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Flash (Wally West)

Alias: Wally West
Formerly: Kid Flash

Joined: Brave and the Bold #60 [1965]
Related Links: Flash (Barry Allen)Kid Flash II (Bart Allen) •
Jesse QuickRudolph West • Mary West •
Magenta (Frances Kane) • Linda Park WestJai and Iris West •

Flash Quick Bio: A bolt of lightning endowed young Wally West with super-speed, enabling him to become Kid Flash, protégé to the Flash! When the Flash was slain during a great crisis, Wally became the Flash in honor of his fallen mentor.

Recent File Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

Hero History


First Run

Growing up in slow-moving Blue Valley, Nebraska, young Wally West yearned for a faster pace. As president of his small town’s local Flash Fan Club, Wally grew to idolize the Scarlet Speedster as he thrilled to reports of the Flash’s super-heroic exploits. Luckily for Wally, the Flash – in his secret identity as Barry Allen – was dating his Aunt Iris.

Barry claimed he ‘knew’ the Flash through his job as a police scientist, and agreed to arrange a meeting between Wally and his idol. When Wally met Barry at his police lab, a freak mishap occurred. Incredibly, circumstances duplicated the accident involving a bolt of lightning and certain chemicals which had originally given the Flash his super-speed, thus endowing Wally with identical powers of hyper-velocity.

ABOVE: Wally West becomes Kid Flash in FLASH #110 [1960].
BELOW: Barry fashions a costume for Wally in FLASH #110 [1960].
He would later adopt a more unique look.

Given a smaller-sized facsimile of the Flash’s own uniform, Wally became the Scarlet Speedster’s protégé, Kid Flash. The Flash eventually trusted Wally with the secret of his true identity (a secret even his Aunt Iris did not learn until after she married Barry). After a series of solo adventures, Wally adopted a costume of his own, which did not resemble the Scarlet Speedster’s red motif.

A product of a turbulent home, Wally West yearned to escape from his bickering parents at every turn. He spent an increasing amount of time with his Aunt Iris, who he regarded as his “best friend” – as he also enjoyed the freedom and release his super-heroic adventures provided on a regular basis.

Teen Speedster

A short time later, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad joined forces to stop the menacing Mr. Twister from enslaving the children of Hatton Corners. It was the first time the sidekicks joined forces.

ABOVE: The Pre-Teen Titans – Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash – team up to defeat
Mr. Twister in the classic BRAVE AND THE BOLD #54 [1964].

BELOW: Kid Flash joins the Teen Titans with Flash’s approval
in BRAVE AND THE BOLD #60 [1965].

When the Justice League inexplicably turned to crime, their young sidekicks – Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Speedy and Wonder Girl – teamed up in an effort to solve this mystery. The teen team eventually learned the evil entity known as the Antithesis had used its powers to manipulate the minds of the Justice League. The five resourceful teenagers joined together, stopping their possessed mentors and expelling the Antithesis back into limbo. Spurred by their success, the group decided to make their partnership permanent, and the Teen Titans were officially formed. Although the sidekicks would continue to operate alongside their mentors, they discovered newfound confidence fighting crime with their peers in the Teen Titans.

The origin of the Teen Titans is retold in SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #3 [1989].

Kid Flash eventually left the group to focus on school, while also continuing a part-time solo career as Kid Flash. Wonder Girl eventually persuaded him to rejoin the team, now creating a makeshift headquarters in a Long Island discotheque. Wally developed romantic feeling for Wonder Girl and made a half-hearted attempt to date her, even though she was involved with Speedy at the time. After a case involving Titans West, this incarnation of the team disbanded and Wally returned to Blue Valley.

Wally’s ex-teammates attended his high-school graduation, at which time he confided to the Flash that he intended to give up his super-hero career after completing college. At this same time, he finally revealed his costumed identity to his parents.

The New Teen Titans

Some months later, Raven banded together of group of New Teen Titans to help her battle her demon-father, Trigon. Initially, Wally was disinterested in joining the team. Raven used her emotion-manipulating powers to make Wally fall in love with her – and in turn, he joined this new group of Teen Titans in New York City. Wally was consistently protective of Raven, and clashed with Robin when the Teen Wonder questioned her true motives.

ABOVE: Raven gathers the New Teen Titans to defeat her evil father in NEW TEEN TITANS #1 [1980].
BELOW: Raven’s manipulation of Kid Flash is revealed in NEW TEEN TITANS #4 [1981].

After an encounter with the Justice League, Zatanna revealed Raven’s manipulations to Kid Flash, leaving the teen speedster angry and heart broken. Even though the Titans eventually came to Raven’s aid and ultimately defeated Trigon, Wally had a hard time dealing with her deception. Complicating matters, even without Raven’s mystical influence, Wally realized he really was in love with her.

Shortly after this, Wally’s high school sweetheart, Frances Kane, reentered his life. Frances’ mother believed she was possessed by a demon. In truth, Frances was a mutant born with magnetic-wielding powers. The Titans were able to deduce this, although Frances’ mother rejected her utterly, still fearing demonic influence. As Frances came to terms with her abilities, she also revealed to Kid Flash that she knew he was really Wally West. As they worked at honing her control over her powers, Wally and Frances fell in love.

Still pondering his future, Wally grew increasingly unsure of his decision to continue as a member of the Titans. His discomfort with Raven and Frances’ encouragement were strong factors in his decision to leave the team and return to college in Blue Valley, Nebraska.

Wally leaves the Teen Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #39 [1984].

Back In A Flash

Even semi-retired from super-heroics, Wally soon learned that his super speed abilities were slowly killing him. Since his powers were acquired as his body was maturing, it caused metabolic changes that did not happen to Barry Allen. The more he used these powers, the faster he would die. Wally still used his super-speed abilities in extreme circumstances – and was called into action when the entire universe was threatened by the Anti-Monitor. During this so-called Crisis on Infinite Earths, a bio-energy blast from the Anti-Monitor changed Kid Flash’s metabolism – in effect, curing him of his condition.

It was also during this great Crisis that Barry Allen seemingly gave his life in an effort to save the universe. Now cured of his malady, Wally assumed the mantle of his fallen friend and became the Flash in his stead. Thus, Wally was the first teen sidekick to ‘graduate’ to assume the identity of his mentor.

Believing Barry Allen is gone forever, Wally West becomes
the Flash in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #12 [1985].

As Wally began his solo career as the Flash, he luckily won the lottery, enabling him to become a full-time adventurer. He moved to Long Island and asked Frances Kane to move in with him. Frances felt pressured by the request, and abruptly ended their relationship and left Wally’s life.

It was at this time that Wally began a string of short-lived relationships, including one with S.T.A.R. lab scientist, Tina McGee. Tina first met Wally West after receiving a grant to study his unique metabolism. At the time, she was estranged from her husband, Jerry. After helping West defeat the villain Kilg%re, she felt a growing attraction to the young speedster that eventually led to a romantic relationship.

The affair proved to be a troubled one, as Wally was nearly killed by the jealous Jerry who had become a hyper-fast villain. After that ordeal, Tina and Wally ended up sharing a mansion with West’s mother, Mary, who strongly and openly disapproved of their “adulterous” relationship. The end came after Jerry McGee beat the drug addiction that had driven them apart in the first place, and the couple reconciled.

Adding to Wally’s strife, he also discovered that his father, Rudolph, had secretly become a Manhunter agent years ago. As part of his contract, Rudolph conspired against his own son and even attempted to kill his wife, sending her on a Caribbean cruise that was supposed to have ended in a fatal “accident.” When Wally learned of his father’s connection to the Manhunters, Rudolph feigned his own death and went underground.

Wally joined the reformed Justice League in an effort to emulate Flash’s traditional role on the team – but would also aid the Titans on a few cases, including an encounter with Cheshire in Switzerland and a final encounter with Brother Blood.

Rudolph West reveals himself as a
Manhunter Agent in FLASH (second series) #8 [1988].

Fulfilling The Flash Legacy

Wally later lost his lottery winning and was homeless for a time – only to go missing in New Mexico. It was during this incident that Wally met Linda Park, a tough reporter who was initially turned off by Wally’s arrogance. Wally, on the other hand, saw Linda as a sensation-seeking media hound.

The electricity between them was immediate, but it would take some time before Wally and Linda would see through each other’s facades. Linda started to see Wally’s heroic side when he rescued her from the Celestial Enlightenment Ranch, a so-called church which scammed its own followers. And Wally was delightfully surprised when Linda showed up as his date at his mother’s second marriage.

But despite being the Flash for some time, Wally was still dealing with his own identity issues, and feelings of unworthiness in filling Barry Allen’s running boots. The situation was complicated when Barry seemingly returned from death – but “Barry” was later revealed as longtime Flash nemesis Professor Zoom. In defeating Zoom and exposing his scheme, Wally became a rightful heir to the Flash legacy in his own eyes for the first time.

It was just in time for Wally West to welcome the newest addition to the Flash legacy. Having sought refuge in the 31st century before Barry Allen’s “death,” Iris Allen returned to the present with her hyper-powered grandson, Bart Allen. Iris sought Wally to help cure Bart’s condition, as his accelerated super-speed powers were also rapidly aging him. Wally’s powers enabled him to stabilize Bart’s hyper-fast aging, but still didn’t tame the young teen speedster’s penchant to act before thinking. Bart’s personality quickly earned him a new moniker as Impulse – reluctantly joining the Flash as his unwanted sidekick.

Wally hits Terminal Velocity in Flash #96-100 [1994].

Terminal Velocity

Meanwhile, Linda’s newest assignment uncovered a plot by the terrorist organization known as Kobra. And when Wally learned that his own future may be in jeopardy, he rallied the efforts of a combined super-speed team – including Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, Jonny Quick, Jesse Quick and Impulse.

Secretly fearing he was losing grip on his own humanity, Wally named Jesse Quick as his successor as the Flash. This was actually a deception by Wally to teach Bart responsibility, and force the immature speedster to rise to the challenge as Wally’s eventual replacement. Jesse was furious when she learned she has been duped by Wally, and it became a sticking point between the two of them for some time.

Wally discovers the Speed Force in FLASH #100 [1994].

During a pitched battle with Kobra – with the fate of Keystone City hanging in the balance – Wally’s worst prediction came true. Reaching incredible speeds, Wally transformed into something less than human, disappearing in a bolt of lightning. But Wally’s fears were ultimately unfounded, as this experience was actually his first brush with the Speed Force, a mystical source of energy from which all super-speedsters drew power. Wally was the first speedster to ever enter the Speed Force and return from it – using his love for Linda Park as a beacon back to reality. Emerging victorious, Wally West surpassed even Barry Allen with his newfound abilities from the Speed Force, including enhanced speed as well as the ability to lend super-speed to objects.

As Wally and Linda were reunited, Max Mercury volunteered to teach Impulse in the safe town of Manchester, Alabama. Posing as Bart’s uncle, Max quickly became a mentor and father figure to the impulsive young speedster. Iris Allen also remained in the present, but she felt uncomfortable possessing the knowledge of Wally’s future. She decided to move somewhere farther away, and in that time, wrote a best selling book based on Barry Allen’s adventures as the Flash.

The five original Titans bond in JLA/TITANS #3 [1999].

In the far reaches of space, an alien threat loomed – one that would soon reunite the Titans of past and present. Having collected a planet-size assortment of technological debris, Victor Stone journeyed to Earth to turn its moon into a new Technis world and populate it with his Titans allies. The JLA and the Titans first clashed, then united, eventually freeing Victor from alien influence. Following this encounter, the original five Titans decided to reform the team, inviting five other members to join as well.

Wally divided his time as a member of the Titans and Justice League, while also carrying on his solo career. In an effort to make amends to Jesse Quick, he also nominated her for membership in the Titans. She initially refused, but later complied and became a valued member of the team.

A Race To The Altar

After a brush with death, Wally proposed marriage to Linda and she readily accepted. At the wedding, however, Linda was abducted by Abra Kadabra, who sought revenge on Wally for a past defeat. Kadabra was able to erase Linda from everyone’s memory, with the sole exception of Bart Allen, whose time-traveling made him impervious to Kadabra’s spell.

At the same time, Wally came into conflict with Cobalt Blue, who stood revealed as Barry Allen’s long-lost twin brother. Cobalt Blue felt Barry had the life he should have had – and found a way to acquire super powers through black magic. The sinister speedster sought to erase the Flash legacy by slaying the various people who would carry on the proud Flash tradition through the 31st century. Super-speedsters past and present joined forces – including a time-displaced Barry Allen – and eventually defeated Cobalt Blue.

In the wake of this encounter, a bolt of lightning brought a mysterious new speedster to Keystone City. Other heroes were initially wary of this mysterious new Flash. But after entrusting his secret to Superman and Donna Troy, both heroes vouched for his membership into the Titans and the Justice League. This new Flash was revealed to be”Walter West” – an older, battle-scarred alternate future version of Wally West. As the real Wally emerged from the hyper-timestream, Walter West returned to his true time and place in hypertime.

Wally and Linda wed in FLASH #159 [2000].

At the same time, the speedsters also deduced Abra Kadabra was behind Linda’s abduction. Wally was able to rescue Linda and restored everyone’s memories of her as a result. Wally and Linda resumed their aborted wedding plans, finally marrying in a beautiful ceremony celebrated by friends and family.

With Walter gone, Wally also rightfully resumed his membership in the Titans. Shortly afterward, however, Wally stepped down to allow Jesse Quick a chance to shine as the lone speedster of the group.

Flash Family

When Wally’s friend Hunter Zolomon became the new Professor Zoom, he sought to teach Wally a lesson about loss and responsibility. Although Zoom was defeated, Wally’s public identity made Linda a target, resulting in the deaths of Wally’s unborn twins at the hands of Zoom. Following that tragedy, the Spectre granted Wally’s request for everyone to forget Wally West was ever the Flash. The wish had unforeseen results; His Flash identity remained a secret to even Wally himself. And by pulling this temporal thread, Wally’s past was changed as well. He now worked for the Keystone Police Force in the auto repair division. Upon discovering his Flash identity, Wally once again learned to be a hero.

Later, a war among the Flash Rogues Gallery erupted, and Wally was catapulted through time by Professor Zoom. With the aid of Barry Allen, The Flash prevented the tragedy of Linda’s miscarriage. And when Wally returned to the present, he was greeted by Linda – and their newborn twin children, Jai and Iris “Irey” West.

Wally and Linda dote over their newborn twins
in INFINITE CRISIS #3 [2005].

When Superboy from Earth Prime ran amok during the Infinite Crisis, Flash and the super-speedsters raced to stop his rampage. While running to subdue the deranged Teen of Steel, Wally felt a calling to keep racing “someplace else.” Linda refused to let Wally face this unknown challenge alone, insisting she and the twins would travel with him. In a burst of lightning, Wally, Linda and the twins left this earthly plane for parts unknown.

The West family found themselves on an alien world that revered the Flash legacy. While there, Linda and Wally discovered the twins’ hyper-accelerated metabolism was causing them to age in quick growth spurts. Fearing for their health, Linda called upon her medical training and took a crash-course in hyper-speed biology. Linda discovered their super-speed powers were in a constant state of flux, but learned to temper the effects through advanced technology.

Wally West was later pulled back to earth by the Legion of Super-Heroes, along with Linda and the twins. Resuming his Flash identity, Wally West was now surrounded by his own Flash Family. Irey, aged to 10 years old, found she could harness super-vibrational powers; Jai, aged to 8 years old, learned he could temporarily hyper-accelerate his muscle growth for quick bursts of super-strength. Although their super-speed powers manifest in different ways, the twins were allowed to take part in their father’s adventures with their mother’s guidance.

Jai and Iris West age at an accelerated rate – as detailed
in FLASH #231 [2007].


Fast Friends

Wally was also reunited with old friends when the Titans members were attacked by an unseen evil force. Raven, sensing Trigon’s presence once again, called upon her former Titans allies to defeat her fiendish father. But after investigating, the Titans learned the bestial assaults were actually orchestrated by Raven’s demonic half brothers. Working together as a team, the Titans thwarted the Sons of Trigon and prevented Trigon’s invasion plan. Following this adventure, Flash decided to join his former colleagues – and the Titans were together as a team once more.

Titans Together – once again.

The reunion proved short lived, as personal problems forced each member to drift away from the team. Wally himself was distracted by the surprising return of Barry Allen, who miraculously returned from the Speed Force itself. Long believed dead, the advent of the so-called “Final Crisis” brought Barry Allen back to the land of the living, reuniting him with long-lost family and friends.

Those loved ones proved instrumental in defeating Professor Zoom, who transversed the timestream to challenge Barry Allen once more. During the battle, Zoom’s disruptions to the Speed Force almost killed Irey and Jai West – until Irey mainlined a connection to the Speed Force in an effort to save her brother. While the act left Jai powerless, Irey became a super-speedster herself as the new Impulse. The entire Flash Family joined forces and put an end to Zoom’s plans, thus enabling Barry Allen to resume his life in the present with his wife, Iris Allen.

With Barry Allen back as the Flash, it allows Wally West more time to spend with his family, and even train Irey West as the next link in the ever-evolving Flash legacy.

Barry Allen returns, welcomed back by his closest friends and
allies – in FLASH SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS 2010 [2010].

Powers & Abilities


The Flash possesses super speed that can surpass the speed of light. This enables him to vibrate through objects and even travel through time. He can also lend his speed to other objects. His current costume is comprised of Speed Force energy.

 

Essential Reading


Flash (first series) #110: The biggest day in the life of Wally West, president of the Flash Fan Club (Blue Valley chapter) was certainly the day that his aunt Iris West arranged for him to meet his hero. Flash spent an afternoon with the lad and even showed him a chemical cabinet just like the one from which he had gained his super-speed. Then, in a coincidence defying all odds, a bolt of lightning entered the room and the accident reoccurred before Flash’s eyes once more, as chemicals doused young Wally and bestowed upon him powers identical to his own. Flash gave Wally a tailored-down version of his own uniform, a ring to keep it in, and the christened him Kid Flash. First appearance of Wally West [Kid Flash].
Flash (first series) #120 [1961]: Outside of Ira West, Kid Flash was the first person to whom Flash revealed the secret of his double-identity (Flash #120, May, 1961). In that story, the two speedsters were inadvertently thrown 25 million years into the past, where they battled a race of golden humanoids.
Flash (first series) #135 [1963]: The Flash, who had been toying with a new costume design for Wally, was inspecting an alien mind over-matter machine when, in a burst of light, the new costume sprang from his mind and onto the body of his protégé (Flash #135, Mar. 1963). Since the new outfit exposed Wally’s bright red hair, FIash provided his costume-storage ring with a special instant-dye spray with which he could easily change his hair color, as Wally, to brown (Flash #138).

Brave & The Bold #54 [1964]: The future Teen Titans make their first appearance as a team in this story, but the team is not officially organized or named. Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad are asked by the teenagers of Hatton Corners to resolve a generation gap dispute; The young heroes defeat a villain called Mr. Twister. First unofficial appearance of the Teen Titans. First appearance of Mr. Twister.
Brave & The Bold #60 [1965]: The Teen Titans have been formally organized and named since the events of The Brave and the Bold #54. Now organized as the Teen Titans, Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl respond to a call for help from the teenagers of Midville. With the aid of the professor and the Midville teenagers, the Teen Titans are able to subdue the Separated Man.
Teen Titans #1 [1966]: The Teen Titans join the Peace Corps in order to help volunteer workers in the South American country of Xochatan who are being menaced by a giant robot which the native believe to be an ancient deity come to life.
Teen Titans #53 [1978]: The origin of the Teen Titans is revealed in flashback as an Untold Tale from the Teen Titans Casebook: the story of how Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, and Speedy met and formally organized and named the Teen Titans team, between the events of The Brave and the Bold #54 and 60. Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Speedy unite when the Justice League of America goes on a crime spree; It is discovered that the JLA was possessed by the Antithesis; The name “Teen Titans” is coined, with Speedy acting as a part-time member. The group disbands a second time to pursue their solo careers and studies; First appearance of Antithesis. First mention of Speedy as a founding member.
The Flash Spectacular 1978 [1978]: The Teen Titans (Robin, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, Speedy, Ma!, and Harlequin) attend Wally (Kid Flash) West’s high-school graduation in their civilian identities. This story takes place after the events of Teen Titans #53.

DC Comics Presents #26 [1980]: featuring a 16-page preview to New Teen Titans! The mysterious empath Raven invades Dick Grayson’s dreams and shows him a glimpse of his near-future as part of the Teen Titans. First appearances of Raven, Cyborg & Starfire. Beast Boy now known as Changeling.
New Teen Titans #1 [1980]: After invading his dreams, the mysterious empath Raven incites Dick Grayson to form the New Teen Titans for the eventual purpose of defeating her demonic father, Trigon; Kid Flash joins only after Raven uses her powers to make him fall in love with her; Raven, Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling (formerly Beast Boy) and Victor “Cyborg” Stone unite to save Princess Koriand’r (soon to be known as Starfire) from Gordanian slavers.
New Teen Titans #20 [1982]: Kid Flash writes a letter to his parents, apprising them of recent events involving himself and the other Teen Titans.
New Teen Titans #29 [1983]: Kid Flash tells Raven that he loves her, but she says she cannot reciprocate his emotions or Trigon may break through; Frances Kane returns because her powers are resurfacing, and witnesses a battle between the New Brotherhood of Evil and the Titans, in which Raven thinks that Kid Flash is Trigon (due to Phobia’s manipulation) and nearly kills him; Raven leaves the Titans because she cannot handle Kid Flash’s hatred.
New Teen Titans #39 [1984]: Terra and the Terminator plot the fall of the Titans. Wally West decides to quit being Kid Flash, leaves his ring and costume with the Titans, and returns to Blue Valley; Dick Grayson gives up his Robin identity, turning Titan leadership over to Wonder Girl; Terra’s contact lens camera relays Robin’s and Kid Flash’s civilian identities to the Terminator. Last appearance of Dick Grayson as Robin. Kid Flash leaves the team.
Tales of the Teen Titans #49 [1984]: While the Titans prepare for the wedding of Donna Troy and Terry Long, Dr. Light attacks Central City, only to be stopped by Wally West and Frances Kane in their public identities.
Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 [1986]: Kid Flash came out of retirement to fight in the Crisis, and was hit harder than anyone when the heroes found Flash’s costume and ring and realized that their compatriot was dead. However, even though a blast from the Anti-Monitor reduced Wally’s top speed to that of sound, it cured him of his metabolic malady. This, combined with the desire to honor his mentor and friend, caused Wally West to forevermore discard his Kid Flash identity and, instead, adopt the name and costume of Flash.

See Flash Series Essential Reading For More on Wally as the Flash

JLA/Titans: the Technis Imperative #1-3 [December 1998 to February 1999]: The original Titans were reunited in a mini series that also featured the Justice League of America. With a story by Devin Grayson and Phil Jimenez, and art by Phil Jimenez, everyone who had ever been a Titans was reunited. Former Titan Vic Stone threatened to carry out his Technis Imperative and turn the earth’s moon into a new Technis world. The JLA and Titans first clashed, then united to save the earth and Vic Stone.
Titans #1-2 [1999]: Following close on the heels of the events in the JLA/TITANS miniseries, the original Titans decide to set up shop, rebuilding their headquarters (a new Titans Tower) and enlisting a second, non-core group of Titans to help them. And the entire, 10-member roster gets a workout when the team is attacked by the reformed H.I.V.E.!
Titans #20 [2000]: After so many years of being in mechanized bodies, it looks like Victor Stone is about to achieve his dream of having a real body. Using a DNA sample and new cloning technology, Vic’s Omegadrome consciousness is downloaded into a new human form. Meanwhile, Flash quits the team to allow Jesse her chance in the spotlight. Vic Stone quits the Titans this issue. Flash quits the Titans and persuades Jesse Quick to rejoin.
Titans #1-4 [2008]: After Cyborg’s Titans East team is brutally massacred by an unseen evil force, Titans members are attacked by demonic entities around the globe. Raven, sensing Trigon’s presence once again, calls upon her former Titans allies to defeat her fiendish father. But the Titans discover that the bestial assaults were actually orchestrated by Raven’s three demon half brothers – Jacob, Jared and Jesse. Using Raven as a doorway, the Sons of Trigon open a portal to the desolate realm where a weakened Trigon awaited. The brothers then betray their own father by siphoning whatever small power was left within him. In the wake of this battle, the Titans – Nightwing, Troia, Flash, Red Arrow, Raven, Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy – decide to become a team again.

Essential Reading (Flash Series)


Flash (second series) #1-2 [1987]: Wally wins the lottery after just having adopted the Flash mantle. Wally and Frances Kane end their relationship.
Flash #28 [1989]: It is revealed that a transformed Wally West has been contributing to the increased sightings of the mythical Porcupine Man. It seems the experiment to restore his speed, along with Wally’s unique physiology, resulted in Wally’s current physical state. Reporter Linda Park is on scene to report the ‘Porcupine Man Incident’. First appearance of Linda Park.
Flash (second series) #62-65: “Born To Run”: Wally West looks at some old pictures and recalls his first year as “Kid Flash”.
Flash (second series) #74-79: “The Return of Barry Allen”: Barry Allen, the fastest man alive until his tragic death, mysteriously returns, only to show himself as violent and paranoid.
Flash (second series) #80-83 [1993]: Frances [referred now as ‘Frankie’] reenters Wally’s life, attacking him for ‘ruining her life.’ She eventually stabilizes and forgives Wally. Guest starring Nightwing and Starfire.
Flash (second series) #91-94 [1994]: Wally’s Aunt Iris travels to the 20th century for refuge for herself and her grandson, Bart Allen. (Iris West returned to the 30th century and was reunited with her husband Barry Allen just before his death). Iris sought help for Bart, who had accelerated super-speed and was aging rapidly. Wally was able to cure Bart, who went on to become Impulse, a superhero in his own right. First appearance of Bart Allen in issue #91. First full appearance in issue #92.
Flash (second series) #0, 95-100 [1994-1995] “Terminal Velocity” Storyline: Shortly after Iris’s arrival, the evil organization Kobra threatened Keystone City. Bart, Iris and Linda Park aided Wally in defeating Kobra, with the help of other fellow speedsters, including Jay Garrick, Max Mercury and Jesse Quick. It was also during the battle with Kobra that Wally learned of the Speed Force. Wally was the first speedster to ever enter the Speed Force and return. Wally was able to use his love for Linda as a beacon to draw him out of the Speed Force. When he emerged, he had enhanced super-speed powers, including the ability to lend super-speed to other objects.
Flash (second series) #108-110, Impulse #10-11 “Dead Heat” Storyline: Wally West leads the greatest speedsters of three eras against the menace of Savitar. While battling Savitar, an evil speedster who had become a human avatar of the speed force, Jesse Quick’s heroic resolve is tested as her father gives his life to save hers.
Flash (second series) #142 [1998]: Wally West and Linda Park make preparations for their wedding. As the ceremony is coming to a close, a flash of light changes reality – and Linda Park is seemingly erased from existence! Dick Grayson [best man], Donna Troy, Roy Harper, and Garth [Tempest] appear.
Flash (second series) #143-150: “Chain Lightning”: Wally West came into conflict with Cobalt Blue, who was revealed to be Barry Allen’s twin brother. Cobalt Blue felt Barry had the life he should have had. He found a way to acquire super powers through black magic and sought to erase the Flash legacy. This meant killing various people who would carry on the Flash legacy through the 30th century! Super-speedsters past and present joined forces and eventually defeated Cobalt Blue.
Flash (second series) #159 [2000]: The “Dark Flash” saga concludes! Angela Margolin has fallen for our grim hero, but does she have what it takes to spend the rest of her life with him? Plus, Wally, once reunited with Linda Park, resumes their aborted wedding plans. Wally and Linda wed, with best man Dick Grayson and Titans teammates as guests. Marriage of Wally West [Flash] and Linda Park.
Flash (second series) #197-200 [2003]: “Blitz” Professor Zoom returns in a story that reveals the secrets behind his origin! His new goal: Make the Flash a better hero by experiencing tragedy. Wally West and Linda suffer their greatest loss when Reverse Flash causes Linda to lose her unborn twins. The Spectre grants Wally’s wish for his identity to become secret.
Flash(second series) #224–225 [2005]: “Rogue War, Chapters 5–6″ Barry Allen helps Wally West alter the timeline in his fateful battle with Reverse Flash. They successfully save Wally’s children; In the present, Linda gives birth to twins.

Infinite Crisis #4 [2005]: Superboy-Prime attacks Superboy. Superboy calls on his Titans allies to subdue his Kryptonian doppelganger. The misguided Superboy-Prime inadvertently decapitates Pantha and slaughters Baby Wildebeest and Bushido; He then freezes Red Star into crystal ice and rips off Risk’s right arm before being pulled into the Speed Force by the combined might of the super-speedsters. Death of Pantha, Baby Wildebeest and Bushido. Flash, Linda and the twins race to parts unknown.
Justice League of America #10 [2007]: Wally West is pulled back from the brink of the Speed Force by the Legion of Super-Heroes, along with his wife and hyper-aged twins.
All Flash #1 [2007]: Wally gets revenge on the Rogues for the death of Bart Allen.
Flash (second series) #231-236 [2007]: Wally and Linda adjust to their new life with super-speed twin children.

The Chronology of Kid Flash


The biggest day in the life of Wally West, president of the Flash Fan Club (Blue Valley chapter) was certainly the day that his aunt Iris West arranged for him to meet his hero. Flash spent an afternoon with the lad and even showed him a chemical cabinet just like the one from which he had gained his super-speed. Then, in a coincidence defying all odds, a bolt of lightning entered the room and the accident reoccurred before Flash’s eyes once more, as chemicals doused young Wally and bestowed upon him powers identical to his own. Flash gave Wally a tailored-down version of his own uniform, a ring to keep it in, and the christened him Kid Flash (Flash #110). From that day forward, Kid Flash took part in super-speed adventures both with and without his mentor, carrying an irregular solo-strip in the Flash book for many years.

Outside of Ira West, Kid Flash was the first person to whom Flash revealed the secret of his double-identity (Flash #120, May, 1961). In that story, the two speedsters were inadvertently thrown 25 million years into the past, where they battled a race of golden humanoids. It was only the first of many time-trips for the pair, who teamed up next to try out Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill (Flash #125, Dec. 1961).

Shortly after meeting Flash’s friend Elongated Man (Flash #130, Aug. 1962), Kid Flash received his own unique uniform. The Flash, who had been toying with a new design for Wally, was inspecting an alien mind over-matter machine when, in a burst of light, the new costume sprang from his mind and onto the body of his protégé (Flash #135, Mar. 1963). Since the new outfit exposed Wally’s bright red hair, FIash provided his costume-storage ring with a special instant-dye spray with which he could easily change his hair color, as Wally, to brown (Flash #138).

 

A Kid Flash commission from Nick Cardy, circa 2003.

The boy speedster first met Robin and Aqualad in The Brave and the Bold #54 (June-July, 1964), in an adventure that would predicate the formation of the Teen Titans shortly thereafter. Kid Flash remained a member in good standing of that team, though his participation limited his involvement in solo adventures considerably, particularly during the period when the Titans began working with the mysterious Mr. Jupiter (Teen Titans #25-43, Jan-Feb. 1970-Jan-Feb. 1973). after which the team disbanded. The Titans reformed for a short time a few years later, and Kid Flash was happy to be working with his friends once more (Teen Titans #44-53, Nov. 1976-Feb.1978).

Even though the group had broken up, they attended Wally’s high school graduation (DC Special Series #11, 1978). Now 18, Wally revealed his alter-ego to his parents Bob and Mary for the first time, chose his university (Taggart), and confided to the Flash his intentions to retire from super-heroing upon graduation from college so that he might live a normal life.

As it happened, he left his crime-fighting career behind even before that (New Teen Titans #39, Feb. 1984), when he retired from the third incarnation of the Teen Titans for personal reasons, including a desire to devote more time to studying, to his new girlfriend Frances Kane, and – more seriously – because, as a resuIt of his changing metabolism, he was beginning to lose his powers; whenever he did go into action, he experienced severe pain.

Kid Flash came out of retirement to fight in the Crisis, and was hit harder than anyone when the heroes found Flash’s costume and ring and realized that their compatriot was dead. However, even though a blast from the Anti-Monitor reduced Wally’s top speed to that of sound, it cured him of his metabolic malady. This, combined with the desire to honor his mentor and friend, caused Wally West to forevermore discard his Kid Flash identity and, instead, adopt the name and costume of Flash (Crisis #12).

 

How Wally Became the Flash


Courtesy of Comics Interview #50 and Amazing Heroes #91

In the final pages of Crisis #12, Wally West, the former Kid Flash, found that the physical condition he’d had that prevented him from exercising his powers was abated. He opted to return to a life of crimefighting, and assumed the name and famous crimson suit of his late uncle and mentor, Barry Allen. According to George Pérez, “that became almost an 11th hour decision after DC couldn’t quite come up with an idea for a new Flash. No one could think of anything without feeling like they were somehow insulting the name by giving it to a concept that had nothing to do with Barry Allen!”

Pérez adds, “Basically, they just ran out of what they could think of. After trying to figure out a new Flash, they realized they weren’t getting anywhere. One idea was unacceptable, another idea was unacceptable, and the end of the series was starting to come up. We needed something. They couldn’t think of a new Flash that would be unique unto him or herself, so unfortunately they decided to go for Wally West as the Flash. Which was a logical thing, but what bothered me is that technically we just killed the costume, because he’s the same basic character and anyone who picks up the book without any real knowledge of who Wally West or Barry Allen were is going to immediately think it’s the same character. So there was no real reason in my mind to have killed him off, since all you did was technically kill off Barry Allen, who was not the problem – you kept the Flash, who supposedly was the problem. (Laughter.)”

Pérez says that no one liked the idea of creating a female Flash, if for no other reason than the gimmick of creating female versions of former male characters had already been done twice in Crisis (with the new Dr. Light and Wildcat). “We still had the Wally West storyline up in the air from the Titans. Marv came up with the idea first, I liked it, and we let the mantle go on to a younger character. Now there are still two Flashes… but one – the Golden Age Flash – “is definitely a much older man and one is a teenager. It’s much more of a father/son relationship than before. It opens up a whole new idea for stories. “I think our decision to make Wally West the Flash worked out nicely – after all, he’s the only other person who ever wore the costume.

For him, it was just a case of going back to his roots, says Pérez, referring to the fact that Kid Flash’s original costume, which he wore during the first few years of his career, was nothing more than a kid-sized version of the Flash’s suit. “By doing this, we firmly established that the Flash did exist in the DC Universe, unlike Supergirl, who will pretty much have to be disavowed now. He lived, he died, and this is now a tribute to him. He remains active in DC history.’

Of course, unlike Barry Allen, who could travel at faster-than,-light speeds, the new Flash is “only” as fast as the speed of sound. “Marv and I debated as to how much we should tone down his powers. I, myself wanted him a little faster, probably able to reach the speed of light so that his name would make sense. I had absolutely no problems with it, though – between the speed of sound and the speed of light, you’re not talking about that much difference in terms of what you can show in a comic book, anyway!’

A Kid Flash commission from George Pérez, circa 2004.

 

Mark Waid Q & A


Mark Waid interview by Paul Grant [HERO #18 December 1994]

So why stop being an editor [to become a writer]?

I think I was right for the job, but I think it came too early to me, in terms of dealing with the pressure of the job and other editors. There was a time when Mark Waid was a pretty cocky, inflexible guy who didn’t make a whole lot of friends on the DC staff. I think, to my credit, those days are long past. The job just wasn’t working out. I left staff on Christmas Eve, 1989.

What happened next, and whatever havoc I have since unleashed on comics, can be attributed to Brian Augustyn. Brian was still my friend and made sure that I had enough work to get by. Brian would give me fill-in Flash stuff that never saw print, just basically making sure that I could put food on the table and pay rent. Brian gave me the Flash Annual for 1990, the Armageddon 2001 tie-in, and let me do a story for the Flash TV Special. I’m very grateful and have never forgotten that. There were times when I couldn’t get arrested at DC, but Brian made sure that I had plenty of work

Flash has always been one of my favorite characters. I always wanted to have super-speed, because life is too damn short and I’m an impatient son of a bitch anyway. I think this is what makes Flash such an interesting and long-lived character. No one gets up in the morning and says, ‘Gee, I wish I could throw power blasts out of my hands.” However, everybody in the world knows what it’s like to miss the bus. That’s why I think the Flash’s power is so cool. It’s something like flight that everybody, whether they read comics or not, can key into. I certainly did. That was one of the things that attracted me to the Flash. The other thing was he was a young, impatient, strong-willed hothead and God knows that’s something I keyed into pretty quickly as well. Wally West is my alter ego. Wally is the easiest character in the world to write for me. He’s what I’d be like if I was 60 pounds lighter and 10 years younger. Oh, and had super-speed.

How does your approach to the character differ from that of Mike Baron and Bill Loebs?

I think Wally’s unique in that his personality is defined by his power. People ask me ‘What would Wally West be doing if he didn’t have super-speed?” I have no idea. Wally would have no idea because it’s a dream come true to him. As a child, he wanted to be just like The Flash. He got his wish. To me Wally is one of the few guys in comics who gets up every morning and says, “My God, I have the greatest job on Earth. I can’t wait to be Flash today.” That is core to Wally’s personality. Previous writers had a tendency to concentrate on the supporting characters and gave me the impression they weren’t as interested in Wally as they were in the people around Wally. That’s certainly a valid approach, but it’s not an approach I like. Every once in a while I get letters asking, ‘Whatever happened to Chunk or Wally’s mom?” I don’t care. The book is about Wally.

Probably the story line that you’re best remembered for is ‘The Return of Barry Allen, “a rather cruel and sadistic trick you played on Silver Age Flash fans.

Mark Wheatley, in one of our Impact conferences, said something that I’ve never forgotten: “Our job is to give the readers what they want, but not what they expect.” If I embroidered, I would put that on a sampler and hang it over my desk. All we’ve heard since 1985 was ‘When are they going to bring Barry Allen back?” ‘Well, we’re not. Live with it.” “Okay, but when are you really going to bring Barry Allen back?” So my feeling was we needed a story that would establish several things. One was to show that we’re never going to bring Barry Allen back. Wally is the first sidekick in comics history to actually fulfill the promise, to take up the mantle of his mentor. He got bad-rapped for years by people saying that Barry was the real Flash. I loved Barry Allen, but I like Wally even more. My job was to show people that Wally deserved the mantle and mystique, to walk up to the problem and address it in the comic. We wanted to do the story right off the bat, but we realized we had to make Wally a stronger character first.

A 2009 convention commission of Flash by Greg LaRocque.

Creating the Speed Force


Flash’s classic storyline, “Terminal Velocity,” introduced the concept of the Speed Force: a mystical power source where all speedsters acquired their powers; Mark Waid reflects on how the Speed Force came to be…

Wally West is his own man with his own path to follow and his own race to run. We just had to find it again.

So we began considering-reconsidering-the source of speed in the DC Universe. With the exception of Wally and Barry, who shared an origin, every other speedster in the DC Pantheon seemed to have acquired his or her power from a different source-and even Wally’s powers seemed to behave differently from Barry’s sometimes.

And then there was Barry’s predecessor, Jay. Jay’s origin, in particular, drives me insane. Johnny and Jesse’s shtick-a spoken-word formula-is something I made peace with years ago once I decided that 3×2(9YZ)4A was merely a three-dimensional representation of a fourth-dimensional construct which, once envisioned in the mind’s eye, unlocks the brain’s hidden powers. (I lose Brian around this curve every time we hit it, but if you’ve ever read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, you’re probably still with me). So much for the Quick family. Jay Garrick, on the other hand, was knocked unconscious by hard-water fumes and awoke to find himself possessed of near-lightspeed. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. It’s not the least thought-out origin in comics, but it’s up there. What in this world tied him to the other speedsters? What in this world tied any of our speedsters together?

What…off this world?

Boom. Lightning in a jar. The idea that there was some extra-dimensional energy source out there… “beyond the speed of light, whatever the hell that means,” I remember muttering as I frantically dialed Brian’s office.. .the discovery of that Speed Force would absolutely rock Wally’s world. If Barry-Flash had indeed leeched his energy from that weird place, would that confirm Wally’s longtime suspicion that Barry wasn’t completely human? Would it make Wally doubt his own humanity? Better yet, once he got a taste of Ultimate Power, how quickly would Wally-one of DC’s most down-to-earth heroes-lose that humanity? We weren’t sure… but we knew that the process of finding out was going to give us a whole new road map. Allow me to point out some of the not-so-obvious mile markers we passed along the way….

“Can’t we come up with a better name than the Speed Force?”

Apparently not, but it bothers me less with each passing day. You?

Anyway.. .that was pretty much the whole ride. I hope you enjoyed it. If I had “Terminal Velocity” to write all over again, the one thing I’d do is clarify the ending just a hair to accommodate the too-literal-minded; a very few readers hammered us for claiming in print that no one has ever come back from the Speed Force, then having Wally come back anyway. Almost all of the rest of you understood (thank you) that any story that starts with the words “No one has ever braved the Cavern of Doom and lived to tell the tale!” is generally the story of the guy who braves the Cavern of Doom and lives to tell the tale. You knew that unlike those who came-and went-before him, Wally chose not to embrace the Speed Force because he had something far greater waiting for him back here on Earth.

He had True Love.

And there’s no super-power more wondrous than that.

– Mark Waid

A 1996 convention sketch of Flash by Mike Wieringo

Creators on Wally West


George Pérez: “And the one that was the biggest challenge, by not putting any highlights on, was to differentiate Robin from Kid Flash. Before, they tended to have the same exact face-I was guilty of it, when I started. I made a point of suddenly drawing in Kid Flash’s cheeks-making him angular. If you look at a lot of pictures of Mikhail Barishnykov, to give him that very slender look. And, of course, very, very strong legs. The fact is that I’m trying to draw his arms less bulky but keep his legs very muscular. That man must have calves like iron. ”

“Kid Flash/Flash, he’s always been the one who’s been the most trouble, because he was a hard character to handle. If he’s so super fast, technically if handled correctly, he’d make the rest of the characters superfluous. No way he could ever be caught by anything, no one should ever get the upper hand on him. So he never was my favorite character, only because he was just difficult to handle in a group situation. I think the Frances Kane character introduced with him was a nice addition, but they didn’t play her up enough to kind of give him a much stronger anchor. I did like the fact that he had two living parents.”

Marv Wolfman: “[If] you think logically, all he has to do is see the villain and the fight’s over. He moves too quickly. I like his personality very much because I like playing his middle class, Midwest personality against the others. But as far as his power goes, I don’t like it. Much too inconvenient. If used correctly, he’s really too powerful. […] He’s a good character. I like his personality. It’s just that his powers are a very big problem. He just moves too fast.”

“We’re going to play some games with him. Probably move him out of the book for a few months and then decide what to do with him when we bring him back. But we haven’t yet decided how to handle him. And the best thing to do is to drop him for a few months in a logical fashion and fortunately the setup has been to do that anyway. And all the characters have been moving toward this one storyline. It will be about issue #40 or #41. But the reason I played him up the most is that I tend to work harder on characters I don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with. When I was at Marvel, I was assigned Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, so I wanted the FF and didn’t want Spider-Man and I spent all my time on Spider-Man until I got to like him. And I didn’t care about the FF. So I was hoping by working very hard on Kid Rash, I’d be able to conquer the problems, resolve the problems I was having with the character. Unfortunately, I still haven’t.”

Mark Waid: “[He] was a young, impatient, strong-willed hothead and God knows that’s something I keyed into pretty quickly as well. Wally West is my alter ego. Wally is the easiest character in the world to write for me. He’s what I’d be like if I was 60 pounds lighter and 10 years younger. Oh, and had super-speed.”

“I think Wally’s unique in that his personality is defined by his power. People ask me ‘What would Wally West be doing if he didn’t have super-speed?” I have no idea. Wally would have no idea because it’s a dream come true to him. As a child, he wanted to be just like The Flash. He got his wish. To me Wally is one of the few guys in comics who gets up every morning and says, “My God, I have the greatest job on Earth. I can’t wait to be Flash today.” That is core to Wally’s personality.”

Devin Grayson: “Wally joined the Titans for the most personal reason of all – to help a friend. He’s incredibly busy now, but very up for the challenge — as I’ve frequently said in his defense, if there’s anyone who can be in two places at once, it’s him! However, he can’t be in THREE places at once, and so complications ensue in the Titans when he embarks on an adventure in his main book – an adventure he may not come back from!”

“Dick’s busy, but Wally West’s even busier. Not only does he have his own city to protect-if not the world-he’s a member of the JLA and the Titans. He joins the Titans out of friendship. In a sense he makes a sacrifice, but he does it gracefully. There’s no resentment there. But when the Titans start scheduling meetings at the same time the JLA does, that’ll tick him off a little,”

Jay Faerber: “I like that the Flash actually ‘made it’,” Faerber continues. “He’s the only Titan to graduate into the big leagues and really take over the mantle of his mentor. Back in the day, that was something I always hoped would happen: the older heroes retire and the Titans take over, but I never thought it would.”

Geoff Johns: “I always admired Wally because he’s not a genius or the most important guy in the world. He’s just an honest guy trying to do what he thinks is right.”



Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, DC Who’s Who Binder Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published by ICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990], DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author