My Two Cents: 5 Ways to Bring Back Wally West
With the reveal of “Daniel West” in Flash #0, the Internet’s going wild trying to figure out who the hell Daniel West is, and what does it mean for Wally West?
Ever since creators Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato revealed that Francis was working on a way to re-introduce Wally to the New 52 (but was waiting for Dan Didio, who has mandated Wally stay out of the picture, to give the approval) I’ve been wondering about different ways DC could bring back Wally. It’s no secret that DC is trying to figure out a way to balance having both Barry and Wally: although many fans have questioned why there can be 4 Robins/ex-Robins and 4 Earth Green Lanterns but only 1 Flash, DC has said that bringing back Wally would mean fans expecting Wally to take over the mantle.
As much as I’d like to see that happen (especially since Wally held down the title and mantle for two decades, and some of his traits have been “borrowed” to make Barry’s character more interesting) I have tried to think of Five Ways Wally West Could Return without getting rid of Barry Allen as Flash.
The Hot Pursuit Approach
Hot Pursuit was a mysterious “speedster” DC teased fans with for months, and when he was finally revealed, he wasn’t an entirely new character: he was Barry Allen. From another reality.
Hot Pursuit was a superhero from another universe who–with his reality’s Wally West–was able to create a Cosmic Cycle that channeled the power of the Speed Force. Not only did it allow it’s rider to travel at super speed, but Hot Pursuit could also charge his “nightstick,” steal speed, and create holograms.
Whether keeping a semblance of this origin or not, Wally could easily take over this role or a similar one that allows him to channel and manipulate the speed force in a different way. This gives Wally the chance to explore a different identity for the first time in decades, and gives Barry the chance to be the only Flash (besides Kid Flash) around.
The Walter West Approach
Walter West was an alternate reality Flash, later known as the “Dark Flash,” a grim “Wally” who had lost his reality’s Linda Park and thought he had lost our Wally and Linda too. He had learned all kinds of ways to manipulate the Speed Force after being trained by self-styled Speed Savior Savitar and had used his abilities to look over our reality in Wally’s absence.
Wally came back, and all seemed well, until the Justice League arrived and revealed that Walter’s prolonged time in our world was messing with reality. At the end of the storyarc he decides to start traveling between dimensions, looking for his own world (and possibly ending up in Earth Prime, where he saw a comic relating the events going on in Wally’s world).
A New 52 Wally could take after Walter, though not necessarily as grim, but weary. After running outside dimensions, a world hopper, a reality runner, Wally arrives to help this world put off some horrible threat, and then stays in the New Earth because he has nowhere else to go.
As for his relation to Barry, he could be the alternate reality son Barry had with Iris in a dystopian world, a la the Rachel Gray Summers backstory with Marvel’s X-Men characters Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean “Marvel Girl/Phoenix” Grey, or he could be Iris’s cousin or brother, or he could very well be Walter himself.
The Guy Gardner Approach
Wally West donning the tights doesn’t have to be a bad thing for Barry. Taking a cue from the Guy Gardner/Hal Jordan relationship, the New 52 Wally could start off similar to early-post Crisis Wally, a cocky, arrogant, funny, and self-centered Wally who was also haunted by the death of his uncle (and the shoes he had to fill, literally).
Making Wally the Yin to Barry’s Yang could bring a new dynamic to the Barry-Wally relationship, with Wally being a reluctant ally who has a grudge with Barry (especially considering that the newly introduced “Daniel West” has had a few run-ins with Barry). This makes a lot of nuances, and a troubled, full-of-himself Wally would have tons of room for character development.
Maybe this could be reflected in their powers as well, with the two unable to be around each other for long without causing some kind of Speed Force anomaly. Opposite to the Mas y Menos dynamic (twin siblings and characters from the Teen Titans cartoon series), their being too close could cause literal rifts between them, making them coming together only for the most dire of circumstances.
Either way, this new approach to their relationship could make for a ton of new, interesting interactions that directly contrast everything about the pre-Flashpoint continuity and build something fresh and new.
The Zoom Approach
If you think about it, Wally’s Kid Flash costume always seemed to be a little Zoom-influenced, especially with the dominant yellow of the upper half. It was as if he was representing both legacies, similar to Bart Allen’s parentage and Superboy/Conner Kent’s pre-Flashpoint continuity as a clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor.
Perhaps somehow a new Wally West could gain his powers both from Barry and a New 52 Zoom, or simply from a horrible freak accident involving Barry, turning Wally into the new Reverse-Flash, or a version of him. More misguided than villainous, probably trying to protect his brother Daniel, he’d battle Barry but perhaps later turn over a new leaf.
Again, his powers would be different, with the title of “Reverse Flash” being literal: similar to the second Zoom in pre-Flashpoint continuity, Wally’s powers could be more temporal-based, resulting in time manipulation abilities more so than simply running fast. Perhaps he can reverse entropy, resulting in repairing or regrowing destroyed and withered objects, and can cause quantum effects related to motion. Perhaps the ability to steal speed could even come from this.
While I–and I’m sure, many fans–would never want to see Wally go down a dark path, it could expand his character and help the DC brass feel comfortable about depicting a new “Flash” who is distinct from Barry. Unlike the above idea in the “Guy Gardner Approach,” this could set up a familiar relationship to post-Crisis Wally, who looked to Barry as a mentor; or it could be even worse, and he could have a very confrontational relationship with Barry.
In any case, it’d be different, it’d be unexpected, and it could have enormous potential.
The Bringing Back Classic-Wally Approach
Tied to the Flashpoint energy and just outside reality, our Wally West from pre-Flashpoint continuity could still be around, waiting to find his way back. In the New 52’s title Legion Lost, the heroes are trapped in our time after hitting a Flashpoint barrier that prevents them from returning to their era. The very same could be preventing Wally from returning to Earth.
Writer Francis Manapul has also expressed the notion of bringing back not just Wally, but Wally’s family: he wanted to keep the dynamic of Wally as a family-man. And with DC expressing a heavy emphasis on the “West Family” in recent interviews and solicitations, just what does DC have planned?
Could it be Wally and the Wests have returned to DC, the only remnants of the prior universe? Could it be an alternate reality family of traveling speedsters? Could it be that Daniel is the newest addition to the family? Was he folded into reality by Flashpoint? Is he a distant relative of this reality whose run-ins with the Flash (pun intended) lead to some event that calls Wally to this dimension (not unlike how the “Lightning Saga” brought Wally back to DC a few years ago)?
Will he take Barry’s place as some kind of important figure in the Speed Force (with a nod to Rebirth), and similar to Billy Batson and Freddie Freeman’s new relationship after Infinite Crisis)?
Or something else?
No matter how Wally is introduced, there will definitely be a lot of questions as to how this spins Barry’s series. How will Barry react? What’s the scope of Wally’s return? How is Iris involved? Is “Daniel” an alternate alias, similar to Tim Drake’s new origin?
Is Wally involved at all?
Hopefully we’ll get some more hints with the New York City Comic Con next weekend. Until then, all we have are questions, speculation, and hope.
- Welcome Back WALLY WEST?? What FLASH #0 Might REALLY Mean (newsarama.com)
- Comics Portal: The Return of Wally West? (comicbooked.com)
- Wally West and Donna Troy Against the New 52! (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com)
- Concept Factory: “Nightwing: Brave and the Bold” (chaosmechanica.wordpress.com)