At NYCC, DC announced “Flash War” will spin out of “Metal” next year. DC and Joshua Williamson are promising that it will settle once and for all “who’s the best Flash.” It starts in January 2018’s Flash Annual #1 and runs through Flash #46.
I really want this to be a joke, because it’s the last thing the fandom needs. We’ve been through it before, and it basically broke the fandom.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Flash fans mostly got along. Whether your favorite was Barry Allen, Wally West, or Jay Garrick, or you liked Bart Allen as Impulse. It wasn’t perfect, and Barry’s fans missed him terribly, but at least DC treated the character with respect, and fan disagreements never reached the level of, say, Green Lantern fandom, which had been fractured by Emerald Twilight.
Then Infinite Crisis happened in 2006. Wally vanished mysteriously, and Bart was aged up to an adult to take over as Flash.
Wally’s fans hated that he was gone. Bart’s fans hated that he was being handled wrong. Barry’s fans hated that he wasn’t back. Fans on a very creator-friendly message board hounded the writers of the book until they went offline, back when that sort of thing was unusual.
For the next few years, DC kept changing direction, satisfying nobody in the fan base. They killed Bart, teased Barry’s return again but brought back Wally instead, gave Wally superpowered kids to share the book with…
Then Flash: Rebirth hit in 2009. Of course, Rebirth wasn’t just about bringing Barry back (along with Bart, Max, and Jesse Quick)… it was about insisting that Barry was the best. (They literally made every speedster in the DCU except for Thawne dependent on Barry.) And the places we were told we’d see Wally and Bart starring were scrapped, cancelled and revamped. Flashpoint, the first (and still only) big Flash-centric event, killed Wally off unpowered in a sidestory, and he vanished completely in the New 52. Post-Flashpoint Bart was unrecognizable. Jay was MIA for a year.
Now, a decade after Infinite Crisis and half a decade after Flashpoint, we’re finally at the point where Barry, Wally and Jay all have at least some presence and respect, though Bart’s missing again. Barry, Wally, Jay and Jesse are all heroes on TV. Barry’s appearing in movies, and Bart will be in the upcoming Young Justice revival. Barry and two versions of Wally all appear regularly in comics. Jay’s been hinted at, and unlike the carrots dangled re: Barry & Wally in the past, we have reason to believe they’ll follow through with Jay.
So why the hell would we want a “Flash War” to settle “Who’s the best Flash” and dredge all that up again?
Your favorite Flash, my favorite Flash, those are matters of taste. “Who’s the best” shouldn’t be legislated and made canon.