Significant Other: Angela Margolin (fiancée)
Base of Operations: Central City...Ohio? (Missouri) *
First Appearance: Flash #150, July 1999
See Also: Wallace West, Hypertime
Walter “Wally” West lived mostly the same life as Wallace “Wally” West—only in his timeline he wasn’t able to save Linda Park from her death at the hands of Kobra. Driven mad, he was eventually brought back by an encounter with the main timeline’s Wally and Linda. Believing them dead, he traveled to their timeline to take Wally’s place. Like Wally, he can move at super speed, metabolize injuries, and lend speed—however, he can also vibrate through solid objects without making them explode, and can steal speed. He is now traveling through Hypertime, searching for his own timeline.
When the late 20th Century speedsters traveled to the future to deal with the 1,000-year legacy of Cobalt Blue, one did not return: Wally West, the current Flash, who had, unknown to the others, sacrificed his life to end the threat.
Shortly afterward, a new Flash, one whom none of the others had seen in their time-hopping, appeared in Keystone City. Collecting Wally’s and his predecessor Barry Allen’s personal effects, he began an investigation...into what, he has not yet revealed. Upon his first encounter with our era’s speedsters, he was evasive, until finally choosing to reveal his identity to Jay Garrick, the original Flash, so that he could operate in Central City, and to Superman and Troia, so that he could work with the Justice League and the Titans. He has not told any of them his purpose, but all three recognized him and agreed to keep his true identity a secret while vouching for him.
The Dark Flash makes his home below a lightning-bolt shaped obelisk in front of Central City’s Flash Museum, where he has collected information on his predecessors. Older than Wally, faster than the others, able to vibrate through objects and to steal speed, he divides his time between his secret investigations and his public crimefighting. He has also become romantically linked to Central City police scientist Angela Margolin, to whom he revealed that he feels responsible for a fellow speedster’s sacrifice.
Walter “Wally” West was unable to save Linda from her death at the hands of Kobra. Driven over the edge by his loss, he found Savitar, who had devoted his life to studying speed, joined him, learned his tricks...including slowing down and redirecting moving objects... and killed him. He then became a wind of vengeance, crippling or killing villains so that they could not harm innocents. He also became a fugitive.
Until one day, when, speeding past the Flash Museum, he saw her: Linda, miraculously returned from the dead. In actuality, she was from our own timeline; Abra Kadabra had kidnapped her from her wedding, holding her outside of time so that Wally could not be drawn back the next time he entered the speed force. She had escaped, but returned to the wrong timeline.
Obsessed with having found her again, he could not see how frightened she was of his new violent possessiveness, and nearly attacked her, when her own Wally, drawn back to her after all, arrived to protect her. The ensuing super-speed battle was only stopped by the arrival of Kadabra himself. The other Wally found a way to merge their bodies together, also merging their thoughts and strategies, and together they defeated Kadabra. The merging also helped Walter lose his rage.
The peace lasted all of about 30 seconds, though, as Kadabra teleported away the moment Walter stopped hitting him and (apparently) killed Wally and Linda. In the desperate battle that ensued, Walter accelerated his metabolism to heal the fatal wounds Kadabra inflicted on him, aging him 10 years in the process. The battle was a standstill, and Kadabra left to regroup...leaving Walter to disguise his identity with a new costume and travel to his counterpart’s own timeline, preparing to take his revenge on Kadabra.
The Truth Revealed?
Walter eventually revealed himself to Max, Jesse, Bart and Angela as an older, scarred Wally West. No one noticed that his eyes were blue instead of green—likely a Hypertime flux. (Leave it to Mark Waid to take a coloring error and make it a key part of a story; one aspect of Hypertime is that timelines can merge without people noticing...meaning that the green-eyed Wally could have blue eyes from time to time with no one noticing.)
The Pied Piper also knows him as Wally, though Walter himself is a bit uncomfortable around him, having recently done something fairly nasty to his counterpart before returning to his senses (#154). And he’s admonished Bart to “never, never ask me about Linda!”
Another oddity could be nothing more than a proofreading error. Everything I’ve read, from the often-ignored Atlas of the DC Universe to the first set of Flash Secret Files, places Central City in Missouri, across the (Missouri?) river from Keystone City, Kansas. Yet the Flash Secret Files #2 places it in Ohio—which doesn’t even share a border with Kansas! And yet Keystone is still across the river from Central City! On one hand, it could be a glitch. On the other hand, it ties in perfectly with the blending of timelines revealed in #159.
A Hasty Departure
With Wally and Linda’s return, everything seemed fine. Even Walter and Angela could be together, in this universe or in his own. Yet neither Wally nor Walter truly understood how they traveled through alternate realities—and Hypertime travel can have the side effect of blending timelines (see The Kingdom: Planet Krypton, Feb. 1999 and JLA: Earth 2, Dec. 1999). His continued presence in a timeline not his own was causing realities to merge around him, not in the ordinary subtle way, but both noticeably and dangerously. After a tearful goodbye with Angela, he left, hoping to again find the one timeline that he won’t endanger with his very presence.Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Flash #150 (July 1999) - Paul Pelletier and and Vince Russell
- Flash Secret Files #2 (November 1999)
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia sidebar under Flash (2004)
- Flash #151 (August 1999): (framing story), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #152–159 (September 1999–April 2000): The Dark Flash Saga, Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash Annual #12 (1999): “The Apes of Wrath,” Brian Augustyn
- Flash Secret Files #2 (November 1999): “Twenty-First Century Rogue,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- JLA #33 (September 1999): “Altered Egos,” Mark Waid
- The Titans #8 (October 1999): “Need For Speed Part 2: Hitting the Wall,” Devin Grayson
- JLA Annual #3 (1999): “Gorilla Warfare,” Len Kaminski
- Martian Manhunter Annual #2 (1999): “Fear and Loathing on the Planet of the Apes,” Len Kaminski
- The Titans #10–12 (December 1999–February 2000): “The Immortal Coil,” Devin Grayson
- The Titans #13 (March 2000): “Fallout,” Jay Faerber and Devin Grayson
I’m extending the “Significant Appearances” section to include this Flash’s appearances with the JLA and the Titans since there are so few and since the first meetings contribute to the mystery of his identity.
- The Clothes Make the Man at Crimson Lightning