Where “Heroes In Crisis” Went Very, Very Wrong

I’ve held off for the most part on HEROES IN CRISIS, waiting for the ending to somehow turn things around for my opinion. After all, Tom King is a great writer and I usually am a fan of his work. I do think this book was well intentioned when it comes to depicting mental health issues…even though it missed the mark significantly. But, now that the series is over it’s time to finally talk about what went very, very wrong about HEROES IN CRISIS…a book that hopefully will be retconned out of continuity at some point in the near future. Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!

 SPOILERS AHEAD for HEROES IN CRISIS. You have been warned!

NOTE: This article is also appearing at TMStash.com.

Let’s talk first about what HEROES IN CRISIS was supposed to be. It was meant to be an examination of the stresses and scars all heroes go through. To show that even superheroes experience trauma. That getting help is a good thing to do. It did all this by having Wally West become a mass murderer.

The action centers around a place called The Sanctuary. This is a place, “built by Batman with Kryptonian Crystal technology, with Wonder Woman’s compassion.” It was set up to give VR counseling sessions, to help heroes (and even some villains) suffering from some vaguely diagnosed “trauma”.

From Lois Lane’s article in issue #4, “Seeking relief from PTSD-type symptoms, superheroes have been seeking psychological help in a secret facility located in the upper Midwest. In the plains of America, as part of a systematic effort to treat psychological damage suffered on the field of battle, the most powerful beings on this planet have cried out their fears and hopes in front of a camera…These videos reveal a world long hidden from the public eye. A world where mental health problems underlie the easy smiles and clever quips of your favorite masked avenger.”

The counseling sessions are depicted as if we are watching an old episode of MTV’s REAL WORLD. I’m not sure how these confessionals help, but they aren’t the only part of the counseling services. The VR part of this creates whatever environment the subject needs to confront and deal with their trauma.

In a public statement, Superman later adds, “…yes, Sanctuary exists. It exists to help these heroes recover from this pain. To help them recognize themselves under these scars. To help them wake from these nightmares. But its existence, it should not scare you. On  the contrary, it should comfort you. This suffering. This need for healing. It is not the mark of a madman. It is the wound of a warrior. It’s a sign. A sign of their love of truth. Their hunger for justice. And their fight for the American Way.”

I do have a question at this point, one that I think matters a lot here. Young Bruce Wayne was counseled by Dr. Leslie Thompkins (at least in some continuities), and she continued to counsel him as an adult. Why would Bruce Wayne trust an AI more…given the need for a human counselor in his own life? Instead we get, “The Chamber”. A psychiatrist on site? Nope. Psychologist? Sorry. Licensed Clinical Social Worker? You’re out of luck, pal. No counselors here…just a bunch of VR based on alien tech and built by a man who dresses like a bat. What could possibly go wrong?

Here’s what could go wrong…

Blue Jay. Hot Spot. Roy Harper. Commander Steel. Lagoon Boy. Gunfire. Tattooed Man. Gnarrk. Kid Devil. The Protector. Solstice. Nemesis. Poison Ivy. Wally West…all apparently dead (we’ll come back to the last two in a moment). That’s what could go wrong with Sanctuary.

We spend much of the series trying to figure out just who killed all those people. The clue are spread throughout several issues, and if you go back to look at them all, you can see it was there all the time.

Wally did it.  Wally West, the third Flash, hero of Keystone City, one time member of the Teen Titans and the Justice League, killer of at least thirteen people. Let that sink in…

Why did he do it? Buckle up folks, you’ll love this one…

Wally felt alone. (Nope, not there yet…) That Sanctuary was somehow set up just for him. That everyone else was alright. That he was the only one so broken. So, he got into the VR of Sanctuary, viewed all the other confessional videos, and learned that he wasn’t alone…

And that broke him.

It is at this moment that we learn of the lethal nature of the Speed Force. That if you somehow lose control for even a second, it becomes deadly. Knowing that, and knowing he is in danger of losing control, Wally runs out of the Sanctuary…but a group follows him out. Wally loses control for that second, and it kills everyone who had come to check on him.

So, Wally has become a murderer. And then, Wally is so irresponsible, so unwilling to face what has happened, that he purposely sets things up to look as if Booster Gold or Harley Quinn did it, pitting them against each other.  That’s where we spend much of this series, following the lie that a murderous, irresponsible Wally West laid out. (And yes, it is making me sick to write this).

In the field outside Sanctuary. Wally is able to bring Poison Ivy back to life (now completely connected to the green)…just to witness his suicide? Wait, it gets stranger…just as Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Harley Quinn, and Batgirl arrive…

Wally, who accidentally killed over a dozen people because he didn’t feel alone, is stopped from killing himself. How? Future Wally tells the Wally who just killed everyone, “Kid. You’re not alone.” Wait, isn’t that realization what caused him to lose control and kill everyone in the first place?” It makes my head hurt.

And of course, even though this was involuntary, and even though this was the direct result of some nebulous mental illness, Wally is locked up…jailed until, who knows?

And what happens to The Sanctuary? After it worked out so tragically before? After over a dozen people died?

It stays open.

Really.

Let’s first talk about what went wrong from a mental health perspective, as that is frankly the most important miss in this series. No one had a specific diagnosis, other than “PTSD-like symptoms”. All had experienced “trauma”, but that’s the extent of what we know about any of the subjects served by The Sanctuary. The point here is that we had a bunch of generic “mental health issues”, which is like saying that a regular hospital treats “illness”. Tom King is a great writer, but he didn’t do his homework, and it shows. This series, meant to highlight the mental health issues of superheroes, instead throws a generic and often inaccurate light on mental health issues.

Worst of all is the depiction of Wally’s mental health issues. Was he depressed? Did he have PTSD? All we know is that he had mental health issues, and that you had supposedly better steer clear of people like him. It seems to say that if you have a mental health issue, you could lose control at any time and become a mass murderer. That the “counseling” he received was not going to prevent this tragic outburst. If this series is meant to say that getting counseling is a good thing (NOTE: it really is), this is a very poor way to make that point.

Mental health issues deserve a better explanation than this series provided. If you want to see that, there are some other great examples in current comics. This was a huge miss – and it comes from wanting to write about “mental health” without actually doing the work to accurately depict the issues involved.

Now, let’s get to the part that many fans have been waiting to see discussed…

How could they do this to Wally West? Fair question. Wally was written out of continuity after FLASHPOINT, with DC leadership seeming to thumb their noses as fans who begged for his return. We finally see Wally’s return with the start of REBIRTH, and it was a tremendously positive fan reaction. Thoughts began to turn to Wally West being the key to REBIRTH, and that his character might even be central to the DCU as a whole.

This series ends that thought.

After a relatively brief return to the spotlight, Wally West has now been tagged as a mass murderer. His character is now incarcerated, serving time for his fatal loss of control of the Speed Force. Tainted forever…or at least until the next “Crisis” event that may give DC the ability to retcon HEROES IN CRISIS out of existence.

This. Was. Cruel. To. Fans. Of. Wally. West…and not for any good reason.

If this was, “we need to do something dramatic to promote mental health issues,” it failed as mental health issues were not accurately portrayed in this series. Treatment for mental health issues was not portrayed accurately. We lost a lot of DC Characters including two former Titans – with Roy Harper’s death and the turning of Wally West into a murderer.

This series could have been much more. I still believe Tom King meant for it to be much more. I’m certain his other work will continue to impress. But, this series missed the mark on so many levels. It missed a great opportunity. And that is the great shame of HEROES IN CRISIS.

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12 thoughts on “Where “Heroes In Crisis” Went Very, Very Wrong

  1. Tony Laplume

    I think you’re somewhat wilfully mischaracterizing what actually happens in the story because you’re too emotionally invested in Wally. Which you kind of admit.

    I don’t think Sanctuary was set up to “cure” the superheroes who visited it, but as an outlet for them to express what was previously unexpressable, that superheroes are emotionally vulnerable. Nobody likes to consider that their heroes (super or otherwise) are anything less than completely heroic. Flawless. But the fact is they are. Everyone is. King outlines pretty clearly that the events of the massacre forced the superhero community to admit that Sanctuary existed. How do we know the public had no idea it existed before? Because it didn’t exist before this story. King’s whole point is that it did, and that acknowledging that even superheroes need help is…a really, really good thing.

    Wally didn’t suddenly become a mass-murdering lunatic. His initial discovery that other superheroes suffered like he did was something he was incapable of processing. But by the end of the story, he had a little help. He allowed himself to feel like a part of the community again. So he spends time in jail? So he ends up spending time in jail. But he’s still a hero. The last panel clearly demonstrating that Wally West runs again.

    The last issue clearly reconciles him to the side of the angels. King’s idea to use Harley Quinn and Booster Gold as the intended scapegoats gave them a chance to enter the spotlight, which neither of them (outside of Booster’s role in 52) had really done before. I mean, they’re not exactly ideal superheroes. And that’s the point. By the end, by this issue, you see just about everyone voicing their vulnerabilities. Pointedly, you get all four Robins talking as if each one is the odd one out. That’s a particularly nifty trick on King’s part.

    Wally was thrust into a terrible predicament. He was left without his lightning rod. Anyone who read, in particular, Mark Waid’s seminal run on the character (I’ve been vocal as a fan of it here in the past, got some tiny action figures I finally took out of the package earlier this year), knows that Linda (and later the kids) was hugely important to Wally, in ways Iris has only been on a handful of occasions (really, just “Trial of the Flash” and then the current TV series). You’d have to be an old married couple like Jay and Joan to even begin to compare.

    You can’t rip someone away from family as precious as that and expect them to just be the beacon of hope they were billed to be. That’s hugely unfair to the character. It would be one thing if this were a reboot, where the Linda (and kids) thing never happened. But that was never the case here. I think King spelled this out quite clearly.

    I’ve seen fans react like this before. Hal Jordan’s freaked out for years, even after major events pushed him back into big heroic acts. It wasn’t until Geoff Johns put the green ring back on him and said, “A fear entity did it,” that fans really stopped complaining. The Maxwell Lord thing with Wonder Woman, that’s another clear example.

    But this whole story was about recognizing that the pedestal needs to be put aside. King wasn’t even talking about superheroes anyway, but soldiers with PTSD. I know in my own family, that knowing that PTSD exists and knowing what to do about it are two very different things. Sometimes we pretend it isn’t really happening. Sometimes we let therapists do all the work (or try to), and basically pretend it isn’t really happening. But it is.

    Saying that Wally West was ruined by this experience is by far worse than anything Tom King did in this story.

    Reply
    1. WallyEast

      I have a number of thoughts about your response.

      Harley has had a LOT of time in the spotlight. She has her own series.

      Having Wally cover up the deaths and frame two other people for the deaths is the thing here. Heroes don’t do that. They take responsibility.

      Are you trying to argue that Sanctuary has been in existence long before the start of this series?

      People aren’t saying they expect Wally to be okay. He’s been through a LOT — he’s lost the twins twice, actually — and should get help. But, he should get actual help. While talking about problems is helpful, that’s the point of peer support groups afterall, talking to a trained professional is another important component of getting the help. Getting a diagnosis and then dealing with the diagnosis in a proper way is what Wally deserves. A therapist to help him. We could’ve had an issue about Wally trying to deal with needing an anti-depressant but his body processes things so quickly, regular Lexipro wouldn’t have helped.

      I wanted this series to be about the therapeutic journey Wally needed to go on (and STILL needs to go on). Instead, we get a speedster losing control of the Speed Force for literally the first time ever, which makes no sense. We got a beloved character covering things up in a really non-heroic way. We got Wally breaking into the computer system somehow? Decrypting the data because he’s really fast? And then releasing that information because reasons?

      Reply
      1. Dallin

        “Having Wally cover up the deaths and frame two other people for the deaths is the thing here. Heroes don’t do that. They take responsibility.”

        Wally did take responsibility. At the end. He confessed everything and turned himself in. The coverup was part of his PTSD-fueled mania. If you’re willing to concede that a hero can lose his mind and control of his powers long enough to kill everyone in sight, then you need to also concede that it’s going to take that character — even the fastest man alive — some time to calm down after that. No, Wally was not acting like himself in that moment. But that’s the point. Trauma makes us do things we normally wouldn’t do. But once Wally calmed down, he began acting like himself again.

        “But, he should get actual help.”

        Wally was in the process of getting actual help. But here’s the thing with “getting help” — it doesn’t immediately fix everything all at once. Or forever. My newspaper ran a big feature on suicide a few years ago. Sadly, there are people who commit suicide even after/while they are “getting help.” Just because you’re talking to a trained professional and/or on medication does not guarantee you’ll be completely protected from your trauma, or the things it might make you do.

        “Instead, we get a speedster losing control of the Speed Force for literally the first time ever, which makes no sense.”

        We have countless examples of speedsters losing control of the Speed Force. Max Mercury lost control of the Speed Force and was hurtled forward in time dozens of years. Bart Allen lost control of the Speed Force and aged at a hyper-accelerated rate. Later, as the Flash, he lost control of the Speed Force again and was in terrible pain whenever he tried to run and basically destroyed everything he touched. Barry lost control of the Speed Force and literally destroyed the entire world in Flashpoint. And how many times in Mark Waid’s celebrated run did Wally lose control of the Speed Force and end up on a parallel world or alternate timeline? Speedsters are constantly losing control but in different ways with different consequences.

        “And then releasing that information because reasons?”

        Releasing the information was part of Wally’s confession and healing. He needed the world to understand the context of his actions. And he needed the world to realize that heroes are not perfect and need help from time to time. Thanks to Wally’s reveal, he’s created an environment where it’s more acceptable for superheroes to publicly deal with their trauma.

        Heroes in Crisis was a beautiful, gut-wrenching story. I’m glad to see some people on this site understood that. But I’m sad to see how many people did not get it at all.

        Reply
        1. WallyEast

          Just because people didn’t like something doesn’t mean they didn’t get it. People can understand things and still not like them.

          I am quite aware that getting help with mental illness and grief takes time, thanks. I am well aware that dealing with the grief of losing a child can last for years. Wally lost his twins twice. Adjust to that loss is going to take a long time. I wouldn’t expect Wally to ever actually be normal.

          What Wally was getting was not actual help. There was no one to offer a diagnosis. No one to guide his recovery. There was no one to even talk to. Sanctuary was terrible. It left everyone to their own devices. Yes, I understand the in-story explanations for the set-up. They were not good in-story explanations and even worse outside the story.

          Max bounced off the Speed Force. Barry altered time in Flashpoint. Bart had a hyper-accelerated metabolism. Wally was never good at time travel. Is that what you’re calling losing control of the Speed Force?

          Okay — how many times have we seen a speedster lose of control of the Speed Force and kill everyone nearby? Why haven’t we seen evil speedsters use this? How does a speedster control the Speed Force while sleeping?

          By the way, how did Wally decrypt the data?

          I understood the story. I understand the work and time it takes to recover from mental illness and grief. I still really didn’t like this story. The idea of heroes dealing with trauma, grief, and mental illness was a good one but this was not a good execution of that idea.

          Reply
          1. Dallin

            Rather than saying you guys didn’t understand the story, I should have repeated Tony’s phrase of “somewhat willful mischaracterization,” because that’s what’s been going on this site since Heroes in Crisis #1. In October, I got into a small Twitter fight with Kelson because he refused to consider the possibility that Wally West could have survived the first issue of a story about famous time travelers. He, and so many others on this site, willfully chose to ignore the high likelihood of Wally surviving because they all wanted to perpetuate the old complaint that DC keeps killing the Flashes. And now that it’s over, we have Ed writing multiple articles about what Heroes in Crisis was “supposed to be.” But Ed’s really just telling us what he, personally, wanted from the story, shifting the blame onto Tom King rather than his own misplaced expectations. Sorry guys, but this is what an accurate portrayal of trauma and grief looks like. It’s messy, it’s sad, it’s confusing, it’s contradictory, it’s painful. People have good days and bad days. People snap. Sometimes they get better with therapy. Sometimes they don’t. That’s reality.

            Anyway, on to your specific points, WallyEast …

            “I wouldn’t expect Wally to ever actually be normal.”

            Exactly. So why is it so hard to swallow a story where he gets pushed to a place he normally would never go? To perform actions he would normally never consider? Wally has endured more pain than any character should have to. What he did was not normal. What he did was not OK. Because what happened to him was not normal or OK. And I appreciate that for once, we did not get the sickeningly trite story with our character heroically running toward the camera on the last page with a big smile on their face, magically healed of all their pain because of a quick conversation they had with somebody. In light of what Wally’s been through, we got a much more fitting story instead.

            “What Wally was getting was not actual help.”

            Who or what would have been more qualified to provide therapy to superheroes than an advanced artificial intelligence specifically created for such a task? Seriously, where should Wally have gone instead? Who else can relate to the pain of having had your family erased from existence but still being cursed with the memories of them? Not Barry. There was no one, nothing better than Sanctuary. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was the best option available. And just because the help he was receiving wasn’t perfect, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t “actual help.” The Sanctuary did give heroes someone to talk to. It didn’t leave “everyone to their own devices” — it allowed them to move at their own pace.

            “Is that what you’re calling losing control of the Speed Force?”

            YES. These are just different examples of the same thing. Losing control in different ways. If you lose your temper you might storm out the room, or shout at someone or punch someone on the nose. Three different possibilities, but all stemming from the same cause of having lost your temper.

            “Okay — how many times have we seen a speedster lose of control of the Speed Force and kill everyone nearby?”

            Barry literally destroyed an entire planet because he lost control, but I know that’s not what you’re really asking. You’re complaining about this very specific incident of lightning bouncing off Wally and striking everyone nearby. No, we haven’t seen that before. And seeing new things is part of what makes comics fun. Were you upset with the Force Quest storyline because the concept of a Sage Force, Strength Force, etc., was unprecedented?

            “Why haven’t we seen evil speedsters use this?”

            I don’t think we’ve had any evil speedsters who merely wanted to kill everyone around them. Nor do I think any of them would want to deliberately lose control.

            “How does a speedster control the Speed Force while sleeping?”

            Easy. He’s in a relaxed state when he’s asleep. It would have interesting to explore whether Wally suffered night terrors, but we didn’t see that, so we have to assume it didn’t happen.

            “By the way, how did Wally decrypt the data?”

            He’s the fastest man alive. He has all the time in the world. With the proper motivation, nothing should be unfeasible for him, even cracking the code of scrambled computer data. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. If you’re going to worry about details like that, then you’re going to make all comics less enjoyable.

            Reply
            1. WallyEast

              Let me repeat that you don’t have to explain the therapeutic process to me. I understand it. Fully. I know there are bad days. I know there are days when you can’t think of anything but the grief and the loss. Other days aren’t so bad. I understand there isn’t a straight line from being not okay to being okay. I understand that grief can hide and then surprise you when you least expect it. I understand that a song can trigger it, even if you thought the song didn’t have any particular meaning to you and you end up sobbing on a treadmill at the gym.

              I wanted to see Wally work on getting better. Wally got no help. No, Sanctuary was not really help. I mean, that’s actually the point of the story — that Sanctuary was a failure. Sanctuary failed Wally. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman failed Wally.

              Who would’ve been better able to help Wally rather than an AI? Real help is actual people. Real help is a peer support group. Real help is trained people. Real help is an actual diagnosis. Real help is not an AI, no matter how well designed. I’m sure J’Onn J’Onzz, just for starters, would’ve been more helpful. And if you can’t trust him, who can you trust?

              I wanted this story to mean something to me. Instead, the story wound up being what it was.

              Some additional thoughts:

              First, on one hand you say Wally is the fastest man alive and has all the time in the world (to decrypt computer data). But, on the other hand, Wally’s healing takes time.

              Second, saying, “Don’t look too closely,” is not a good response to criticism. There’s no explanation for how Wally decrypted the data other than, “he’s fast,” but that’s not how things work — even in comics. Moving fast doesn’t mean anything when trying to decrypt data. It’s not a huge deal, obviously, but it’s just one more way the writer failed.

              No, I don’t agree that those are instances of losing control of the Speed Force. Not in the least. Anyway.

              I’m not sure I understand your explanation for not losing control while sleeping. Wally says controling the Speed Force takes focus. How much focus does he have while’s sleeping? How about while he was making out with Linda? This, unlike decrypting data, IS a big deal, to me anyway. It doesn’t make sense.

              Reply
    2. Ed Garrett Post author

      Tony, I agree with several of your points. And, I debated back and forth about including the various Robins’ comments, as I thought those were excellent. I just disagree with your claim of “willful mischaracteriztion.” My main concern was the woefully inadequate portrayal of a serious mental health condition. It was a great concept for a series, but was terribly lacking in the execution. I don’t think that was on purpose – I just wish that Tom King (a great writer) had done more homework so that we could have seen something more accurate given that this was the central concept of the series. All that said, I’m still very glad to see comments on this page, even those that disagree with me. Please keep coming by and leaving your thoughts.

      Reply
  2. Married Guy

    This series is absolutely effing awful.
    From start to finish.
    It failed as a look behind the curtain into the private lives of superpowers beings in the DCU and the repercussions of living in that world.
    It failed as a look at mental illness within the DCU community.
    It failed as a whodunit.
    Characters were written with personalities unrecognizable. There were plot holes big enough to navigate an aircraft carrier through.
    And they DELIBERATELY took a steaming kiss all over Wally West by making him a killer from not only left field, but left solar system.
    Dan Didio seems like a decent bloke, but his outright moves to remove every member of the Flash Family bar Barry is now beyond a joke.
    Absolutely f*****g disgraceful.

    Reply
  3. Jesse Richards

    I was waiting for this article. I absolutely loved the series. I can understand why people don’t, so please hear me out.

    I’ve read Wally since Flash #1. Wally is great; Barry is fine but never should have been resuscitated. Wally is probably my favorite character in any medium, and I’ve grown up with him. It was practically a life crisis to see Wally erased and neglected for so long.

    Before addressing complaints, here are some hopefully less-controversial points about the series:
    1) The art was stunning, particularly of Wally himself.
    2) The confessionals of so many characters were at times funny, refreshing, and insightful.
    3) King gave more character development and focus to a few D-level characters than they’ve ever had before.
    4) I love anything that gives Wally focus. For a decade, his problem has not been bad treatment, but NO treatment. But this acknowledges him again as a major character in the DC Universe.

    I think the complaints here are threefold, correct? A) Wally’s not a killer and this disrespects him, B) the series is not a good portrayal of mental illness, and C) it’s stupid that Bat/Supes/WW would make a “therapy AI”.

    Point C is small and probably true. Of course a therapy AI is going to backfire. But Batman has done stupid things like this before, so it’s not really out of character. Plus, I thought the whole point was that it was the only way to keep secret identities secure so the heroes would feel comfortable being honest. This too is not realistic, but it had some logic.

    Point B is true as such … but I don’t think the series was supposed to be a portrayal of all “mental illness”. It clearly only focused on trauma/PTSD and loss, a subset of mental illness. It seemed to me that Sanctuary was there as an anonymous resource for any hero to get feelings out, and to help them recover from extreme trauma. I don’t think this was clear, but King’s writing is often not clear, intentionally leaving things for the reader to figure out. It might have been DC’s press and interviews that implied all this as well(?). That whole combination led to some unrealistic expectations for the series, in my opinion. But I think the series does a very good job just taken on its own. And the format and focus of the series ended up being a character study and whodunit murder mystery anyway (even from the first issue), with Sanctuary’s wider issues treated secondly.

    Point A is the real root of everything. None of us want Wally disrespected any more. Of course he could never be a murderer. Luckily, he’s not. The post above calls Wally a murderer perhaps a hundred times, but he’s not a murderer. Murdering is willful; the incident was an accident. This makes a big difference, please don’t mischaracterize it.

    I think Wally was treated with respect throughout the whole series. His pain and trauma felt real. Not only is he dealing with the losing his wife and children, but with the knowledge that his mentor was the one who killed (not murdered) them. He also explains that framing Booster and Harley was only meant to buy himself time; he knew they would not be real suspects for long (he estimates fewer than 5 days.) And that time he wanted to spend trying to redeem himself.

    I think he reacted realistically and in character after seeing what he had done. He panicked at first but then accepted responsibility. So if he was in character before and in character after, the only arguable point is that concept of “losing control of the speed force” and accidentally releasing it. This isn’t something we’ve seen before, but they make up new stuff about the Speed Force every week, so I’m not going to argue the science behind this one. The accident could have been anything; clearly King was more interested in the character development that happened as a result of it.

    Comics have done similar things before and not necessarily retconned them: John Stewart feels responsible for destroying a planet, Hal Jordan for what he did as Parallax, Barry destroyed timelines, Batman made Brother Eye and Hank/Tony made Ultron, all the way back to Peter Parker and Uncle Ben. All of these people are half-responsible for unintentional atrocities. (Actually, an (unintentional?) theme of the series could be that of making the DC Universe more like Marvel … admitting these “perfect” heroes have problems.)

    I see Wally being “released” from his voluntary prison soon, when he and the other heroes realize he can do more good helping people every day rather than sitting around. I hope the story isn’t retconned; I think it will go down as one of Wally’s most meaningful stories and a realistic and sad portrayal of a hero’s reaction to extreme loss.

    Reply
    1. WallyEast

      I don’t know. I don’t think framing Harley and Booster was “in character.” Conspiring to conceal the crime is the non-heroic thing here.

      If Wally had said, “OOOOoooh FUDGE! Look what I DID!” and then asked for help? That would’ve been in character. If he saw what he did and then travelled back in time to stop himself from doing it and then turned himself in? Also in character, especially if he felt tormented about doing it.

      What happened? Felt out of character.

      Also, one of the lastimg messages of the story was that people with mental illness can lose control and kill people, even if they’re getting help.

      Reply
  4. WallyEast

    Just realized another plot hole:

    If Wally can time travel, why did he need five days? Why did he have to let Harley and Booster be suspects for five days?

    I’m still rankled with the idea that Wally lost control of the Speed Force, something that no other speedster has done, ever, not even Prof Zoom doing it intentionally. Also rankled that Wally couldn’t get away fast enough before losing control.

    Reply
  5. Jesse Richards

    Agree to some extent with all those plot points that were just raised.

    I think they said that Wally guessed that 5 days would be how long it would take the heroes to realize it was him instead of Harley/Booster. He was time traveling using Booster’s gauntlets, not his own power, I think.

    I really liked that Wally explained that he didn’t want to time travel back and undo the incident because that sort of thing was exactly what Barry had done and caused all the trouble in the first place. (Yes, there are differences, but I thought this made perfect sense for his thinking at the time.) So he only traveled forward.

    Also, in the Flash issues, Wally had just proven he was the fastest Flash ever and had more access to the Speed Force than anyone else.

    So yes, the series had convoluted parts, as is common with time travel, and a bunch of them could have been buttoned up better.

    As a side note, I’m curious how consciously Wally thought about suicide, since he then gave himself time to redeem himself before doing it.

    Reply

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