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Wednesday, January 15, 2014 

Wally West returns far too late to matter

IGN reports that a couple years after the DC editors got rid of Wally West because PC-ness dictated Barry Allen must be the only main star, the former Kid Flash is reappearing in Flash Annual #3, and if the cover drawing says what'll be found inside, his costume is going to look an awful lot like the Electric Superman design from 1998.

They also have a very awkward description of both the Flashes:
Despite the fact that Barry Allen -- who has been starring in the current Flash series -- is the original, West has been popular for his inclusion in the Justice League cartoon, his status as a founding member of the Teen Titans, and his lighter personality in general.
So Jay Garrick was never the original? Oh, I get it, they're adopting Newspeak 52, which dictates that Golden Age history is irrelevant, with Jay now rebooted as young again in Earth 2, and his past history has been made illegitimate.

And since when didn't Barry (or Jay) have a lighter personality to boot? Some grasp on history they have. But it's much too late for this to matter now, as audiences have already been discouraged by the contempt the editors heaped on them. One of the commentors said:
I suppose it's an improvement but much of the damage is done. The big deal with Wally for 20 years it was the one legacy promise that actually happened. He was a sidekick and then he inherited the mantle. For a good chunk of his run The Flash was among the best DC ongoings and more interesting than Barry ever was. The speed force originated in vol. 2, not the silver age. That comic was a victim of a pincer attack from bad editorial direction and a push to revert everything to silver age status quo. I miss when Wally was THE Flash and the series was good but that was close to a decade ago now, it's gone and it's not coming back.

A triumphant return before being demoted back to being a marginal character is better than just being reintroduced as a marginal character at the start of the new 52. Slightly better at least.
It's been more than a decade since the Flash was any good. Geoff Johns turned it all to rot when he came on board at the turn of the century. His work was 5 years of pure waste, followed by many more.

While on the subject, USA Today, who first reported this news, told the following about how Barry Allen might be portrayed on the TV series WB has planned:
Unlike the serious Superman or broody Batman, the Flash is just "a fun guy," Gorham says. "He's a really smart scientist in his daily life who's a bit bumbling and socially awkward, but obviously he turns it on when he puts his tights on."
On the surface, that does sound encouraging if they're not taking the forced direction of darkness. But I've got a hunch it'll turn out to be little better than the brief 1990 series starring John Wesley Shipp, who later became a co-star on Dawson's Creek for 4 of 6 seasons. (Update: I hadn't read clearly, but I think Gorham is referring to the Flash as he was originally created, and not as a TV character per se. Still, there's always reason for concern.)
"To tell you the truth, DC needs the Flash to break out, as he's a major component of the Justice League and has always been one of the stars in their canon," says Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations.
I suspect the only way they think he can "break out" is by writing up a dark story, no matter what kind of villains they use. To be honest, I've often wondered if the Flash is way past the point of making good movie/TV material, because I understand if they think the Rogues would be too goofy for the modern age, yet turning them into grimy caricatures like Johns did in the past decade is a textbook example of how not to update costumed villains. That's why some comics are better off left alone in the pamphlets.

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To be honest, if I were one of these writers I'd rather not reintroduce Wally because having so many Flashes around in the stories is redundant. Iris West was made into a Flash character, her brother turned out to be Reverse Flash, there's no answer to whom Bart is actually related to (other than the possibility that the writers would reveal that he comes from the Emerald Isle) and that there even super speed powered Gorillas in the New 52 Flash stories.

I meant would be redundant.

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