Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wally West Makes New 52 Debut in THE FLASH ANNUAL #3


When we last saw the third Flash, Wally West, he was helping his recently resurrected uncle, Barry Allen, in the DC Universe event storyline "Blackest Night" and was told by Barry to stay behind and protect himself and second cousin Bart Allen from the dangerous Black Lantern Corps.  And then in 2011, DC Comics rebooted its entire fictional universe in the limited series Flashpointrevamping Barry Allen as a younger lead character in a new Flash series with no sign of Wally West anywhere.

Wally's fans were understandably upset, especially since the character had been their Flash ever since the previous DC Universe reboot in 1986's Crisis on Infinite Earths #12.  An entire generation had grown up with Wally West as the Flash, reading about him in comics and watching him on the Justice League animated series, where he was voiced by Smallville actor Michael Rosenbaum. 

The writing, however, had been on the wall after Barry Allen was brought back in 2008's Final Crisis #2, then given creative emphasis once again in the following limited series The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns, who had written Wally's adventures in The Flash for several years.  But to many fans, benching Wally West for Barry Allen after so many years made as much sense as the idea of giving Barry's series to original Flash Jay Garrick in 1986.  And on the subject of Jay, he's already back in the New 52 series Earth 2, proving there's plenty of room in the DC Universe for more than one Scarlet Speedster.

Well, at long last, Wally West is back...or will be shortly.  USA Today revealed yesterday that Wally is slated to return in The Flash Annual #3, scheduled for release on April 30, 2014.  The new Flash creative team of writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen with artist Brett Booth make their debut a week earlier in The Flash #30.  Here's the solicitation text for Flash Annual #3...

On sale APRIL 30 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

The start of a major new arc for the Fastest Man Alive! In the future, The Flash is a broken man. His powers have failed him time and again at great cost to him and the city he has sworn to protect. Now he’s coming back to 2014 to stop the one event that destroyed his life. Meanwhile, in the present, Barry Allen must contend with thieves trying to capitalize on the devastation of FOREVER EVIL. It’s a tale of two timelines that ushers in one of DC’s most storied characters…featuring The New 52 debut of WALLY WEST!

Apart from this, details of Wally's debut into "The New 52" continuity are practically nonexistent at the moment, opening the door to fan speculation.  Is Wally now a teenager again as he was when he first debuted in 1959's The Flash #110?  And if so, will he get his powers of superspeed and take over as Kid Flash from Bart Allen, currently in the series Teen Titans?  Or is he still an adult Flash who somehow survived the events of Flashpoint?  And if he's an adult, are his wife Linda Park and kids Jai and Iris still in existence?  Oh, and is the reason for finally bringing Wally back to the DC Universe because Wally West is the Flash featured in the Justice League movie, while Grant Gustin's Barry Allen is featured on The Flash television series?

So many questions, but at least it should have people talking about The Flash again.

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