SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #45, by Joshua Williamson, Christian Duce, Luis Guerrero and Steve Wands, on sale now.
Ever since “Flash War” was first announced during DC Comics’ Metal and The New Age of DC Heroes panel at New York Comic Con, readers have been left to ponder what could possibly cause such an epic falling out between Barry Allen and Wally West. Even now, as more and more pieces have been seemingly moved into place in anticipation of the main event, we still aren’t entirely sure what it is that will cause the schism between mentor and mentee.
Could it be the return of Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom? Or might it be related to Wally West’s children, Jai and Irey, who’ve been conspicuous by their absence since Flashpoint? Well, if the events of The Flash #45 are any indication, not only does the answer seem to skew towards the latter, but it also might be far more complex than we initially thought.
After months of playing will they/won’t they, The Flash #45 finally sees the long-awaited reunion between Wally West and his aunt Iris, who – until now – had yet to reconnect following Wally’s return to the DC Universe with the start of Rebirth. However, even though the reunion itself is about as heartfelt as we could have hoped for, it’s what happens immediately after the estranged relatives wipe the tears from their eyes that’s the real takeaway from this issue.
“My God,” Iris says as she stares deep into her nephew’s eyes. "I have so many questions. But first… where is everyone else?”
Despite the sense of certainty with which Iris delivers this inquiry, neither Barry nor Wally seem to understand what – or rather whom – she’s talking about. Then, Wally’s eyes begin to emit small charges of blue lightning, leaving him just as confused as his uncle.
“It’s too much…,” Wally exclaims. “I remember… Everything!”
Just as he shouts this, a series of assorted, pre-Flashpoint memories instantly come flooding back to Wally, including the day he gained his powers, his and Linda Park’s wedding, his time with the Teen Titans, his tenure as Barry’s sidekick, a battle against Plunder, and an encounter with Bart Allen/Impulse.
Surely, a few missing memories wouldn’t be enough to drive Wally to wage an outright war against his uncle Barry, though… Right?
Well, perhaps that all depends on whether Wally is simply content remembering events and loved ones that, thanks to Flashpoint, Doctor Manhattan, or maybe even both, might no longer exist. After all, let’s not forget one of the products of his and Linda’s aforementioned marriage was the birth of the pair’s two children, and should Wally remember them, as well, it’s hardly outside the realm of possibilities that he might blame Barry for potentially wiping them (along with Bart Allen, Max Mercury, the Quick family, etc.) from the DCU thanks to his Flashpoint shenanigans. In fact, it’s also possible Wally will want to try fixing the timeline, which as we all know -- including Barry -- tends to yield disastrous results.
Could the schism at the heart of Flash War involve Barry attempting to prevent a second Flashpoint incident by stopping Wally from changing the past? We should start getting answers soon, because the road to “Flash War” is fully paved, and our only remaining pit stop is The Flash #46, by Joshua Williamson and Scott Kolins, which hits stands May 9.