One of the best parts of reading comic books is seeing ourselves in the characters, especially when they deal with issues that we can relate to. We all make mistakes, even if you’re the fastest man alive. Wally West is one of the most human characters in comic books, which means he has his fair share of mistakes, regrets, and flaws in his 60 years of comic fame.
Despite the recent actions that seem to go against everything Wally fights for, he remains a fan-favorite, which means it makes sense we'll soon be able to see a redemption arc for our Fleet-Footed Friend in his new recently announced solo series Flash Forward. To celebrate and at the same time humble our hero, let’s take a look at some of the most unheroic things Wally West has done, and show examples of hardships he has faced that have influenced these actions.
10 Done: Womanizer
It’s hard to imagine Wally West without his beautiful wife Linda Park wrapped in his arms, but Wally was once a playboy that could rival the likes of Bruce Wayne. Definitely not the mature father we know and love today, Wally ran (pun intended) from girl to girl at the beginning of his Flash days. He began with Frances Kane, who would later become the villain Magenta, purely because he liked the idea of having a superhero girlfriend. He then began a relationship with Dr. Tina McGee, a married scientist at STAR Labs.
Wally’s final major relationship was with Connie Noleski, a model who eventually got fed up with Wally’s typical superhero excuses and ended up falling in love with Wally’s friend Chunk. This all led to Wally meeting Linda Park, who was unimpressed with his antics and, as we all know, ended up setting him straight.
9 Done: Negligence
At the beginning of Mark Waid’s run on The Flash, specifically issues 86-90, Wally receives a hand delivered subpoena that informs him that he is being sued for negligence after defeating Razer at a shopping mall. Turns out, a woman named Allison Armitage was in a store that had caught fire, which cost Armitage her legs.
Wally really gives himself hell throughout the entire arc despite the fact that all of his supporters in the courtroom believe he did everything that he could. The arc ends with a surprising yet realistic exchange between Armitage and Wally, where despite how sorrowful Wally is, the woman does not forgive the hero. No bad guy is defeated, no supervillain revenge story for Armitage—just a broken woman reflecting on how she'll have to spend the rest of her life.
8 Done: Mindwipe
Wally is an extremely altruistic hero, but we have to accept that he was at a low point in his life when he took The Spectre up on his offer to erase the memory of Wally West as The Flash from everyone on Earth, including himself. This causes crime to skyrocket in Keystone City. Wally lives a short but simple life as a mechanic, comforting his grieving wife the best he can while she exudes her venomous hate on The Flash for having the battle that caused her miscarriage.
Wally is eventually in a car accident which results in his powers kicking back into gear, and he realizes he has to reveal himself again to his friends and family. Well, except for Batman, who somehow figured it out. World’s Greatest Detective and all.
7 Done: Cruel & Unusual Punishments
When you take an unlimited source of power, pair it up with the unbridled rage of losing a loved one, and add in the status of a hero, you come up with the worst supervillain punishments in history. The only way to defeat Zoom was to trap him in one of the time fractures caused by his powers. However, the memory he was trapped in was the worst day of his life, when his father-in-law was murdered on account of an incorrect prediction he had made regarding a criminal.
However, this was not intentional on Wally’s part, but the time he did the same thing to Inertia definitely was. After the death of Bart Allen and Wally’s return to the present day, he took upon his own form of justice against his cousin’s killer. A new statue appeared at the Flash museum, facing every accomplishment of Bart Allen displayed. Pretty hardcore stuff for the comic relief of the Justice League.
6 Done: Heroes in Crisis
While this miniseries was an extremely controversial turn of events, it still remains a part of Wally West’s continuity, and it is the worst thing he has ever done. Having lost the chance to see his family, Wally found some small comfort in realizing that everyone at Sanctuary had similar painful experiences they were trying to get over. However, the flood of emotions became too much for him to handle, and he accidentally caused the Speed Force to explode, killing countless members of the DC Universe.
That was just an accident—the intentional, controversial part of this experience was Wally setting up the bodies to place the blame on anyone else and killing himself in the process.
5 Happened To Him: The Removal Of Linda Park
One of the many, many examples of how Abra Kadabra truly is the worst enemy of Wally West, Linda was removed from existence and the memories of everyone in the DC Universe, except for Impulse, and remained a prisoner of Kadabra’s for weeks without her husband even noticing.
The spell was finally reversed with the help of an alternate version of The Flash, but in order to not spoil some great storylines of The Flash mythos from issue #142-159, we won’t get into too much detail. It’s still a very messed-up part of Wally and Linda’s relationship, and it’s not clear which is worse: Linda being held captive, or the frustration of no one believing Impulse that Linda is an actual person.
4 Happened To Him: The “Return” Of Barry Allen
Regarded as one of the best Flash storylines of all time, The Return of Barry Allen is one of the many reasons Mark Waid’s run on The Flash is so highly praised. When Barry Allen returns from his death in the most recent crisis, Wally and his friends and family are ecstatic. But alas, nothing gold can stay. Wally is devastated to find out his uncle has become increasingly protective of the Flash identity.
But in a twist, Professor Zoom, the original Reverse Flash, had actually traveled back in time and unfortunately believed himself to be Barry Allen. The fight results in a truly epic moment where Wally finally steps out of Barry’s shadow. It’s an extremely intense yet depressing chain of events to lose a loved one, have them return, think they’ve betrayed you, and then find out it isn’t them all in a matter of days.
3 Happened To Him: The Death of Linda Park
The Black Flash is an ambiguous figure in the DC Universe. As with most incarnations of death, he really can’t be labeled a superhero or supervillain—he’s just doing his job in keeping the natural order. While trying to collect the soul of Wally West, an obstacle in Wally’s way causes him to not be where he is supposed to be, and Linda is collected by The Black Flash instead.
Wally enters a major depression that makes his reaction in TROBA seem like nothing more than being upset about missing his favorite show. However, when Black Flash returns to collect Wally again, the selflessness of his friends distracting the creature kicks him back into gear, and Wally races to the end of time, defeating the Black Flash as the concept of death has no need for existence at that point in the future.
2 Happened To Him: Blitz
Held up to the same level as The Return of Barry Allen, Blitz is a roller coaster of emotions for the Scarlet Speedster. A former friend of Wally West, Hunter Zolomon is enraged that The Flash won’t turn back time to stop Grodd from breaking Hunter’s legs, leaving him paralyzed. When he eventually gains the ability to decelerate time, he decides it is up to him to make Wally a better hero.
Zoom destroys many parts of the city trying to get Wally riled up. He easily disables Jay and Bart and takes Linda hostage before delivering a fatal snap, causing a sonic boom to shatter every nearby window and causing Linda to be launched away from her captor. The two speedsters race across the country, where Hunter finally reveals himself to Wally and informs him that Linda has miscarried their babies.
1 Happened To Him: Erased From Existence
It’s hard to imagine anything worse than having your children die to a supervillain, but somehow, Wally’s torment was not done. Due to the actions of Dr. Manhattan interacting with the DC Universe, Wally was removed as a threat to Manhattan’s plans, and no one in the entire universe remembered him. It’s now been three years, and Wally still has not managed to regain his proper footing in the DC Universe.
Which entry do you think was the worst? Do you believe the good Wally has done outweighs the bad? Let us know what you think in the comments below!