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 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.
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.
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.