With the new DC relaunch titles and redesigned characters, there are several that appear to have fallen off the radar. It is completely understandable that not every single major character will make their debut in the new September titles. Having the option of 52 new titles is daunting enough as it is. It would also be easy for some characters to get lost in the shuffle if too many debuts were made at the same time. If certain characters are getting revamps, the energy and focus should be placed on them.
Despite this, there are characters that readers and fans have been demanding to know about. There are several popular characters that have been benched and we're left wondering if there are any plans whatsoever involving them. One such character is Wally West.
Wally West wasn't the first Flash. He wasn't even the second. He may have started out as Kid Flash, the sidekick to Barry Allen but Wally soon proved to be more than a simply sidekick. With Barry Allen's sacrifice in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, Wally stepped up to becoming the Flash and was the only Flash many readers have known for as long as they've been reading comics. After Barry's return, Wally began slipping into comic book limbo. The question remains whether or not he'll remain there in September's "The New 52."== TEASER ==
Because Wally started his superhero career at an early age, that time and experience helped to make him a better hero. Along with everything he learned from partnering with Barry, Wally was also a founding member of the Teen Titans. From what little we've heard about the Teen Titans in the relaunch, it sounds as if the Titans we all know never existed. This is where some confusion sets in because we've heard that the Batman Universe will remain consistent. Whether or not Dick Grayson formed the team with Wally and the others remains to be seen.
At the end of his career as Kid Flash, Wally contracted a mysterious disease that would accelerate his death if he used his speed powers. During the battle which lead to Barry's death, Wally was hit by a blast of anti-matter energy which somehow cured him. In his new career as the Flash, Wally had more limitations than Barry. He wasn't as fast or powerful.
When Reverse Flash came along, he actually helped Wally get over a mental block he had dealing with his powers. Wally subconsciously felt he couldn't and shouldn't be as good or better than Barry. Discovering the existence of the Speed Force, Wally was able to do even more than before by using it to make himself faster and even could lend speed to others.
Wally was all about change and evolution. Again, this is a character we first saw as a kid that idolized the Flash. Now established as a bona-fide hero and member of the Justice League, writers took him even further. Wally married his long time girlfriend, Linda Park, something that very few superhero characters do. Not only did he get married, he and Linda had twins.
As with television shows where lead characters get married or have kids, this marked the beginning of the end for Wally. He and his family did leave for an alternate reality after Infinite Crisis due to the fact that their children were growing at an accelerated rate. When they did make their return, the kids, Iris and Jai, were preadolescent kids with speed powers. Wally took them out on crimefighting adventures much to the disapproval of the Justice League (and many readers).
Final Crisis marked the return of Barry Allen after 23 years. His return didn't necessarily mean the end of Wally's tenure as the Flash as both fought side by side briefly. Then Wally slipped out of the limelight. Barry worked to reestablish himself both in the superhero world and at his former job in the Central City Police Dept. Soon there was no sign of Wally. In Barry's new series, Wally made two appearances, one at a picnic and another at an intervention. Both barely qualified as apperances. He only had a couple lines and didn't even have his costume.
Again it's understandable that the focus and attention would want to be placed on the characters already announced to have new ongoing titles. I am super stoked to see what Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have planed for Barry Allen. If Barry is being reestablished for new and existing readers, would having Wally as the Flash just make things confusing? Is this the reason Dick Grayson is giving up being Batman and going back to his Nightwing persona? Is this why there's no sign of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown?
Wally West and Barry Allen may have similar powers and costumes but there really isn't a reason both can't have ongoing titles. There are a couple Superman titles with one being set in his early days and look at how many different Batman titles there will be. Wally and Barry are not the same character. That gives an even better reason for readers to want to pick up two separate titles. They don't have the same personalities and would handle situations in different ways. For now we'll have to be patient. We'll have to keep reminding the powers-that-be that we will not forget these missing characters and will support them when the decision is made to give them their time in the spotlight. In the meantime, at least we have our back issues and trade paperbacks.