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Impulse is an identity shared by three comic book superheroes published by DC Comics.

Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) 13 (October 1990)
Characters Kent Shakespeare
Bart Allen
Iris West
See also Flash
Kid Flash
Series publication information
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Publication date April 1995 – October 2002
Number of issues 90, 2 annual
Main character(s) Bart Allen


Publication historyEdit

Kent Shakespeare was the first DC Comics superhero known as Impulse, he debuted in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 4 #12 (October 1990). Bart Allen is the second DC Comics superhero known as Impulse, he debuted in Flash vol. 2 #92 (June 1994). Iris West is the third superhero known as Impulse, she debuted in Flash vol.2 #225 (October 2005)

Fictional character biographyEdit

Kent ShakespeareEdit

Richard Kent Shakespeare was revealed to have used the codename in a flashback sequence in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 4 #53.[1][2]

Bart AllenEdit

Suffering from a hyper-accelerated metabolism, Bart Allen was aging at a faster rate than that of any human being thus causing him to appear the physical age of twelve when he was chronologically, and mentally only two years old. To prevent him from developing mental health problems, he was raised in a virtual reality machine which created a simulated world that kept pace with his own scale of time. When it became clear that this method was not helping, his grandmother, Iris Allen, took him back in time to the present where The Flash, Wally West, tricked Bart into a race around the world. By forcing Bart into an extreme burst of speed, Wally managed to shock his hyper-metabolism back to normal.[3] Because he had spent the majority of his childhood in a simulated world, Bart had no concept of danger and was prone to leaping before he looked. The youth proved to be more trouble than Wally could handle, and he was pawned off onto retired superhero speedster Max Mercury, who moved Bart to Manchester, Alabama. In Impulse #50, it was revealed that Batman actually named Bart "Impulse" as a warning, not a compliment.

Iris WestEdit

Iris West discovered that she and her brother were sharing access to the Speed Force, and decided to end that symbiotic relationship, taking all the power into herself. Jesse Chambers, guided by the late Johnny Quick, uses her Speed formula to save Iris' life. Iris embraces her new role, choosing to take up the mantle of Impulse, which Bart used before he joined the Teen Titans as Kid Flash.[4]

In other mediaEdit

The Bart Allen version of Impulse is depicted in the live action series Smallville (played by Kyle Gallner) as well as the animated series Young Justice (voiced by Jason Marsden).


  1. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 2) Annual #3 (1984)
  2. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #53 (January 1994)
  3. ^ Flash (vol. 2) #92 (July 1994)
  4. ^ Flash: Rebirth #5 (January 2010)

External linksEdit