The Flash’s sidekick breaks out on his own (because they really kind of can’t stand one another for long periods of time.)  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Impulse #1 awaits!

impulse1coverIMPULSE #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Tom McCraw
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $1.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $6.00

Previously in Impulse: Barry Allen is dead, sacrificing himself to defeat the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis On Infinite Earths.  Before he did that, though, he spent some time in the 30th Century, native time of his wife Iris Allen, wherein their quality time led to super-speed-empowered twins.  Those children went on to have children of their own, centuries after their dad died.  One of those kids, Bart Allen, had a slight issue with his super-speed: It caused him to age much faster than normal.  Sending him back in time, his mother was able to save his life, but stranded Bart in the world of The Now (circa 1995.)  Having grown up in a virtual reality setting, Bart is ill-equipped to deal with 20th Century life, and as such, has been sent to Manchester, Alabama, to learn how to be a normal human with Max Mercury, the zen master of speed…


It’s going… haltingly?  The current Flash, Wally West, has given his blessing to this down-home experiment, especially since it means that he and Bart won’t be taxing each other’s limited patience.  None of them could have predicted that, on his first day, Bart would encounter a strange vibration-seeking missile.  Fortunately, his video game experience has taught him everything he needs to know about such attacks…


Having safely disposed of the warhead, Impulse suddenly realizes that he has places to be.  It’s an appointment so urgent, he doesn’t even ask himself why in the world someone was testing such a missile in the first place…


While that question sloooowly starts to form in the back of Bart’s ever-racing mind, he makes his way to Manchester High School, where he deals with the most terrifying thing in his short heroic career: Ninth Grade!


Unaccustomed to talking to people, except to pick up random VR quests, Bart is both ill-prepared AND disinterested in middle-school matriculation, having no idea how to use a conventional 20th century pen and paper.  One of his classmates gives him advice on how to navigate that particular strait, but Bart’s interpersonal skills are no more impressive to kids than to his new teacher…


Bart’s disinterest gets him in trouble (combined with his powerful short-term memory and unfamiliarity with the term “back-talking”, leading to the whole class getting tasked with writing their own autobiography.  Bart takes the whole thing literaly, starting out by explaining the lineage of The Flash…


It’s actually a lovely bit of writing, allowing Bart to tell his story to date in first-person, bringing any new readers who just picked up the #1 without being a regular ‘Flash’ reader to find out all about the littlest speedster.  It also gives us an insight into his character, as Bart clearly believes that Wally is kind of a jerkface, something that we didn’t get as much of in Flash’s own book.  Of course, Max Mercury isn’t having ANY of Bart’s candor…


Max intends to teach Impulse how to live at regular speed, posing as his uncle Max Crandall, and creating a normal life for them.  Note how that second panel also illustrates that Ramos draws EVERYONE with massive feet, which is why I dislike subsequent artists who decide that Impulse actually has giant feet like a baby Great Dane.  It’s an artistic choice, people!  On that same not, Ramos and Faucher works really well together, balancing his freeform, wild anatomy with strong storytelling that holds the whole thing together.  In short, this is excellent Ramos art.

Max questions Bart on what he did today, and when he responds, Max puts together what his young ward could not…


It’s actually a clever use of Max as casual mentor character, underlining how good he is at dealing with people after decades of super-speedery.  (Back in the old days of Quality Comics, he went by the name Quicksilver, and was one of the more mysterious mystery men of the Golden Age.)  With Max finally firing his neurons to wonder the right things, Impulse takes off to investigate.  He is not greeted warmly…


Can one fourteen-year-old boy take down full-grown security guards?


You have to ask?  When it comes to action, Impulse has few equals, never holds back and has absolutely no better judgement.  This become important as he sneaks further into the complex…


I’m not telling whether or not he survives the experience, but bear in mind that the book goes another 88 issues, so you can guess for yourself.  (Also: It doesn’t seem like Max would send him out without keeping an eye on him, does it?)  All in all, though, Impulse #1 is a very well-done first issue, giving us the Cliff Notes version of his entire history without feeling like an awkward introdump, with Ramos at the top of his game and Waid writing at his usual level of excellence, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  There’s a reason why he is one of DC’s most beloved non-Kyle Rayner 90s characters, after all…



Setting up the status quo that Stephen loves, with a little tough-love, some explodey and well-done Ramos art...

User Rating: 3.6 ( 1 votes)

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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