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2011 Top DC Characters #7-6

After nearly 1,400 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters of all-time from 1-10. I assigned point totals to each ranking and then tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout September. Here is the master list of all the characters revealed so far. The countdown continues…

7. Wonder Woman – 1780 points (42 first place votes)

Created by William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman is Diana, of the Amazons who live on the isolated island paradise of Themyscira. After a U.S. military intelligence officer named Steve Trevor landed on the island and informed the Amazons of the situation going out in “Man’s World,” the Queen of the Amazons (Diana’s mother) decided that a member of their race must go to the land of Man to represent the island. They held a contest and Diana (wearing a disguise because she felt her mother would disapprove) won the right to represent the Amazons in the world of Man.

That is just what Diana does, serving as an Ambassador of Peace, while at the same time, also fighting crime, including being a prominent member of the Justice Society of America (a team of superheroes).

Originally, it was the villainy of the Nazis that drove the Amazons to send Wonder Woman out into the world, and those early World War II adventures (where Wonder Woman took on the secret identity of Army nurse, Diana Prince and began a “will they or won’t they?” relationship with Steve Trevor) became so well-identified with the character that they formed the basis of the Wonder Woman television series decades later.

Wonder Woman was one of just a handful of DC superheroes who maintained her own title after the superhero comic book busted in the late 1940s. Eventually, Wonder Woman’s comics adopted more of a mythology-based approach (what with there being no Nazis left to fight) and the comic went to even stranger heights with the establishment of “Wonder Girl” and “Wonder Tot,” younger versions of Wonder Woman who eventually actually went on adventures TOGETHER!!!

Around this time, Wonder Woman became a founding member of the Silver Age version of the Justice Society, the Justice League of America.

During the late 1960s/early 1970s, there was a brief period where Wonder Woman lost her powers and stopped wearing her costume and instead fought crime just using her awesome fighting prowess.

During the 1980s, George Perez revamped the title, making it more about Diana’s mission of peace (as well as increasingly stressing the Greek gods as important figures in the series).

Recently, Diana received a brand-new costume during a storyline where her past was manipulated. The new 52 has introduced us to yet ANOTHER new costume for Diana (although much closer to her original outfit). Only time will tell what changes to her history have occurred in this new continuity (so far, so good, though, as the first issue of her new series was quite cool).

6. Flash (Wally West) – 2471 points (67 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. Eventually, the group returned, with the children now grown a bit, and with superpowers! For a time, they fought crime together as a bit of a riff on the film, the Incredibles (you know, an actual super-powered family).

Recently, with the return of Barry Allen, Wally West took the opportunity to spend more time with his family and not do the superhero thing as much. With the new DC 52 reboot, we will soon find out what, if any, of Wally’s past remains the same in the new continuity. Heck, we don’t know for sure that Wally West was ever even the Flash in the current continuity.

39 Comments

Wally West will always be MY Flash

I can’t believe Hal Jordan, the most boring of DC’s major superheroes, will place in the top 5! Especially since all the other three human Green Lanterns are more interesting characters than him. Other than him, looks like the top 5 will have Batman, Superman, The Joker, and Dick Grayson, probably in that order. I’m surprised Dick made it this high, I guess his tenure as Batman made him more popular.

That’s a pretty big gap between Diana and Wally.

I can’t believe Hal Jordan, the most boring of DC’s major superheroes, will place in the top 5! Especially since all the other three human Green Lanterns are more interesting characters than him.
————————
Yeah, you’re not alone there. No Stewart makes me sad. Jordan will place Top 5 because he’s the white one who didn’t get one-shotted by Batman.

So, basically being pushed aside for 3 years, and being jerked in and out for about 5 or 6… And he only falls from 3rd to 5th. Still the greatest character in the history of superhero comic books.

Er, 6th, not 5th, obviously.

All right, there’s “mah boi” Wally West. He’ll always be number one in my book. So with Wally, Kyle, Booster, Animal Man, Death, Constantine and Ted, that’s 7 of my list in the Top 50. I’m sure I’m the only guy who voted Count Vertigo, and the Shade and Larfleeze probably placed in the Top 100.

“I’m surprised Dick made it this high, I guess his tenure as Batman made him more popular.”

Wait, you mean the person 99% of the people on the planet still think of as Robin?

Do you mean the person who lead the iconic version of the Teen Titans?

Are you talking about the most recent leader of the Justice League?

Or is it the person who had his own title, who has shown more growth than any of the other ‘grown-to-adulthood’ Titans, and who has strong contacts and earned respect all over the DCU?
too
Which one of these guys making it this high surprises you?

Oh wait, it’s the SAME guy. Dick Grayson has been around and developing & maturing (without major detrimental twists or turns) since World War 2. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the top 5.

I don’t care who the Flash is, as long as he’s interesting.

All right! Two Flashes in the Top 10!

And despite DC’s efforts to make us forget him, Wally West still holds a strong position. I hope DC keeps this in mind when they start looking for “mid-season replacements” for low-selling titles. With 12(?) Bat-books, four Lantern books, and four Super-books, surely there’s room for a second Flash book (or at the very least, Wally in a team book) once the dust settles.

#6 is actually closer to where I would have expected Wally to rank last time. It was a surprise (though admittedly a pleasant one) to see him ranked #3 last time, and I’m still surprised to see him so far ahead of Wonder Woman when you look at the points.

Instead of placing six feet under he ranked #6. There’s some irony in that. I hope DC notices this too. Damn it…fan loyalty should count for sumthin!

wally>barry

[...] Should Be Good as they count down the results of their Top 50 DC & Marvel Characters survey. Wally West ranks #6 on the DC list. He hasn’t been seen much since DC decided to re-focus The Flash on Barry [...]

I am so psyched that Plastic Man is going to be number one.

Really glad to see Wally ranked this high after essentially being shelved for the last two and a half years, it’s a real testament to his popularity. You’d think DC would, I don’t know, try to exploit that? They are in business to make money after all. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of, “Wally West is MY Flash,” too.

I can’t help but see the parallels to how they handled Hal Jordan’s return, and how badly they botched Barry Allen’s. They saw it work for Hal, and decided to do the same with Barry. But even according to their own template they screwed that up. When Hal returned, Kyle wasn’t shunted aside, never to be seen again. He was given his own 12-issue maxi-series and the co-starring role in Green Lantern Corps. Even now, he’s the leader of a team, starring in another ongoing series. Kyle Rayner was MY Green Lantern, and that respect they showed him really helped me accept Hal’s return. It didn’t devolve into Hal vs. Kyle, but Hal AND Kyle, you could have your cake and eat it too. And it worked perfectly, I’ve since become a huge fan of Hal’s and Geoff Johns’ whole GL-saga.

What I don’t think DC realizes is that in this case WALLY is Hal. It was Hal’s fans who would never embrace Kyle, and never stopped bitching about it. That probably has something to do with the fact that Hal was shunted away, just as Wally’s been, but I think it goes deeper than that. For whatever reason, their audience decided that, if he wasn’t the only GL, Hal Jordan was the first amongst equals. And this same audience has also decided that Wally West is the Ur-Flash. On some level I think they recognize this and that’s why they’ve kept Wally out of the spotlight, so as to not overshadow Barry, who they’ve arbitrarily decided is to be the one, true Flash. Johns has alluded to as much when asked about Wally’s absence. It’s almost certain that All Flash was shelved because it would’ve outsold The Flash. Call me crazy, but rather than continue down this road jamming Barry down our throats, wouldn’t it just make more sense to give the audience what they want? Post-reboot I’m assuming the excuse for retconning Wally out of existence will be for simplicities sake, and not burdening new readers with a legacy character. But with four current or former Robins running around, starring or co-starring in their own books, that doesn’t hold up.

If it were up to me (and it’s obviously not), I’d have ended Flashpoint with Barry sacrificing himself again. This time to restore the semblance of the timeline, just as he did the last time we had a major continuity reboot, and Wally West is your Flash in the new Flash #1.

Hell yes, Wally. My favorite DC character of all time.

DC is making a huge mistake trying to pretend they can revitalize Flash with Barry the way they revitalized GL with Hal. The thing is, the transition from Barry to Wally was totally, 100% different from the transition from Hal to Kyle.

Barry: Died a hero’s death. Hal: Victim of total character assassination.
Wally: The long-time sidekick of the fallen hero, and obvious heir to the Flash legacy. Kyle: Some kid we had no immediate sympathy for and felt forced on fans.
Flash: Despite the change in character, remained a similar, simple concept–and actually expanded in scope, introducing more characters. Green Lantern: Along with the change in character, totally changed the concept of the book, hacking and slashing it down from a wide, epic scope to a narrow one, killing or discarding dozens of other characters.

Oh, and last but not least: Flash: Went on to have some of the greatest story and character work ever seen in a DC comic under Mark Waid’s iconic run on the book. Green Lantern: Futzed around with nice work but mediocre writing for years until they brought back Hal.

And don’t get me wrong, I actually like Kyle fine. But when they brought Hal back there had been a decade of people anxiously, angrily demanding it. There just wasn’t the same dynamic with Barry–people were happy with Wally and the rest.

Wonder Woman looks really mad on that cover. I wonder who’s shooting at her.

Wally West is the greatest character in superhero comics, and one of the greatest fictional characters ever created. He defines the consequences of mentorship, and the apprentice carrying on and becoming the mentor. That was the true value, and has become a tragedy: DC created a definitive literary symbol in Wally West, and has discarded it.

figured barry would be the flash that made the top seven. not wally for thought wally would be at least already on the list. wonder woman thought would be in the top five like three .

The Crazed Spruce

September 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I’ll be honest, I tried to force Wonder Woman into my list, but I just couldn’t. I was a fan of George Perez’s run on the book, and I loved the straight-to-video animated movie (out of all of them, it’s one of my favourites, probably second only to Justice League: The New Frontier), but too often she comes across as an uncompromising warrior goddess or as a female Superman. Or, even worse, she takes a back seat to the male heroes in the story. (Especially in old Justice League and Justice Society stories.) And don’t even get me started on the 70′s powerless era. As much as it pained me to leave her out, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for her.

Wally, on the other hand, was #6 on my list. I grew up reading the Barry Allen comics, but as much as I loved him, I liked Wally even more. Sure, he started out his Flash career as a bit of an asshole, but over the years he really grew into the role, and he gradually developed into one of DC’s greatest heroes. They really dropped the ball when they shoved Wally aside to bring Barry back.

Realitätsprüfung

September 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Ah, the hardcore fan mentality: “I don’t like the the fact character A is more popular than my favorite character, so character A SUCKS!!!!

Hyberbolic insecurity aside, what people that post ^that ^ kind of nonsense should take away from this is simple: Your opinion is really just your own, and likely not even shared by a majority on the internet.

As for the poll results, nice to see both great Flash characters in the top 10. As for the top 5, we’ll have Clark, Bruce, Hal and Dick Grayson. I’d peg them as the 4 most popular characters DC has, so this makes sense.

I’m one of the 1st place Wally West voters – glad he made it this high, wish he’d been in the top 5. I like Barry too, but Wally has simply had better stories written about him and better overall character development.

Realitätsprüfung

September 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

XBen – I agree. But the key phrase missing here is”up to now”. Right?

Because DC might tell amazing stories with Barry that eclipse the Waid/Johns era from the 90s. Or they could be on par with each other. Or, the Flash may become a new character at some point that’s way better than Barry or Wally.

Point being: We don’t know what will happen…nothing is fixed in stone. What matters is that DC told some great stories in the past with Barry, and with Wally too. And that we should want great stories NOW, with whichever characters they tell stories about.

I am a fan that recognizes that writers matter more than characters, so I can enjoy any and all Robins and Green Lanterns, as long as the story is good, I don’t care if it’s Hal or Kyle, Dick or Tim, and I usually can’t understand fans that get so hung up on this.

But Wally West is the exception.

Wally has become such a superior character, that it makes no godamn sense to focus on Barry. Yes, writers matter most. But Wally has been in so many great stories for 20 years, had so many great moments and character development, that it is hard to imagine that Barry could ever approach it.

Theoretically it is possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

In a shared universe, writers are not above the characters, Rene. Or more important. 95% of the writers are basically the same anyway, where as each character is unique

Realitätsprüfung–

You are the only person here who’s used the term “suck” so far. There was some very mild Hal-bashing (Two people called him boring), and that’s about it, so I’m not sure where your complaint really stems from.

Regarding your second point, obviously the writers make the stories. But, A: this is a poll of people’s favorite characters, you can probably expect some people to be here rooting for their favorites; after all, one of the points of serialization and continuity is that readers enjoy following their favorite characters, B: if a writer really wants to tell a Barry story, they should be free to; *but* decisions like which character a book will focus on are probably largely editorial, given the nature of this shake-up, and so it’s not unreasonable to speculate that a writer given the task of writing a Barry story would do a better job if they were given the task of writing stories for a character generally recognized as superior or having a superior publication history, and C: I think people have every right to be annoyed that with the preponderance of books devoted to other characters, the Flash got stuck with just one, and one probably not as likely to attract a wide audience. If you want to see good Flash stories, you’re going to want more good Flash books and you’re going to want those books to do well enough to attract talent and keep DC behind them.

Another vote for Wally as “my” Flash. I only ever had a few comics with Barry Allen in them but Wally’s the man for all of us children of the ’80s and ’90s! (Hey, DC, that’s over 20 years right there!)

No Bizarro? No Brainiac?

No Ra’s? No Talia?

No Two-Face or Mirror Master?

Lex Luthor was the last villain to have made it onto this list (all the way down at #15!) and the Joker is probably the only one left that can break the Top 5. I’m glad that people prefer heroes to villains, I’m just surprised not to see some of them even place.

I suppose that this means that Alfred and Commissioner Gordon won’t be placing either.

Hal Jordan is the worst superhero of DC, no matter what the HEAT votes said.

Lufio, I think most people were like me. Villains were the last thing on my mind. I went mostly for heroes.

I don’t get the tremendous hate for Hal Jordan. If he was that hated, he would’ve stayed dead and one of the other 170 goddamn human lanterns would have taken over.

We’ve spoken… WALLY!!!!

Glad to see Wally so high (well, glad and sad since who knows when we’ll see him again). Nice to see Wonder Woman up here too though it is surprising the huge gap between her and Wally. Makes me wonder if there will be any large gaps between the top 5.

I’m fully expecting to see Bruce at number 1. The other four though, I don’t know the exact order. I see the top 5 being Bruce, Clark, Hal, Grayson, and The Joker. I think I see Joker at #5 BUT I think 2-4 is a toss up. I can see both Hal and Dick outranking Clark now. So my guess

5 – The Joker
4 – Clark Kent
3 – Dick Grayson
2 – Hal Jordan
1 – Bruce Wayne

Realitätsprüfung-
Of course it’s true that characters are great largely because great stories have been told about them, developing them. And it’s true that future writers could tell fantastic Barry Allen stories that eclipse the past. In fact though I was reasonably young when Barry died, I was one of many (I’m sure) who felt suspicious of the idea of Wally as the Flash and took a while to warm up to him. It was the brilliance of Waid’s Return of Barry Allen that won me over completely – a story that pretended to give me what I thought I wanted (Barry’s return) but ended up giving me what I really wanted (Wally growing up and truly assuming the mantle of the Flash).

So it’s also true that those years of history and development (through great stories) have built an emotional investment in the character, and also provides fuel for future tales. So while what writers write today is what really matters, it’s not completely true to say that what they write today justifies discounting the past. And while it was possible for Wally to be established in a way that “respected” Barry Allen – I don’t really see any way of doing the opposite. For me to fully accept Barry again, I’m going to have to just forget Wally West (or at least the last 25 years of development).

That’s too bad. I can understand why, according to current DC philosophies – and the emphasis on sticking with the “purest” form of each character. Wally’s origin does require the idea of Barry to make any sense, and I can see some feel it’s somehow distracting to have to explain that amount of back story. (I don’t necessarily agree – I think it makes for some nice diversity if you have a major character whose back-story is that he was trained by a predecessor and has assumed a legacy mantle).

I like Barry – he was #9 on my list. I think he’s had some good moments since he came back and even after he died – especially in “retroactive” stories such as JLA Year One, eg. But when I think about it I largely like the idea of Barry more than I can actually point to any particular stories from when he was the current Flash that really won me to him as a character (as opposed to as a superhero who can run fast). That’s not true about Wally – I can point to a whole bunch of stories that I think are not just good stories, but really good Wally West stories. And I think it’s telling that to re-establish Barry as a prime hero, they’ve had to basically return him to that “retroactive” state – pre-death, pre-marriage, pre-pretty much everything.

I’m surprised by Wonder Woman making it this high. I always thought of her as the character that DC constantly try to convince us in one of the big 3, but no-one actually cared for that much.

Yay for Wally West though!

I’d be curious to see the breakdown of how many people voted for Wally, how many voted for Barry and how many just voted for The Flash without specifying.

Top 3 next time Diana ;)

Several of the New Teen Titans era characters have a gift and a curse.
True character development.

Dick Grayson going from Robin to Nightwing to Batman doesn’t begin to show how much the character has been allowed to progress.

Wally West is the standout of the group.

From sidekick to retired to reluctant heir to a bit of an a-hole hero to feeling more comfortable in the role to established member of JLA to father and husband to being a mentor himself. Very few comic characters have had that much of a progression throughout their ficitional existence.

Perhaps DC currently views history as baggage. Esspecially if it involves kids. Tis a bit of a shame but it is what it is.

Odd that Wally West, Hypertime, and Kingdom Come don’t seem to have a place in the new 52.
What would they have in common?

I am glad to see Wonder Woman still does well despit ea lack of decent WW comics… for a very long time.

That new #1 is sure awesome , though.

Realitätsprüfung

September 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Stephen – my complaint stems from a simple truth – the opposite of interest is disinterest. People that don’t dig a character typically don’t campaign against them frequently, unless they have a vested interest of some sort. With Green Lantern, there’s a need (on the internet anyway) to not only promote your favorite character, but to also dis the one he “competes” against. Just see the post by “Anonymous” from September 25th above for an example of that.

As for your second paragraph, I think point A is undisputable. As for point B, if there were any degree of measuring a ‘provably superior history’, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion – Barry was one of DC’s most popular character for 30+ years when comics actually SOLD to a large audience of kids. He’s the one they used on the Flash TV show, and he’s the one that will star in the eventual movie. Wally is basically a newer, sleeker model of an older design. But 95% of the core aspects of the Flash came from those 60s stories with Barry – concept, cast, costume, powers, villains, DCU associations, etc. (Which isn’t a pro/con for any fictional characters…they didn’t come up with the ideas. Julius Schwartz and his writers did.)

But those are still the ideas in use, whether it’s with Barry now, Wally 10 years ago, or Barry way back when.

And going by the initial reaction to the reboot – admittedly only 1 month in – it may well prove very successful. The Flash was one of the first #1s of the relaunch to pass 100,000 in sales, and it’s gone back to press a couple of times since. Throughout the early 90s and early 00s, the Flash series sold in the 30-50K range. So the reality is that a larger audience may be reading the Flash in 2011 than at any time going back to the late 80s.

And if that happens, I suspect DC may launch a second Flash book (Kid Flash maybe?) in 2012 – but that’s if the Flash series maintains the traction necessary to warrant a spinoff.

[...] the web.  He was also ranked as the #6 most popular DC Comics character in a recent poll over at Comic Book Resources.  If you were given the task of writing Wally West back into the New DC Universe, what would be [...]

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