Impulse #1 (April, 1995)
“The Single Synapse Theory”
Writer – Mark Waid
Pencils – Humberto Ramos
Inks – Wayne Faucher
Colors – Tom McCraw
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Assistant Editor – Alisande Morales
Associate Editor – Ruben Diaz
Editor – Brian Augustyn
Cover Price: $1.50
Today we’re going to wrap up the Young Justice “Trinity” (I think they’re kinda timely right now, no?). After chatting up both Superboy #1 and Robin #1, we’re finally going to be taking a look at the first issue of Impulse.
If you’d like to check out the other discussions, just click’em the covers.
We open just outside Manchester, Alabama… where a missile is being tested. What those testing it do not realize is that Alabama’s latest (only) speedster is having himself a little run just before heading in for his first day of school. The missile locks onto Impulse… and he takes it on a bit of a chase, before it finally strikes its intended target… a strange hovercraft. They erratic path the missile has taken does not go unnoticed by the crew.
Next we see Bart, he’s stomping the halls of… I dunno, Manchester High School, I guess. It’s here we see a fair amount of cringy teen-speak, which kinda takes the wind out of my sails that “cringy teen-speak” is a relatively new phenomenon in comics.
Bart heads into his classroom, where he does that whole “stand in front of the class and introduce yourself” thing, that I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually seen in real life. He doesn’t say much, and just takes his seat. It isn’t long before he’s zoning out during a history lesson. This doesn’t go unnoticed either.
The teacher grills Bart on everything she’d just discussed… and, he’s able to recount everything down to the tiniest detail. She takes this as “sass”, and decides to use it in order to punish the entire class. Now they all have to write their own “personal histories”.
And so, Bart quickly learns how to write (no foolin’) and gets right down to it. Gotta say, this is a pretty creative way to dump exposition. His story starts with his grandparents, Barry and Iris… who “retired” to the far-flung 30th Century following the Trial of the Flash. There, they had children… who grew up and had children of their own, including… our boy Bart!
Bart grew up in a virtual reality dealie, and aged at an accelerated pace. To save him from dying of old age in only a handful of years, Bart was sent back to the present… where he met the current Flash, Wally West… even fought alongside him! He’d be given “identity papers” and sent to Alabama to live with the Golden Age speedster, Max Mercury.
After school, Bart shows Max his biography… which gets summarily torn up. Ya see, the whole point of this was to keep the Flash family secrets quiet. If Bart goes blabbin’ in his biography… that’d kinda put the kibosh on that.
Bart unpacks the house while Max reads the paper. He learns about that experimental hovertank… which is set to be demo’ed that Saturday. Bart finds that curious, as he recalls overhearing that the missile had to be “dead on”… for Saturday. He runs off while Max… continues to read the paper.
Back at the Mesa, the “missile guys” slow down the tape of their earlier attempt… and get a good look at what caused the morning missile to go all cattywampus… Impulse!
Speaking of Impulse, he’s heading back over. He is snagged by a pair of geeks, but manages to get away… running right into a darkened room where he finds himself staring down a whole lotta gun-barrels.
Not a bad way to launch a series. Not exactly the highest of stakes… but they don’t always need to be, right? The threat here is really just a backdrop for Bart’s acclimating to his new environment, and that’s fair enough.
I definitely appreciated the creative way the Bart Allen history was presented here. Not a straightforward “info-dump”, but a story told in Bart’s own words… just moments after learning how to write, so there again too, we get to see Bart “grow”. My only complaint about this is… the cursive handwriting was a bit difficult to read. I suppose, being that these are the first words Bart’s written, it makes sense… but, I gotta say… I’d have much preferred being able to read these captions without squinting, or pressing my face into the page.
The interaction between Bart and Max felt… I suppose “right”. These two were just kinda shoved together, and it makes sense that they wouldn’t automatically feel like family. It also gives the two some room to grow together… which they will.
The art here comes from a young Humberto Ramos… and his style, even in 1995, really compliments the frenetic Impulse character. Outside of Wieringo, Ramos is who I most associate with Impulse… and I really dig what he brings.
Overall… this might not rock your socks, but I think there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Couldn’t tell ya whether or not the upcoming Wonder Comics Imprint Young Justice will feature this Impulse… but, it wouldn’t hurtcha to become acquainted with this fella. This issue is available digitally… for a buck!
(Not the) Letters Page: