O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
The countdown continues…
3. Flash (Wally West) – 1275 points (30 first place votes)
John Broome and Carmine Infantino created young Wally West soon into their run on Flash. Wally was the nephew of Barry (the Flash) Allen’s girlfriend, Iris, and when Barry was giving him a tour of the police station Barry worked at, the same freak accident that gave Barry his powers happened to Wally!!!
Now with the same speed powers as Barry, Barry quickly added Wally as his partner. First in a kid-sized version of Barry’s suit, but then later, in his own colored suit.
Wally served as Barry’s sidekick for many years, and also helped co-found the Teen Titans, where Wally continued to do his superhero deeds.
Eventually, though, Wally grew tired of the hero game, and gave it all up. Tragically, though, soon after Wally made this decision, his mentor (and, after Barry married Iris, his uncle), Barry gave his life to save the Earth.
Wally was then forced to become the Flash.
And while at the beginning of his tenure, Wally was a bit immature, he soon grew into one of the most notable heroes of the current generation. A big point in his maturation was his relationship with reporter Linda Park. The two had been friends for awhile, and their flirtatious banter during writer Bill Loebs’ run was excellent, but during Mark Waid’s tenure on the title, he had the two begin a relationship, and soon, Linda’s love for Wally was all Wally needed to really grow as both a person AND a hero.
Wally and Linda eventually married, but after giving birth to twins, Wally was forced to take his family with him, as he basically went into the Speed Force in an attempt to stop an evil villain.
Just recently, the group has returned, with the children now grown a bit, and with superpowers.
Think The Incredibles.
Wally West is DC’s top character for two reasons: relatability and legacy.
Here is why Chris Brantley gave Wally the top spot…
I can relate to Wally, as I am happily married with my first baby due in about two weeks. In Wally West is a person I could enjoy a coffee, beer, or conversation with. He went through a period of self doubt in his early twenties, went into the ‘family business’, married the woman who makes his life better (more on that later), and now has a family to raise on his own terms. I want to spend some time with him just see how things are going. I care that he beats the crap outta whoever gives him grief, but I care more about how Iris is doing (is she still dating Ofc. Chyre?), what it’s like to raise two children, and how he keeps the spark going with Linda. I can’t say that for Spider-Man ’cause right now I’m drinking the “marriage killed the characters” coolaid. I don’t want to see a single Wally West. I want him to keep on growing as a person, just like me.
I also enjoy the fact that DC is an aging universe, and nothing proves that point more than the life of Wally West. After the first Crisis, DC wanted a ‘reset’ button on the whole universe. Younger characters, fresh starts. However, they turned that idea on it’s head by growing Kid Flash up. Instead of a twenty-something Barry Allen, they went with a twenty year old Wally West. To me, that meant that the DC universe timeline now revolves around Wally West and Dick Grayson. They both got older while their mentors got younger. I also enjoyed the fact that Wally was ready to let the Flash uniform go when it was time. Of course, that takes it back to character.
And here is why Bill Gatevackes, who writes the Guiding Lines column over at Broken Frontier (his latest column can be read here), gave Wally the nod at #1…
The reason why I picked Wally is because, more than anything, is because he is a true legacy character. He became Flash to honor his dead friend and mentor Barry Allen, and Barry’s memory drives Wally to be the best hero that he can be. It plays into the development of Wally’s moral code, his relations with other characters, and his each and every action.
I am a history buff, in and out of comics, and Wally is comic history in character form. His adventures are unique and individual yet continue the overall story of The Flash that started back in the 40’s.
Thanks, Mik and Bill! Read Bill’s column, people! Here it is again.
Tomorrow…#2 and also, a little number called #1!!
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