DC fans, you may now quit whining about Wally West, because this April the hero is returning in The Flash Annual #3!
“The start of a major new arc for the Fastest Man Alive! In the future, The Flash is a broken man. His powers have failed him time and again at great cost to him and the city he has sworn to protect. Now he’s coming back to 2014 to stop the one event that destroyed his life. Meanwhile, in the present, Barry Allen must contend with thieves trying to capitalize on the devastation of FOREVER EVIL. It’s a tale of two timelines that ushers in one of DC’s most storied characters…featuring The New 52 debut of WALLY WEST!”
We have yet to see whether this Wally West is the same hero many of us grew up with. You know, the original Kid Flash who became the Flash when Barry Allen died. Here’s the problem: in DC’s newly structured timeline Barry Allen never died. Not only that, Wally West’s father, Rudolph West, no longer exists. There’s no way Wally can just casually stroll back into the DC Universe.
One possibility is that this Wally is from another universe. DC’s New 52 has already broken the seal for introducing characters from parallel universes with Power Girl and the Huntress from Earth Two. DC’s Forever Evil, which is all about parallel universes, is set to end this March, a month before Wally’s return. Honestly though, parallel universes are the ultimate comic book cop-out.
More likely, his return will be related to the comic’s themes of alternate timelines. Maybe Wally West will come back as a relic from an erased timeline. Perhaps he somehow survived the events of Flashpoint by falling into a crack in the space-time continuum. If so, he may end up being the only person who remembers life before the New 52. Another possibility is that Barry will change the timeline in such a way that will bring Wally back.
Alternate timelines will be the big theme of 2014 and the subject of DC’s next big event: The New 52: Worlds End, which debuts in May, right after Wally’s triumphant return. Perhaps his reappearance is directly tied to this event, which will address the existence of multiple contradicting futures within the DC Universe. For instance, in the year 3000, the world will be protected by either the Legion of Superheroes or the Justice League 3000 but not both. Several other possible futures exist, including one where Superman has a baby with Lois Lane that grows up to be a supervillain. If alternate futures exist side by side within the DC Universe, perhaps so do alternate pasts.
Whether this Wally West will be from another universe or another timeline is for the writers to know and for the readers to speculate. No matter how clever DC’s answer ends up being, one thing is certain: fanboys and fangirls will be fuming mad. There is no satisfaction for geeks.
Nevertheless, DC has started the process of reintroducing its missing characters. Stephanie Brown, who was Batgirl right before the events of Flashpoint, will also be reappearing this spring in the weekly series, Batman: Eternal. Great! Now where the Hell are Ted Kord, Cassandra Cain, or Donna Troy? Call me naïve, but I’m sure they’ll show up sooner or later.
So apparently I was wrong when I said, “There’s no way Wally can just casually stroll back into the DC Universe.” Since writing the article, Newsarama released an interview with artist Brett Booth, in which he said:
“He will be different, for one thing, in the old DCU he was Iris’s sister’s kid. She has a brother now, so things won’t be exactly the same. The original Wally was from a different time, a very Norman Rockwell sort of place. That is no longer the case for anyone in the New 52. He will reflect that, I’m sure.”
It sounds like they’re planning a different parentage for Wally. Also, this new Wally’s probably going to be kind of a dick. No parallel universes, no alternate timelines, just introducing a completely different character who happens to be called “Wally West.” Wally fans, you have my blessing to start whining again.