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Top 50 DC Characters #3

The countdown continues…

3. Flash (Wally West) – 1275 points (30 first place votes)

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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.

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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.

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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!!

29 Comments

I was beginning to wonder if he wouldn’t beat Superman…

Wait until you see how Superman got some of his votes!

Earth-2 Superman? Kingdom Come Superman? Dear god, dare I say it… Electric-Blue Superman? Or something even weirder than that?

I’m willing to bet there were people voting specifically for Pre or Post Crisis Superman. Probably in addition to what Rohan mentioned.

I bet Batman wins without the asterisk attached to his score.

Wally-Flash is easily my favourite DC character (and was even my first tattoo). One of the things that I love most about him is that he’s one of the few characters we’ve seen grow from child to teenager to young man to fully matured father and husband, with all the kinks on the way. We’ve seen Wally do incredibly heroic things, and incredibly selfish things. These days he’s one of the most realistic ‘people’ in comics.

I’ve also loved that he’s basically just always been a hero since he was a child, and that’s pretty much the only life he knows or is interested in. He’s grown up surrounded by the greatest heroes on the planet, and to him they’re more family than legend. During Grant’s JLA tenure his relationship was Batman was great; Wally has been in the cave with Robin since they were kids- he’s not really afraid of Uncle Bruce, who he knows is really a human. And when Batman made a mistake that cost the JLA in a fight with R’as al Ghul, Wally was unwaveringly supportive of Bruce.

Thank god he’s back.

Or something even weirder than that?

Pre- and post-mullet Superman! I know I’d've seriously considered it as a priority…

Carmine Infantino hits a grand slam. His Flash design is the costume that redefined superhero costumes.

When I was a kid, the Flash was a bit of a “gimmick” character. It was all about the power. Putting Wally in the costume made the Flash fun again.

Flash was the character that got me into DC comics along with Superman. Awesome to see all the Flash’s in the top 50 with Wally in the top 3!

It took me a long time to get used to Wally West as the Flash- more in denial than anything else as I really like him in Teen Titans as Kid Flash.
Once it clicked though,with the Morrison/Millar run, he soon surpassed Barry Allen as my favourite Flash.
Now, if the voting for Wally is translated into sales for the new series, He’s going to be around for a long time to come, which is fine by me.

If anyone had to be in the Top 3 other than Diana, I am happy it is Wally. Especially in the current deathfest DC multiverse, he is essential. He became a hero because he wanted to be, not because of some tragic loss. Even after Barry’s death, he didn’t become this grim and gritty character.
Also, I love how his aging has made the character better. Take that Quesada. Get Mark Waid and Geof Johns to write the Spider-Marriage!
Wally is a relief to me as a younger fan, because while Kyle Rayner gets pushed aside because of old fans, and people constantly complain about new Blue Beetle, Atom, Question, and Firestorm, Wally is a newer legacy character who has really been accepted.
And Wally West on on Justice League Unlimited was by far my favorite character to watch.

I know the comics industry is almost a hermetic world but Wally West (a character with only 20 years of real development) almost beating the flagship of DC comics, a 5 movies franchising, and nearly 70 years of history (one of the few superheroes who survived the implosion of the early 50′s).
Congratulations for all the good writers who worked in Flash title.

Ah, yes. Wally West. The Flash’s hook has always been that he’s a “regular guy”, and Wally’s more interesting in that role than Barry ever was. I don’t doubt that Barry could have been much better developed if he’d stuck around into the modern characterization-driven era, but he didn’t. Wally took the mantle of the Flash and ran with it.

Also, how great was in on JL/JLU?

Sorry. I meant to say “How great was *he* on JL/JLU?”

Reading these comments has convinced me to give Waid’s new run on the title a shot. Not that I’m entirely sure why I wasn’t already reading it.

So, I know Jay made the list, but did Barry make it at all? Is there no Barry Allen love?

I wonder how much of the voting was influenced by the DCAU (particularly with Wally). Personally, it’s what turned me from a passive fan of non-comic Marvel media to an active purchaser of DC comics. I would have never known much of the top 50, particularly current favorites like Wally, the Question or Booster Gold, were it not for how they were portrayed in DCAU. Is it me, or do you think that played a lot into this poll?

DCAU influence? Could be, yeah. It played some role in my (statistically insignificant) first-place vote for Hawkgirl. Which was basically a vote for two comic book versions of the character – the Silver Age and “Hawkworld” Shayeras – but the animated Shayera happens to be a perfect synthesis of what I like about them.

Barry Allen made #29 (and I think Jay Garrick is a few spots below that).

I can’t comment on either since I know next to nothing about them as characters; but I do find it really interesting how the next generation managed to whomp the first two so soundly. Almost makes me want to investigate a bit further, which is exceedingly rare for me and DC.

Also, completely O/T…I do so love that ‘Ye gods! This random lightning bolt totally changed your costume, Kid Flash!’ cover. Just such a teeny perfect example of comic absurdity.

The DCAU certainly influences how I see some their characters. I never cared a lick for The Question in comics, but he was a favorite on JLU, and Wally was interesting to me for the first time ever.

I believe the sucess comes from consistent creators runs. In 20 years the character was writen (and developed) by 4 main writers: Bill Loebs, Mark Waid, Bryan Augustin and Geoff Johns.

Excellent! thanks km

Vilas, you left out Marv Wolfman. He was resposible for a decent chunk of Wally’s development as well.

Real happy that Wally did so well. He’s the Flash who I grew up, and look forward to the many great stories to come.

So your decision that All-Star Superman was Superman is what made the difference?

Cool.

And this is why Barry Allen will stay dead.

[...] #3.  Flash: Wally West #29. Flash: Barry Allen #41. Flash: Jay Garrick #42. Kid Flash/Impulse: Bart Allen (tied with Bizarro) [...]

kgfdhhf jdhrfd kdodenc djjshegx euiidfbd nhegdggrshdb ydjkhsd , wats

i hate dc. and love marvel

June 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

i think flash is my 1st favorite superheroe ever

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