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The Greatest Wally West Stories Ever Told!

Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Wally West (who was Kid Flash and Flash) Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

I’m mixing things up a BIT this list by giving you the #11 choice, as well – I’ll let you know why later on…

11. Flash #91 “Out of Time”

This one-off issue by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo spotlighted a major issue at the time for Wally – a storyline right before this issue involved a young woman blaming Wally for her severe injuries suffered while the Flash battled with a super-villain at the mall. Wally was hoping that her case was a super-villain plot, and in the end, it DID turn out to be a super-villain plot, but a plot that had, at its basis, an actual real beef on the part of the lady (Wally consciously chose to skip checking her area of the mall because a security guard told him it was clear, and he needed the extra time to save a falling elevator filled of people, so he saved their lives and in the meantime she was badly burned and lost her legs). So Wally was so distraught over having to make life and death decisions like that that he sought out Johnny Quick’s “speed formula,” figuring that if he added Johnny’s formula to his own natural speed, he’d be able to save EVERYone – instead, time froze for Wally and he was unable to stop him. Only a visit by a pushed-to-the-limit Max Mercury would help Wally get past the mental blocks that were holding him back.

This issue also introduced Bart Allen, in a shadowy cameo at the end.

10. Flash #0 “Flashing Back”

While traveling through time (due to events in Zero Hour, DC’s crossover of the time), Wally sees various major points in his lifetime, including a mysterious visit he remembered changing his life as a child. Waid and Wieringo did the issue.

9. Flash #152-159

In Mark Waid’s swan song on the Flash (not counting one final one-off issue), he and his co-writer Brian Augustyn had Linda Park “erased” from existence, while a brand new Dark Flash showed up following Wally’s disappearance at the end of #150 – this was a Flash that had come from the world of Hypertime!! Paul Pelletier drew the story.

8. Flash #48-50 “Fastest Man…Alive!”

Wally faces off against Vandal Savage in a contest that will either end up in Wally’s death or his re-emergence as a greater superhero that he had ever been before! Plus, a new costume for Wally! William Messner-Loebs wrote the story and Greg LaRocque drew the story.

7. Flash #54 “Nobody Dies”

William Messner-Loebs’ acclaimed one-off issue where Wally has to save a flight attendant who had been sucked out of a hole in a plane. Greg LaRocque was the artist.

6. Flash #108-111, Impulse #10-11

A crossover with Flash spin-off, Impulse, featuring a villain named Savitar who was trying to take control of the Speed Force for himself – almost all of Wally’s speedster allies had their speed stolen, leaving it to Wally to take down Savitar – but Savitar is more prepared than Wally ever could imagine, leading to a speedster to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the rest. Mark Waid wrote the story and Oscar Jimenez and Humberto Ramos drew it (Jimenez the Flash issues, Ramos the Impulse ones).

5. Flash #197-200 “Blitz”

Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins introduced a NEW Reverse Flash called Zoom, who was an old friend of Wally’s who had been twisted to the point where he felt he was HELPING Wally by giving him tragedy in his life – he then tried to do so through his new powers, which allowed him to appear to go fast by moving time AROUND him so that he appeared to be super-fast. This allowed him to be pretty much as fast as someone using the Speed Force like Wally. Zoom put his sights on Wally’s pregnant wife, Linda, and, well, things end pretty badly for Wally and his wife – leading Wally to make a rather rash deal with a supernatural being.

4. Flash #220-225 “Rogue War”

In Geoff Johns’ swan song from his Flash run, three disparate group of Flash “villains,” the Rogues, are pitted against each other over the revelation that Barry Allen had used Zatanna’s powers to rehabilitate one of the Rogues, who had then used mind control to ALSO rehabilitate some of the Rogues. Who was brainwashed into being a good guy? Who was legitimately reformed? Meanwhile, Wally’s old foe Zoom returns, only now he’s working with a time-traveling Professor Zoom so you know this is not good news for Wally – but somehow, Johns exits the book with a happy ending for Wally and his wife, Linda. Howard Porter drew this storyline.

3. Flash #62-65 “Born to Run”

Mark Waid’s debut on Flash came with this storyline, which was basically Wally West: Year One. Greg LaRocque drew it.

2. Flash #0, 95-100 “Terminal Velocity”

This story is why I went with 11 stories listed rather than 10. You see, Flash #0, while not TECHNICALLY labeled as part of Terminal Velocity, is pretty much part of Terminal Velocity. It leads right into the storyline and is collected in the Terminal Velocity collection. So I probably should merge the votes people made for Flash #0 into the votes for Terminal Velocity. However, so many people voted for Flash #0 on its own that I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it its own spot, especially since adding the votes for Flash #0 to the votes for Terminal Velocity still wouldn’t raise Terminal Velocity in the rankings, so the only story that would be affected would be the one that was bumped out of the Top Ten, so I figured I’d list that story, as well. Ta da!

Anyhow, Terminal Velocity revolves around Wally West getting a glimpse of the future and then doing all sorts of Machiavellian things in a gambit to avoid that future. We are led to believe that he saw himself be killed, but in reality, he saw his girlfriend, Linda Park be killed. So he vowed to do anything he could to save her, even if it meant manipulating his fellow speedsters Impulse and Jesse Quick to do so. In the end, Wally is sucked into the Speed Force – but can his love for Linda bring him back? Ask Taylor Dayne – she will let you know if that is possible. Mark Waid wrote it and a variety of artists worked on this storyline, from Mike Wieringo in #0, Salvador Larroca for the next four issues, then a split issue between Salvador Larroca and Carlos Pacheco and finally the last issue, the double-sized #100, with art by Salvador Larroca, Carlos Pacheco AND Oscar Jimenez.

1. Flash #73-79 “The Return of Barry Allen”

Wally’s greatest dream turned into a nightmare as his uncle, Barry Allen, the Flash before Wally, returns to life. Only thing are not what they seem, and soon Wally is forced to collect a group of speedsters to confront Barry, who has returned…different. While Wally gets help from the other speedsters, he soon learns that it ultimately comes down to him and his own fears of replacing his uncle to win the day. Mark Waid wrote the story and Greg LaRocque drew this arc, in his swan song on the title, after a long run as penciler.

That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!

33 Comments

I hope it’s not against the rules for me to say this, but… I’ve got every one of these, and in fact every Wally West Flash comic since he took over the title in 1988. Right now, they’re in a box, and I really don’t have the space to keep storing them. All I want to do is find them a new owner, someone who’ll read them and enjoy them. Pay postage and a little extra (really not much) and they’re yours. Downside is that I’m in Tasmania, Australia, so postage outside Australia is a bit of an impossibility. So, any Australian readers want to own all the Flash comics up to the arrival of Barry Allen? Click my link…

(PS Please feel free to delete this comment if it’s not OK to post it here. I really don’t know how else to find a buyer! Don’t talk to me about Ebay…)

Can’t complain about any of these, though I might tweak the order a bit. Still, this is a comprehensive list of great Flash stories!!! Anyone looking to learn about the character just needs to put these in publishing order and enjoy.

A little surprised there’s no Baron, no Morrison/Millar, and so little Johns given the recency of his run.

Reading the Return of Barry Allen as it was being published was one of the most suspenseful and exciting periods in my entire comic-buying life. Each month I could barely wait for the next issue, then when I’d read it I’d be in a fresh agony of suspense. You kids who can read the collected edition straight off don’t know how good you have it! ;) There was an issue of Green Lantern that fits in with the arc perfectly, while not being officially part of it, too. Just great, great comics. It really was the peak of Waid’s run, and a worthy winner.

I bet the Messner-Loebs issues would’ve scored higher if they’d been collected. Are they the highest-ranking never-collected issues here, as they seem to me to be? “Nobody Dies” has to be the first story selected in the next volume published of Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told – this poll proves it! :D

If the shipping wouldn’t be absurd from Oz to Canada I’d take you up on the offer, but it would probably be cheaper to pay normal price for them.

PS Just mentally replace “Flash” with “Wally West” in my post above where appropriate – which does NOT include the last sentence :)

I agree with most of the choices. If I had to question anything, it would be Rogue War’s standing. It’s easily one of my favorite stories, heck I voted for it. But I think both Blitz and Nobody Dies were far superior. Rogue War was a greater Flash Rogue story than it was a Wally West story.

[…] Follow this link: The Greatest Wally West Stories Ever Told! | Comics Should Be Good … […]

Absolutely right on with number one. There isn’t even a second option for me. It was the beginning of what would become the Flash Family and was really when Wally West became THE FLASH. Barry’s actual return doesn’t diminish the story at all.

Wow, no Mike Baron?!? Heresy! (although his Wally was a jerk).

[…] Should Be Good has posted the results of their reader poll for the Greatest Wally West stories ever told. It’s technically a top ten list, but they […]

Glad to see “Nobody Dies” here, though I would rate it higher; probably my favourite Flash story, period.
Messner-Loebs edges out Waid for me, it’s a shame he’s not more appreciated.

I knew it was a long shot, but I voted for a story from a Secret Origins annual (“The Unforgiving Minute”) where Wally and his therapist go over his origin and uncover the real reasons behind his decreased speed and jerkish attitude. It’s a great story by Messner-Loebs, made even cooler by the fact that it makes perfect sense with everything that came afterwards. It sort of casts a new light on Waid’s more notable storylines (even though he probably never even saw the story).

That annual also includes my favorite retelling of Barry’s life: the one where after fighting the Anti-Monitor he turns into the lightning that strikes his lab and gets to live his life all over again. It was a beautiful story and it’s a shame that it’s never been acknowledged again.

(I’m talking about Secret Origins Annual #2, by the way, if anyone wants to look it up. I really recommend it.)

The Return of Barry Allen is the only title on this list I’ve read, but these stories seem cool!

Really, the only Flash book I’d ever buy is the Flash of Two Worlds HC, but I’m debating whether or not to give Geoff Johns’ new Flash series a try once it hits the trade.

“The Unforgiving Minute” was awesome!

I surprised myself by actually enjoying the two first issues of the latest Flash relaunch, but I still wish they hadn’t bring Barry back.

Pretty surprised to see “Rogue War” (which I hated) on the list and not “Blood Will Run”, which I still think is one of Johns’s best shorter stories ever.

I also voted for the Unforgiving Minute! And the Barry story in that annual may be one of the best Secret Origins stories ever! Anyone looking for some bargain brilliance should track down Secret Origins Annual #2.

Another gem not appearing here is Shot in the Dark from around #30. And the race with Superman (Piper comes out) from #55 or so. Both of which I voted for.

In response to Eric TF Bat:
I NEED your flash comics! Plus the Impulse ones you have listed on your website. I live in NSW, however, I can’t seem to find a way to contact you on your website (its probly really obvious..).
Please let me know how I can contact you..

In regards to the list – I love it! However, I don’t remember issue #54, and I’ve read all of the issues (or so I thought). Good thing I will (hopefully) be getting all the issues soon, so I can re-read them :D

Wow, I really didn’t expect there to be NO Kid Flash stories on the list. I mean, I wasn’t wild about Wally back then, but that’s a long stretch of time.

Glad to see the two William Messner-Loebs entries. Surprised that Rogue War ranked as high as it did. Also surprised that neither Wonderland nor Blood Will Run made the list.

Travis Pelkie

May 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

See, around the time I first got into comics, the Waid run was starting, and I got into the Flash with the intro of Impulse. Between Waid’s run and other Wally appearances, I don’t see the need to bring Barry back. Wally is/was an awesome, awesome Flash.

And wasn’t it great that Waid could bring new readers up to speed (ahem, pardon the unintentional pun) with his openings (I’m Wally West, I’m the fastest man alive) without (ahem) slowing down the story. Good, solid storytelling.

After a while, though, Wally seemed to be dying and coming back all the time (or that’s how the synopses of upcoming issues made it sound), so I lost some interest. But this inspires me to fill in some gaps in my run.

And Mxy, I knew I’d heard a version of the story that Barry turned into the lightning that struck him and made him the Flash. Good to know where it first appeared. I thought I heard Johns used it in Rebirth, did I hear right?

Hey, I dug the first Johns storyline with the mirror universe. Gotta reread this stuff.

Surprised Rogue War was that high; saw it as a muddled mess of just bringing in all the villains at once, often for no real reason (like when Gorilla Grodd just appears for no real reason). Dark Flash and Dead Heat weren’t favorites; I liked the creativity of Savitar, but he should have been the long term opposite Wally West number and Waid offed him way too soon. I loved Waid’s run, but the screwing around from the time of the end of the wedding issue in 142 (which was strong, IMHO) til the end of his run was annoying. We already got that Wally and Linda’s love overcomes everything (that was the point of Hell to Pay), so giving an extra 18 issues of that story was pointless.

Otherwise, little to complain about. I was hoping “Family Business” from the Armageddon 2001 annual would have made it (one of my favorite stories), and a little surprised no Titans or Justice League made it (voted for JLE #9 for the Ralph/Wally conflict).

If we could have gone DC Animated, though, Flash and Substance from Justice League Unlimited was brilliant…

Hey Eric TF Bat.
I’m in Queensland and there’s some stuff listed I’m interested in.
I’m a regular on the Geoff Johns boards as married guy, so if you’re there, drop me a line.

This list is pretty spot on. I agree with the Secret Files annual story, which was AWESOME, and I would’ve liked to see Wonderland instead of the #0 issue, but WTH.

I’m also surprised at the omission of anything Baron-related. But I guess his run wasn’t that long. I gave up on the Messner-Loebs run because Wally’s mother became the single-most annoying character in comics history in the 20s or so. Perhaps it’s worth another look. The “Return of Barry Allen” story brought me back and was a highlight of that era…a great choice for number one. And the entire Geoff Johns run is fairly seminal for me…especially when Wally finds out Barry’s role in the modification of the villains. Interesting that some of the best stories about Wally are when he is compared somehow to Barry. Great list!

My favorite Wally story is the Flash Vol. 2 , No. 19: “A Meeting of Rogues” featuring Captain Cold’s parole party, a drunk Captain Boomerange with a secret, a rogue wearing a wire, and Chunk. Great fun all around.

Boomerang, that is..

Smokescreen: I voted for the Armageddon 2001 annual too! Probably one of the first Flash comics I read, and I thought the ending was the cleverest thing ever.

The Armageddon 2001 annual made my short list. This list was almost as hard to whittle down to ten as was the Giffen one. But how can we see the top eleven for Wally and only the top ten for Batman? ;)

But how can we see the top eleven for Wally and only the top ten for Batman?

I think it’s pretty well explained above, no?

Quite right. Apologies for lack of precision. I should’ve asked something like “can we see more of the Batman list, as hinted in, and requested by many in the comments for, that posting?” but tried to tie it in to Wally’s list somehow, sadly sacrificing clarity in doing so. Probably that’s not much clearer… :/

Pretty great choices all around. Makes one wonder why they would relegate Wally to 2nd rate status. i like Barry & all, but Wally was so much more interesting of a character to me.
DFTBA

Mxy and Bill:

The Armageddon 2001 Annual sealed me reading and collecting Flash for a long time. It was one of the first things I read when I switched from full Marvel to DC.

I still don’t understand why Paradox never made another appearance again (to the best of my knowledge), and the “gauntlet” scenes are almost a better way of doing something like “Multiple Villains at once”.

On a side note: If we want to look full circle, though the circumstances are different, the annual alludes that one of Wally’s final cases was battling all of the Rogue’s at once; I don’t know if Johns lifted the concept for Rogue War from there, but it would be kind of neat if he did (as it really was Wally’s true swan song).

Surprised by no Baron, too. I remember the Chunk issues fondly.

Fellow Wally West fans, just wanted to draw your attention to a wonderful issue, a copy of which I was fortunate enough to recently stumble across and read for the first time: Flash 80 Page Giant #2 from 1999

It’s a set of short stories set in the various eras of Wally’s life (and beyond), featuring work by (among others):

Brian Augustyn , Tom Peyer, Kieron Dwyer, Joe Casey, Ron Lim, Paul Ryan, Jackson Guice, Norm Breyfogle(!),
Christopher Priest(!!), William Messner-Loebs(!!!)

There are two Kid Flash stories (one from the “Barry’s sidekick” days, meeting Jay Garrick for the first time; one from the early Teen Titans era) and three Flash stories (one each set in the Baron, Messner-Loebs and Waid runs), as well as a couple of “future” stories of the “Flash Dynasty”. They are all interesting, and several are excellent! Highly recommended and probably cheap to obtain.

I love Wally West. In my opinion he is the best Flash ever. Although I didnt like when he manipulated Jesse and Bart. That wasn’t fair. ?

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