So with the New 52 a lot of things changed, one of the most dramatic differences was the lack of many fan favorite characters, including Wally West.
Wally was originally created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in 1959 as the nephew of Barry Allen’s longtime girlfriend, Iris West. Wally was involved in an identical accident as Barry that resulted in him gaining the same speed powers, thus Wally West became the Kid Flash! As Kid Flash, Wally worked as the Flash’s sidekick and a member of the Teen Titans until 1986 during the maxi-crossover event: Crisis on Infinite Earths. During CoIE, Barry Allen sacrificed his life to save all the worlds and Wally heroically took on the mantle of the Flash! Wally West was the Flash until 2011 when Flashpoint seeemingly erased him from existence.
Having been around since the 50s and having been the Flash since the 80s, Wally is the hero a lot of people still recognize as the Flash. He’s gained popularity through a long running solo series and membership in the Justice League of America. Hiis appearances in other media, such as the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons as the Flash and in the Teen Titans and Young Justice shows as Kid Flash have brought him to a wider audience. My point being, Wally is a very beloved character.
But in the new 52 Universe, he’s nowhere to be found. And despite endless fan begging and the hopes of the co-writers of the current Flash series, Wally West is benched.
My Theory behind the benching of Wally West is that DC just doesn’t know what to do with him. Though that could be said for a lot of characters DC is using, I mean that they don’t know how to introduce him into the new timeline for things to make sense. And I think that’s fair.
In the New 52 timeline, Barry has only been the Flash for 5 years. If they were to introduce Wally as a protege, there hasn’t been time for that yet. And there’s the question of how old he’d be. Historically, Wally is the same age as Dick Grayson (Nightwing) and Roy Harper (Arsenal) and the other original Titans. That would put him in his early 20s, which wouldn’t make him much younger than Barry.
So the problem is, Wally doesn’t fit well into this new universe. At least not well or not yet. But with Flash #0 we got a little tease about the West family with the brief introduction of Daniel West:
A lot of fans are speculating that this could be the stepping stones being laid out to introduce Wally West. I think they’re right. But to what capacity he’ll “be back” is still very speculative.
What DC Should have Done:
Introduce him right away as Kid Flash. My initial knee-jerk reaction to that idea was “NO!” because he’s outgrown the mantle and Bart Allen has taken it. But I think that it makes the most sense. Barbara Gordon is Batgirl again, why not put Wally back in the Gold and Red? He’s currently being Kid Flash in the Young Justice animated series, and it’s his iconic role.
What would that mean for Bart? Make Bart Impulse. Another step back? Yes. But it’s Bart’s original role, it’s fitting for his character and it again parallels with the YJ show which cleanly has 4 generations of Flashes.
They could’ve had Wally in his late teens/early 20s along with Nightwing and given him either a supporting role in the Flash series or a solo series, or left room for him to come in and be Kid Flash. Arguably the thing that is getting in Wally’s way the most is Bart Allen being Kid Flash, which sucks because I love Bart so much too.
What DC Could do:
Bart Allen and Barry Allen haven’t met yet in the new 52. There isn’t much connection between the 2 beyond the name in the New 52. DC could either have Bart change his codename to Impulse and stay more independent and introduce Wally and have him become Kid Flash or they could introduce Wally and have him become Impulse. It’s a recognizable name and would let Wally run again.
I’d like to see Wally come back through Iris and we could watch him become Barry’s apprentice. I think that’s the safest way to bring him in. Whatever name he takes, isn’t really as important, but we can’t really have Wally West as the Flash. Barry has been strongly established as the Flash and I don’t think that it’d be smart to add a third Flash to this confusing New 52.
I understand we all want Wally back. But do we really? The New 52 has proved time and time again to be a giant clusterfuck of half baked ideas and mis-characterizations. If he’s going to come back, I need it to be well done and I need him to actually be the Wally West I know and love. But luckily, The Flash is the only series I still even collect anymore, and I think if anyone could find a way to make Wally work it’d be Brian and Francis.
My Advice to Wally Fans: Be patient, stay vocal, and enjoy the old stories. Read old Wally comics, watch Wally on Young Justice. He’ll be back, it’ll just take time.