By: Peter David (story)
The Story: It’s like Back to the Future, except without the awkward mom-and-son sexual tension.
The Review: Every time David comes on board as a guest writer, he ends up incorporating some aspect of his Young Justice run into the series—which is fine by me, as that can only boost its credibility in my eyes. Besides introducing Harm and Secret, he put in probably the biggest effort to develop Artemis’ character (which I suspect is his way of writing an Arrowette story without actually having Arrowette in existence) and Red Tornado’s, both staples of his run.
In this episode, David gets the chance to use yet another staple of his Young Justice run, the incorrigible Bart Allen, better known as Impulse (and the current comics-version of Kid Flash). Although he matured a great deal in DC’s previous continuity of things, at one point becoming a literal adult, from the moment he appears in the YJers lives here, he’s every bit the hyperactive, enthusiastic, and happy-go-lucky lad his character was originally conceived to be—which means you’re just as inclined to be as exasperated by him as you are fond of him.
That said, he’s such an affectionate, good-natured lad, treating the YJers with respect and doling out bear hugs to his ancestors-to-be, that it’s easy to overlook his flaws, much like everyone else does. Naturally, the kid works his charm fast; despite Barry Allen’s protests, he and the rest of his family quickly learn to trust and respect Bart, which leads to a pretty enjoyable Flash-centric episode. By the time the story ends, pretty much every generation of speedster gets some time in (although the detail-oriented will point out the absence of Max Mercury and the Tornado Twins).
There’s one point that pops up a few times during the episode which may give cause for some consternation. Wally West fans are rightfully disturbed that their favorite Flash has seemingly gotten the boot in the DC relaunch, reduced to a non-canon appearances on Cartoon Network. With Kid Flash semi-out-of-the-picture this season, fans can’t be too happy about Bart coming in as his full-time replacement, nor can they be too pleased about the constant riffs on Wally’s inferiority to the Allens in terms of speediness.
It makes you wonder where the writers plan to take his character in the future, or what his place will be in the Flash family line. We are, after all, working with a pretty young universe, with the Justice League looking just shy of their middle ages. Barry could easily keep the Flash name up until his own children (including Bart’s dad) are about Wally’s age now. Would that make Wally a mere placeholder until the Allen twins grow up, I wonder?
But then, we have no idea if Barry’s parents ever actually do become the Tornado Twins in this continuity. David has always paid great respect to the show’s tone and goals, and he manages to have his cake and eat it too by portraying Bart’s ultra-casual, energetic demeanor as a cover-up for a youth who has experienced a much more troubled future. Bart’s presence thus represents a warning of the grim fate facing the world should the Light succeed; his knowledge of “the Mode” and “meta-genes,” and their importance to the Light’s plans, will no doubt prove critical to Young Justice managing to avoid such a fate.
Conclusion: Yet another character and another new wrinkle to the big storyline. It just seems like this show keeps getting bigger and bigger, which can only give more opportunity for greatness, after all.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – Impulse questions Kid Flash on why Roy is the one called Speedy. Finally! It’s been said!
– Impulse is also the one to question Barry’s pet catchphrase: “‘Back in a flash?’ Does he say that often?” “Too often,” reply the family in unison.