Tag Archives: Speculation

A Case for Wally West as the New Reverse Flash

Flash #117 Blood Spot

Today’s guest post is by Scott Timms.

Every fan of the Flash has a favorite character who has taken up the mantle. There is no shame in loving Wally, being partial to Barry or the other way around. I personally lean toward Barry, but growing up in the 90s I understand the loyalty to Wally. On one hand, Barry is the current Flash and on the other hand Wally had the Flash mantle for just as long as pre-crisis Barry did. No one who has the characters’ best interest in mind would want Barry to be killed off to make room for Wally, and just having Wally appear as another Flash would be ill-conceived at best. How can Wally’s half a century of Kid Flash and Flash duty be honored, tied in, and introduced in a post Flashpoint New 52 world?

First, let us explore the answer that won’t sit well with any Flash fan: ignoring he exists with no explanation. For the Wally fans, consider how disappointing that option is. How relieving was it to find out why Captain Cold doesn’t use a cold gun anymore? Changes are fine, I just want some explanation or some bridge to the version of the story I hold dear. I present to you an interesting solution: Wally being introduced as the new Reverse Flash. It would give the character teeth and keep interest in his run as the Flash. It makes Flash #1-247 relevant in a way keeping him out of the New 52 universe simply doesn’t. The argument is always Barry or Wally. If you introduce Reverse Flash as an equal to Barry then you allow that question to come to life. Wally and Barry on the same page battling it out is an invigorating idea. Introducing a beloved hero such as Wally as a villain while at the same balancing the homage Wally is due will challenge the creative team and the preconceptions of the fans.

Here is an idea Wally fans will eat up. Wally doesn’t have to stay a “villain” or the Reverse Flash. How compelling are super hero team ups of two characters once at odds? How tantalizing would a story line be which introduces and establishes Wally as Reverse Flash, but then brings the two together? During their time at odds fans can see the “Barry vs. Wally” scenario play out before their eyes and brought together fans can have a fully reintroduced, explained, and character developed Barry/Wally team back to their comic books. Wally as Reverse Flash doesn’t forever doom Wally as an evil villain. It is an avenue by which he can be reintroduced. A mutual threat could bring Barry Flash and Wally Reverse Flash on the same side, and see Wally come back into the super hero fold. All this is speculation, but the directions the writers could take it are endless.

Wally as Reverse Flash is an intriguing idea. It challenges the status quo and gives Wally the provocative return he deserves. Do any Wally fans out there want the writers to simply have him appear and say “Poof! Here he is!”, or give Wally some lackluster, poorly executed return? Wally needs a place and his past stories have relevance. Being introduced as Reverse Flash could give him the reintroduction he deserves. Wally’s personality and place in the hearts of fans could take Flash/Reverse Flash to new heights.

For thoughts on other candidates for the new villain, check out our previous article, Who is the New Reverse-Flash?

Who is the New Reverse-Flash?

The Negative Flash

DC recently announced that a new Reverse-Flash will debut in Flash #17, the final chapter of “Gorilla Warfare,” and will feature in the story beginning in Flash #20. Writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato wouldn’t reveal much this early, though the next story is going to focus on the question of “Who is the Reverse-Flash?”

Looking back at the interview, they don’t outright say that it won’t be Eobard Thawne or Hunter Zolomon, though that’s the way Comic Book Resources took it (and in the New 52, it makes sense to take that approach).

According to Manapul, the character “is going to be a complete re-imagining of him in the same way that we kind of tinkered with what the Speed Force is. We’re going to be explaining what the opposite side of that is.” Buccellato adds, “unlike previous Reverse-Flash iterations, we really take the ‘reverse’ part of it seriously.”

Of course, we’re comics fans, so it’s never too early to start speculating about the possibilities!

Dr. Darwin Elias. Initially an ally of the Flash, a scientist who has studied the speed force and the Flash’s powers. It turns out that he has a serious problem with ethics. He turned popular opinion against the Flash just to see what it would take, and gave the Rogues super-powers just to see what would happen. He and Barry Allen both being scientists could make for an interesting dynamic. Edit: On the downside, he’s already got potential in his current form, so folding him into an existing role takes what could be two villains and cuts them down to one.

Daniel West. Iris’ brother, recently released from jail after serving time for a job that was tharted by the Flash. He’s looking for his missing sister, who vanished during one of the Flash’s battles and is now trapped inside the speed force. It’s not hard to see motive, and if he somehow finds Iris, he could easily end up connected to the speed force in some way.

Iris West. The Flash could use some more female villains, she’s in the speed force right now, and it would be interesting to have the new Reverse Flash be someone with a romantic link to the Flash. That said, that angle has already been explored a lot with Batman, Catwoman and Talia Al Ghul; Iris doesn’t really have motivation to go villainous; and it would be a major change to a long-established character. On the other hand…

Patty Spivot. She’s mad at the Flash for “killing” Barry Allen. Unlike Iris, she’s actually dated Barry seriously in this timeline. She’s met someone (Turbine) who has been in the speed force, and could conceivably end up linked to it — in fact, in the last moments of the previous DCU timeline, she was linked to it, taking up Hot Pursuit’s outfit and speed force-powered motorcycle just before Flashpoint transformed the universe. She’s had enough page time for the audience to appreciate a switch, but not as much historical inertia as Iris.

Wally West. His fans have been clamoring for his return, and DC has been very coy: either they have no plans, or they’re saving him for something big. We don’t know what he’s up to in this timeline (if he even exists), but since Flashes have a history of dimension travel, we can imagine a pre-New 52 Wally West being trapped in this timeline, wanting to repair it, and blaming Barry for wiping his family out of existence. On the downside, DC has already gone down this road with Hal Jordan as Parallax and Superboy Prime (not that they’ve ever shied away from repetition). More importantly, perhaps, DC has been very insistent on not offering any “escape hatches” that might allow fans to think the old DCU could possibly come back, ever. Having a character explicitly from that old continuity sounds like something they’d want to stay away from. This option also didn’t fare well in the polls. 71% of Wally West fans and 64% of non-Wally fans, or 70% of the total responses, were opposed to the idea.* Update: Some additional thoughts on Wally West as a candidate.

Other possibilities: Bart Allen’s unlikely, as he’ll also be appearing in the same arc. There are other people at the crime lab, like Singh or Forrest. There’s Captain Frye or even Henry Allen. I’m fairly certain that Barry Allen’s literal evil twin, Cobalt Blue, has been long-since erased from history, but the science/magic dichotomy could still play out with another character.

My bet is either Dr. Elias or Daniel West, though I’d like to see what the book might do with Iris or Patty. What do you think?

Who do you think is going to be the new Reverse-Flash?

*The poll asked people to choose whether they were “a fan of Wally West” or “not particularly a fan of Wally West,” and whether they would be “OK with” the reveal. Of 106 votes: 67 fans opposed, 28 fans OK, 7 non-fans opposed, 4 non-fans OK.

Didio’s Digital Designs: Connecting the Reboot Dots from Infinite Crisis to Flashpoint

At Comic-Con’s Sunday “The New 52” panel, Dan Didio stated that he’d wanted to reboot the DC Universe for five years, since Infinite Crisis*, but that the time didn’t seem right. Why not? And why is it happening now?

It makes more sense to tie it to Infinite Crisis: follow up a classic universe-changing event with a new universe-changing event 20 years later and usher in a new “age” of DC comics.

It seems clear that his plans morphed into One Year Later. Like the New 52, it was an attempt to establish a new status quo and provide a new jumping-on point for the entire line.

Something else Didio wanted to do with Infinite Crisis was bring back Barry Allen. He was coy about it for several years, but in the DC Nation column that ran the week of the last issue of Wally West’s Flash series, he explained that he’d wanted to bring Barry back with Infinite Crisis, but things didn’t work out, so they set up Bart instead. Then he’d wanted to bring Barry back in The Lightning Saga, but again, things didn’t work out, so they brought Wally back instead.

So what does it mean that things didn’t work out? Continue reading

How Might THE FLASH Relaunch After FLASHPOINT?

DC keeps reminding us that this week’s The Flash #12 is the final issue of the series. But we all know that the series is coming back, one way or another. The Flash is one of DC’s foundational* series that only ever gets canceled to pave the way for a relaunch.

So we know The Flash will be back in some form after Flashpoint. But how?

Main Series

Most likely it’ll be called The Flash, and as long as Dan Didio and Geoff Johns are in charge it’s a safe bet that it’ll star Barry Allen. The question is, will it be…

  • Flash vol.4 #1 (a straight relaunch)
  • Flash vol.3 #13 (picking up where they left off)
  • Flash with some sort of combined numbering.

For that last option, I added the series up a while back and came up with ways they could launch at #625 or #630. There’s also the Flash #351 approach some people have suggested, which is odd, because it includes both the Golden and Silver Age numbers but skips over the last 25 years of Flash comics.

If Flashpoint is a big turning point for the Flash, they might go for a new title, maybe All-Flash vol.2 #1 (Gotta keep those titles in trademark!)

Who will write it? Geoff Johns could. He’s said he can do 3 monthly books, and with Brightest Day over, he’s committed to Green Lantern and Aquaman. But he’s also busy with his job as Chief Creative Officer. Could it be time for someone else?

How about art? After the way things went with this run, it probably won’t be Francis Manapul on the next ongoing. Scott Kolins seems to found a niche as the go-to-guy for “quick draw” Flash books, so he might return full-time. Or we might see someone entirely new.

When will it start? Most likely it’ll launch right after Flashpoint (or 3 months later to keep spoilers out of solicitations), but DC might run a miniseries first.


Secret Origin. Geoff Johns has said on several occasions that he wants to do Flash: Secret Origin, and at last year’s Baltimore Comic Con it was suggested that it would follow the second story arc on The Flash. (At the time, my guess was that Secret Origin would run through the main title while Flashpoint ran in its own miniseries, though that obviously isn’t happening.) I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he and Francis Manapul started working on this behind the scenes during Flashpoint, with Flash: Secret Origin launched as a miniseries after Flashpoint concludes. If that happens, I’d guess that DC will wait until Secret Origin is finished before relaunching The Flash again.

Kid Flash. At SDCC 2009, Geoff Johns announced plans for a Kid Flash series by Sterling Gates, launching in 2010 alongside the Flash relaunch. This was eventually scrapped, though Gates is writing the Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost miniseries. If it sells well, I would not at all be surprised to see a Kid Flash ongoing spin out of the event.

Speed Force. At SDCC 2010, Geoff Johns announced plans for a second Flash series, Speed Force, featuring Wally West and Bart Allen, launching in 2011. Most likely this would be a rotating cast like JSA Classified. It’s only occasionally been mentioned since then, and unlike Kid Flash, it doesn’t have as obvious a hook from Flashpoint…that we know of.

Chances are that we’ll see Speed Force or Kid Flash spin out of Flashpoint, but not both.

Flash: Secret Origin sounds like a good bet, though, whether before the new ongoing series launches or side by side with it.

*To use Grumpy Old Fan’s term for those books that are essentially cancellation-proof, since they’ve been in publication almost continuously since 1960 or longer.

Did the Flash Save Comics?

This essay was originally posted on K-Squared Ramblings in 2008.

When the New York Daily News broke the news about Barry Allen’s return, they brought up the hero’s key role in launching the Silver Age of Comics. Superheroes had fallen out of favor in the early 1950s, and comics were exploring genres like westerns, horror, romance, etc. When DC successfully relaunched the Flash in 1956, there was an explosion of new super-hero titles.

The Daily News quotes former Flash scribe Geoff Johns as saying, “Without Barry Allen, we’d still be reading comic books about cowboys.”

I don’t think that’s precisely true. Not to discount Barry’s contribution—it’s entirely possible, even likely, that super-heroes would have remained a background genre. But for one thing, we’re looking at half a century of ephemeral pop culture. For another thing, let’s consider: why were comics going after the western, crime and horror genres when super-heroes failed? Because that’s what was popular in movies and television at the time.

I’d guess that, without the Flash revitalizing super-heroes, we would have seen more science-fiction comics in the 1960s, more police comics in the 1970s, sitcom comics in the 1980s, and so on. Comics genres would probably have followed along with trends in pop culture instead of becoming heavily focused on a single genre.

We wouldn’t be reading cowboy comics today; we’d be reading reality comics.

Perhaps the presence of multiple genres would have eventually gotten rid of the “but, you know, comics are just for kids” mentality. (Not that it’s worked for cartoons or video games yet, but video games are still relatively new, and cartoons have similarly been dominated by the musical fairy tale and slapstick comedy short.)

Eh, who knows? Maybe they’d be all about pirates.