THE FLASH: It’s Time For WALLY WEST To Take Center Stage In THE DCU Again!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

The many looks of Wally West

If you watch any of the DCEU films, the DC Animated Movies, or The Flash TV series, the man behind The Scarlet Speedster’s mask is Barry Allen. However, that hasn’t always been the case. Multiple heroes have carried the mantle of The Fastest Man Alive over the years. In fact for an entire generation of fans, their definitive Flash is another character entirely. A character who blows Barry Allen out of the water, as the greatest hero in DC history to call themselves The Flash: Wally West. The time has come for DC Entertainment, from the comics to the movies, to put Barry Allen aside and put the spotlight back where it belongs, on Wally West.

Barry Allen AKA The Flash II

Let’s backtrack a little. While the first costumed hero to call himself The Flash was technically Jay Garrick, Barry Allen was really the first incarnation of The Flash as we recognize him today. Both characters have super-speed, but that’s more or less where the similarities end. This new version of The Flash, Barry Allen, was rooted in Silver Age science fiction. This was a Flash for The Space Race age.

Left to Right: Barry Allen, Wally West (still a sidekick, going by Kid Flash), Jay Garrick (The 1st Flash)

DC has always loved sidekicks. Marvel has a lot of young heroes like Spider-Man, but they have relatively few sidekicks when compared to DC. Which makes sense, because DC may not have created the idea of superhero sidekicks, but they certainly perfected it. Robin is the archetypal superhero sidekick. Every kid sidekick in DC Comics is variation of Robin (at least when they were first created). Green Arrow had Speedy, Wonder Woman had Wonder Girl, Aquaman had Aqualad, Superman had Superboy, Supergirl, Krypto, and The Flash had Kid Flash. With a popular comic book series like The Flash, it was only a matter of time until he got his very own young boy to dress up in spandex, and put in mortal danger on a near constant basis (it was a different time, folks). This is where Wally West comes in. Wally West was the young nephew of Barry Allen’s wife, Iris West. In a ridiculous coincidence (or is it?), Wally experiences the same freak accident that gave The Flash his powers. The teenager gains super speed by tapping into The Speed Force, just like his mentor Barry Allen. Wally uses his abilities to fight crime alongside The Flash as his sidekick, Kid Flash.

In 1985 DC Comics published the seminal story, Crisis On Infinite Earths, This was the mother of all “Event Comics”. A multiverse spanning epic with consequences that still reverberate through the DC Universe to this day. In Crisis On Infinite Earth #8, Barry Allen heroically sacrifices his life to save The Multiverse. In the wake of his death, Wally graduates from sidekick to full blown hero, taking up the mantle of his fallen mentor and becoming The Flash.

The Death of Barry Allen

Death is revolving door in superhero comics. Major and minor characters routinely die, only to be resurrected through a convoluted set of circumstances shortly thereafter. Barry Allen was the exception to this rule. He was one of the few characters to be killed and actually stay dead for nearly 30 years. In that time, several generations of readers and superhero fans came to know Wally West as their Flash. The best and one, true Flash.

Wally West follows in his mentor’s footsteps and becomes THE FLASH!

When Wally West took over as The Flash, talented creators like Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, and Mark Millar all did excellent work with the character. However it was two projects in particular that cemented Wally West as the undisputed, modern incarnation of The Flash for a generation: Geoff Johns’ 5 year run on The Flash comic book series for DC and Justice League: The Animated Series and it’s sequel series Justice League Unlimited.

For many fans, when they think of The Flash, they think of Justice League: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, which both aired on Cartoon Network. The character was an immediate fan favorite and this was where a lot of us fell in love with The Flash. This was before DC brought back Barry Allen, so The Flash of Justice League: The Animated Series and JLU was Wally West. The Flash became one of the breakout stars of these now classic superhero shows. Hypothetically, if you watched Ezra Miller’s live action take on the character and you’re only familiar with The Flash through Justice League: The Animated Series or Justice League Unlimited, I’d argue that most people would assume that he’s playing Wally West.

Then there’s Geoff Johns’ character defining work on The Flash Beginning in 2000, Johns’ 5 year run on The Flash is arguably the definitive work on the character. This run was the bedrock on which all future Flash stories were built. This comic book series along with Justice League: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited shape The Fastest Man Alive for a generation. This run was were Johns explored Wally’s blue collar roots and over the course of the story Wally evolves from a cocky smart-ass to a responsible hero and family man.

Impressively, during his time on the book, Johns’ took The Flash’s goofy villains and turned them into a rouges gallery rivaling Batman’s. He even gave Wally his own archenemy. Barry Allen had Reverse-Flash and Wally West had the deadly and terrifying Zoom.

If you’ve never had a chance to read this classic run, it’s a MUST READ for any comic book fan!

Theses were the gateways were fans discovered the Wally West they know and love. He likes to joke around. He’s quick with a quip and doesn’t take the hero gig quite as seriously as some of his peers, like Batman. He can be cocky and overconfident, which could get him in trouble sometimes. Where Barry Allen was a scientist, Wally West is a mechanic. He’s a blue-collar, working class guy. The peoples hero of Keystone City. He fights for the city and the people he loves. While he’s viewed as the guy who likes to slack off, by his peers in The Justice League, he’s just as heroic and selfless as his teammates. No matter how grim things became, he never lost his greatest asset: compassion. These were the things that made Wally unique and inherently more interesting than his bland predecessor.

For whatever reason, DC decided it was time for a resurrection. In the pages of 2008’s Final Crisis, written by Grant Morrison with art by J.G. Jones (a killer duo), Barry Allen returned to the land of the living and jumped i into the fray as one Earth’s protectors once again.

Darkseid

In Final Crisis, Darkseid finally finds The Anti-Life Equation and uses it to conquer and enslave Earth. Those who aren’t affected by The Anti-Life Equation, or are able fight off it’s influence, are hunted by monsters and Darkseid’s cunning, vicious, and terrifying lieutenants. What’s left of Earth’s heroes and even some villains, come together in attempt to free their world from Darkseid.

The Return of Barry Allen, out running Death itself. (Final Crisis #2)

When Barry Allen made his return, It wasn’t something fans were clamoring for, in fact, the exact opposite. The problem with Barry Allen is… Dammit, I honestly can’t think of a modern term that describes the character better than, he’s a “Square”. He’s a goody two shoes, with a stick permanently up his ass. The kind of guy who would stand up in front of the whole class at school and remind the teacher that she forgot to assign homework. At the time Wally West was still a beloved hero among comic book fans Who were reluctant to get behind DC’s to focus on Barry Allen in the future.

The Flash: Rebirth

A massive amount of DC fans were and still are upset at the way DC has used his character in recent years. Wally West has always a character that people had been invested. They can’t just say “We know love Wally West, but he’s glowing on the backs builder for awhile. Here’s Barry Allen. Like him now.”. It doesn’t work that way. For a long time Wally had been cast aside. There was even a significant period of time where he was completely absent from The DCU. When he finally returned, he was treated like a second fiddle.

With all of the controversy surrounding Ezra Miller, it’s guaranteed that the character will be re-cast after (and if) The Flash is released. Personally, I really hope we get to see it. Despite Ezra Miller’s personal problems, word is that the movie is pretty damn good. They have a great director with Andy Muschietti and the film features Michael Keaton’s return as Batman. Instead of casting a new Barry Allen, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce Wally West into The DCEU and make him The Flash of their cinematic universe movie forward.

Wally hasn’t been The Flash at the center of the DC universe in some time. So let’s put Barry Allen off to the side for awhile and put Wally West at the center of The DCU where he belongs.

Thanks for reading! Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews for the podcast, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

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BATMAN DAY: The Best Modern Day Batman Stories!

Hey Everyone.

Paul here…

One of humanities greatest holiday’s, Batman Day, is upon us once again. In honor of this joyous occasion, it’s officially Batman Week here at World’s Best Media! It’s that special time of year when we can all take the time to reflect on the greatness of The Dark Knight Detectve. Like Superman, people will still be telling stories about The Batman, in one form or another, hundreds of years from now (unless of course, mankind doesn’t wipe itself from the face of the Earth in the near future). Characters like Batman and Superman are our modern day gods. Like Achilles or Beowulf, these heroes resonate with people because they’re such primal archetypes.

Even more so than Superman, the tragic tale of a boy who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents, is a fear we can all relate to. The boy made a vow to rid his city of the evil that took their lives, and turned himself into a monster to do it. The tragedy of Batman is that his war can never be won and he knows it. That’s deep, primal stuff. The brillliant simplicity of Batman allows for endless stories and reinventions.

Batman isn’t only my favorite comics book character, he’s by far my favorite character in all of literature. The complex psychology of Bruce Wayne, the greatest group of villains ever assembled, the sprawling urban nightmare that is Gotham City, and a phenomenal supporting cast… it all comes together to form the unforgettable tapestry of The Batman mythology. So in honor of Batman Day, I decided to put together a list of my favorite modern Batman stories. This was harder than you might think, because there are literally hundreds of classic Batman tales. I left out the obvious ones like “The Big 3”: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and The Killing Joke. Including those 3 classics on my list, seemed redundant and obvious, so I decided to focus on some great modern Batman stories. I was able to narrow it down to these amazing tales, that I encourage all of you to check out. Let’s dive in…


Batman: The Black Mirror

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Jock & Francesco Francavilla

DC has a long history of “legacy heroes”. “Legacy heroes” are characters who take up the mantle of an iconic, classic superhero, when the original cannot or will not continue on. “Legacy heroes” are almost always characters who are close to the original incarnation of the superhero in question, usually a sidekick or a partner. For example, when the original Flash, Barry Allen, died in Crisis On Infinite Earths, his sidekick, Wally West AKA Kid Flash, inherited the role of The Scarlet Speedster. In fact, many fans believe Wally West surpassed his mentor to be the best version of The Flash in the history of DC Comics. Another good example, is when the entire Green Lantern Corp were wiped out (including Hal Jordan), artist Kyle Rayner was chosen to become the only living in Green Lantern in the universe. Eventually, he was instrumental in rebuilding the Corp. We tend tp not think of Batman as a character that ”passes on the mantle”. However, there has been some notable exceptions, like Dick Grayson, that were excellent and unique versions of The Dark Knight.

The Black Mirror took place at a time when, for reasons that are too complicated to get into, Bruce Wayne was MIA as Batman. Dick Grayson a.k.a. the original Robin a.k.a. Nightwing, reluctantly donned the Cape and Cowl to become the new Batman.

Like so many other excellent Batman tales, the story is just as much about Jim Gordon as it is Batman. The veteran Gotham police officer and the rookie Batman, must solve a grisly mystery that hits far too close to home for both men. With amazing art by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, it seems as if Gotham City itself is alive. A dark and hungry thing, ready to devour those that walk it’s streets. This was the breakout story that launched Scott Snyder’s career as one of the biggest creators in the industry. This isn’t the only time you’ll see Snyder’s name pop up on this list, because The Black Mirror was his first step on his journey to becoming one of the greatest Batman writers of all time.


Batman: R.I.P.

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Tony Daniel

Grant Morrison is not only a personal favorite of mine, he’s also one of the best and most celebrated comic writers in the history of the medium. All-Star Superman, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth, JLA, if you’ve ever read Morrison‘s work, it will come as no surprise that this is one hell of a weird, fucking Batman story. However, in this instance that’s a really good thing. Batman R.I.P. marks the end of ACT I of Morrison‘s epic Batman run. When I was reading this nightmarish and disturbing story for the first time, it genuinely felt like anything could happen, which is rare when you’re dealing with such a well-known character like Batman. The brilliance of Morrison‘s run, is how he mines some of the most ridiculous and wacked out Batman stories from the late-50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s, (that any other writer would just as soon forget) to tell a truly unique Batman tale. Some fantastic new villains, like demonic Dr. Hurt, and new spins on old dynamics, make this an unforgettable story about madness, evil, and the indomitable will of The Dark Knight.

Batman & Robin: Reborn


Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Frank Quietly

Another fantastic story taking place during Dick Grayson’s tenure as The Caped Crusader. Grant Morrison’s ambitious, and entertaining Batman run, consisted of a broad, 3 Act structure. If Batman RIP was the end of Act I of Morrison‘s epic, then Batman and Robin: Reborn is the beginning of Act II. This story follows Dick as he struggles to fit into his new role as Batman. One The most compelling parts of the story, is the relationship between Dick and the new Robin, Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son. Reborn puts a fun new spin on the Batman and Robin dynamic. Normally, Batman is the dark, brooding one, with Robin as the bright, quipping, colorful, and lighthearted side of The Dynamic Duo. This story completely flips that dynamic on its head. This Batman smiles, tells jokes, and has fun. Damian’s Robin is arrogant, violent, and brutal. Basically the kid is a real pain in the ass

Regardless, he is, after all, Bruce Wayne‘s biological son. To Dick and Alfred, Bruce was family, so they both feel a responsibility to keep Damian on the right path. Both men know that Bruce would want them to watch over Damian, a task that certainly isn’t easy given Damian’s violent upbringing before he came to live with his father. But Dick and Alfred would never give up on the boy because of their love for Bruce. After all, Damian was raised in The League of Assassins, under the tutelage of Tallia and Ra’s Al Ghul. He could kill grown men by the time he was four years old. With Damian, The House’s of Wayne and Al Ghul would finally be united. Talia and Ra’s were grooming him to stride across the world as a modern-day Alexander The Great. Fortunately, Damian had more of his father in him than his mother and grandfather thought. Inspired by his father, Damian chose his own path, even if that meant being branded as an adversary to The House of Al Ghul.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dick, Damian, and Alfred in this story. One of my favorite subplots that evolves as the story goes on, is how Damien, who has nothing but disdain for Dick and Alfred, gradually comes to love and respect them both, arguably even more than he loves his father. Add in some gorgeous art by the legendary Frank Quietly (who’s one of my favorite comic book artists), the introduction of one of my favorite and most disturbing modern day Batman villains: the grotesque Professor Pyg, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a Batman comic book. This story is a new era for Batman and it all comes together to make this a must read.


Batman: The Court of Owls

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo

The Court of Owls marks the beginning of what would become, one of the greatest writer/artist teams in modern comics. Together, writer Scott Snyder and veteran artist Greg Capullo, would go on to create one of the best Batman runs in the long history of the character.

Gotham City is synonymous with The Dark Knight. He knows it’s broken streets and dark alleyways, as well as he knows his own reflection in the mirror. Gotham belongs to The Batman and he knows all it’s secrets. Or does he? After a series of bizarre murders, Batman is blindsided by the realization that a cunning and dangerous enemy has existed and operated right under his nose. This powerful adversary has had its claws in Gotham for hundreds of years, going all the way back to the founding of the city. Bruce Wayne might be the worlds greatest detective and the legendary Batman, but in his hubris, he forgot one of the most important lessons he learned in his years protecting the city: The second you think you know Gotham, is the moment it swallows you into the darkness.

What are your favorite Batman stories? Please let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Thanks for reading! Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul