Cast of Characters:
  • Wally West, The Flash (Flash III)
  • Linda Park, investigative reporter - Wally's true love
  • Iris West Allen - Wally's aunt, and widow of the late Barry Allen (Flash II)
  • Bart Allen (Impulse) - you'll be learning all about his history in just a minute.

    FLASH #92 - "Reckless Youth, Chapter One: Speed Kills" w: Waid, a: Wieringo/Marzan.
    ===Linda, investigating cult activity in Keystone City, witnesses the horrific death of an informant. Later, as she helps Wally prepare to move into his new house, Wally learns she's been anonymously threatened. He's expressing his concern when suddenly a lightning-edged blur blazes past them, moving too fast for even Wally's super-fast vision to see. They brush it off, but as they walk into the darkened house, a familiar voice is heard - Wally's long-unseen Aunt Iris!

    Iris spins an amazing tale. Actually born in the 30th Century, she was sent to our time as an infant; eventually marrying Barry Allen - then the Flash - and dying at the hands of his enemy, the super-speed villain Professor Zoom. Because Iris' death technically occurred before her birth, her parents were able to retrieve her life-force and re-embody it. Back in the 30th Century, she spent a final month with Barry before his much-lamented death in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and during that month conceived the next generation of Allen speedsters - Don (Donald Wallace) and Dawn (Dawn Jae) Allen, the "Tornado Twins." The Allen twins gave their lives in the battle that repelled the invasion of the alien Dominators, but not before each had married and had a child. [Dawn's daughter, not mentioned in this story, is Legionnaire Jenni Ognats, codenamed XS.]

    Don's son, Bart, was born with full super-speed and was rescued from a Dominator lab by Earthgov, who moved him into their own lab and kept him in tight isolation. Bart, Iris explains, is burning himself up; his hyperfast metabolism can't shut down, and he's aging at incredible speed. Seeing that Earthgov seems uninterested in curing her grandson, Iris enlists her own parents in a scheme that breaks young Bart (two years old but looking about 12) out of the lab and takes him back in time to the one person she thinks can help him - Wally. But on the time-trip here, she lost her grip on him...and Wally suddenly identifies the lightning blur that passed him and Linda. While he sets up a tracking station, Iris further explains that Bart's isolation tank included a virtual reality environment that raised and "educated" him, but that except for her he's had no other human contact, and has never before been in the outside world of even the 30th Century, let alone our time.

    Wally finds a lead, takes off and tracks him to Spain, where the panicked Bart promptly attacks him...

    Comment: The stress on the word "Kid" on this cover and its alignment with the title are apparently designed to make one think that here is the new Kid Flash - the next generation of sidekicks. Not too likely. ..

    .

    FLASH #93 - "Reckless Youth, Chapter 2: Quick Study" w: Waid, a:Pacheco /Marzan & Branch. Above cast plus Argus and Piper (the former Flash villain Pied Piper, now reformed, though *ahem* not gone straight. =)
    ===Wally recognizes that Bart's physical problem has become acute: "Pupils are dilated, blood overoxygenated - he's got the world's worst case of runner's high." Never before having exercised his speed on anything but the equivalent of a hamster wheel, Bart is finding a full-throttle run over open terrain a bit more than he was ready for. He's got to stabilize before his hyperspeed metabolism runs him to death.

    Linda is attacked by a minion of the serpent cult and saved by Argus, who tells her the Clan wants her research notes - which she left at Wally's new house. She and Argus head there while she calls Piper on her cell phone and directs him to get there ASAP, armed.

    ==Meanwhile Wally, running at Bart's heels, comprehends what's happening to the kid: he, Wally, is the only other speedster to have gotten his powers while still a teen and to have experienced "what this does to a body not yet grown". --Bart "hits the wall", reaching the limit of his physical resources - he staggers, and Wally realizes he must be pushed past the limit without stopping or be killed by the sudden shock.

    Linda and Argus reach the house and are ambushed by serpent clan goons; Argus is knocked cold and both are saved by the timely arrival of Piper and his hypersonic bazooka. They barricade themselves inside with the anxious Iris.

    Wally gives Bart a shove over the line and things look scary --

    The serpent clan goons, now identified as working for Kobra, besiege the house and have Iris and Linda cornered when the speedsters arrive in the nick of time. The assassins are wrapped up and Wally confirms that Bart's power, having been cranked to 11, is now in a stabilized state. Kobra's lieutenant says they have Linda's notes and threatens to kill them all if she doesn't drop the story. Bart charges him just as he dematerializes, but instead of smearing himself on Wally's living room wall like a bug on a windshield, he disappears!...

    Piper in 1966 Piper now (yum!)

    Talk about your image makeovers!
    Left, Piper in his villain days (from FLASH #106, Sept. 1966);
    right, Piper today (from FLASH #93).
    Not bad, huh?


    FLASH #94 - "Reckless Youth, Chapter Three: Just Do It" w: Waid, a: Pacheco/Faucher & Marzan. Above cast plus classic Flash villain Abra Kadabra.
    ===Bart, having Barry's powers, just vibrated through the wall without consciously knowing how - and then collapsed. While Iris holds him up, Argus explains the danger of Kobra, a "cult leader and military tactician bent on global domination." Based solely in Asia and Europe up to now, he must have major reasons to move into Midwestern America. ==Back at the house, Iris and Wally talk about family and the weird flux in time [the oncoming Zero Hour] that affects her historical knowledge. Bart's already bored. =) Wally has his first misgivings about being appointed Bart's trainer, but Iris (with Linda's concurrence) points out just how much alike the two are...

    Wally, on Argus' lead, investigates the "old textile factory on Kanigher" =) and discovers it to be Kobra's HQ, disguised by a giant hologram and fitted to house an army. Wally is eavesdropping in secret when Bart, though forbidden to follow him, roars in and starts thrashing badguys. Wally, though admitting to himself that kicking butt is fun, is peeved that Bart blew his cover and destroyed his chance to hear Kobra's plans. Wally is pinned in a laser trap by Kadabra, who's not working for Kobra but couldn't pass up the chance to erase his old foe. However, before he can complete the job, the two are whisked off to Kadabra's native 64th Century...

    [Insert ZERO HOUR here. Sorry, I don't have copies to quote.]


    lightning bolt Here are my reviews of the dramatic "Terminal Velocity" arc, FLASH #96-100.

    And here are my summaries of Impulse's between-arc appearances in FLASH,
    and of the speedsters' war with Savitar, "Dead Heat", in FLASH and IMPULSE.