Jai and Iris West
Related Links: Flash (Wally West) • Linda Park West
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They Grow Up So Fast
During his adventuring as the Flash, impetuous Wally West met and fell in love with plucky reporter, Linda Park. After a whirlwind courtship, the couple eventually wed.
A few years into their marriage, Linda and Wally West learned Linda was pregnant with twins. But tragedy struck when the new Professor Zoom sought to teach Wally a lesson about loss and responsibility. Zoom targeted Linda, which resulted in the deaths of Wally’s unborn twins. After mourning this devastating loss, Wally was later catapulted through time by Professor Zoom. With the aid of Barry Allen, Wally was able to prevent the tragedy of Linda’s miscarriage. And when Flash returned to the present, he was greeted by Linda – who had just given birth to their twin children, Jai and Iris “Irey” West.
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, the West family left this earthly plane for parts unknown.
Wally and Linda dote over their newborn twins in INFINITE CRISIS #3 .
The Wests 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.
Jai and Iris West age at an accelerated rate – as detailed in FLASH #231 .
The Wild Wests
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.
ABOVE: Wally and Linda return with the twins – all grown up – in ALL FLASH #1 .
BELOW: Irey yearns for adventure in in FLASH #234 .
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 long-running Flash legacy.
After mainlining the Speed Force, Irey West becomes the new Impulse
in FLASH:REBIRTH (mini series) #6 .
Flash (second series) #224–225 : “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. First appearance of Jai & Iris West; not named until All Flash #1.
Justice League of America #10 : 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 : Wally West learns of the death of Bart Allen and hunts the people responsible. Iris and Jai’s names revealed.
Flash (second series) #231-236 [2007-2008]: The unstable powers of Wally West’s growing children reach a terrifying new level as Wally West deals with an alien invasion. A back-up feature “The Fast Life,” tells the compelling tale of Wally’s family’s life on a Flash-friendly alien world during their missing year.
Flash: Rebirth (mini-series) #6 : After mainlining the Speed Force, Irey West becomes the new Impulse, leaving Jai powerless.
What’s In A Name?
Wally and Linda’s twin children were born in Flash #225 in 2005, but it wasn’t until All Flash #1 in 2007 that their names were revealed!
Mark Waid on naming the twins: “Yeah, let’s talk about [the names of the twins] for a second. Because that came to us via Alan Brennert. [Writer of quite a few Batman and Secret Origins stories in the 80s, later an Emmy award-winning writer and Producer for LA Law]. Alan is a good friend of mine, and he’d done a lot of research into Korean names and culture for one of his novels. And we were just talking one day at the comic shop about how I needed a name for the boy. “Iris” was a given, but I didn’t want to name the kid “Barry”, or “Bart” again, because I think there’s a limit to the number of Barry’s the Flash universe should be having. And it was him who came up with Jai (pronounced, “Jay”) as an authentic Korean name. So, perfect. I wanted one name to be from Wally’s side of the family and one from Linda’s, and the fact that we were able to settle on one that paid homage to both sides of the family is great.”
Wally, Linda, Jai and Iris West
The Wild Wests: A New Flash Family
A Mark Waid interview with John Wells [from The Flash Companion, 2008]
WELLS: In 2006, a new Flash series was launched with Bart Allen. Unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, though, you’d secretly been offered a shot at the book again. So how did that come about?
WAID: It wasn’t the first time. I’d been asked to re-launch the book when they crammed Bart into the suit, and I came up with some ideas that editorial didn’t like, but it’s probably just as well—my heart probably wasn’t in it. So they went with someone else. Then, a while later, once DC realized their relaunch was a catastrophic failure and they decided to course-correct by killing Bart, they asked again, “Do you want to write Flash?” More specifically, did I want to write Wally, who they’d already decided they were bringing back? And I said yes for exactly the wrong reason, which is I didn’t want anybody else to screw it up. [John laughs]
When last we saw Wally, he had a beautiful wife Linda and two lovely twin infant children and I was utterly terrified that the first guy who came along and wrote a brand-new Wally West Flash, the first thing he’d do is he’d drop a safe on Linda and have the kids raped by Dr. Light or something. [John laughs again] So I took the book to block, thinking, “All right, well, maybe I can do something with this.”
Right off, I said, “I can’t get rid of the kids. That’s just wrong.” I didn’t relish having to write around them—I knew from writing Fantastic Four that having to account for kid characters is a pain in the ass—but I didn’t want to take them away from Wally. And it was Dan DiDio, I think, who said, “Why don’t you do The Incredibles?” I thought about it for a while and I concluded, rightly or wrongly—time will tell—“Well, that’s not a bad idea.” I rationalized that the twins could have leapt forward in age the same way that Bart did, but not necessarily at the same rate.
So my idea is that even though they’re born as twins, the girl is about 10 and the boy’s about 8 now, physically. And I got excited by the notion that these kids could have speed-related powers without them being running powers. Iris could constantly be vibrating through things, and Jay could Hulk up at the spur of the moment at superspeed, and five or six issues in, if I wanted, we could have those powers change on a dime because the kids are still developing and they’re still in pre-puberty and their bodies are changing. I liked the air of unpredictability it gives the book.
I also loved the idea of Wally being a dad to an eight and a ten-year old. He had a hard enough time learning to be a dad to two infants, but there was the implicit understanding that he’d have time to learn. Not now. Now he has an eight and a ten-year old and Wally is a quick study, but he had no time to prepare. Suddenly, his kids are almost smarter than he is. He doesn’t have a real job, he doesn’t know how to support his family, he doesn’t know how to be a dad, and that’s the engine that I thought could drive that series.
WELLS: I gather things didn’t work out as well as you hoped on this revival.
WAID: That’s an understatement. I just couldn’t make it work. Without getting too much into the behind-the-scenes politics of it, I said I’d do six and I’m doing six and I’m out, and I regret leaving, but I regret coming back in the first place…eh. It just didn’t gel. We were constantly behind the eight ball schedule-wise, which is why we have that four-part Doug Braithwaite back-up to try to make up for time we lost right out of the gate. We had a different artist—and I won’t mention his name—but we had a guy who committed to doing the series and then literally, with about five weeks before deadline, just pulled out to take another gig at another company, and it had us scrambling, spending energy figuring out how to overcome scheduling cataclysms that could instead have been spent on, you know, the actual scripting. That was a hardship. Couple that with the fan response, which has been, to put it kindly, lukewarm, and I just hit the wall early on. In retrospect, if I were going to go back and do Flash, I should have waited until the stars were in better alignment. But everyone has 20/20 hindsight. I can’t imagine our paths, Wally’s and mine, won’t cross again.
WELLS: Well, I think you’re going too hard on yourself.
WAID: Thank you. I hope so. Again, time will tell.
Sources for this entry: DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com
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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