Why Does DC Hate Wally West?

To make a long story short, there are two characters responsible for my interest in comics: Jason Todd and Wally West. As Jason’s story is for another day and another post, I’ll start with Wally. Breaking onto the comics scene in 1959, Wally started out as the enthusiastic side-kick, Kid Flash.

Wally as Kid Flash. Awe ain't he cute?

Wally as Kid Flash. Awe ain’t he cute?

Wally was a young comics fan’s dream. He idolized his hero, The Flash (Barry Allen), and in an accident he gained the same powers and became Barry’s protégé. He was an original member of the Teen Titans and became the first sidekick to take his mentor’s place after Barry died in Crisis on Infinite Earths. As The Flash, Wally became a member of the Justice League and took on his own sidekick, futuristic speedster Bart Allen aka Impulse. Wally married spunky reporter, Linda Park—Dick Grayson was the best man at their wedding—and he and Linda popped out a pair of super-powered kids. IGN rated Wally as #8 on the list of “Top 100 Superheroes of All Time,” only preceded by the likes of Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, and other icons. And I did not know any of this until a few years ago. I was introduced to Wally in the cartoon Justice League, where the speedy red-head was voiced by Michael Rosenbaum and always had an ill-timed joke up his super-suit sleeve.

And then the New-52 happened and Barry Allen was once again catapulted into the Flash spotlight. Now don’t get me wrong, Barry is grea—no, no I hate Barry Allen. Maybe, this is because, in comparison to Wally, Barry seems bland and lacks the fullness of character that I’ve seen in Wally since I was a child. But mostly I am bitter. Since the reboot, Wally has been non-existent. As DC hit the proverbial reset button, they placated West fans with “keep reading,” filling the hearts of the readers with hope.

You wouldn't like him when he's angry...

You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry…

In October of 2011, Tom Bondurant of “Comic Book Resources,” wrote a post involving the more noticeable “problems” with the New-52 relaunch, including the absence of Wally West. The easiest reason is that Wally simply does not fit into the new timeline. “If Barry hasn’t died, there’s no opportunity for Wally to succeed him. In fact, if Barry’s not dating Wally’s aunt Iris, it’s much less likely that Wally has become Kid Flash in the first place” (Bondurant). Still the article held out hope that Wally could still find a way to return. Co-writer of The Flash, Francis Manapul, had been quoted saying: “The pitch [for Wally] is on Dan [DiDio’s] desk. Let’s see if he finds it!” (Melrose). And thus, the idea that Wally West would eventually resurface the New-52 continued on.


Thanks to the reboot, these two never happened...

Thanks to the reboot, these two never happened…

However, in a CBR poll dated December 2012, fans voted Wally to be the #1 character they want to see, and have yet to see, in the New-52. A year later, the “keep reading” mantra is finally getting old and it leads me to believe that DC has no intention of ever bringing Wally back from his limbo (as he wasn’t even given enough attention to award him an actual death). The reboot has essentially unwritten Wally from DC continuity. So, when DC releases its new animated movie, Justice League: Doom, and brings back iconic voice actors Kevin Conroy (Batman), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), and Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash, you can imagine my frustration, and even anger, when The Flash removes his hood to reveal a shock of blond hair.

So why does DC hate Wally West? I still don’t know. But the one thing you can count on from West fans is that they will not give up on our Scarlet Speedster. wally

-Amanda Tetzlaff


Poll Results

Grumpy Old Fan: CBR

IGN Top 100


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3 Responses to Why Does DC Hate Wally West?

  1. nadim says:

    i actually never new that there was a flash before wally west, i guess i reallt have to catch up on my DC history. I was never a BIG fan of the flash, but i did like his wit and how he always cut tension. i suppose Wally west will always be the flash i know.

    • Sam says:

      Your comment is older now but I really like the Flash. Wally is by far my favorite one but he only took the Flash mantel after his uncle Barry Allen died because of how much he meant to him and what the Flash stood for over the years. And so I dug into the comics to find out more about the previous Flashes.

      Jason Peter “Jay” Garrick was the first, he was a college student in 1938 who accidentally inhaled heavy water vapors after taking a smoke break inside his laboratory where he had been working. He was originally from Earth-2.

      Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen was inspired by his comic book childhood hero Jay Garrick One night, as he was preparing to leave work, a freak lightning bolt struck a nearby shelf in his lab and doused him with a cocktail of unnamed chemicals.

      (Wally gets the longest entry because he is my favorite and so I also know more about him than the others.)
      Wallace Rudolph “Wally” West was the third and Flash was his hero whom he wanted to grow up like. He is the nephew of both Iris West and Barry Allen. He had a strained relationship with his parents and loved his aunt and uncle who were like parent figures to him, and he would visit them as often as he could. He was about ten years old, and while visiting his uncle’s police laboratory one day when the freak accident that gave Allen his powers repeated itself, bathing West in electrically-charged chemicals. (Barry was trying to figure out what had happened to give him his powers.) Now possessing the same powers as his uncle, West donned the name Kid Flash. But changed part of his costume yellow so as to look different than his uncle, as he wanted to be his own superhero one day.
      Sometime later, Wally contracted a mysterious illness that affected his entire bodily system; the more he used his speed powers, the faster his body deteriorated. This was caused by the fact that Wally was a boy when the electrified chemicals altered his body, which was still developing and maturing (as opposed to Barry Allen, who was already an adult when his accident occurred). As such, as Wally’s body matured, his altered body chemistry was slowly killing him, he was also the slowest Flash, and have very unstable powers, like he could vibrate fast enough to go through a wall like the others but the walls molecular structure would not stabilize afterwards and it would explode, because of this illness he also had a very unstable metabolism causing him to eat often, and a lot…
      (He later got control over this and became the fastest Flash ever. After he let himself run faster than his uncle ever did, which he wasn’t wanting to do after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths where Barry Allen was killed. Wally then took over as the fastest man alive as he felt that the world needed a Flash and Barry’s name would go on. He also was married to reporter Linda Park and had super-powered twins, Iris, named after his aunt whom he loved and was a mother figure to him, and Jai, named after the first Flash.

      Bartholomew Henry “Bart” Allen II was the fourth Flash and is the grandson of Barry Allen and his wife Iris. Bart suffered from accelerated aging and, as a result, was raised in a virtual reality machine until Iris took him back in time to get help from the then-current Flash, Wally West. With Wally’s help, Bart’s aging slowed, and he took the name Impulse. After he was shot in the knee by Deathstroke, Bart changed both his attitude and his costume, taking the mantle of Kid Flash. Also donning the Flash mantel for a time.

      Others to carry the Flash name after this were Dark Flash, Jesse Chambers, John Fox, Unnamed Allen of the 23rd century, Sela Allen, Kryiad and Bizarro Flash among a few others. There were obviously other speedsters as well.
      More information can be found in various comics and here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_(comics)#Jay_Garrick

      • Lee says:

        Now I’m not going to sit here and wright a Wikipedia article about him but Wally West has always been my favorite flash. He always seemed to have a happy action centered personality, similar to Nightwing. While Barry, well… he made me bored.
        I think Wally should be referred to more often in the comics, as well as in movies. The only reason why people seem to like Barry more is because he is used more.
        Not all hope is lost though, he seems to have been brought back into the universe in the DC Rebirth time line, and with the live action Titans series coming out who wouldn’t include kid flash?

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