Bart finally gets a New52 spotlight - and I’m torn. I was looking forward to a stand-alone that would give us more depth to the New52 version of a character that had been the 4th Flash and 2nd Kid Flash in a prior continuity. I’ve been following the New52 Bart in Teen Titans, and have enjoyed the mystery that has developed around his character…where he comes from, what he may have done in his past/our future that could be so bad, whether this Bart is still Barry’s grandson, etc.
I had hoped we would get some answers in this full-length solo shot. Instead, we got something that would have been a pretty good back-up story in Teen Titans or The Flash that just happens to include Bart. It’s not terrible…but it seems to be missing something. It reminds me of those odd episodes of sitcoms where they try to set up a spin-off show…anyone see the episode of Happy Days (set in the 1950’s) where Mork (Robin Williams) shows up before moving immediately to his own show (set in the 1970s)? It was a funny episode, and the later series was great…but it was really odd to have a 1970’s alien show up on a rather “normal 1950’s” series like Happy Days, and for that episode nothing really made sense. Now imagine that’s the only episode of Happy Days you will ever get to see…and that’s how this issue was for me. I came looking for a Kid Flash spotlight and got…well, let’s talk about that story…
The story begins with Kid Flash introducing himself to the audience, breaking the fourth wall to help out any new fans to the Bart we know in the New52. In doing so, they also key in to the hyper-kinetic (okay, just hyper-hyper) aspects of being Bart. In that respect, it takes me back to the first appearances of Impulse, and I don’t have a problem with that.
The problem is we don’t move beyond that.
If the story is simply an intro to Kid Flash and an attempt to draw fans over to TT, well and good - that’s basically what the story did. The entire issue is basically a bridge between the dino-island adventure in Teen Titans and an upcoming storyline in featuring some dino-based characters that left the island and followed Bart to New York. These are not badly done characters - in fact I do think they will add quite a bit to TT very soon. But, if the story was meant to advance Bart as a character, it didn’t live up to its purpose. The story (as far as Bart’s character) is basically “I’m-moving-too-fast-to-think-and-I-can-save-the-day-anyway-although-I’m-not-going-to-impress-people-so-much-as-annoy-them-by-bouncing-around-a-lot.” In other words, it leaves Bart depicted as a one-trick pony without adding any depth to his character.
By the end of the story, we learned a lot more about Teryx and the other Dinosoids than we do about Bart. Again, these are pretty good characters and I want to learn more back in TT (not going to say much more here as this is a hopefully-spoiler-free review). Unfortunately, that’s not why I bought this issue. I came looking for a story that developed the lead character, but instead found a story that used the lead as a device to set up other characters. In that respect, an otherwise decent story was still a little disappointing.
TLDR - not a bad story, unless you came to this issue wanting to learn a lot more about the feature character. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more development of Bart’s character soon in the pages of Teen Titans.