|First appearance||Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #12 (October 1990)|
|Created by||Al Gordon|
|Alter ego||Richard Kent Shakespeare|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Legion of Super-Heroes|
|Notable aliases||Impulse, Superman|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, durability, and recuperative abilities.|
Richard Kent Shakespeare, occasionally codenamed Impulse, is a fictional character in the DC Universe. He became a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century, during the "Five Years Later" era. In current continuity, he is the Superman of the 31st century.
Fictional character biography
Richard Kent Shakespeare is a native of the planet Earth, reared in the New Rochelle section of Metropolis. While attending medical school at the University of Metropolis, he was stricken with a virus that left him comatose. Legion of Super-Heroes member Brainiac 5 determined that the virus had actually slowly substituted itself for all of the cells in Kent's body (except his nerve cells), mimicking the functions of those cells, and fundamentally improving him. Kent acquired strength, speed, durability, and recuperative abilities far beyond that of a normal human. During the five-year period 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 the planet. He eventually became a paramedic on the medical planet Quarantine. While there he also tended to Garridan Ranzz (one of the twin sons of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl), whom Darkseid once kidnapped and transformed into the monstrous Validus.
Years later, when Reep Daggle (Chameleon Boy) and Rokk Krin (Cosmic Boy) reformed the Legion, Kent joined them. He remained with the team until he was de-aged into childhood by the time mistress Glorith. Soon thereafter, this timeline was erased, and Legion continuity was completely rebooted.
In the Post-Zero Hour version of the team Kent is shown to be a member of the Legion Academy. The Legion was once again rebooted shortly after Kent's appearance and he never got to become an actual Legionnaire in this version.
No one named Kent Shakespeare appears in the "Threeboot" version of the Legion. However, the events of the Infinite Crisis miniseries have restored a close analogue of the Pre-Crisis Legion to continuity, as seen in "The Lightning Saga" story arc in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, and in the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story arc in Action Comics. Kent was seen briefly when multiple versions of the Legion battled Superboy-Prime, the Time Trapper and the Legion of Super-Villains.
Subsequently, Shakespeare is revealed to be a member of the Superman Dynasty in the 31st century, where he operates wearing a grey costume similar to that of Conner Kent, the Kryptonian/Human hybrid clone who fights crime in the 21st century as Superboy. Among Shakespeare's associates are Brane Taylor and Laurel "Elna" Kent—the Batman and Superwoman of that era—and Tom Wayne, the Robin from the Robin 3000 series.
- Kent Shakespeare has no connection to Bart Allen (the grandson of the second Flash, Barry Allen), who once used the codename Impulse.
- Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (vol. 2) #3 (1984)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #53 (January 1994)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #61 (September 1994)
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (September 1994)
- The Legion #25 (December 2003)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (September 2009)
- Superman/Batman #80 (March 2011)