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Wally West
Flash207.jpg
Cover art for The Flash (vol. 2) # 207
Art by Michael Turner
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance as Kid Flash:
The Flash (vol. 1) #110
(December 1959)
as Flash:
Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March 1986)
Created by John Broome
Carmine Infantino
In-story information
Alter ego Wallace Rudolph "Wally" West
Team affiliations Justice League
Teen Titans
Partnerships Barry Allen
Linda Park
Notable aliases Kid Flash, Kid Lantern,[1] Flash
Abilities
  • Superspeed augmented by the extra-dimensional Speed Force
  • Can vibrate through solid objects, causing them to explode
  • Time travel
  • Can give superspeed to living & non-living things alike
  • Can create a superhero costume made of the Speed Force

The Flash (Wally West) is a fictional character, a comic book superhero in the DC Comics Universe. He is the first Kid Flash and the third Flash.[2]

Contents

Publication history

Kid Flash

Wally as Kid Flash. Artist: George Pérez

Wally West was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and introduced in The Flash (vol. 1) #110 (1959). The character was the nephew of existing Flash character's wife, Iris West. During a visit to Central City police laboratory where Barry Allen worked, the freak accident that gave Allen his powers repeated itself, bathing West in electrically-charged chemicals. Now possessing the same powers as The Flash, West donned a smaller sized copy of Barry Allen's Flash outfit and became the young crimefighter Kid Flash.

This costume was later altered (in The Flash (vol. 1) #135 (1963)) to one that would make him more visually distinctive. The original red was replaced with a costume that was primarily yellow with red leggings, gloves, and ear-pieces.

In addition to his appearances within the Flash title, the character was used as a member of the newly created Teen Titans.[2] Sometime later, Wally contracted a mysterious disease: The more he used his speed powers, the faster his body would die. Wally subsequently retired from his hero role.

The Flash

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry gave his life to save the earth.[3] Initially unaware of this, Wally was coaxed by Jay Garrick into assisting the heroes against the Anti-Monitor's forces. During the final battle with the Anti-Monitor, Wally was struck by a blast of anti-matter energy, which put his disease into remission. In the aftermath of the conflict, Wally took on his fallen mentor's costume and identity.[4]

The decision by DC Comics' editorial staff to radically change their fictional universe saw a number of changes to the status quo of the character. Wally West became a less powerful new Flash than his predecessor.[2] For example, instead of being able to reach the speed of light, he can run just faster than that of sound (Crisis on Infinite Earths, issue 12 1985). Also, the character has to eat vast quantities of food to maintain his metabolism.[5]

Flash (vol. 2) #1 (June 1987). Wally West holds his first title as the Modern Age Flash. Art by Jackson Guice.

Those changes were quickly followed up and 1987 saw the publication of a new Flash comic, initially written by Mike Baron. These stories focused not only on the Flash's superhero exploits, but the state of Wally's wealth. West won a lottery,[6] bought a large mansion,[7] and became something of a playboy. The character's finances and luck continued to ebb and wane until Flash (vol. 2) #62, when his playboy ways ended and his fortunes stabilized.

The 1990s also saw further modifications to the look of the character, with a modified uniform appearing in 1991.[8] This modified costume altered the visual appearance of the traditional Flash costume, with a belt made of two connecting lightning bolts, removal of the wings from the top of his boots, a change in the material of his costume, and opaque lenses added to the eyes of his cowl. This modified design utilized elements of the costume designed by artist Dave Stevens for the live action television series, The Flash.

A difficult encounter with a particularly vicious foe, the first Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne), also served to increase the speed of the character, forcing him to push past a psychological block he had placed on his powers; to prevent himself from truly 'replacing' Barry, Wally had subconsciously limited his speed so that he could never become his mentor's equal, but Thawne's bragging that he would become the true Flash forced Wally past this block as he feared Thawne replacing Barry more than he feared himself doing so.[9] After this encounter, he was Barry Allen's equal in speed, though he still had not been able to recover Barry's vibrational abilities.

Writer Mark Waid expanded on the character's powers thematically and further redefined the character by introducing the Speed Force, an energy source that served as a pseudo-scientific explanation for his powers and that of other fictional speedsters within the DC Universe. Using this concept as a basis, the character's ability to tap into the speed force was used to expand his abilities. The character was now able to lend speed to other objects and people (Terminal Velocity and aftermath: Flash #95–101, 1994–1995) and create a costume directly out of Speed Force energy. Traditional powers such as the ability to vibrate through solid objects were also restored.

The 2000s saw Writer Geoff Johns revitalize the character by introducing new versions of characters such as Zoom; making significant use of the Rogues; and marrying the character to longtime girlfriend Linda Park.[10]

Wally's new costume. Art by Ethan van Sciver.

After Johns left the series, sales dropped significantly[citation needed] and DC editorial decided that it was time for the status quo to change once more. Using the mini-series Infinite Crisis as a narrative device, the character of Wally West and his family were seen leaving for an alternative reality. This allowed the character Bart Allen to become the fourth Flash and headline a relaunched third volume of the title, called The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive.

The critical reaction to this new version of the character was mixed and the character was killed off in the final issue of the short-lived third volume of the Flash comic.[2] It was decided that Wally West should return, and the JLA/JSA story "The Lightning Saga" was used to return the character to earth along with his wife and children, who appear to have aged several years.

The character next appeared in All Flash #1, seeking vengeance on those who had killed Bart Allen. This was followed by The Flash Volume 2, which resumed publication after the long hiatus with issue #231 (Oct. 2007). The series found the character struggling with trying to raise his two super powered twins, plagued by accelerated growth and their inexperience in the heroic game, a task made more difficult by Wally's unemployment, his inability to keep a steady job, and the mistrust of the League for his decision to bring two children into the fold. The series was canceled with issue #247 (February 2009).

In Final Crisis, the character was reunited with Barry Allen, who had returned to life. Recent interviews with The Flash: Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver have revealed that the character will adopt a newly-designed costume in the limited series that reintroduces Barry Allen as the Flash.[11] The new costume is heavily inspired by the suit used in the live action The Flash television series, integrating the suit's lens, mask, and belt designs, along with its darker color scheme.[12] However he gains a new symbol identical to the symbol worn by his animated counterpart in the Justice League tv series.

During the Blackest Night, Wally races across the globe with Barry and Bart to pass to every hero around the world Barry's message of the rise the Black Lantern Corps and their universal invasion. He later arrives at Coast City with Bart, Justice League, and the Teen Titans to aid Barry in taking a stand against Nekron, the black personification of Death and lord of the Black Lanterns.[13][14] After witnessing most of the resurrected heroes became Black Lanterns after they each receives a black power ring during the battle, Wally join forces with his mentor (who have escaped from one of the black rings' pursuit but receives a blue power ring) and Blue Lantern Saint Walker, to against the Black Lantern versions of Bart, Professor Zoom, and Solovar.[15] [16]

Powers

Wally's primary superpower is his speed which is derived from the Speed Force. The Speed Force is a vaguely defined extra-dimensional energy force from which most superspeed-powered heroes draw their powers. The Speed Force serves as the ultimate measure of velocity in the DCU. They are often referred to in terms of barriers: Sound barrier, Light barrier, Time Barrier, Dimensional Barrier, and finally the Speed Force Barrier. While all speedsters are powered by the force, West mainlines the power from the force itself and cannot be cut off from the source, unlike the others, allowing him additional abilities such as lending and taking speed, as well as being able to create a costume out of pure speed force energy. Like all Flashes, he can resist friction heat and can vibrate through solid objects (though unlike other speedsters, Wally must concentrate or he will destroy the object he is vibrating though). Wally is quite possibly the fastest of all the Flashes, arguably even the fastest being that has ever existed.[17]

Over the years, this has fluctuated from his career as Kid Flash, where he could run beyond the speed of light, to the beginning of his career as The Flash, in which he was limited to a top speed of approximately 700 mph (1,100 km/h).[18] He is now confirmed to be able to run at least at the speed of light.

Allies and friends

Wally's father, Rudolph West (a Manhunter agent), was presumed deceased following an explosion in Cuba during the Invasion series. He reappeared years later at, among other places, his ex-wife Mary West's (Wally's mother) second wedding. They both later attended Wally and Linda's wedding.

While they disagree regularly, Wally has a developed an odd friendship/respect with Batman, who has more than once made it clear that those feelings are mutual.

Like his predecessors, West is good friends with the Green Lantern of his time (Kyle Rayner). Wally also retained a close friendship with Kyle's predecessor Hal Jordan, who often looked out for Wally even while he was the Spectre. His best friend is perhaps Dick Grayson, who served with Wally on the Teen Titans as the first Robin and served as Wally's best man at his wedding.

Supporting cast

Wally also has developed a very extensive supporting cast over the duration of his ongoing comic book series which began in 1987. It should be noted that a few of them are former villains and adversaries, such as Pied Piper, Speed Demon, and Chunk.

  • Mary West - Wally's mother
  • Dr. Tina McGee - a scientist/nutritionist with whom he had a brief romantic involvement[19]
  • Dr. Jerry McGee a.k.a. Speed Demon a.k.a. Speed McGee - Tina's (formerly ex-) husband and former superspeed villain[20]
  • Connie Noleski - a model and girlfriend of Wally's in his early career as the Flash. She is currently married to Chunk.
  • Chester P. Runk a.k.a. Chunk - a brilliant physicist who became a walking black hole after a matter-transmitting machine he invented imploded during its first test
  • Mason Trollbridge - the former kid sidekick of a hard-edged depression-era crimefighter known as the Clipper.
  • Pied Piper - one of Barry Allen's former Rogues.
  • Linda Park-West - originally introduced as a television news reporter, Wally began dating and eventually married her.
  • Jay Garrick - the original Flash. Currently out of semi-retirement and a member of the Justice Society of America.
  • Jesse Quick - the daughter of Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick, Jesse is a second generation superhero and speedster like her father.
  • Max Mercury - the Zen Master of Speed.
  • Iris West Allen - Wally's aunt, returned from the future.
  • Kid Flash - Bart Allen, Barry and Iris Allen's grandson from the future. Originally codenamed Impulse. He was a member of the Teen Titans when he took on his cousin's old identity. Wally and Bart are first cousins once removed by marriage.
  • Ashley Zolomon - current Rogue Profiler with the Keystone City PD, and former wife of Hunter Zolomon

Other versions

In John Byrne's graphic novel Superman & Batman: Generations 2, characters from the DC Universe are shown to age in real time. In this series, Wally appears as Kid Flash in 1964,[21] which is the year he first appeared as a founding member of the Teen Titans (though in this version, he is a founding member of the Justice League). By 1986, Wally has retired and been replaced by the fourth Flash (Carrie Allen, the daughter of Barry Allen).[22] Wally's son Jay West, in turn, replaces Carrie in 2008 to become the fifth Flash.[23]

Flash Annual #7 shows a Flash who has become a superstar celebrity and film director.

In Mark Waid's Kingdom Come and The Kingdom an alternate version of the twins Barry and Iris West inherit their father's speed, but only Iris decides to become a superhero, a new Kid Flash. In Waid's The Life Story of the Flash, "written" by Iris Allen, she describes her namesake in a positive light and Barry West as "a tragedy." However, the timeline has since been altered.

Flash #150–159 introduces a version of Wally named Walter West, also known as the Dark Flash. This version of Wally is revealed to be an older, more powerful and experienced version from another reality within Hypertime. It is revealed that this version of Wally was unable to save Linda from death at Kobra's hands. This made Walter a darker hero similar to Batman in The Dark Knight Returns storyline. After Walter's presence in the main DC Universe starts to cause other realities in Hypertime to bleed over into the main one, Superman and Wonder Woman force Walter to transverse Hypertime and return home. Although he leaves the main DC Universe he appears to never make it back to his own reality. He seems to go from reality to reality with no success. After Hypertime was abandoned by DC, Walter West's continued existence becomes unclear.

An Elseworlds tale in Superboy Annual #1 shows a Wally West that had lost the use of his legs and had them replaced with bionic ones. With his artificial legs, Wally was not able to run at high speeds, though he could still move his arms at super speed. This version of Wally died saving Green Lantern Hal Jordan from a yellow projectile.

In JLA: Another Nail, Wally West (as Kid Flash) makes a brief appearance when all time periods meld together. He is flying with Wonder Girl (Donna Troy).

Bibliography

  • The Flash (Vol. 2) #1–230; #231–247 (June 1987 – March 2006; October 2007 – February 2009), #0 (October 1994), #1,000,000 (November 1998)
    • Annuals 1–13 (1987–2000)
    • Special 1 (1990)
  • All Flash #1 (September 2007)

Collected editions

Collected editions reprinting The Flash (vol. 2) series featuring Wally West, include: NOTE: a new edition of Blood Will Run was released in 2008, with stories from The Flash Secret Files and Flash: Iron Heights, as the earlier edition published in 2002 did not contain Iron Heights. All collected editions are trade paperback releases, except for The Flash: The Wild Wests which will be released as a hardcover.

Title Material collected
Original
The Flash: Born to Run (1999) The Flash (vol. 2) #62–65
Flash Annual #8
Speed Force #1
Flash 80-Page Giant #1
Flash: The Return of Barry Allen (1993) The Flash (vol. 2) #74–79
Impulse: Reckless Youth (1997) The Flash (vol. 2) #92–94
Impulse #1–6
The Flash: Terminal Velocity (1995) The Flash (vol. 2) #0, 95–100
The Flash: Dead Heat (2000) The Flash (vol. 2) #108–111
Impulse #10–11
The Flash: Race Against Time (2001) The Flash (vol. 2) #112–118
The Flash: Emergency Stop (2009) The Flash (vol. 2) #130–135
The Flash: The Human Race (2009) The Flash (vol. 2) #136-141
The Flash of Two Worlds
The Flash: Wonderland (2007) The Flash (vol. 2) #164–169
The Flash: Blood Will Run (2002 edition) The Flash (vol. 2) #170–176
The Flash Secret Files #3
The Flash: Blood Will Run (new edition, 2008) The Flash (vol. 2) #170–176
The Flash Secret Files #3
The Flash: Iron Heights
The Flash: Rogues (2003) The Flash (vol. 2) #177–182
The Flash: Crossfire (2004) The Flash (vol. 2) #183–191
The Flash: Blitz (2004) The Flash (vol. 2) #192–200
The Flash: Ignition (2005) The Flash (vol. 2) #201–206
The Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen (2005) The Flash (vol. 2) #207–211 and 213–217
The Flash: Rogue War (2006) The Flash (vol. 2) #½, 212, 218–225
The Flash: The Wild Wests HC (2006) The Flash (vol. 2) #231–237

Collected editions featuring other Flashes, Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, as well as Wally West:

Title Material collected
Original
The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told HC (1990) and TPB (1991) Flash Comics #1, 66, 86
Comic Cavalcade #24
Showcase #4
The Flash (vol. 1) #107, 113, 119, 124, 125, 137, 143, 148, 179
Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular
The Flash (vol. 2) #2
The Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB (2007) Flash Comics #86, 104
The Flash (vol. 1) #123, 155, 165, 179
The Flash (vol. 2) #91
DC Special Series #11

Other media

Notes

  1. ^ Wally West profile at comicvine.com
  2. ^ a b c d Jimenez, Phil (2008), "The Flash", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 124–127, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  3. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #7
  4. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #12
  5. ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Flash" The Flash 2 (1): 1 (June, 1987), DC Comics
  6. ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Flash" The Flash 2 (1): 20/5 (June, 1987), DC Comics
  7. ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Heart... of Stone!" The Flash 2 (2): 22/3 (July, 1987), DC Comics
  8. ^ "The Fastest Man Alive!" The Flash 2 (50): 22/3 (May, 1991), DC Comics
  9. ^ Mark Waid (w), Greg Larocque (p). The Flash 2 (79) (August, 1993), DC Comics
  10. ^ [Updated] ALL FLASH #1 - NEWSARAMA
  11. ^ CBR - CCI Spotlight: Ethan Van Sciver
  12. ^ The Flash: Rebirth #5
  13. ^ Blackest Night #4 (December 2009)
  14. ^ Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
  15. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 1 (6) (February 2010), DC Comics
  16. ^ Blackest Night: Flash #2 (March 2010)
  17. ^ Flash vol. 2 #101
  18. ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Flash" The Flash 2 (1): 5/5 (June, 1987), DC Comics
  19. ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Mahlstedt, Larry (i). "Kill the Kilg%re!" The Flash 2 (4) (September, 1987), DC Comics
  20. ^ Baron, Mike (w), Guice, Jackson (p), Torrance, Jack (i). "Speed McGee" Flash 2 (5) (October 1987), DC Comics
  21. ^ Generations 2 #2, September 2001.
  22. ^ Generations 2 #3, October 2001.
  23. ^ Generations 2 #4, November 2001.

References

External links








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