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February 23, 2014

Character Spotlight: Wally West Pt. 2

Welcome back for more about the life and times of Wally West, the third man to take on the title, the fastest man alive! [Part 1 can be found here!] Wally West is The Flash I grew up with and his adventures will always hold a special place in my heart. Enough about me, let’s get to the fastest man of the hour in this, the story of Wallace Rudolph West.

Wally West had become what few sidekicks ever realize, taking on their mentor’s mantle. Wally had not only done so, but also become the people’s hero. The rest of the superhero community was accepting his new role, and the Rogues were going to have to get used to this new Flash. Continuing the weird luck of Wally West, he’d end up winning millions of dollars in the lottery, because why wouldn’t that be Wally’s luck? A quick rundown of Wally’s luck, both good and bad: struck by lightning and covered in the exact same chemicals as Barry to also gain supers peed, gets a TV show, gets an illness due to his super speed coming in during his developing years, is cured of said illness due to an errant laser beam in a fight, then he wins the lottery which he then loses in the stock market later on.

Wally_West_001Moving from Central City to neighboring twin, Keystone City, Wally starts dating local news reporter Linda Park. Just as Wally is getting use to the routine of being The Flash, Barry seems to have returned. While the other speedsters and heroes think this is the return of Barry, Wally is suspicious and rightfully so. Turns out this was actually Eobard Thawne who is also known as Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash. Thawne had killed Aunt Iris on her wedding day and led Barry to supposedly killing Thawne (there were a lot of supposedlies involved in that turn of events, but we’ll get to that later). Wally was aided by Max Mercury, Johnny Quick, and Jay Garrick, the old guard of the speedster community, in taking down Zoom. Wally’s speed was back to being at full power as he was no longer scared of replacing Barry, but had realized that he had to be just as good as him if not better.

Wally West 599874-professor_zoom_superAfter getting sued and acquitted for a bystander being injured in a fight Wally had with a villain, Wally began fearing that he’d let down the people he was protecting. Becoming a blur and trying to be everywhere at once to help as many people as possible, Wally was burning himself out. Max Mercury, a speedster from the 1800s who ran so fast he arrived in the present day, was able to teach Wally that there are limits to his gifts and that he really must use his powers wisely, not let his failings get the better of him.

Wally West FlashIIIRemember that whole thing about “supposedly” being a big deal during the deaths of Iris West and Professor Zoom? Well it turns out Iris never died, she was shunted off far into the future where Barry would eventually reunite with her. The two would live a life in the future and have children. Their children would grow up and have their own children. Each generation gaining super speed and being superheroes. Barry’s children, Dawn and Don (boo), became the Tornado Twins, and went on to meet people and have their own kids, Jenni Ognats became XS, and then there was Bart Allen.

Impulse_Bart_Allen_0003Bart was sick, he was rapidly aging with his super speed powers, forced to live in a virtual reality world that allowed him to develop the mind of a young teen while having the body of one, while only being three years old chronologically. Iris came back in time with her grandson seeking Wally’s help to cure him with his knowledge of speed powers. Wally was able to burn the kid out from his body’s super aging, and it was decided that it’d be for the best if Bart stayed to live in the present day with Wally and the other speedsters of his time. The kid was used to living in a world with infinite lives, so he was always leaping before he looked. Wally called him Impulse and the name stuck. Impulse was effectively a more solo sidekick for Wally.

Wally_West_029During the events of Zero Hour, Wally was presumed dead, when in actuality he’d been sent into the past where he witnessed key points in his own life. One of them was during a family reunion where he inspired his younger self to never give up on his dreams. One key moment he saw was of Linda dying by the hands of the villain Kobra. Upon returning to the present, Wally began doing his best to stop that moment from happening, at one point going so fast that he almost turned into pure energy. This was the Speed Force, an unknown dimension at this point, where it seemed most speedsters pulled their power from. Wally was able to temporarily merge with this and use his love for Linda to guide him back to reality. Wally now had new powers related to speed and kinetic energy, such as taking and granting speed to other people and things.

Wally West SavitarHaving become a master of the newly discovered Speed Force, Wally would encounter another master, the cult leader Savitar. Having a group of super speed followers, he attacks Wally and drains many of the speedsters of their powers, leaving Wally as the only one left with his powers. Max Mercury admits to Wally that he knew of Savitar from his own time travel adventures, and was working to unite the speedsters to stop him with the knowledge he has of the Speed Force. Wally and Savitar would fight across the planet while Jesse Quick would break the machine Savitar was using to absorb the speed out of the other speedsters, allowing them to try and help Wally. Able to absorb their speed, Wally was able to push himself and Savitar into the Speed Force and throw Savitar into what was effectively heaven for speedsters, and then he returned home.

Wally West friends Flash-Vol.-2-110-1996

From left to right: Jesse Quick (in the corner), Max Mercury (in front of Wally), Jay Garrick, Johnny Quick, and Impulse.

Well folks, looks like we are already up to another full page of Wally West. Guess you’ll have to come back again next time for more about Wally. Savitar was defeated, but that’s only the beginning of Wally’s great adventures. New Rogues, old Rogues, new allies, and maybe some family adventures are still to come. See you next time!

Dr. Alexander Bustos




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