Countdown Breakdown #44A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
The Amazons. I’m not all that interested in them, and I’m not collecting the Amazons Attack mini-series, but they keep showing up in Countdown, so here ya go:
The DC Amazons were created by William Moulton Marston to help explain the origin of his character, Wonder Woman. Around 1200 B.C., the Olympian goddesses Hestia, Aphrodite, Demeter, Athena, and Artemis got together in the Cavern of Souls and granted life to all of the female souls who had unjustly died at the hands of men. They formed bodies from clay and named them Amazons, crowning their queen Hippolyta, with Antiope as her second in command.
The Amazons were given a city in Greece, Themyscira, where they lived until visited by Heracles, who destroyed their home. Antiope led some of the Amazons to Greece, where they became known as the Amazons of Bana Migdhall. These separate Amazons became quite violent mercenaries, making weapons and selling them to the outside world. When their city was destroyed, Circe teleported them to the Amazons new island home, also called Themyscira, to battle the rest of the Amazons. They were defeated and integrated into the larger Amazon society.
Hippolyta asked the gods to give her a child, so she sculpted one out of clay and the gods gave life to the child. Thus, Diana was born using the last remaining soul from the Cavern of Souls. Since Diana left to start her mission as Wonder Woman, the Amazons have been banished to another dimension by Circe, had half their population murdered by Darkseid, Hippolyta has died at the hands of Imperiex, and the entire island was destroyed twice. Recently, during the Infinite Crisis, the island was attacked by many OMACs. In an effort to avoid the destruction of their island once again, the gods teleported the island and the Amazons to an unknown location, leaving Diana the sole Amazon left on Earth. Now it appears that they have returned and are waging war on the world, led by a mysteriously alive Hippolyta. As I mentioned, I am not reading the actual mini, but from what I’ve skimmed, it appears that Circe is once again deeply involved in what is going on.
A week ago, the rogues apparently killed Bart Allen, the Flash. Since this is being touched upon in this issue, let me go into Bart’s history. Bart was actually born in the 30th century to Don Allen and Meloni Thawne. Don is one of the Tornado Twins, and his paternal grandfather is Barry Allen, the second Flash of the DC Universe (Jay Garrick is the first). His paternal grandmother is Iris West, the adoptive aunt of Wally West, the third Flash. Meloni Thawne is a descendant of villains Professor Zoom and Cobalt Blue, as well as the mother of Owen Mercer, the new Captain Boomerang, making Owen and Bart half brothers. Bart also has an evil clone, Inertia.
Bart suffered from a hyper-accelerated metabolism, which aged him very quickly. His grandmother Iris raised him in a virtual reality machine to keep pace with his growth, and then sent him back in time to our present so that Wally West could help him out. Wally raced him around the world until a burst of speed caused his metabolism to return to normal. Since he was raised in virtual reality, Bart had no concept of the real world and was very precocious. Batman named him Impulse because of it.
Bart joined up with Robin and Superboy to form Young Justice, gaining valuable experience along with new skills such as the ability to make speed-force energy duplicates so that he could be in multiple places at once. He used this ability until one of the duplicates was killed during Our Worlds at War. This death caused Bart to become introspective for a time, temporarily quitting Young Justice.
Bart was obviously too much for Wally to ever deal with, so he was given to Max Mercury until he disappeared, and then was taken in by Jay Garrick and his wife Joan. Once Young Justice broke up, Bart was part of the newly reformed Teen Titans, reinventing himself as Kid Flash after having his kneecap blown out by Deathstroke (it was replaced with an artificial one).
During Infinite Crisis, Bart joined with the other Flashes to stop Superboy Prime by running him into the Speed Force. Bart apparently spent four years in an alternate reality along with the other Flashes (and an alternate Jay Garrick) keeping guard over Superboy Prime until he escaped back to the regular DCU reality. Bart absorbed the Speed Force in order to get back himself to warn everyone, wearing Wally’s Flash ring and Barry’s costume to help him. When Bart reappeared, he unleashed his anger on Superboy Prime for killing Conner (Superboy) Kent. Bart then assumed that the Speed Force was gone, since he had seemingly exhausted it in the battle.
Bart then attempted to live a normal life but secretly continued to tap into the Speed Force, even though it had become very dangerous to do. Bart developed a relationship with a S.T.A.R. scientist, Valerie Perez, who was later fired after the discovery that she was the daughter of Manfred Mota, another Flash villain. After officially donning the Flash identity, Bart decided to follow in Barry’s footsteps by studying forensics. He was also considered for Justice League membership, supported by Batman who felt that he was more than ready.
Inertia eventually gathered the various rogues together, telling them that he was creating a machine to stop time. However, it was really created to steal the Speed Force away from Bart. The machine did, in fact, strip Bart of his powers, leaving him helpless and surrounded by rogues. Bart fought the rogues until he could get away to defeat Inertia, but afterwards the rogues beat him to death.
It’s all rather sad and pathetic, since he really hadn’t even been Kid Flash for THAT long before DC decided to cut Wally out of the picture and replace him with Bart as Flash just for the sake of another Crisis. To kill him off so soon afterwards seems to reek of backpedaling due to poor storytelling. I only hope that this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Bart.
That’s actually it for this week. Practically no new characters this time around. Hopefully next week will bring a new supporting cast, and more chances to break them down!