WARNING: The following interview contains spoilers for Heroes in Crisis #1, in stores now.
After months of hype, it was little surprise that several of DC's characters were killed in the first chapter of the publisher's latest big event Heroes in Crisis. In the serene fields of wheat surrounding the outside of Sanctuary, a secret hospital for superheroes with PTSD, Superman discovered the bodies of Blue Jay, Hot Spot and several other heroes. When the Man of Steel opened Sanctuary's front door, the tragedy got even worse as he stumbled upon the lifeless bodies of Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, and Wally West, aka the Flash.
Are the fan-favorite heroes truly dead, or is there more to the nine-issue limited series than we realize? Only time will tell what happens in Heroes in Crisis, but when we had the chance at New York Comic Con, we had to ask The Flash writer Joshua Williamson about the shocking turn of events.
Williamson told us that he's known about the twist with Wally for quite some time, as you might expect. "I know Tom [King] really well, we text throughout the week and stuff. I've been living with Heroes in Crisis for like a year and a half now," he said. "We plan this stuff out so far in advance."
Because Williamson was well-aware of Wally's tragic, inevitable moment, the writer focused on celebrating the speedster before the bleak reveal at Sanctuary. "For me, my priority was 'Flash War,'" he said, adding that he felt the need to bring Wally back into the spotlight, especially after the character played such a significant role in the beginning of DC's Rebirth. "I think that Wally is such an important part of Rebirth, but I feel like he had kind of taken a step back a little bit and I wanted to remind people of how awesome Wally is through the Gorilla Grodd story, through 'Flash War,' and with [The Flash] #51, which is basically me saying that I want people to know why I love this character before Heroes in Crisis. That was really my priority, was to remind people.
"I really do think a lot of people love him just like I love him, but I wanted to put him back in the spotlight before that story; that was my priority, to make a really strong Wally story before Heroes in Crisis."
As for when the beloved hero's death will be addressed in The Flash, Williamson says the upcoming Annual will be a heavy one. "Barry tells Iris, and it's really brutal. It's a very sad, brutal scene. We did it in the Annual, because that way I'd have the room to tell it."
In The Flash #51, Iris West told Superman and Wonder Woman, "If anything happens to him, you're answering to me, understand?" before the iconic heroes took Wally to Sanctuary. The writer promises Iris will follow through on that remark in the Annual, though it won't be limited to those two pillars of the DC trinity. "Not long after that [Barry telling Iris about Wally], Iris and Batman are going to have a talk. There're going to be some conversations."
Wally's death has received a variety of passionate reactions, of course, but Williamson wants to assure readers that the people writing these iconic characters are every bit as passionate about them as the fans. "You're going to have days where you're going to hate us and it's going to get scary, but keep reading and know that we love these characters."
Flash Annual #2 is set to release in January; Heroes in Crisis #2 will go on sale October 24.