22 users responded in this post

Subscribe to this post comment rss or trackback url
mygif

Seems like something I’d be interested in. Focusing on speeding up/slowing down things around her makes for a more interesting power set, IMO, than just running real fast.

ReplyReply
mygif

Aw man, I would have read the shit out of that. Seriously, though. That sounds awesome.

ReplyReply
mygif

Thirding the motion here; that’s a wonderfully novel use of the power-set and also a good take on the high-school-hero premise. (Instant casting: Molly Quinn, currently playing Alexis on Castle.)

ReplyReply
mygif
cole1114 said on April 13th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Wow, this is actually a really good concept. Too bad it can never be used now, unless you get hired by DC yourself.

ReplyReply
mygif

Without the ability to process information and perceive time the way the Flashes do, her super-speed is utterly useless to her; the second she tries to run, she’s impacting into a solid object before she knows it’s even there… As a result, she’s forced to use her speed-powers creatively, adding and subtracting speed from objects around her instead of using it just to speed herself up.

Well, surely she has some superspeed, right? Obviously not the speed of light like the Flashes, or even the speed of sound like Quicksilver, but if her top speed is, say, double or triple the normal human record (which would be 56-83 mph), then even that would be useful in some superhero situations and impressive for an unathletic teenager.

If she doesn’t even have that much speed, though, then her power looks a lot more like tactile telekinesis than superspeed. Still powerful and potentially interesting, but it doesn’t seem to fit in too well with the Flash family.

The high school setting is always fun for a comic book hero

Yeah, I guess. I’m not sure why, though, other than tradition and the fact that kids were the target audience of comics for a long time. One of my favorite series was a teen series, the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, but one of the things I liked about it was how it subverted or just plain ignored so many genre conventions – Jaime’s family and friends knew his secret identity almost immediately, he takes it in stride remarkably well, his big plan to handle a big problem is to do the completely un-dramatic thing and seek help, and so on. How would Hannah handle that stuff?

Another thing I liked about Jaime Reyes is how his series handled being in a shared universe. He has a culture of superheroing to draw on, he’s a legacy character by accident, etc. So, naturally, the Nu52 version seems to be as formulaic as possible, or at least it did when I gave up on it. Not that I’m bitter…

ReplyReply
mygif

Impulse has a special place in my heart as the character, and book, that got me into superhero comics. And, of course, after spending a good ten years or creating and nurturing him, during which time he helmed a reasonably successful book and was part of a number of teambooks, they decided to first fuck Bart over narratively, and then kill him off in a way that makes it doubtful he ever existed. Because the last thing DC needs is new heroes, am I right?

Anyway, right, your idea. A few things. Doing a long, weird, continuity-heavy time-travel arc as the VERY FIRST arc seems like it wouldn’t work too well. I mean, for an Impulse fanfic, yes, go nuts, but if you’re pitching this as an actual PITCH it could stand to be more accessible, and suddenly cramming in a million Gold, Silver, and LoSH references defeats that, especially since Hannah isn’t a time-traveling badass; she’s a speedster. Yes, time-travel is an integral part of the Flash mythos, but pulling that right out of the gate in a new series in a long arc is tricky. You will note that with Bart, his weird time-travel bullshit was gotten out of the way in like four pages in the pages of Flash; it didn’t come up as a major plot point for a VERY long time in his own book.

An editor would look at this arc and tell you to do it in your second year, sometime around issue 15 or so. The last thing you want to do is turn off readers who want to watch Hannah tool around Central City with the Flash, while simultaneously bait-and-switching people who get really into a book about a time-traveling nerdy girl only to discover that’s not what it is actually about.

And then there’s this:

so as to gloss over some of the learning curve of being a superhero.

Not to sound accusatory here, but… why? Why gloss this over? You’re depriving yourself of grade-A story fodder here! Do you know how much mileage Mark Waid got out of Max Mercury having to train Bart, a complete novice, slowly and painstakingly in the use of his powers and how to learn how to be a superhero? A lot, that’s how much!

For that matter, I’d have found a way to work Max back in as a mentor. What you’re doing here is essentially cashing in on the Impulse brand, using it to help launch another hero with the same name. Nothing wrong with that; worked with Jaime Reyes and a bunch of other heroes, for a certain value of work. But you don’t really have many callbacks to justify this. So far Hannah is actually more of an heir to Jesse Quick than she is to Bart. She doesn’t have Bart’s Rogues, and she doesn’t have Bart’s powers, and she doesn’t have his personality. What does that leave?

Well, it leaves support cast.

Hannah has weird, fucked-up powers. It’s quite possible that a lot of the other speedsters, especially the less tactful ones, regard her as fundamentally crippled. If Barry is around again (and may I say, fuck Barry Allen, fuck him right in his eye socket) then Wally is probably being written back to be a bit of a jerk, and if his kids are around and teenagers THEY probably regard her the same way. And even the ones who are polite, or think she’s a great kid… well, they run fast. It’s what they DO. They’re not big on theory, even Barry.

But Max is. Max knows his Speed Force theory inside and out. If there’s a weird trick involving velocity that doesn’t involve simply running like a mofo, Max knows it.

That hook is useful in a lot of ways. It’s a callback to the original title and established, popular cast member. That gets your old Flash gorgnards to at least pick up Issue #1. It lets you spin out a lot of mentor-and-pupil storylines, always a good thing. And finally it provides some more direct connection of Hannah’s unique powerset to the Flash family and the speed force.

Speaking of Hannah’s unique powerset, it sounds like it might be a BEAR to write. Hannah is essentially a very weird telekinetic, in terms of what she can do in practice. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Flash fans like to read people zipping around all speedy-like. It might be hard to keep her fights fresh, interesting, AND Flash-relevant. But Max helps out with that.

(Sidebar: can Hannah modulate her speed, like most speedsters are able to do? Trying to run at the speed of sound will get her killed, but tooling up to fifty or sixty miles an hour, freeway speed, ought to be entirely controllable and still very useful.)

Finally, allow me to suggest the first member of her Rogue’s Gallery; Captain Boomerang II, post-speed powers.

Boomer, like her, has speed powers that other speedsters will regard as fundamentally crippled in some ways, and they’re crippled in the opposite way of hers; he CAN’T run fast, not for more than a second. But during that second everything works perfectly. Hannah, by contrast, is ‘on’ all the time but her stuff just isn’t all there. He’s also much closer to her in age; a lot of the Rogues are sufficiently old in most continuities that they’re tricky villains for a teenage protagonist. She will of course get her own Rogues Gallery, but you need SOME tiebacks to the Flash; one of Impulses bigger weaknesses was that his own Rogues Gallery was sort of lame. Even Inertia, who should have been pure gold, was kind of meh.

ReplyReply
mygif
highlyverbal said on April 13th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Some sort of html error has eaten the accompanying images.

ReplyReply
mygif
SilverHammerMan said on April 13th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Cool, this is exactly the kind of thing that DC should be doing, but sadly isn’t.
Three thoughts though; first, her powers seem like they’d be really confusing to right. You might be able to right them well, but I feel like the next writer would be inevitably confused by them and wind up changing the way her powers work.
And second,I like the idea of her being a latchkey kid, it’s a very cool way of handling the whole teenager with a secret identity dynamic without being predictable.
And lastly, just kind of wondering what kind of nerd this character is? Because I have absolutely no love lost for pandering “nerd girl” stereotypes.

ReplyReply
mygif

Yeah, like DC is interested in non-white/male/American characters…

ReplyReply
mygif

I would have bought this in a heartbeat.

ReplyReply
mygif

Aha! A speedster that Deathstroke could conceivably stab!

ReplyReply
mygif

@Murc: Well, one of the main things that I always say has been lost in comics is good, expository writing. A time-travel arc with guest stars doesn’t have to be confusing so long as you take the time to explain who she’s meeting and why they’re important, and one of the best things about a character who doesn’t already know everyone in the DC universe is that they ask questions. (I still think that as cool of a character as she is, Oracle was a blight on the DC Universe because she essentially acted as a crutch for lazy writers who didn’t want to do good expository writers. “I know so-and-so, Oracle downloaded the file on them” was the mark of many a boring infodump.

As to “glossing over some of the learning curve”, the operative word is “some.” There’s training and learning how to use your powers, and then there’s “I don’t know how to throw a punch because I’m a science geek, and yet I’m fighting supervillains.” This is sort of a training montage to show how she went from “incompetent” to “competent”, so that we can watch her go from “competent” to “awesome”.

(It should be noted, by the way, that I envisioned her _very_ first appearance as being in ‘Flash’. So she vanishes, then she comes back as Impulse…and then, in her own series, you get to see where she went and what she did.)

(Sidebar: I always envisioned control over her speed as something she’d gain slowly, over the course of many issues; for at least the first few years, it would be too hard for her to control her acceleration to be useful in any practical way. She’d go from 0 to 250 in .001 seconds, and at those speeds just tripping over a crack in the pavement leads you to roadrash.)

As to her “mentor”…I totally agree, she needs one. But I wasn’t actually planning on using Max Mercury (although I’d totally love to have him do guest appearances)…I was going to use Lady Flash.

…anyone else remember her? From Bill Messner-Loeb’s run on the series? Russian super-speedster, took on the mantle of the Flash for a while and then just kind of vanished into obscurity? She’d be Hannah’s Russian teacher. She’s still been a superhero all this time, but when you’re in Central City and you’re saved by a red blur, most people really don’t get a chance to check whether it’s got curves. :) She’d be the one to teach Hannah the ins and outs of super-speed.

(Yes, I’m aware that she was brought back as a villain once or twice. That was Lady Zoom, obviously.)

As to a Rogues’ Gallery…Boomerang Jr is a pretty good choice. The only one I really wanted to steal was the Riddler, who I feel hasn’t worked as a Batman villain for decades. And not because he’s a lame villain, but because he doesn’t mesh with the tone of Batman post-Frank Miller. Having the Riddler face off against a smart, inexperienced superhero with an interest in puzzles strikes me as a good idea.

I do have some ideas for her own Rogues’ Gallery, but a lot of those can probably be repurposed, so they don’t count as “useless”. :) One of the ones who was probably a little too Flash-specific to reuse would have been Eureka, an ancient Greek scientist who used an elixir to sleep until the modern day. He’s very upset that all of his scientific knowledge has been disproven and that everyone keeps telling him that he’s really using magic, and he’s determined to gain revenge on the world with his alchemical skills. (Needless to say, he is an inverted Abra Kadabra, and there would be at least one fight between the two with Impulse and Flash caught in the middle.)

@SilverHammerMan: Kind of like the actual female nerds I know. :) Her big interest would be physics and chemistry; as I mentioned, she’s studying to join the police force as a forensics expert, and she gets really into things like blood spatters and decomposition in ways that she doesn’t realize is creepy. She’s one of those people who is almost like a ketchup bottle–quiet quiet quiet, until she realizes that you actually share her interests, at which point she talks a mile a minute until she realizes that she’s been monopolizing the conversation, at which point she trails off again. :)

Oh, and she has an absolute fascination with 70’s funk music, because when she was a kid, before her parents started ignoring her in favor of work, one of the few happy memories she has of doing stuff with her dad was listening to old records of George Clinton and Sly and the Family Stone. So while she has no idea who Justin Bieber is, she knows the words to every Rick James song. :)

ReplyReply
mygif

Pretty cool idea and one that could actually still work in the post-reboot universe (actually the idea of her hero-worship of Barry Allen in his role as a forensics scientist seemsa bit more plausible if he isn’t dead.)

ReplyReply
mygif

My idea was to have Bart reassume the Impulse identity and go off on a “Worlds’ Tour” throughout the multiverse. Now, I know you can’t go home again, that Bart can never be the spastic speedster that Mark Waid and Peter David made awesome. But you can try to make him fill a new niche.

Didn’t Bart “die” in Flashpoint? Like, get discombobulated in the altered Earth’s future? Well, what if Bart wound up back on Earth, only to find that all of his friends — Conner, Tim, Cassie, etc. — and family — Barry, Iris, Wally, etc. — have been altered . . . and so has he?

If you scroll down here, you can see my ideas for Bart, circa 2009. Bottom line: I’d keep Bart in the Flash Family, but I’d have him make his own identity (re: Nightwing) and hand the Kid Flash mantle to Wally’s kids.

Finale note: Chris, I like your thinking. Times like this, I hope you wind up on a title with modest readership and critical acclaim.

ReplyReply
mygif

@John-

My concerns about the big time-travel thing weren’t so much it being confusing, or a bad idea (indeed, it is an awesome idea) but rather situated at the meta-level. I don’t think you want the first… two issues? Three? or so of a new book to be radically different from what the status quo is going to be, for reasons of accessibility and readership. If Hannah is going to be primarily hanging out in Central (which, by the way, I really hate in comparison to Keystone, but that’s because I hate Barry) then she probably ought to hang out in Central right off the bat.

Of course, since we’re just kicking this around, anything can happen. And having said that…

Hannah taking on the mantle of Impulse doesn’t make a ton of sense. Her powers are weird and different than Bart’s were, and she has no personal connection to him; its not like she was hanging out with Bart and Carol and Preston and company. For that matter, the way you describe Hannah she’d consider deliberately inserting herself into the Flash family of speedsters to be… presumptuous.

Unless, of course, while in the future, training with the Legion, she is befriended by their resident speedster, the criminally underused and underappreciated (and now, I think, nonexistent, which compounds the crime) XS. XS has the family angle and the moral and practical authority to bestow the mantle of Impulse on Hannah. So, for that matter, does Meloni Thawne, who has her own reasons for wanting the name of Impulse to survive in the past… and for interacting with her surviving 21st-century residing genetic payload, Owen Harkness.

I disagree with you on the viability of Riddler as a Batman villain, of course (I feel he is one of the very best ones written properly) but I agree with you that he doesn’t get out of Gotham enough. Depending on what flavor of Trickster you are using, Riddler can either replace him in the Rogues Gallery, or there can be an epic Trickster/Riddler turf war.

If you want to really showcase Hannah’s mind, though, you might want to go whole hog and make her main Rogue/villain be… Professor Zoom.

Now, I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. Hannah, as you describe her, is basically a tactical anti-speedster. Since ALL she can do is manipulate the speed force external to herself, that’s all she WILL do. And she’ll get very good at it, very very fast. This means when you put her in the vicinity of another speedster, she cancels them out; it likely takes all of her mojo, meaning she can’t do anything else, but she shuts DOWN super-speed.

And that means when Zoom shows up, she turns him into just a crazy, really smart guy. They have to have a battle of wits. And that would really PUSH ZOOMS BUTTONS. He can just about stomach that Barry Allen is his intellectual equal; as his opposite number, Barry SHOULD be potent, to make his inevitable defeat all the sweeter. But he’s always looked down, intellectually, on all the others, on Wally and his coteries of friends, allies, and hangers-on. The only thing that makes THEM special is the lightning. He, Zoom, will always have his amazing mind, and that means he will ALWAYS be better than they are.

Right up until the point a crippled teenage girl starts outsmarting him on a regular basis.

It’s a thought, anyway. Zoom might be overkill, but Zoom hasn’t been used properly for years, and taking him in a new direction could be useful.

Lady Flash as her mentor-figure is… mmm… I would like it if Hannah were going to be Kid Flash. But does she have the theory chops to train an entirely new kind of speedster? Max Mercury is useful as a mentor because he is literally the only speedster who really understands the theoretical underpinnings of what they do. It’s easy to train someone how to do the practical stuff; run up buildings, run over water, catch bullets, vibrate through things. The various speedy people swap notes on that all the time.

If Barry were still dead, and you didn’t want to use Max, I’d say go with Iris. Iris isn’t fast herself, of course, but she’s pretty goddamn smart and has made an intense intellectual study of this sort of thing. Sadly Barry being alive and kicking makes this hard.

I’m not saying Lady Flash COULDN’T work, per se, she just seems like a bad fit. If it were me, I’d trot out Jesse Quick, who is awesome and also has a history of thinking critically about her speed, before going THAT far down the rabbit hole.

ReplyReply
mygif

Honestly? I don’t think it would work.

Characters designed as ‘nerd appeal’ simply don’t work – or, that is, they don’t instantly become popular because of it. I mean, you can make ‘cute nerdy girl’ as a character, but it’s not going to make her popular. In fact, it may do the opposite, making people see her as a ‘fanfic’ or insert character. That doesn’t mean it can’t be an important part of the character, it just can’t be the character itself.

And beyond that, what does she have? She’s every other teenage superhero, pretty much. The exact specifics might differ, but it doesn’t really matter. Her backstory doesn’t really do much for her, there’s nothing particularly deep here beyond ‘Accident happened, she got powers, fights crime.’

As a legacy character, well, Impulse? You’re not going to be drawing in a huge amount of people here, especially when she’s basically Impulse in name only. In that regard, why even really use the name Impulse? Why use her over Jesse Quick/Liberty Belle or Wally’s kids or some other random speedster?

Power wise, she’s simply not going to work beyond a single writer who really gives a damn what her power is. Most writers aren’t going to care enough to sit there and work out ‘cool’ ways to use her powers for every single thing she does. And how many readers are going to care about ‘her power is super speed’ versus ‘her power is weird speed powers (but not actually super speed!’?

Things like ‘Oh, she’s really smart!’ or ‘But she knows kung fu!’ tend to seem like they are ‘powers’ thrown on just to make a character ‘cooler’ (or easier to write.) I think if you want to make her a ‘genius’ type, the better idea would be to actually make it a power – except that gets in the way of the primary power you’ve got going for her. (Actually, I think having a super speed genius would probably work much better for this, where it would sort of be like adding Amadeus Cho to the Flash family.)

Granted, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea- I think she’d be fine as a replacement Impulse on a team book. In that regard, her being a nerdy character can play off other personalities instead of feeling like pandering to the fanbase. Her power being ‘weird’ gets a bit more slack because the writer doesn’t have to have her do everything. And you don’t have to try and sell a book based on the massive brand recognition of Impulse.

But as a solo character, I just don’t think she would work at all.

ReplyReply
mygif

Love the idea. If I was still buying comics, I’d totally give that a look.

ReplyReply
mygif

I think the time travel opening could work, especially if presaged by the appearance in Flash before her own title starts. It’s got elements of the Thunderbolts turning up in Hulk, and could have elements of the interleaved past-present that kept us current while also going back and introducing the cast in the first few issues of the new (pre-Nu) Blue Beetle.

I really like this idea, by the way. The speedsters I’ve seen seem to get a little one-note after a while, and there’s nothing I love like a fresh angle on a stale powerset. I’d rather have this than the Nu52, any day.

ReplyReply
mygif

I have never, ever, not once in my life, read looked at or even picked up a Flash comic…but you know what? I absolutely would have given this a shot.

ReplyReply
mygif
Walter Kovacs said on April 15th, 2012 at 7:52 am

One approach could be making her more comparable to Bart.

Bart, due to his ‘upbringing’, basically had ADHD while also have a mind that operated at superspeed.

In her case, as you’ve described her, she is more likely to think things through. That could be the ‘problem’ that causes her speed to not work quite right. She still thinks at super speed, but because of the way she is used to thinking, her reactions aren’t up to snuff. So, she can go the speed of sound, but without being able to make split second corrections, it would lead to just running into walls. So, instead of moving at super speed and relying on instinct and quick reaction times, she is able to “think things through” very quickly, in addition to using her powers in interesting ways.

So, basically, while Bart would move faster than she thinks, she would think faster than she moves.

ReplyReply
mygif

@Murc: I think that having her fight Zoom runs the risk of seeming like a stunt to make her look more powerful; frequently, sidekick-level characters take on the main hero’s arch-villain and win to show that they’re not “just” a sidekick. They always feel like a story conceived first and foremost to demonstrate that the sidekick has “leveled up”, rather than to tell a good story.

That said, in terms of “big name villains”, I did want to have a big Vandal Savage story. Vandal Savage + Flash to me always equals Velocity 9, which is a drug that could supply the one component of the Flash’s powers that my Impulse lacks. It’d be a genuine temptation, and I do think it’d be very interesting to see how she handles it…and I think it’d be interesting to actually see Vandal Savage being manipulative and thinking strategically.

ReplyReply
mygif

I dig this concept.

I have an idea I’d love to do for Marvel, that’s been sitting with me for about 10 years now, centered around Johnny Gallo – Ricochet from “Slingers.”

As a mutant not associated with the X-Men in any way, the breakout star of a team that was destined to fail, and a member of a future generation of superheroes that will never ascend, I think he sits at a very interesting cross-section of the Marvel Universe that is ripe for storytelling.

ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please Note: Comment moderation may be active so there is no need to resubmit your comments