Posts Tagged ‘Barry Allen’

Clothes Make the Man: Wally West

September 9, 2009

The Blackest Night falls from the skies.
The darkness grows as all light dies.
We crave your hearts and your demise.
By my black hand…
The dead shall rise!

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*Shuffle, stumble, moan* Braaaaiiiinnnnnnssssss!

Huh?  Oh…

Greetings one and all, and welcome to another fun-filled entry here at the Steve Austin Book Club!

(What is that you say?  No posts in over 13 months?  Huh.  Well, looky there.  Guess you are right.  Oh, well, no dwelling on the laziness of your hosts!  Seriously – we did the “rising from the dead” bit right there at the front, okay?!?)

In case you haven’t heard, Barry Allen is back.  And, in case you are under 30, Barry Allen was the Silver Age Flash, Wally’s uncle.

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(Figured I’d go ahead and explain that, since DC is pulling a character back into the land of the living that has been dead for over two decades.  DC: Giving the fans what they never demanded!)

With Barry back, it does beg the question, what about Wally?  Wally West, former Kid Flash, has been wearing the red tights for 22 years, but now his uncle is back, and what does the DC Universe need with TWO Flashes?

Of course, there have been two Flashes for a while – first, Barry and Jay Garrick, who is the Golden Age Flash:

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Then Wally and Jay:

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And, if there are two Flashes, what’s the big deal with adding a third?

Well… it seems it is the costume.

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Wally essentially wears the same costume as his uncle Barry did… does.  (Sorry, keep forgetting.  Barry isn’t dead anymore.  No need to dwell on his emotional death, full of heroic sacrifice, or how Wally managed to be the only character to fully assume the mantle of his mentor… and is essentially being reduced to the Kyle Rayner/chamber pot holder position now that his uncle is back.)

What was I saying?  Oh, yeah, the similar costumes.  There are differences – Wally has no wings on his boots, and his belt is different – but they aren’t big enough differences.

Which is a shame, because at one point in time, Wally West was regularly wearing a costume that, while similar to Barry Allen’s costume, was distinct enough that the two could be easily told apart.

Going back in time to the Flash comic series that started in 1987, Wally West was still living under the shadow of Barry Allen and wearing the exact same costume his uncle wore. 

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He was also significantly less powerful, having a limited top speed and requiring massive amounts of food to sustain himself.  All that started to change, though, as Wally came to grips with his new role.  Eventually, he even realized it was his own feelings of inferiority to his uncle that were holding him back.  With issue #50 of that series, Wally West started wearing his own version of the Flash costume (designed/updated by Greg LaRocque).  This costume was a darker red, metallic in tone, added the angled belt, removed the boot wings, and had white lenses that covered Wally’s eyes.

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When you look at Barry’s costume and this version of Wally’s costume, it really is pretty easy to distinguish between the two.

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But, after about 80 issues or so, the suit reverted to the Barry Allen version with just the modified belt and lack of boot wings.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe the artists wanted the expression that seeing the eyes allowed.  Or, maybe they couldn’t get the metallic red to look right.

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Regardless, we have come to the point where, once again, Wally West’s suit is a near identical copy of his uncle’s suit.

At least until issue #6 of the Flash: Rebirth miniseries.

(Which is really an odd thing to call it, since all the Flashes of the DCU returned PRIOR to that mini.)

In the final issue of that miniseries, we have been told Wally West’s new costume will be revealed.

There have been no clues about what the costume will look like, but there has been a lot of fanart guessing what it might be like.

Most of them seem to assume a costume that resembles (in style, at least) Wally West’s red and yellow costume from when he was Kid Flash.

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There was also a time in the past where Wally kinda “became” the Speed Force itself, and we saw a costume that was kind of a cool variant of his Kid Flash costume.

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A lot of folks seem to think Wally will take on the colors of the original Flash, Jay Garrick.

Which gives us something like this:

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Or this:

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And, if we do see this something like that, I think it is a given that we will see Jay Garrick either retire or be killed before the end of the miniseries.  Which would be sad, for those among us that have been fans of the JSA series.

I’ve heard, though, that the new costume will not contain any blue.  Which leads me to another option, seen previously in the weekly series Trinity – where an alternate history Jay Garrick wore this little number:

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It does kinda look like a cross between Jay’s costume and Wally’s costume, doesn’t it?

Me, I’m still hoping to see Wally wear the “Dark Flash” costume worn by the alternate universe speedster, Walter West:

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Of course, I have another thought… a possibility.  We have to remember that Geoff Johns is writing this miniseries.  And, to bring this post full circle, he’s also writing a little thing called “Blackest Night.”

Given that, and the fact that you can’t really have two guys in the same costume with the same name running around the DCU (at least regularly in the same universe), what if the new costume being designed for Wally isn’t a new costume as a hero… but as a Black Lantern?

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There is a horrible prerequisite to being a Black Lantern, though, isn’t there?

Just some food for thought.