|Mark Waid returns to "The Flash" in #231, on sale this week|
After a landmark run on "The Flash" that lasted the better part of the 1990s, writer Mark Waid returns to the speedforce this week to bring Wally West back to where he belongs, front and center in the DC Universe.
With a resurrected "The Flash" title speeding into stores Wednesday with issue #231, Waid told CBR News that Wally West's life is any fanboy's ultimate dream come true. "I love the fact that he is first sidekick in comics' history to actually fulfill the promise," said Waid. "He is the first guy to actually grow into the role that he was trained to grow into ever since he was a kid."
Wally is the nephew of the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, and as a ten-year old, visited his uncle in his police forensics laboratory. In a freak accident eerily reminiscent of his uncle's, Wally was doused in electrically charged chemicals that empowered him with the powers of super-speed.
After years of training as Kid Flash, Wally adopted the mantle of the Flash after Barry was killed saving the universe during "Crisis on Infinite Earths."
|Mark Waid's origin of Wally West is collected in "The Flash: Born To Run"|
Waid also draws from the idea that Wally, for all intents and purposes, is an Everyman. Wally is not an alien. He is not a haunted anti-hero.
|Wally and his family disappeared in "Infinite Crisis"|
And that sentiment provides readers with the best of both worlds, Waid believes. "'The Flash' gives you something that nothing else at DC is giving you, which is a high adventure, mature book that is both, in turns, very funny and very dark and dramatic at the same time," said Waid. "Tonally, I love the fact that we can turn on a dime. That it can be generally warm and funny and then you can turn the page and suddenly, you can find something that is much more dark and dramatic, then you might have first realized."
|Wally West returned in the JLA/JSA crossover, "The Lightning Saga"|
"By the time we catch up to Wally and the kids and Linda, in [issue #231], he has pretty much made his peace with it," explained Waid, whose book will not only focus on Wally but on his wife Linda and their equally gifted twin children Iris and Jai. "I am pretty sure those [death-of-Bart] threads we will pick back up again and I am sure we probably haven't seen the last of Inertia. But I don't want to lead with that. I don't want to lead with, 'previously in Flash...' in our first issue."
|Mark Waid's "All-Flash" #1 saw Wally go after Inertia, Bart Allen's murderer|
While Waid is returning to his first love as the new writer on "The Flash," he's not quite sure how Wally fits in with the team he helped push back to prominence in the late 1990s - the Justice League of America. "I honestly have no idea [if Wally will join JLA]," admitted Waid. "I haven't had any idea what's going on, continuity-wise, in 'Justice League of America' for a year. No other writer at DC does. 'Justice League' is its own little corner of the world and who knows what is going to happen.
"I believe so [that Wally will be featured in 'Countdown'] but same thing there, they play it pretty close to their vests on 'Countdown,' too," laughed Waid.
Although Waid suggests he may be a tad bit out of the loop in terms of a few DC top-sellers, Waid said his return to this particular flagship has been percolating for years. "I haven't known that long [that I'd be returning to 'Flash']. But it's something that we've talked about intermittently for a long time with DC," Waid explained. "Like, for years, in the sense of trying to line me up to re-launch what was 'The Fastest Man Alive' book but the timing and the schedule just wasn't working out and '52' was absorbing every last moment of time.
|"The Flash" #232|
Last month at Comic-Con International in San Diego, it was announced that Waid himself had a new status quo as the new Editor-In-Chief of Boom! Studios. "It's looking so far to be the perfect marriage of my Rolodex and [Boom! Founder] Ross Richie's ambition," joked Waid. "This is very much the direction I have been wanting to head in for a very long time. It's not that I don't enjoy writing, I will always keep my hands in it, but you reach a point after 22 years where you are more interested in teaching than you are in getting down and trying to lead by example every day."
Despite the fact that John Rogers ("Blue Beetle") is listed as a co-writer on the solicitation for "The Flash" #233, Waid has no intentions of leaving the title or his other DC book, "Brave and the Bold."
"John's writing a back-story," Waid confirmed. "Basically, we kind of started in a bit of a hole to begin with and [artist] Daniel Acuna is doing such amazing work, we are trying to build a little more time for him, so he can get a little further ahead. So, the idea was why don't we do some back stories that tie-in to the main story and sort of explain a little more about where Flash and his family have been but frankly, I needed a little help with the heavy lifting, as well, and John is a much better writer than I am so he makes look good," said Waid.
|"The Flash" #233 begins a series of back-up stories by John Rogers and Doug Braithwaite|
While the Flash has a rich tradition in DCU proper, fans that know Wally West from the animated series "Justice League" or "Justice League Unlimited" and even newcomers to the character will have an easy time jumping on board the series despite the fact the first issue of the re-launch is #231.
"The whole idea is you have to be able to hand that first issue of our re-launch over to someone who has never read the book before, who has never read DC Comics before, who has never read a superhero comic before and they get it and they understand it and don't feel that they have to read 45 other books to get up to speed," said Waid.
"That's why we did 'All-Flash' #1" Waid continued. "It was a one-shot to help clear the deck and tie-up those loose ends so we start with a new series. We don't have to do things like immediately address the fact that Bart is dead or all the other old continuity. It's engineered to read like a first issue. It's geared to play like the first episode of a TV series. All of the pieces are there."
But don't forget to hold on tight. The Flash is, after all, the Fastest Man Alive.
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