, again, visually we wanted to make it different than Young Justice.

TTC: As the Flash writer, how involved were you with what happened to the character over in Impulse?

GJ: Not at all.

TTC: Do you think you handled him differently in Titans than you did in Flash?

GJ: If you look back at Bart’s early appearances [in Flash], we wrote him much in line with Impulse, and then when I made him Kid Flash, I tried, again, [to take him] into the next stage of his evolution.

TT

A Kid Flash commission by Scott Kolins.

TT

 Creators On Bart Allen


Mark Waid, Flash and Impulse Writer: “We didn’t want to call him “Kid Flash” because it sounded a little corny, and I still think it sounds a little corny. “Impulse” is the perfect confluence of a character’s name, his powers, and his personality, all in one word. And once we had the name—and I can’t swear it wasn’t Kurt Busiek’s suggestion— it completely summed up the character. Thought to deed in one motion without all those pesky synapses getting in the way.”

Geoff Johns, Flash and Teen Titans Writer: “Impulse – The Fastest Boy Alive, latest in the legacy of the Flash Bart Allen is a really, fun character — who others see as a joker or impulsive airhead. They under-estimate him. Big time. Bart probably has more emotions invested in his teammates than anyone else on the Titans. He actually cares, and thinks more about others than himself. But he’s also written off by the others quicker than even he can say ‘IMPULSE.’ We’ll see how he handles the challenges ahead.”

 

 


Sources for this entry: DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


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