During my formative years, I actually had a favorite character. That favorite character? Bart Allen, aka Impulse. During Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos’ run with him, he became a well rounded and incredibly fun entry into the DC Universe, but since then he hasn’t been handled nearly as well (save an arc from Marc Guggenheim in which Bart was an adult). There had been a proposed ongoing that was scrapped, but these days you can’t really find him outside of Teen Titans. I say that’s not enough!
To me, I think there is a rather fitting but atypical team out there that could bring Bart back to his former glory. A team who can capture the bizarre and frenetic nature of him. A team that can imbue that same crazy with humanity and intelligence. That team? James Kochalka and RB Silva.
Find out why I think they’d be a perfect fit for a Kid Flash ongoing series after the jump.
When I was trying to think of a team to bring Bart Allen back to his former ongoing glory, these were the first two names I thought of as well as the names I kept going back to for massively different reasons.
First off, I’ll target the obvious fit: RB Silva.
For those that aren’t familiar with him as of yet, Silva has provided art recently on the creator owned work of Greg Pak – Vision Machine – as well as the Jimmy Olsen back-up in Action Comics with Nick Spencer. His work is clean, energetic, fun, and he happens to excel with technology and imagination, which happen to be backbones of the character. I tried and tried to find examples online of Silva speedster art, but near as I can tell, it doesn’t exist.
But I think in a lot of ways Silva’s art is a tighter, more adult version of what Humberto Ramos had to offer on the Impulse ongoing. Which works perfectly, because what Bart is now is a slightly more adult version of that self.
Now James Kochalka may be a less obvious fit than Silva, but hear me out. If you’re not familiar with his work, Kochalka is the writer/artist responsible for offerings like Super F*ckers and Dragonpuncher for Top Shelf, and is a guy who has pretty well loved in the industry amongst people who have heard of him – which is admittedly not everyone.
So why a decidedly indie guy who has only accidentally made it into one mainstream comic ever?
Because Kochalka is known for imbuing his characters with all of the things that make Allen a special character.
For example, one of my favorite things about Bart as a character previously was the constant issue of him losing his focus and his imagination running wild. What Waid and Ramos had to do was find the proper balance between that real world and the world inside of Allen’s head (as he was raised in virtual reality), and Kochalka excels at that. From his Wikipedia page:
His comics are noted for their blending of the real and the surreal.
When you think of it too, because Bart was never really blessed with a childhood and is all knowledge (thanks to reading libraries at superspeed) and id, he’s pretty much like a teenager with the mindset of a kid. What is Kochalka known for? From the Dragon Puncher page:
“Kochalka channels his inner child as well as any comic book creator who has ever lived.” — Timothy Callahan, Comic Book Resources
This is a guy who understands the inner child and the unique blending of what is real and what isn’t as well as anyone in the comics game today getting paired with a character who is pretty much all of that in a nutshell.
If you have any reservations about Kochalka’s ability to tell legit stories about superheroes (or even his interest level), you don’t need to worry about that either. From an interview about Super F*ckers from Newsarama:
Kochalka: I love superheroes. SuperF*ckers is intended to be an awesome superhero book.
I rest my case.
I think that bringing Bart back to his roots and pairing him with old mentor Max Mercury, both a little older and a little wiser, in the hands of Kochalka and Silva could be nothing short of magical. Pairing together two creators who excel with imagination and tight character work and having a lot of fun while at it is a good idea. Doing so on a Kid Flash book? Great idea. Let us see it DC. You know you want to.