DC Is Finally Admitting It Robbed One Flash of the Relevance He Deserved

When it comes to superhero teams, the Flash has a reputation for being the group’s jokester. This was especially the case when Wally West joined the League as a younger and more upbeat version of the character. This is no different with Bart Allen, A.K.A. Impulse, in Young Justice. Arguably, Bart has had the worst treatment in DC Comics, never receiving the respect he deserves.

So far, the Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths event has sent dozens of heroes into alternate, ‘perfect’ realities. Included in those numbers are Superboy, Robin and Impulse, who get sent to a nostalgic, ’90s-themed world, reminiscent of their days together as Young Justice. In this reality, they’re never replaced as sidekicks, and even better, they’re destined to become the next Superman, Batman and Flash. They never quite have enough time to investigate the “too good to be true'”nature of their situation, as they’re tossed from one fight to the next. Of the trio, Impulse is the most suspicious of their new reality.

In Dark Crisis: Young Justice #3, by Meghan Fitzmartin, Laura Braga and Luis Guerrero, tensions rise between the Young Justice boys as they face off against old foes who have had a major impact on each of their lives. Interestingly enough, Bart is the only one to voice his concern, recognizing that the interruption is likely yet another trick this world is pulling on them. Too absorbed in the situation, Robin and Superboy dismiss him. Impulse’s inevitable refusal to finish things with Deathstroke results in a fight between him and Superboy. When Impulse attempts to explain his hypothesis that Cassie is controlling this reality, Superboy becomes defensive and even Robin is hesitant to make a judgement just yet, stating that they need “more data.” This only makes Impulse even more upset, his resentment boiling over as he finally snaps at his friends: “That’s it, isn’t it… You’ll listen to each other. You just won’t listen to me. You never have.”

Despite all they’ve been through as friends, the experiences of Young Justice in Dark Crisis continue to demonstrate just how little the group understands each other—only amplified by their separation. In issue #2, even Wally West cracks a joke about Bart always goofing around, not taking him seriously when his successor tries to ask about what’s going on. Just like all the Flashes, Bart Allen is a scientist at his core; he’s a believer in facts and evidence, recognizing patterns that many others don’t see—and not just because he has super speed. While Tim might be better known as the detective in Young Justice, this often means Bart is overlooked and simply typecast as the ‘class clown’. Impulse has never been given the credit he deserves as a serious hero, despite having previously sacrificed himself (just as Superboy had), and even saved the universe.

Fortunately, Bart’s outburst makes things finally click for his friends, and they eventually learn to reject the reality they’ve been flung into. However, that doesn’t excuse the damage that’s been done. DC has finally admitted that Impulse deserves more recognition, not just as a Flash but a great hero in his own right.

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