Base of Operations: Manchester, Alabama
First Appearance: Impulse #4
Carol Bucklen, an unusually bright middle school student, lives with her brother and sister in Manchester, Alabama, her parents having been killed in a collision with a drunk driver. Her older brother, Bobby, works at Manchester University to support his siblings.
Carol befriended Bart Allen shortly after he came to Manchester, though she initially had serious problems with him. He always seemed to be running off to do crazy things in what seemed to her to be bids for attention. And whenever he did something stupid, his excuse was even more inane. As they became friends, she kept trying to convince him he didn’t need to be a glory-hound, not realizing (at this point) that both his risk-taking and lame excuses were part of his secret superhero identity.
The turning point in Bart and Carol’s friendship came when Bobby was framed for stealing an artifact on display at the university. Carol found it in her brother’s briefcase, and, believing the worst, ran off with it to keep her brother from being found out and taken from them. Bart found her and helped her rediscover her faith and trust in her brother. The case was resolved, her brother exonerated, and from then on the two of them were the best of friends.
Carol is also the only one of Bart’s circle of friends who figured out his dual identity, something that even Preston, the other member of the trio, has yet to figure out. She and Bart have shared secrets, plans, even an accidental first kiss (followed immediately by hysterical laughter).
Eventually, Carol and Bart began to realize they felt more than friendship for each other. Just as their relationship was entering a new phase, Carol was snatched away....
With Max and Helen killed by madman Lucius Keller, Bart left for the 30th century to live with his only remaining relative, his mother. Carol went with him, becoming a cutting-edge biophysicist over the next decade. Hoping to use the speed force to extend and enhance life for everyone, she developed a ray that would grant anyone super speed. Earthgov President Thawne appropriated her incomplete research to produce super-speed soldiers, continuing even when further testing revealed that complete mental breakdown occurred in nearly all subjects. Thawne planned to expose the entire planet to the hyper-ray; in one stroke he would eliminate overpopulation and improve the quality of life for the survivors. Carol refused to be responsible for the deaths of billions of people, and set out to stop it.
Unable to prevent the slaughter, Carol worked with Meloni and the Russells to change her own history. Unable to stop the catalyst event by saving Max and Helen, they decided to abduct Carol’s younger self. This failed to change anything, and indeed Bart followed, and joined forces with the future Carol and Bart in trying to stop the destruction. They failed, and so the teen-aged Carol chose to go further into the future with Meloni, never to return. Ironically, Bart had, without realizing it, already sent avatars (a power he gained through exposure to Thawne’s hyper-ray) back in time to save Max and Helen, and Carol’s sacrifice was unnecessary.
Carol and Meloni had a number of adventures in the future before Bart finally found them, let them know the darkness had been averted, and brought her back. Carol returned to her family in Manchester. While she and Bart agreed to remain friends despite the distance (he was living in Denver at the time), it remains unclear whether they stayed in touch.Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- “Faith” and “Trust” - Impulse #14–15 (June–July 1996), Mark Waid
- “Dark Tomorrow” - Impulse #73–75 (June–August 2001), Todd Dezago
- At the door: Impulse #65 (October 2000) - Ethan Van Sciver with Barbara Kaalberg or Prentis Rollins
- Future Carol: Impulse #73 (June 2001) - Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco
- Robin Plus Impulse (December 1996): “Dashing Through the Snow,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Legends of the DC Universe #19 (August 1999): “Manchester Monkey Business,” Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt
- Regular in Impulse (1995–2002)