Obligatory theme cover!
Armageddon 2001 was a story running through DC Comics’ 1991 annuals. 10 years in the future, a super-hero would turn evil, hide himself behind a mask and take over the world as Monarch. A generation into Monarch’s reign, a scientist working on a time travel project found himself sent back in time and given the ability to glimpse anyone’s most likely future. He proceeded to travel around the DCU, looking at the future of each hero in hopes of finding the one who would become Monarch, and stopping him…by whatever means necessary.
In the case of the Flash, Wally West spent most of the next decade in the witness protection program. He and his wife Bonnie helped take down a corrupt businessman with mob connections and a super-power to learn everything about a person just by touching them. Their son David inherited Wally’s speed, but not the aura that protects him from friction, making his power potentially deadly. Waverider’s view of the future begins when David risks his life to save someone else’s, and is seen doing it. The Flash’s cover blown, Diogenes’ allies kidnap David from the hospital and recruit the Rogues to lead Wally West on a chase to find his son.
Convinced that Flash couldn’t be Monarch, Waverider moved on, though his brief interruption distracted Wally West from the crucial moment in which he and Bonnie would have met.
Fun fact: This was Mark Waid’s first full-length Flash story; he had previously written the framing sequences in The Flash 50th Anniversary special, and would soon start writing the ongoing series.
Not so fun fact: Armageddon 2001 was infamous for a last-minute change in plans. During the summer, news leaked that the Captain Atom was going to be revealed as the future villain. DC swerved, latching onto Hawk (Hawk & Dove had just been canceled, leaving them expendable), despite the fact that Hawk & Dove had already appeared in the future fighting Monarch. Of course, future writers ended up making Captain Atom into Monarch anyway, and Hawk & Dove were both killed and brought back to life by the end of the post-Crisis DCU.