SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #47, by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, on sale now.
The highly anticipated showdown between DC’s two Scarlet Speedsters, Barry Allen and Wally West, kicked off with a bang in the pages of The Flash #47 – part one of Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s “Flash War” storyline. However, few wars are waged without resulting in casualties along the way, and the odds don’t appear to be in Wally’s favor.
Porter’s cover for The Flash #47 features Wally and Barry with eyes locked and fists clenched, and just below them, the headline reads, “After this there will be only one!” Of course, while it’s entirely possible this is a simple hyperbole sprinkled in for dramatic effect, one can’t help but wonder if Wally’s days as the secondary Flash of the DC Universe are numbered.
DC co-publisher Dan DiDio has never shied away from the fact that he’s not a fan of the Wally West iteration of The Flash. In 2011, just after the character was removed from the playing field with the launch of The New 52, CBR asked then-Flash creative team Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato about Wally’s status in the revamped DCU. “The pitch is on Dan [DiDio’s] desk,” a laughing Manapul replied. “Let’s see if he finds it! That’s really all there is to say!”
DiDio was one of the main advocates behind bringing Barry back as the main Flash in 2009, despite many readers still clinging to Wally as their favorite incarnation of the Scarlet Speedster. Given his unapologetic preference for one Flash over the other, you’d have to imagine he’s probably not a fan of the two men sharing the mantle in the post-Rebirth era.
Then again, even if DiDio (or anyone else in DC editorial, for that matter) is pushing for a singular Flash, that doesn’t necessarily mean Wally has to die. Conversely, it could be Barry who loses his life when all is said and done. After all, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time DC has taken him off the table in favor of Wally.
What if neither Flash dies, though? What if “Flash War” simply culminates with Wally taking on a new superhero moniker, instead? Williamson has said that by the time “Flash War” ends, “there are going to be a lot of things that are not going to be resolved — but the reasons they won’t be resolved is because it’s something that the book is going to handle after the event.” Perhaps a strained relationship between Barry and Wally results in the latter vacating the shared “Flash” mantle in favor of forging his own unique identity.
Ultimately, whatever happens in “Flash War” is bound to have far-reaching ramifications, not just for the Flash family, but for the entire DCU. Who’s around to experience those ramifications, though, remains to be seen.