Bartholomew Henry “Bart” Allen II (Impulse)

In the last episode of The FlashCause and Effect, things get awry as, when Cisco and Julian try to prevent Barry from storing any new memory not to give any advantage to Savitar, the hero ends up losing all his memories. Amnesiac, as soon as he reads his documents he demands to be called “Bart” rather than “Barry”, thus making a reference to another speedster from the comics, who’s actually Barry’s grandchild. Barty already appeared in Smallville, making his debut in Season 4 episode Run, where he’s introduced as a teenager even faster than Clark Kent, who does pretty much what he wants with his speed, until he changes his ways thanks to Clark. Always portrayed by Kyle Gallner, he comes back in Season 6 and 8 as a member of the team gathered by Green Arrow, and he’s nicknamed Impulse by his teammates because of his impulsive nature. Now, waiting to see if Impulse will actually make an appearance in The Flash as well, let’s take a look at the original one.

Bartholomew Henry Allen II was born in the XXX Century of Earth-247, a reality different from his parents’ one: his father, in fact, was Don Allen, a hero from the Tornado Twins and the son of Barry Allen aka The Flash and his wife Iris West-Allen, while his mother was Meloni Thawne, a descendant of supervillains Malcolm “Cobalt Blue” Thawne and Eobard “Professor Zoom” Thawne. Bart represented the union of two families that had been rivals for centuries (even more, considering time paradoxes and what they do to timelines), but not everyone was happy with this: first of all, President Thaddeus Thawne, Bart’s grandfather, and last but not least Professor Zoom himself, who traveled in time to prevent the pacification between Thawnes and Allens. It was while escaping from Zoom with his father’s Cosmic Threadmill that Don Allen brought his family to the future, hiding from their nemesis. Just as his father and his grandfather, Bart possessed superspeed since his birth, but this in him had quite a grave and unexpected side-effect: his metabolism, in fact, was extremely accelerated, and he grew up much quicker than anybody else. When he was two years old, his body was already the one of a twelve years old boy. Before his parents could do anything about it, however, Earthgov hardened its policy on metahumans, who had always been persecuted by President Thawne, and had both the Tornado Twins, Don and Dawn, arrested and executed. Earthgov’s scientists realized how peculiar Don’s son was, so they took him from his mother to study him. In order to prevent the baby/boy to develop mental illness due to his accelerated growth, the scientists created a virtual reality in which he could “catch up” with the lost years, making his mind grew up as fast as his body, but this didn’t make anything for the main problem: Bart would have soon died of old age if not helped. It was Bart’s grandmother, Iris, who eventually took the matter in her own hands and kidnapped her grandchild from the facility, sending him back to the past (her present). In here, she asked Wally West, who was the new Flash, for help.

Flash forced Bart to maximum speed, thus shocking his accelerated metabolism and bringing it back to normal, stopping the hyper-growth. Now, however, Wally had to take care of a hyperactive kid who, having grown into a virtual reality, had no sense of danger at all, and did everything before even thinking about it. During an adventure against Kobra, during which Bart accompanied Flash, it became clear that the boy could be a great hero, but also that he was too much for Wally to handle alone: Bart was entrusted to Max Mercury, another speedster and a retired superhero, who could dedicate all his time to taking care of the pesky brat. Bart moved with him in ManchesterAlabama, where he both attended Manchester Junior High, where he met his new best friend Carol Bucklen, and trained in super-speed with Mercury. He even met other superheroes, and on one occasion Batman called him “Impulse”, due to his habit of acting before thinking: Bart at first took it as a compliment, but the Dark Knight clarified it was a warning. The name, however, remained, and Impulse soon started working with two other teenager superheroes, Robin and Superboy; along with them, he founded Young Justice, a juvenile version of the Justice League. Impulse proved to be quite an asset for the young team as, after saving a rich man’s castle, he had as a reward a functioning spaceship, that became one of the best resources at Young Justice’s disposal for a time. Between an adventure and the other, Bart’s mother finally made it to New Earth to take her son back to the future with her; arrived in the XXX Century along with Meloni, Impulse found out he was a wanted man in Earth-247, as his grandfather still held a grudge against the Allens and had put him in the most-wanted list. In order to protect her son, Meloni agreed “to become a Thawne again”, and remained with her father, sending Bart back to the past, where his friends were waiting for him, the two of them being separated forever. Shortly after being back, Bart suffered the loss of his mentor as Max Mercury was trapped in the Speed Force by The Rival: another speedster, Jay Garrick, took him in, taking care of him along with his wife Joan. Everything considered, Bart could always count on a family, in his adoptive dimension.

Bart Allen is an enthusiastic and light-hearted boy, with all the recklessness and the zest for life of his age; inexperienced in social relationship and with no sense of danger, he’s quite a menace for himself and others when he acts before thinking, which happens most of the times. As Impulse, he’s a speedster that takes from the Speed Force a variety of powers, the first being an extreme speed that allows him to reach unthinkable velocity; he also possesses accelerated healing, enhanced senses and durability, the ability to phase through solid objects and to create bolts of electricity once he reaches the proper speed, and the unique power of creating “clones” of himself by disrupting time, absorbing all the copies’ memories once they return to him. A little baby in the body of a teenager, Impulse is as selfless and altruistic as he can be, always ready to help anybody… only, planning just isn’t his thing.



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