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[Post-Rebirth Costume - Flash: Rebirth #5]
Real Name: Wallace Rudolph “Wally” West
Other Aliases: Kid Flash, the Scarlet Speedster, the Fastest Man Alive
Known Relatives: Linda Park (wife), Rudolph and Mary West (parents), Iris West Allen (aunt), Barry Allen (uncle), Ira West (grandfather), Charlotte West (aunt), Edgar Rhodes (uncle), Inez Rhodes (cousin), Don and Dawn Allen (cousins), Bart Allen (cousin), Jenni Ognats (cousin), Iris (daughter), Jai (son)
Past Group Affiliations: Titans (founding member), Justice League
Base of Operations: Keystone City, Kansas
Hometown: Blue Valley, Nebraska
Past Occupation: Mechanic for the KCPD
Hair: Red
Eyes: Green*
First Appearance: (as Kid Flash) Flash (first series) #110, December 1959–January 1960; (as Flash) Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, March 1986
Origin: 10–15 years ago (1 year after Barry)
Identity: Secret during career as Kid Flash. Public knowledge during most of his solo career. Secret again, erased from memories and records (Flash v.2 #200, 2003).
Disappearance: Vanished in Infinite Crisis #4 (2006)
Reappearance: Justice League of America #10 & All-Flash #1 (2007)
See Also: Walter West
Flashes: Previous (Barry Allen) Next (Dark Flash)

Splattered with lightning-charged chemicals as a pre-teen, Wally West gained super-speed and became the sidekick to the second Flash, eventually succeeding him. Powered by the extradimensional Speed Force, he can not only move at near-lightspeed, but can transfer speed to and from others. He used to be able to vibrate through solid objects, but now doing so causes them to explode. Wally is the only speedster who can travel through time precisely without using external calibration (such as the Cosmic Treadmill).

For most of his solo career, his identity was known to the public. Actions by the Spectre have caused the world to forget (Ignition).

Detailed History

[Kid Flash - New Teen Titans (1st series) 31]

Junior high school student Wally West, president of Blue Valley, Nebraska’s Flash Fan Club, was visiting his aunt Iris in Central City and her boyfriend Barry Allen. Barry offered to introduce Wally to the Flash—in costume, he explained to Wally the accident which gave him his powers, when suddenly it reoccurred, granting Wally the same abilities! Barry took him into his confidence, and made him his sidekick, Kid Flash. Wally was a founding member of the Teen Titans.

Unfortunately, the accident had a slightly different effect on Wally’s adolescent body. He developed a disease which would kill him if he used his speed. A blast of energy during the Crisis on Infinite Earths—the same war in which Barry sacrificed his life—cured Wally, but left him with a top speed roughly that of sound.

[Updated Costume - Flash 50]

In honor of his mentor, Wally took the name and costume of the Flash. He went through a difficult period of emotional instability during which he used his powers irresponsibly, developed a reputation as a womanizer, and finally sought psychiatric help, As he matured—much of which he credits to his now-longstanding relationship with reporter Linda Park—and learned to fulfill his responsibility, Wally slowly developed confidence and regained his earlier speed.

[Speed Force Costume - Flash 131]

Finally breaking through his mental block of replacing Barry Allen, he achieved full speed, only to find himself changing into energy. In the midst of a battle for Keystone, he sacrificed his life and his humanity to save Linda—and became the only person known to return from the other side of the speed barrier. Wally now has a direct connection to the speed force, and subconscious knowledge of new ways to use it, including the ability to lend speed to other objects and people (Terminal Velocity and aftermath: Flash #95–101, 1994–1995).

Wally now wears a costume made of concentrated speed force energy. Unable to wait for both broken legs to heal and inspired by a then-recent Justice League case, he gained enough control over the speed force to create a costume which would support him and enable him to run despite his injury (Flash #131, 1997).

[Revised Speed Force costume - Flash 133]

Wally and Linda finally married, but Linda was kidnapped from the wedding by Abra Kadabra and retroactively erased from history (Flash #142, 1998). Wally’s sacrifice at the end of “Chain Lightning,” entering the Speed Force to defeat Cobalt Blue, appeared final. He was, in fact, drawn back into reality when Linda escaped her prison outside of time. Trapped alongside her in an alternate reality, battling first a blue-eyed version of himself driven over the edge by his own Linda’s death at the hands of Kobra, then Kadabra himself, he and Linda searched endless alternate realities before finally returning to their own and tricking Kadabra into reversing his spell (Flash #153–158, 1999). Restored to their own world at last, they immediately picked up where they left off, holding the wedding that afternoon.

Several months into Linda’s first pregnancy, Zoom attacked Linda to “teach” Wally about tragedy first-hand. Linda survived, but the unborn twins did not. In his grief, Wally made a deal with the Spectre to make the world forget who he was, hoping that Wally and Linda would be safe from the Flash’s enemies. What the Spectre did not tell him was that he and Linda would forget as well.

Wally and Linda have since regained their memories, though it took time for them to pick up the pieces of their their life and marriage. Miraculously, a time-travelling rematch with Zoom created a “fissure in time” that restored Linda’s pregnancy, just in time for her to give birth to twins Iris and Jai.

Crisis

When Wally, Jay and Bart attempted to trap the murderous Superboy-Prime in the speed force, he found himself being pulled out of this reality once more, though it did not seem to be the speed force pulling him. He appeared to Linda to say goodbye, but she insisted on going along with him. She, Wally, and the twins (who probably carry super-speed in their genes) all vanished together (Infinite Crisis #4, 2006).

It was previously thought that they had traveled, along with the other speedsters and Superboy, were taken to an alternate Earth (Flash: TFMA #6, 2007). As it turns out, the West family spent roughly a year on an alien world that had a history with Flashes. (Flash v.2 #231, 2007) Little is known of their life there.

Wally, Linda and the twins returned when seven members of the future team, the Legion of Super-Heroes, traveled back in time to resurrect someone using 31st-Century technology called lightning rods. The Legion appears to have been recovering someone else, but Wally was “riding the lightning,” and brought his entire family back (Justice League of America #10 & All-Flash #1, 2007).

Team Membership

As Kid Flash, Wally West was a founding member of the original Teen Titans. He stayed through three incarnations of the team, before quitting when he retired as Kid Flash (1966–1984).

When Wally took over as the Flash, he worked briefly with the Titans again (1986–1987), but then left to pursue his solo career. He was later invited to join Justice League International, and was a founding member of its European branch (1989–1994). When the team lost its United Nations sponsorship, Wally moved to the Justice League of America, and was a member until he disappeared in Infinite Crisis (1994–2006).

During his tenure in the JLA, Wally also joined two other teams: another stint in the Titans (1999–2000), and a tour in Justice League Elite (2004–2005).

Within minutes of Wally’s return, Hal Jordan extended an offer of membership in the newly-reformed Justice League of America.

[The Flash - Early 21st Century]

The Future

There are conflicting accounts on Wally’s future.

Several years ago, Iris wrote in The Life Story of the Flash that she would help him through “an unexpected, tumultuous marriage, through the marvel of his daughter, and through the tragedy of his son.” Many speedsters, including Jay Garrick, met Wally’s daughter Iris West II while battling the legacy of Cobalt Blue, implying a degree of reality to this future, in which Wally is still alive when Iris is in her late teens/early twenties.

Of course one could hardly call his marriage to Linda unexpected, except perhaps the timing of the actual wedding, and Iris herself has said that some things she thought she knew turned out to be wrong. Although the aftermath of Linda’s miscarriage looks like it could fit the “tumultuous” bill.

In some accounts of Iris II’s life Wally has essentially given up his civilian life to patrol Keystone continuously at hyperspeed (The Kingdom, 1998; Flash 80-Page Giant #2, 1999). In others he has given up his humanity to the point where he is no longer confined to one plane of existence (Kingdom Come, 1996).

[The Flash - 2054]

Still another account, gleaned from a garbled record uncovered in the 30th Century, holds that Wally was “evolved” by the Speed Force into something beyond human, focusing his efforts no longer on crime but on problems beyond human comprehension. According to this record, he regained his humanity just as he was defeated by the gorilla “Mega-Rogue” and launched out of time and space (Flash 80-Page Giant #2: “A Flash of Hope,” 1999). However, it is unclear to what extent the record was interpreted correctly. It may have even been a garbled record of Walter’s battles against Gorilla City and the Replicant.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.


Top of Page Primary Sources

  • “Born To Run” - Flash (second series) #62–65 (May–June 1992), Mark Waid
  • The Life Story of the Flash (1997), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn

Art

  • Current Costume - Flash: Rebirth #5 (January 2010) - Ethan Van Sciver
  • Kid Flash - New Teen Titans (first series) #31 (May 1983) - George Perez
  • Metallic Costume - Flash (second series) #50 (May 1991) - Greg LaRocque and José Marzan, Jr.
  • Concentrated Speed Force - Flash (second series) #131 (Late November 1997) - Paul Ryan and John Nyberg
  • Running in Red - Flash (second series) #133 (January 1998) - Paul Ryan and John Nyberg
  • Near Future - Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999) - Ron Lim & José Marzan, Jr.
  • Beyond Human - Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999) - Steve Lightle

Origin Tales

  • Flash (first series) #110 (December 1959–January 1960): “Meet Kid Flash,” John Broome
  • Secret Origins Annual 2 (1988): “The Unforgiving Minute,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash (second series) #62–65 (May–June 1992): “Born To Run,” Mark Waid
  • Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997): “A Run of Luck,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • The Life Story of the Flash (1997): “Lightning Strikes Twice,” Mark Waid

Profiles

  • The Official Teen Titans Index #1 as Kid Flash (August 1985)
  • Who’s Who in the DC Universe #12 as Kid Flash (February 1986)
  • Who’s Who Update ’87 #2 (September 1987)
  • Flash Annual 3 (1989)
  • Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #2 (September 1990)
  • JLA Secret Files #1 (September 1997)
  • Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997)
  • The Titans Secret Files #1 (March 1999)
  • JLA–Z #1 (November 2003)
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
  • Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 under “Speed Force” (May 2010)
  • DC Comics Super-Heroes and Villains Fandex (2010)

Series Regular in...

  • Teen Titans (first series) (1966–1977)
  • The New Teen Titans (first series) #1–39 (1980–1984)
  • The New Teen Titans (second series) #1–5, #20–31 (1984, 1986–1987)
  • Flash (second series) (1987–2006, 2007–2008)
  • Justice League Europe/International (1989–1994)
  • Justice League America (1994–1996)
  • JLA (1996–2006)
  • The Titans (first series) #1–20 (1999–2000)
  • Justice League of America #20–31 (2008–2009)
  • The Titans (second series) #1–23 (2008–2010)

Silver-Age Flash Appearances

  • Flash #110 (January 1960): “Meet Kid Flash!” John Broome
  • Flash #120 (May 1961): “Land of Golden Giants!” John Broome
  • Flash #125 (December 1961): “The Conquerors of Time,” John Broome
  • Flash #135 (March 1963): “Secret of the Three Super-Weapons,” John Broome
  • Flash #149 (December 1964): “The Flash’s Sensational Risk!” John Broome
  • Flash #156 (November 1965): “The Super-Hero Who Betrayed the World!” John Broome
  • Flash #159 (March 1966): “The Flash’s Final Fling!” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #161 (May 1966): “The Case of the Curious Costume,” Robert Kanigher
  • Flash #165 (November 1966): “One Bridegroom Too Many!” John Broome
  • Flash #173 (September 1967): “Doomward Flight of the Flashes!” John Broome
  • Flash #189 (June 1969): “The Death-Touch of the Blue Ghost,” John Broome
  • Flash #220 (March 1973): “The Slowest Man on Earth,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #221 (May 1973): “Time-Schedule For Disaster!” J. David Warner & Cary Bates
  • Flash #232 (April 1975): “The Death-Rattle of the 12-Hour Man!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #239 (February 1976): “The Tailor-Made Crimes of Central City!” Cary Bates
  • Flash Spectacular 1978: “Beyond the Super-Speed Barrier,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #269 (January 1979): “Domain of the Dark-Eyed Dragons!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #277 (September 1979): “The Self-Destruct Flash,” Cary Bates
  • (Illusion) Flash #300 (August 1981): “1981—A Flash Odyssey,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #324 (August 1983): “The Slayer and the Slain!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #325 (September 1983): “Dead Reckoning,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #343 (March 1985): “Revenge and Revelations,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #344 (April 1985): “Betrayed!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #345 (May 1985): “The Secret Face of the Flash!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #349 (September 1985): “...And the Truth Shall Set Him Free!” Cary Bates

Silver-Age Solo Appearances

  • Flash #111 (March 1960): “The Challenge of the Crimson Crows!” John Broome
  • Flash #112 (May 1960): “Danger on Wheels!” John Broome
  • Flash #114 (August 1960): “King of the Beatniks!” John Broome
  • Flash #116 (November 1960): “The Race to Thunder Hill!” John Broome
  • Flash #118 (February 1961): “The Midnight Peril!” John Broome
  • Flash #122 (August 1961): “The Face Behind the Mask!” John Broome
  • Flash #127 (March 1962): “Mystery of the Troubled Boy,” John Broome
  • Flash #130 (August 1962): “Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man,” John Broome
  • Flash #133 (December 1962): “Secret of the Handicapped Boys!” John Broome
  • Flash #138 (August 1963): “Mystery of the Matinee Idol,” John Broome
  • Flash #144 (May 1964): “Lesson for a Star Athlete,” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #164 (September 1966): “The Boy Who Lost Touch With The World!” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #167 (February 1967): “The Hypnotic Super-Speedster,” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #202 (December 1970): “The Accusation!” Steve Skeates
  • Flash #204 (March 1971): “The Mind-Trap,” Steve Skeates
  • Flash #207 (June 1971): “Phantom of the Cafeteria,” Steve Skeates
  • Flash #209 (September 1971): “Coincidence Can Kill!” Steve Skeates
  • Flash #211 (December 1971): “Is This Poison Legal?” Steve Skeates
  • Flash #216 (June 1972): “2D?” Steve Skeates
  • Flash #265 (September 1978): “Secret of the Shooting Star!” Paul Kupperberg
  • Flash Spectacular 1978: “Beyond the Super-Speed Barrier,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #266 (October 1978): “The Case of the Missing Super-Speed!” Paul Kupperberg
  • Flash #325 (September 1983): “Warning: Danger Ahead!” Cary Bates

Miniseries/Specials

  • Flash 50th Anniversary Special (1990)
  • Flash Plus Nightwing (January 1997)
  • Flash/Green Lantern: Faster Friends (2 parts) (1997)
  • Speed Force (November 1997)
  • The Life Story of the Flash (1997): “Lightning Strikes Twice,” Mark Waid
  • Flash Secret Files (3) (November 1997, 1999, 2001)
  • Flash 80-Page Giants (2) (August 1998, April 1999)
  • Silver Age: Flash (July 2000): “Mystery of the Thieving Thunderbolt,” Brian Augustyn
  • Flash: Our Worlds At War (Summer 2001)
  • Flash: Iron Heights (Summer 2001)
  • DC First: Flash/Superman (July 2002)
  • Flash: Time Flies (Summer 2002)
  • DC Comics Presents: The Flash (October 2004): “Flash Back!” Dennis O’Neil
  • Most JLA, Titans, or crossover-type miniseries

Impulse Appearances

  • Dead Heat - Flash #108–111, Impulse #10–11 (December 1995–March 1996), Mark Waid
  • Impulse #22 (February 1997): “Played,” Mark Waid
  • Impulse #26 (June 1997): “Scorched,” Mark Waid (cameo)
  • Impulse #78 (November 2001): “Losing the Impulse,” Todd Dezago
  • Impulse #84 (May 2002): “In the Line of Fire,” Todd Dezago

Notable Crossovers and Guest Spots

  • Invaded Lives and Flash Point - Flash #21–22, Manhunter #8–9 (Holiday–January 1989): William Messner-Loebs w/ John Ostrander and Kim Yale
  • Gorilla Warfare - Flash #69–70, Green Lantern #30–31 (October–November 1992), Mark Waid and Gerard Jones
  • Showcase ’93 #3 (March 1993): “Delay of Game,” Michael J. Martineck (solo)
  • Justice League Quarterly #10 (Spring 1993): “Half an Inch,” Mark Waid (solo)
  • Eve of Destruction - Darkstars #18–20 (March–May 1994), Michael Jan Friedman
  • Fast Friends - Green Lantern #66–67 (September–October 1995), Ron Marz
  • Argus #5 (September 1995): “Light In Dark Part Five: Statue of Mystery,” Mark Wheatley and Allan Gross
  • Three of a Kind - Green Lantern #96, Green Arrow #130, Flash #135 (March 1998), Ron Marz, Chuck Dixon, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar
  • Robin #62–64 (March–May 1999): “Faster than Anything,” “The Blink of an Eye,” “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One,” Chuck Dixon
  • JLA #102 (Late September 2004): “Pain of the Gods: Scarlet Speedster,” Chuck Austen (spotlight issue)
  • Infinite Crisis #4 (March 2006): “Homecoming,” Geoff Johns

Significant One-Year-Later Flash Appearances

  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2 (September 2006): “Lightning in a Bottle Part 2: Origins,” Danny Bilson & Paul DeMeo (flashback)
  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #6 (January 2007): “Lightning in a Bottle Part 6: Burning Bridges,” Danny Bilson & Paul DeMeo (flashback)
  • Justice League of America #10 (August 2007): “The Lightning Saga: Final Chapter: The Villain is the Hero in His Own Story,” Brad Melzter
  • Teen Titans v.3 #50 (October 2007): “Passage,” Sean McKeever
  • Teen Titans v.3 #50 (October 2007): “Dear Barry...” Marv Wolfman (flashback as Kid Flash)
  • DC Infinite Halloween Special (December 2007): “The Speed of Life,” Mark Waid
  • The Brave and the Bold (third series) #8 (January 2008): “Wally’s Choice,” Mark Waid & George Pérez
  • Booster Gold v.2 #4 (January 2008): “He’s Gonna Save Every One Of Us!” Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz (flashback as Kid Flash)
  • Flash #235 (February 2008): “The Fast Life, Part 3: Bart,” Mark Waid & John Rogers (flashback)
  • Justice League of America #20 (June 2008): “Back up to Speed,” Dwayne McDuffie (spotlight issue)
  • Booster Gold v.2 #17 (April 2009): “Reality Lost” Part III of IV, Dan Jurgens (flashback as Kid Flash)

Notes

*Eye Color: During the Silver Age, Wally’s eyes were colored blue, like Barry’s. Early on in Wally’s own post-Crisis series, someone decided to give him green eyes instead (maybe to have some sort of visual distinction between him and Barry when their costumes were identical). This change was often forgotten by people on other series, such as JLA, and occasionally in his own series. After the introduction of Hypertime, Mark Waid decided to work in an explanation for the coloring errors as part of the Dark Flash saga: since hypertimelines can overlap slightly, Wally would occasionally share his eye color with his counterpart.

Wally’s first appearance in The Flash #110 is reprinted in The Flash Archives Volume 2 and Showcase Presents: The Flash Volume 1.

The Flash is a core JLA member, so it would take up a lot of space to catalog all of his appearances in other series. I’m sticking to the following: (a) multipart stories where he played a significant part, (b) stories that cross over with his own series, (c) stories where he is the main character, and finally (d) stories in Flash spin-offs. I’m leaving the complete catalog to those dedicated indexes out there.

Related Commentary

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