Of all the speedsters in the DC Universe, one of the biggest fan-favorites, and one with some of the most extensive history, is Wally West. The original Kid-Flash, founding member of the Teen Titans and one-time Flash himself launched the DC Rebirth era in 2016, gradually restoring the DCU to as it was prior to the reality-altering events of Flashpoint.
After the controversial events of Heroes in Crisis, Wally has run through the DC Multiverse in the new series Flash Forward, seeking redemption across DC's multiple realities. The cover to December's Issue #4, illustrated by Doc Shaner, teases classic moments in Wally's personal history.
Here's a quick look at each of the iconic eras of Wally's history depicted on the standard cover of Flash Forward #4.
THE ORIGIN OF WALLY WEST
Wally West received the same powers and access to the Speed Force as his friend and mentor, Barry Allen when the freak accident that gave Barry his powers was replicated on Wally, bathing the impressionable teenager in a strange mix of chemicals that had been struck by lightning.
This moment is recreated on the cover along with an image of a young Wally intently taking notes from an unseen figure that could potentially be Barry in his civilian identity, establishing the lifelong friendship between the two speedsters.
SILVER AGE KID FLASH
After receiving his powers and being trained by Barry, Wally becomes the teenage superhero Kid-Flash, later founding the Teen Titans alongside the original Robin, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Aqualad, with additional classic members joining as the founders entered adulthood. Following Barry's death during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally would replace his mentor as the latest Flash.
Shaner's cover depicts Wally in his classic Kid-Flash costume, with its yellow and red color scheme prominently displayed.
THE RETURN OF BARRY ALLEN
One of the most iconic Flash stories during Mark Waid's celebrated run on the title is The Return of Barry Allen by Waid and Greg LaRocque. Kickstarting in The Flash #74 (Vol. 2), the story arc had Wally and Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick shocked by the sudden return of Barry from the grave, with the story's most iconic cover depicting the trio running up a building as seen on the Flash Forward cover.
By the story's end, "Barry" was revealed to be a time-displaced Eobard Thawne impersonating his mortal enemy to trick the two Scarlet Speedsters. The combined Flashes would eventually defeat the fraud and return him to his proper place in the time-stream.
One of the biggest additions to the Flash mythos during Waid's tenure was Bart Allen, Barry's grandson from the far-future who traveled back to the present-day DCU. Co-created with Mike Wieringo, the high-speed teenager first appeared in 1994's The Flash #91 (Vol. 2) using the superhero alter ego Impulse, with Shaner's cover showing the two speedsters running alongside one another.
Bart would go on to co-found a new iteration of the Teen Titans and take on the mantle of Kid-Flash to mark the occasion. Following Infinite Crisis, an artificially aged Bart briefly took on the mantle of the Flash, replacing Wally until his death. After his resurrection during Final Crisis and return during DC Rebirth, Bart would reclaim his previous alter ego as Impulse.
The love of Wally's life, created by William Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRocque in 1989's The Flash #28 (Vol. 2), is Linda Park. A television reporter for Keystone City News, Linda would enter a whirlwind courtship with Wally despite not initially liking him due to the costly property damage inflicted in the numerous superhero actions he has to undertake across the city.
Their romance would be a strong undercurrent throughout Flash stories in the '90s leading to their eventual engagement and marriage by Waid and Brian Augustyn in The Flash #142. Over the course of Geoff Johns' run, Linda had left journalism to become a paediatrician and became pregnant with twins, Jai and Iris.
THE WILD WESTS
After emerging from the Speed Force over a year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Wally and Linda revealed that their twins' connection to the Speed Force had already aged them into children with superpowers of their own. The cover to the relaunched series with Wally and his family at the helm, by Waid and Daniel Acuña, is recreated by Shaner on the cover.
RELATED: The Fastest Speedsters On The Flash
The biggest consequence of the reality-altering effects of Flashpoint for Wally was the apparent erasure of Wally's children and Linda's memories of him during the DC Rebirth era. The loss of Wally's family after his return would weigh heavily on his psyche and strongly inform his next major moment on this list.
HEROES IN CRISIS
The most recent storyline directly referenced on the cover is the recent comic crossover event, Heroes in Crisis by Tom King, Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads.
The controversial story had the residents of a secluded superhero rehabilitation facility known as Sanctuary murdered by a mysterious assailant, eventually revealed to be a tragic accident by an emotionally, out-of-control Wally West. This unleashed a sudden, destructive blast from the Speed Force.
The Flash Forward #4 cover includes the moment Wally lost control, him grieving over his fallen friend and fellow Titan, Roy Harper, and confessing to the deaths and cover-up in a grassy field outside of Sanctuary.
Flash Forward #4 is written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund. It is scheduled to go on sale December 18 from DC Comics.