SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #48, by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, on sale now.
The opening shots have been fired, signaling the start of DC Comics’ highly anticipated speedster-on-speedster schism, “Flash War.”
For months, writer Joshua Williamson and his various artistic collaborators have been planting the seeds for a truly memorable battle between Barry Allen and Wally West. In fact, the word “memorable” couldn’t be more fitting, because at the heart of the event is just that: Memories.
It was back in The Flash #45, when Wally was finally reunited with his aunt Iris, that the redheaded Scarlet Speedster started to become inundated with memories of the past, prior to the events of Flashpoint and prior to his five-year imprisonment in the Speed Force. Since then, Wally’s been routinely suffering from temporal seizures as more and more memories come flooding back to him. However, things truly came to a head in Issue #47, when Hunter Zolomon/Zoom enlightened his longtime rival as to the whereabouts of not just DC’s countless missing speedsters but also of his and Linda Parks’ twin children, Jai and Irey West.
“They’re all trapped in the Speed Force,” Zoom explained. “Just like you were, Wally.”
This revelation, of course, left Wally with a moral dilemma any non-speedster couldn’t begin to fathom; should he leave time and space intact, knowing he has the power to change it? Or, should he destroy the Speed Force to save his children, but risk untold and likely immeasurable consequences in the process?
In The Flash #48, after yet another heart-wrenching trip down memory lane, Zoom begins taking advantage of Wally’s vulnerable state of mind to manipulate him and subtly cast Barry in a negative light.
“When Barry Allen went back to save his mother from Eobard Thawne, he created the Flashpoint and nearly destroyed the world,” Zoom says. “Allen managed to correct his mistake… But not everything was put back correctly. Things were missing.”
Nevertheless, when Wally tries to call his bluff, Zoom simply doubles down on his duplicitous stance.
“Are your powers more important than your children, Wally?!” he exclaims. “The temporal energies trapped in your body will allow you to enter the Speed Force at the right speed to break it just enough to save Irey and Jai.”
It’s at this point that Barry, Wallace, Iris and Commander Cold finally arrive on the scene. However, when Barry and Cold attempt to apprehend Zoom, Wally makes it clear where his priorities lie by redirecting the blast from Cold’s gun right back at the duo. Even after explaining the full extent of the situation to his uncle, though, Wally is unable to get Barry onboard with the notion of trusting a Reverse-Flash, so the former Kid Flash decides to take matters into his own hands.