Monday, June 20, 2016

Real Name: Wally West
First Appearance: Flash #110 (January, 1969)
Fight Club Ranking: #22

Featured Fights:
- vs DEADSHOT: Legends #1 (Nov 1986)
- vs QUICKSILVER: Marvel versus DC #2 (Mar 1996)
- vs VENOM: DC versus Marvel #4 (Apr 1996)
- vs SUPERMAN: Flash #209 (Jun 2004)
- vs PENGUIN, GIRDER & DOUBLE DOWN: Flash #210 (Jul 2004)
- vs DEATHSTROKE: Identity Crisis #3 (Oct 2004)
- vs ULTRAMARINE CORPS: JLA: Classified #3 (Mar 2005)
- vs LADY FLASH: Flash: Rebirth #2 (Jul 2009)

After more than half a decade in reboot oblivion: Wally West is making a comeback!

Modern readers may remember Wally West best as The Flash -- heir apparent to the speedster's mantle after the iconic sacrifice made by Barry Allen in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8!

For the twenty-three (or so) years that followed, Wally West served successfully as a pioneering force for the DC Universe's third generation heroes. He fulfilled a great majority of Barry Allen's roles, all the while establishing wrinkles unique to a hero who matured alongside the legends of the superhero Silver Age! He was welcomed into the ranks of the Justice League as Flash, but maintained ties with the young heroes of The Titans, with whom he'd served as Kid Flash.

It was all going remarkably well until 2009, when Barry Allen made a surprise return from death in Final Crisis and Flash: Rebirth (the first one)! From there, things became a red and gold blur - the result of two Scarlet Speedsters running at full speed. Something had to give, and with full support behind resurrecting the senior icon - Wally West began his unfortunate descent into obscurity. A short-lived, unconvincing costume change later, and it was bye-bye Wally for 2010's New 52 reboot.

Barry Allen isn't going anywhere, but one of Rebirth's most admirable qualities will be the restoration of the first and third generation heroes! This return, perhaps inevitably, means another shot at trying to resolve Wally West's costume woes -- made all the more complicated by the New 52 introduction of a new, racially divergent Wally West. Never the less, Newsarama have showed off the original's new red and silver digs drawn dramatically by artist Brett Booth [above].

Like much of Rebirth itself, the new costume is serviceable, but not entirely convincing. It borrows the open cowl of his Kid Flash days, with the abbreviated bolt logo, and silver lightning we've seen many times before, notably in the new design he received after Barry Allen's return. It certainly solves the problem of easy identification. Will it solve all the other problems? We shall see...

I'm pleased to have a classic character restored and decades of fiction back in play. The "big two", DC in particular, are in dire need of stability to go with their variety. Here's hoping the cycle of arbitrary upheaval and starting over ends here.

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