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Series Index: Impulse v1

Impulse #1 [1995] to Impulse #89 [2002]

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 was first introduced in Flash #91-94 (1994) where he came to the present with his grandmother, Iris Allen. Wally decided to try and train Bart, despite his frustrations at the impetuous teenager. In Flash #95, Bart is bestowed the apropos code-name “Impulse.” Bart aided Wally in defeating Kobra’s attempted control of Central City and began to act a bit more responsibly (Flash #96-100).

Impulse was a breakout character and soon plans were being made for an ongoing series with Impulse #1 in 1995. Creator Mark Waid crafted a new status quo for the young hero, and was joined by rising artist Humberto Ramos. Bart moved to Manchester, Alabama with Max Mercury (posing as Max’s nephew), who became the boy’s mentor and father figure. Slowly and arduously, Max worked at making Bart consider his actions carefully before acting so… impulsively.

The series was more fun and free-wheeling than your typical DC action-adventure book. Waid infused Bart with a naive sense of wonder and boundless imagination. Ramos’ distinctive style gave Impulse a unique look; his wild hair, big feet and slightly-magna inspired look became the template which other artists would follow. Visually, Bart’s thoughts were often represented as objects, something that gave the character a unique signature.

Ramos soon left the book to pursue new projects with Impulse #25. Craig Rousseau became the new artist – and while he kept the same style Ramos had established, Rousseau added his own flair to the book as well. Waid wrote the book for twenty-seven issues before he handed writing chores to William Messner-Loebs with Impulse #29. Loebs and Rousseau continued to tell the type of stories that Waid and Ramos has established in their run.

Impulse #50 featured a never-before-revealed meeting between Bart and the Dark Knight, an adventure in which they join forces to stop the Joker. This issue would usher in a completely new creative team. Todd Dezago assumed the writing chores while Ethan Van Skiver began as artist on the title. Dezago and Skiver introduced one of Bart’s worst adversaries: the methodical teen speedster from the future known as Inertia.

But Impulse faced the worst adversary of all over the next 20-or-so issues: sagging sales. Rumors of cancellation plagued the book.

“Yes, sadly, Impulse has been canceled,” DeZago confirmed to his online forum. “After seven plus years of (what was s’posed to be) fast-paced fun, DC has decided that the sales on the book just aren’t cutting it. Truly, the book has been in jeopardy ever since I took over as regular writer back at issue 50 – at least that’s what I’d always been told.”

“I am, of course, very disappointed by this decision, especially since I feel that I never really had the chance to tell the stories I wanted to tell with everybody’s favorite little speedster. When I first came on the book I was promised that I would be able to have fun with Impulse, turning the book into the upside down superhero sitcom that Mark [Waid] had originally created it to be. Before I could write my first issue, however, a new Editor was assigned to Impulse and it quickly became apparent to me that, while I had wanted to do a humor book about a superhero, DC Editorial saw Impulse more as (yet another) superhero book with a little humor. Limited to that format, I feel that we never really had a chance to take Impulse to the level of fun that I feel would’ve given the book that uniqueness a comic needs to survive in this current market. The saddest part of all though is that I will really miss Impulse. I have always had a special place in my heart for the little guy and, though not what I’d have liked to have done, I’ve enjoyed a few of the stories we’ve done together.”

Series Index:
Impulse #1-89
Impulse Annual #1-2
Impulse Plus Grossout #1
Impulse/Atom Double-Shot #1
Impulse: Bart Saves The Universe #1
Impulse 1,000,000 #1

Crossover Index:
Flash #91-94: “Reckless Youth” First appearance of Impulse in issue #91. First full appearance in issue #92.
Flash #96-100: “Terminal Velocity” Wally chooses Bart as his successor.
Flash #108-110: “Dead Heat” Crossover.
JLA: World Without Grown-Ups #1-2
New Titans #0, 115-126, Annual #11
Young Justice #44-45, Robin #101, Superboy #99: “World Without Young Justice” Crossover
Secret Origins 80 page Giant #1 (featuring Young Justice)
Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1-2
Young Justice: Sins of Youth Secret Files
Sins of Youth: Kid Flash/Impulse #1

Key Issues and Storylines:
Impulse #1: Bart settles into Manchester with Max Mercury
Impulse #10,11; Flash #108-110: “Dead Heat” Savitar attacks the speedsters.
Impulse #16: The origin of Max Mercury.
Impulse #23-25: Bart’s mother brings him back to the future.
Impulse #28: Impulse meets Arrowette.
Impulse #52-53: First full appearance of Inertia. Inertia seeks revenge against Impulse in the name of the Thawnes.
Impulse #62–66: Inertia poses as Bart in an elaborate plan to exact his final revenge.

Notable Creative Runs:
Mark Waid, Writer: Impulse #1-27
William Messner-Loebs, Writer: Impulse #29-49
Todd Dezago, Writer: Impulse #50-89
Humberto Ramos, Artist: Impulse #1-25
Craig Rousseau, Artist: Impulse #29-49
Ethan Van Skiver, Artist: Impulse #50-69
Carlo Barberi, Artist: Impulse #70-89


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