Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Who's Who: Kent Shakespeare/Impulse

Kent Shakespeare / Impulse
by Siskoid

Real Name: Richard Kent Shakespeare
Super-Power(s): Limited super-strength, super-speed, and super-invulnerability
Planet of Origin: Earth
Legion Seniority: Kent Shakespeare was the second recruit to join the Legion in the mostly-unchronicled era known as the Five-Year Gap.

Legion Log 
(Richard) Kent Shakespeare is a native of Earth, reared in New Rochelle, Metropolis. While attending medical school at the University of Metropolis, he was stricken with a virus that left him comatose, a virus that slowly substituted itself for all of the cells in his body (except his nerve cells), mimicking their function, and fundamentally improving him. Those cells had become Kryptonian, proving some lineage with the 20th-century hero, Superman. During the so-called Five Year Gap following the Magic Wars, he was inducted into the Legion under the codename Impulse. After the Dominion covertly gained control of Earth's government and the Legion disbanded, Kent fled and became a paramedic on the medical planet Quarantine.

(Note that though Kent Shakespeare would seem to replace Superboy in continuity - just as Andromeda replaces Supergirl - his adventures do not begin until the Gap, so Superboy's role must still have been played by Mon-El/Valor.)

Kent rejoined the Legion when it reunited in 2994 and stood as one of its more solid members until the end, bringing a no-nonsense, tenacious attitude, and his medical skills to the team. Just before Zero Hour erased this time line, he was de-aged by Glorith, and left at Medicus One. The 10-year-old Kent was among the first to disappear when Zero Hour hit.

After the Reboot, Kent Shakespeare was a Legion Academy cadet, but never became a Legionnaire.

After the Threeboot, no version of Kent Shakespeare is known to exist.

After Infinite Crisis, Kent Shakespeare was shown to be a member of Superman's legacy, operating in the 31st century as that era's Superman, perhaps 20 years after the Legion's time. He is known to have worked with Laurel "Elna" Kent AKA Superwoman, Batman Brane Taylor, and Tom Wayne AKA Robin 3000.

Important Kent Shakespeare Stories:

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #12-13
Kent Shakespeare's first appearance, where he shrugs off getting an Atomic Axe to the face!

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #20
Flashback to Kent's participation in the Venado Bay conflict on Imsk

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #23
A peek into what must have been the camaraderie of the Gap Legion - Kent works with Ultra Boy

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) Annual #3
Kent is glum over his inability to help a mutating Timber Wolf

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #51
Kent Shakespeare vs. Grimbor

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #52
A rare look at Kent Shakespeare as Impulse during the Gap

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #53
Kent is de-aged by Glorith

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #61
The de-aged Kent Shakespeare is among the first Legionnaires to fade away during Zero Hour

The Legion #25
Reboot Kent Shakespeare appears as a Legion Academy cadet

Superman-Batman #80
Post-Infinite Crisis, Kent Shakespeare was the Superman of the 31st century


  1. I really liked those late v3 Giffen costume redesigns, even if the Legionnaires didn't.

    IIRC, Impulse was going to be a retconned early member like Kid Quantum, taking the place of Superboy in the retelling of the classic stories within the new timeline, which was the original pitch for LEGIONNAIRES. He was also supposed to be a direct descendant of Superman, hence the Kryptonian powers, but all of that got nixed by DC editorial.