Nine months into DC Comics' Post-Flashpoint universe reboot, commonly known as "The New 52," and there's still no sign of former Flash Wally West or his wife, Linda Park.
From a streamlined DC Universe standpoint, it makes sense to bench Wally in order to focus attention on his predecessor Barry Allen. Ever since Barry was brought back from the dead in 2008, Wally was gradually relegated to the sidelines and ultimately lost his monthly title to Barry for a 12-issue Flash series and the 5-issue Flashpoint event that relaunched the entire DC Universe.
Barry continues to be the Flash and with his current series charting in the top twenty in terms of sales, that probably won't be changing any time soon. However, there's an entire generation of Wally West fans since 1986 that read comics and watched Justice League cartoons where Wally was the Flash -- their Flash. They watched Wally grow into the legacy of his dead uncle, becoming his own Flash in the process. They saw the character fall in and out of love, until he became involved with Keystone City news reporter Linda Park in what became one of comics' greatest romances. And they were there when Wally and Linda finally married and had two children, Jai and Iris, who were named in tribute to original Flash Jay Garrick and Wally's aunt, Iris West Allen.
So it's no wonder that Wally's fans continue to ask about his possible return at conventions or in interviews to Flash creators. A recent Comic Book Resources interview with current Flash creative team Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, Manapul was asked about previous comments made about his desire to introduce Wally into The New 52 and why that wasn't going to happen. Manapul replied:
"The thing is, it's coming from a pure fan perspective. I grew up with Wally West, but it's one those things that, within the context of the story and the world we're building, he doesn't really fit. Really, just focusing on Barry Allen has allowed us to do a more streamlined story and give a very good character study on Barry. Especially since, when you think about it, a lot of people of this generation don't know Barry Allen that well. I sort of feel it really ties everything together. Here are Brian and I on this journey, writing our first ongoing comic book, and we're reintroducing Barry Allen and his journey in terms of self-discovery -- and it's the same things the readers are going through. They're on a journey of discovering who Barry Allen is. Introducing Wally West might murky up the water. It's not our decision, but I think it's better that we just focus on Barry Allen. At the end of the day, our mission statement is to make Barry Allen as cool as possible. So we're putting all our effort into doing that."
So the wait for Wally's return continues, even though Jay Garrick was brought back this past month in a completely rebooted version for DC's Earth 2 series by James Robinson and Nicola Scott. However, Wally does live on in animated form as part of the Cartoon Network series Young Justice. After appearing in the first season as Kid Flash, Wally apparently gave up superheroics at some point during the five-year gap before Season 2 and has settled into a relationship with former team member Artemis. He does, however, show signs of wanting to come back and help his friends, so it shouldn't be too long before we see him back in action.
The big question still remains, when will the character return to comics? Until we get some more definitive news from DC Comics, at least we have plenty of stories to keep the memory of Wally West, The Flash That Was, still alive...