SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Heroes in Crisis #5 by Tom King, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
In Heroes in Crisis #1, many heroes were revealed to be victims of a massacre at the superhero haven known as Sanctuary. One of them was a big name character who had only recently made his return to the DC Universe. The nature of that hero's murder was revealed via flashback in Issue #3, and his demise seemed fairly certain. In Tom King and Clay Mann's Heroes in Crisis #5, however, a sliver of hope is revealed.
A Hero Returns
The hero in question is the former Kid Flash, Wally West. That is, the original Wally West, who had been absent from the DCU for several years but returned come the advent of DC's Rebirth. Wally's family, though, remains absent from reality -- an emotional trauma leading him to seek treatment at Sanctuary, as seen at the end of the recent "Flash War" story arc. His stay there didn't last long, though, as he suffered a seemingly fatal blow to the head, courtesy of fellow Sanctuary resident Harley Quinn.
The scene was fairly graphic, and pretty definitive, leaving little room for debate as to whether Wally could somehow survive such a blow. Everyone seemed to believe that Wally was dead, especially his uncle and mentor Barry Allen, although Barry suspects Wally's killer is the seemingly unhinged Booster Gold. Regardless, there hasn't been much reason to suspect Wally could ever return -- that is, until this issue.
Of course, Booster isn't sure who the killer is -- he isn't even sure that he himself isn't responsible. So, Booster breaks into Barry's laboratory and subdues him, seeking to use the clues uncovered by Barry to solve the mystery of Wally's killer himself. When his longtime BFF Blue Beetle joins him at the lab, Booster still can't deduce who the killer is, but he makes a startling discovery.
Booster admits to Blue Beetle that he's not the smartest hero in the business, but professes that he knows a lot about his fellow heroes, as well as the effects that time travel can have on them. Through some scientific deduction -- showing that Booster is smarter than he gives himself credit for -- he determines that there is a time anomaly regarding Wally's body. The body examined by Barry is five days older than it should be.
A Hero Returns -- Again?
So what does this mean, exactly? Is this some time-displaced version of Wally? Is this Wally from another world in the DC Multiverse? Or is this some other alternate incarnation of the character?
It could be Wally from five days in the future, meaning that present day Wally is still around somewhere. This would add an interesting wrinkle to King's murder mystery. The heroes would have five days to find the current Wally and prevent him from traveling to his past, our present, where he is murdered.
There are really no further clues put forth to identify just what impact the time anomaly that is Wally's body truly means. But the revelation provides the slimmest possibility that there could be some hope for Wally's return. This time-displaced version of Wally might be dead, but this might not necessarily be the "real" Wally.
Truthfully, the return of Wally West seems inevitable. Few characters ever stay dead in comics anymore, and it's hard to believe that the character's Rebirth return would be cut short so quickly. But Heroes in Crisis #5 gives the first glimmer of hope that the resurgent Wally will rise again.
Will it be as early as next issue? Readers will find out when Heroes in Crisis #6 goes on sale on Feb. 27.