The tragedy of Wally West

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The tragedy of Wally West

Post  thecolorsblend on Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:04 am

I've taken a LOT of shit before hating on Barry Allen as the Flash. I've been the guy who's taken potshots at that decision at every opportunity, lamenting Wally being diminished and overall I just feel ripped off. So I guess it's time to explain why.

First, there's the territorial fanboy angle. When I got into the Flash, Wally was on the job. Mark Waid took a character who'd been intentionally written kind of as an asshole and made him likeable and genuinely sympathetic. You cheered for Wally's victories, you mourned with him in his defeats and he was an incredibly well-developed character.

And then he's gone. All so that Dan DiDio can put things back to "the way they ought to be". And I'm sorry, that's a bunch of horse shit.

Second, DC far more than Marvel is all about legacy characters. In the Pre-Crisis era, it was a bit harder to pull off in Earth 1 because that was the mainstream continuity that DC heavily licensed. Even so, you had some growth. Dick joined up with the Titans, he ultimately became Nightwing and there was a sense that he was growing into his own man.

In Earth 2, it was a bit easier to manage. Superman grew old and went into a half-assed retirement (kind of) and let Power Girl replace him in the Justice Society. Batman married Catwoman, the Huntress was born and, after Earth 2 Batman was killed off, the Huntress replaced him on the JSA.

After the Crisis, the legacy thing was only amplified. You went from Alan Scott to Hal Jordan to Kyle Rayner as THE Green Lantern. Jay Garrick to Barry to Wally as THE Flash. And, arguably, Jim Corrigan to Hal Jordan as THE Spectre.

It's just wrongheaded to undo all that stuff out of some misguided fanboy wankery.

But third, most damning, Wally wasn't nobody in DC's history before he became the Flash. He was Kid Flash. This is what made Wally unique as compared to Kyle. Kyle became GL out of pure happenstance. It could've been anybody else just as easily.

But Wally? He was Barry's sidekick. Ostensibly, a sidekick is being groomed to eventually take the leader's place. And Wally is the only superhero character I know about who ever actually DID it. He fulfilled the sidekick fantasy and, eventually, eclipsed his predecessor.

Taking Wally out of the equation doesn't just diminish the Flashh legacy; it diminishes and marginalizes Wally. With Barry as THE Flash and Bart as Kid Flash... where the fuck does Wally fit into anything??

With Kyle, he can be just another Green Lantern. He hasn't necessarily lost anything. And hell, isn't he a Blue Lantern nowadays? Dunno, have no interest in the post-Geoff Johns GL shit.

But you can't do that with Wally. He can't be relegated to just another speedster in the DCU. He's been through, done and seen too much. If he's not THE Flash... there's just no place for him.

Frankly, I'd rather DC just outright kill him off. Better that than to be relegated to 2nd class Flash status.

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Re: The tragedy of Wally West

Post  Rduce on Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:32 am

As a kid growing up I never really got into Flash, I guess running real fast never provided enough awe inspiring fasination for me. I recall watching a television show around 1990 where they attempted to bring him to life and it fizzled. From what I saw it wasn't that bad, but of course I have no idea how closely they followed source material or not. I did like how he was done in the JLA ani though!

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