Other Aliases Impulse, Flash
Known Relatives: Barry Allen (grandfather), Iris West Allen (grandmother), Don Allen (father), Meloni Thawne (mother), President Thawne (grandfather), Dawn Allen (aunt), Jenni Ognats (cousin), Wally West (cousin), Thaddeus Thawne (clone), Owen Mercer (half-brother), Max Crandall (guardian)
Base of Operations: Los Angeles, California (previously Manchester, Alabama, briefly Denver, Colorado, then Keystone City, Kansas)
Occupation: Police trainee
Past Group Affiliations: Young Justice, New Titans, Teen Titans
First Appearance: (as Impulse) Flash v.2 #91 (June 1994)* (as Kid Flash) Teen Titans v.3 #4 (December 2003)
Created by: Mark Waid & Mike Wieringo
Origin: 2980 (born 2980)
Identity: Secret until just before his death
Death: Killed by the Rogues (Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, 2007)
Resurrection: Restored by the Legion of Super-Heroes in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds (2008–2009)
See Also: The Flash on Smallville
Grandson of Barry Allen, the second Flash, Bart Allen has been forced to grow up fast—literally. He initially became the teen hero Impulse, mentored by Max Mercury. He was later taken in by the original Flash, Jay Garrick and his wife Joan. Not long after, Bart took on the costume of Kid Flash, spending time with the Teen Titans. Bart disappeared during Infinite Crisis and reappeared four years older, taking up the mantle of the Flash until he was killed by the Rogues. Restored to life by the Legion of Super-Heroes, Bart is once again the fastest teen alive.
Bart inherited super-speed from his grandfather, Barry Allen, but his hyperaccelerated metabolism resulted in an accelerated growth rate. To keep him from going insane, scientists placed him in a virtual reality that kept pace with his own scale of time. Eventually it became clear that their efforts were not helping, so Bart’s grandmother Iris took him to the 20th Century to consult her nephew, Wally West. Wally knew from experience the practicalities of super-speed in the field, unlike the scientists who had only observed it in the laboratory. Wally forced Bart into an extreme burst of speed that shocked his system into normalcy—he retained his speed, but his accelerated growth rate dropped to normal.
Because of Bart’s childhood in VR, he had no concept of danger and rarely thought ahead, acting completely on impulse. This earned him his nickname (Batman called it a “warning”—see Who Named Impulse?). Wally wasn’t suited to be a mentor, so Max Mercury became Bart’s guardian and trainer. They moved to Manchester, Alabama, where bart attended middle school, made friends, and (of course) fought super-criminals as Impulse.
Bart is also something of a time anomaly. Though his parents only met in post-Zero Hour continuity, he arrived in the present day before the event hit. He has since displayed immunity to time alterations; he weathered Extant’s manipulations of the timeline (Impulse: Bart Saves the Universe, 1999) and remembered Linda Park even after her disappearance (Impulse #1,000,000, 1998 & Flash #152, 1999). Even worse, the 31st century he knows no longer exists. (Teen Titans/Legion Special, 2004).
During a trip to the 31st Century (Impulse #75, 2001; see Dark Tomorrow), Bart was blasted by an experimental hyper-ray intended to give ordinary people super-speed. Instead it gave him the ability to create “scouts,”** energy-like avatars of himself which he could then send through the timestream, then absorb their memories when they returned. After one of his scouts was killed on Apokolips (Impulse #77) and the psychic feedback sent him into shock, he was extremely reluctant to use his new power.
Bart has used it only twice since then: once, unwillingly, when the genie Bedlam used his scouts to create a “World Without Young Justice” (Young Justice #44–45, Impulse #85, etc., 2002), and later to rescue his mother and his friend Carol from the 63rd Century. In light of later events, it is extremely likely that Bart no longer has this ability.
Max disappeared, and Bart moved to Keystone City to live with Jay and Joan Garrick. After a series of traumas—Carol’s and Max’s disappearances, Bart’s near-death experience on Apokolips, the deaths of Lilith and Troia and dissolution of the Titans and Young Justice, and finally being shot in the knee by Deathstroke—Bart decided to reinvent himself. He read every book in the San Francisco public library, and wove together a new costume, calling himself not Impulse, but Kid Flash (Teen Titans #1–5, 2003).
When Bart, Wally and Jay attempted to trap the murderous Superboy-Prime in the Speed Force, Bart found himself facing a monster alone. Jay fell behind, and Wally was pulled out of this reality. Bart managed to force Superboy-Prime as far as the edge of the speed force, at which point the heroes trapped there—Barry, Max, and Johnny Quick—took over, pulling Superboy inside.
The Flashes held Superboy imprisoned in the speed force for years until he escaped. Bart followed, and spent four years in an alternate world. When Superboy escaped, Bart pursued, the time difference between dimensions bringing in back only hours or days after he left. To the rest of the world, he aged four years in an eyeblink (Infinite Crisis, 2006). After the battle, he claimed he had used up the last of his speed, leaving him powerless.
Flash: One Year Later
Suddenly older than his friends, unable to remember his missing years, and harboring a secret—that the speed force was still around, and threatened to overwhelm him—Bart set about creating a normal, mundane life for himself. He got a job as a factory worker at Keystone Motors and tried to leave super-heroics behind him...but it’s difficult to walk away from that kind of life, no matter how fast you run.
When his roommate gained super-powers and became the Griffin, Bart was forced to accept his legacy. He discovered that he had absorbed the speed force, and began learning how to control the power. Following in the footsteps of his cousin and grandfather, Bart Allen became the Flash. Not long after defeating the Griffin, the latest Flash moved to Los Angeles to start a new chapter in his life. As a civilian, Bart began training at the Los Angeles Police Academy, focusing on forensics.
Bart was tragically killed while battling the Rogues and Inertia. His clone had cut him off from the speed force, and several of the Rogues—particularly Captain Cold, Heat Wave and Weather Wizard—blasted him (Flash: TFMA #13, 2007). A public funeral service was held at a Keystone City stadium. The city shut down for the day. Jay Garrick, Cyborg, Robin and Wonder Girl spoke, and the Titans played a farewell video Bart had recorded after he was shot (Countdown #43, 2007).
The 31st Century Legion of Super-Heroes sent a team back in time to collect Bart's essence in a set of “lightning rods” later using them, along with multiple lightning-powered heroes and Bart's cousin XS on a cosmic treadmill to resurrect him. He returned once again a teenager, wearing his Kid Flash costume (Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #3, 2009).
Because of his accelerated growth and virtual-reality upbringing, Bart remained childlike when he first arrived in the present. While with the New Titans he briefly had a crush on Rose Wilson (Deathstroke’s daughter, who later became the Ravager), but it never went anywhere. During his time in Manchester he did eventually start a relationship with his best friend, Carol Bucklen, but forces beyond their control interrupted that before it really got started. Alternate futures have shown him romantically involved with both women: Carol in “Dark Tomorrow,” and Rose in “Titans Tomorrow.”
Bart’s first adult relationship was a brief fling with Valerie Perez, a former intern at STAR Labs. After a matter of weeks, she broke it off.
As Impulse, Bart joined the New Titans when the team was sponsored by Checkmate (1994–1996). After that team dissolved, he went on to be a founding member of Young Justice, staying with that group until it dissolved (1998–2003). He then accepted an invitation to join the new, training-focused Teen Titans (2003–2006). He changed his name and costume to Kid Flash while on a mission for this team, and he was a member until he disappeared in Infinite Crisis (2006).
Bart did not join any teams during his career as the Flash.
It has long been clear that Bart would succeed Wally as the fourth Flash. Here are glimpses of some other possible futures he could have had.
- Impulse transformed into an adult in “Young Justice: Sins of Youth.”
- An adult Impulse from “Dark Tomorrow.”
- Bart as the Flash from “Titans Tomorrow.”
At least one story, “Time and Tempest” has featured an adult Bart wearing essentially Wally’s costumeText by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Primary Sources
- Art Credits
- Profiles in Print
- Series Regular In...
- Legacy-Era Flash Appearances
- Legacy-Era Solo Appearances
- Crossovers and Guest Spots as Flash
- Crossovers and Guest Spots as Kid Flash
- Further Notes
- Related Commentary
- “Reckless Youth Chapter 1: Speed Kills” - Flash (second series) #92 (July 1994), Mark Waid
- Flash: Karl Kerschl’s gallery (Thanks to Karl Kerschl for allowing me to use the art and to Steve Doll for clearing the background)
- Unmasked: Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 (August 2006) - Ken Lashley and one of KWL Studio, Norm Rapmund, Marlo Alquiza or Jay Leisten.
- Scout: Impulse #77 (October 2001) - Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco
- Kid Flash: Teen Titans #4 (December 2003) - Mike McKone and Marlo Alquiza
- Impulse: Impulse #2 (May 1995) - Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher
- Adult Impulse 1: Sins of Youth: Kid Flash and Impulse (May 2000) Angel Unzueta and Jaime Mendoza
- Adult Impulse 2: Impulse #74 (July 2001) Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco
- Future Flash: Teen Titans v.3 #19 (February 2005) Mike McKone and Marlo Alquiza
- The Flash Secret Files #1 as Impulse (November 1997)
- Young Justice Secret Files #1 as Impulse (January 1999)
- Sins of Youth Secret Files #1 as Impulse (May 2000)
- Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003 as Impulse (December 2003)
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia as Kid Flash (2004)
- Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 as Kid Flash, under “Speed Force” (May 2010)
- The New Titans #0, 115–130 (1994–1996)
- Impulse (1995–2002)
- Young Justice (1999–2003)
- Teen Titans (third series) #1–32 (2003–2006)
- Flash: The Fastest Man Alive (2006–2007)
- Flash #92–94 (July–September 1994): “Reckless Youth,” Mark Waid
- Flash #95–100 (November 1994–April 1995): “Terminal Velocity”, Mark Waid
- Flash #101 (May 1995): “Going the Distance,” Mark Waid
- Flash #105 (September 1995): “Through a Glass, Darkly,” Mark Waid and Michael Jan Friedman
- Flash #109–111 & Impulse #10–11 (January–March 1996): “Dead Heat,” Mark Waid
- Flash #112 (April 1996): “Future Perfect,” Mark Waid
- Flash #131–132 (November–December 1997): “Emergency Stop Parts 2–3,” Grant Morrison and Mark Millar
- Flash #139–141 (July–September 1998): “The Black Flash,” Mark Millar
- Flash #142 (October 1998): “Get Me To The Church On Time,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #145–149 (February–June 1999): “Chain Lightning Parts 1–5” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999): “The Answer,” Mark J. Kiewlak
- Flash Annual #12 (1999): “The Apes of Wrath,” Brian Augustyn
- Flash #152–155, 157–159 (September 1999–April 2000): The Dark Flash Saga, Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #189 (October 2002): “Messengers,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #198–200 (July–September 2003): “Blitz” Parts 2–4, Geoff Johns
- Flash #208 (May 2004): “The Red Carpet,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #210 (July 2004): “Reconnected,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #214 (November 2004): “The Secret of Barry Allen, Part One,” Geoff Johns (cameo)
- Flash #223–225 (August–October 2005): “Rogue War, Chapters 4–6,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #227–230 (December 2005–March 2006): “Finish Line,” Joey Cavalieri
- Flash #235 (February 2008): “The Fast Life, Part 3: Bart,” Mark Waid & John Rogers (flashback as Impulse)
- Robin Plus Impulse (December 1996): “Dashing Through the Snow,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Impulse Plus Gross-Out (September 1997): “Speed Freak,” Len Kaminski
- Impulse/Atom Double-Shot (February 1998): “Roll Back,” Dan Jurgens
- Flash 80-Page Giant #1 (August 1998): “The 5,000 Rats of Bartholomew Allen,” Todd Dezago
- JLA: World Without Grown-Ups (August–September 1998): Todd Dezago
- Legends of the DC Universe #19 (August 1999): “Manchester Monkey Business,” Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt
- Impulse: Bart Saves the Universe (1999): Christopher Priest
- Various Young Justice and Teen Titans tie-ins
- DCU Infinite Holiday Special (February 2007): “Father Christmas,” Ian Boothby
- All-Flash #1 (September 2007): “Justice, Like Lightning,” Mark Waid
- Countdown #43 (July 4, 2007): “The Funeral,” Paul Dini with Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray (memorial, flashback as Kid Flash)
- Teen Titans v.3 #50 (October 2007): “Passage,” Sean McKeever (memorial)
- Teen Titans v.3 #50 (October 2007): “Friday Night Lights,” Geoff Johns (flashback as Kid Flash)
- Teen Titans v.3 #50–54 (October 2007–February 2008): “Titans of Tomorrow...Today!” Sean McKeever (future clone)
- DC Universe Halloween Special ’09 (December 2009): “Mirror Games,” Joe Harris
* The first hint that Barry Allen had a grandson came in a backup story in Legion of Super-Heroes #17 (April 1991) covering the pre-Zero Hour fate of the Tornado Twins (framed for treason and executed). A mention is made of Don’s son, Barry II. (See the notes on the Tornado Twins entry for more information.)