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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MUST WATCH: Supergirl “The House Of L” or Holy S#$t We Actually Have A Good Live Action Lex Luthor!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I wanted to take a minute to talk about Supergirl on the CW. Before I get into the show, I want to put something in context first. Lex Luthor is by far one of my favorite comic book characters. I think different generations have their own definitive superman. To many people of a certain age Richard Donner’s Superman with Christopher Reeves as the Man of Steel, is the standard by which all other portrayals of the character are judged. 

   For a lot of people in my generation, Superman The Animated Series is THEIR Superman in the same way Christopher Reeves was for previous generations. Superman The Animated Series ( or STAS or brevity’s sake) is by far my favorite interpretation of the Superman mythos. However, the show doesn’t only have what is, in my opinion, the best on screen Superman that we’ve had it also has the best Lex Luthor. Anytime a new Superman film is being made I’m always hoping to see the filmmakers will portray Lex Luthor as the incredibly interesting and complex character that he is. Unfortunately, my hopes are never realized. When Lex inevitably gets fucked up, I always find myself saying why the fuck don’t they just do the Lex Luthor from the animated series? Clancy Brown, who did the voice of Lex are on STAS  is my iconic Luthor. 

     I’ve said this many times, but Lex Luthor for at least the last 30 years has been portrayed in the comic books as what I describe as a slightly more amoral Tony Stark. In fact, the argument could be made that Tony Stark is more dangerous than Lex Luthor in many ways. Yet I keep seeing these goofy, stupid portrayals of Lex on the big screen. Have these people even bothered to pick up a Superman comic book from the past three decades besides The Death of Superman? 

     Kevin Spacey was just playing Gene Hackman as Lex. In Superman Returns, Lex has what is without a doubt the stupidest master plan from a super villain in a comic book movie. The master plan involving real estate is another example of a generation that is so overly reverent towards the Christopher Reeves Superman that it actually hurts the film. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was an abortion for the eyes (I REFUSE to even include a photograph of him as the character in this article). It’s was a fucking disgrace and everyone involved in the decisions that resulted that version of ”Lex”. * A quick side note: I’ve heard a few people insist that Jesse Eisenberg‘s Lex Luthor is actually supposed to be the son of the real, more traditional Lex Luthor, that would’ve been introduced down the line. I never took that from BvS at any point. I could be wrong, but I’m almost 100% sure that this was supposed to be straight up Lex Luthor, not Lex Jr. I’m not sure of people where people are getting that one from and if anyone could clarify in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts. The only live action take on the character that I thought was done well, was Michael Rosenbaum on Smallville. Smallville was a silly and sometimes campy show, but Lex was always one of the show’s strongest aspects. 

     To my surprise, it was announced that this season of Supergirl would be introducing Lex Luthor for the first time. It was it wasn’t going to be a one off either, he was going to be on the show for a good while. For some reason Warner Bros. and DC have had this weird rule for a long time, that they seem to be bending now for some reason, that prohibits character’s like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and some other big characters like Lex Luthor from appearing in a live action television show and a film at the same time. The reasoning that they seem to give is that the audience will just be baffled at the idea of two different people portraying this character, which tells you everything you really need to know about how the creative intelligence off Hollywood executives.

In Supergirl’s second season, the two part premiere episodes introduced Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. He did a fantastic job and there’s an argument to be made that he’s the best live-action Superman right now. I like this version of the character so much that I’d like to see more of him, but I’m happy they didn’t make his appearance a one off.  He appeared on Supergirl later in season two and has popped up a few more times on the series in the last couple of years. Even cooler was when Superman was a big part of this year‘s excellent Arrowverse Crossover Elseworlds, where they also introduced Lois Lane for the first time. Like I said, it always seems like those characters were off-limits, so I was pleasantly surprised that we’ve seen as much of Superman as we have.

    The same thing happened when they announced Lex was going to be on Supergirl. Then they announced Jon cryer would be playing Lex Luthor. At first glance this would seem like a terrible idea because he seem like just another skinny geek and that’s the last thing we want to see after Jesse Eisenberg‘s portrayal. But I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I figured this guy is so incredibly loaded from his years on Two and a Half Men that he does not have to do any project he doesn’t want to do. So there must’ve been something he saw in this character that would allow him to stretch his acting muscles in a completely different way. He just spent over a decade doing comedy, I figured maybe he’s up for a darker role. 

    We are now two episodes in to Lex’s stint on Supergirl and goddamnit if he is not fantastic in this role. So far he’s been pretty close to what I’ve been looking for with this character. He’s a genius, manipulative, he has his cool battle armor. It’s much more in line with the Lex Luthor we see in modern comics. 

His second episode really impressed me because we saw how he had been behind (in one way or another) much what has happened on the show in the last few years. It was established early on in the series that Lex Luthor was in prison when Supergirl began. Using flashbacks, this weeks episode showed what Lex has been up to since he’d been convicted of Crimes Against Humanity. It was fantastic it showcase for John Cryer is in this role.

 I’ve always been a huge Arrowverse fan, even though it’s best days are behind it in many ways. Despite my love of the Arrowverse, I’ve never really been that big of a fan of Supergirl (the series not the character). I think the series has done an excellent job with their portrayal of the character. Mellissa Benoist is great as The Girl of Steel, for some reason I find her at her most charming and entertaining in the crossover episodes. She’s a very interesting contrast to Barry Allen and especially Oliver Queen.

   However, in my opinion the show really excels at using characters and stories from Superman‘s mythology. For example, they did an episode that was an adaptation for the classic Alan Moore Superman story For The Man Who Has Everything. This season also saw the introduction of Manchester Black and The Elite who were first introduced in another iconic Superman story What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way?. Even in the first season, they reveal about halfway through that one of the main characters was actually J’onn J’onnz; The Martian Manhunter. That blew my fucking mind. He’s been a fixture in the Arrowverse ever since and I love seeing him shape shift into his classic Martian form. Most of the time he appears as a human man because he’s a shape shifter and it would be way too expensive for the show to have him in full Martian Manhunter mode all the time.

I even loved how they’ve used classic Superman villains like Metallo, Parasite, White Martians and the Kryptonian villain Non, one of the general Zod’s right hand men. He is usually portrayed as muscle for General Zod, just a big, dumb, strong antagonist for Superman to fight. But he actually has a pretty tragic backstory. He was lobotomized by The Kryptonian Council as punishment for crimes he committed. There was a time that he was a mentor to Jor-El, one of Krypton‘s most brilliant scientists. 

    All of this has just been a very long winded way of saying how great it is to see a fantastic live action Lex Luthor. The season in general has been strong even though I have problems with some of their heavy handed attempts at making the story a real world to allegory. Despite that big flaw, there have been some very cool and exciting stories and characters being used on Supergirl that make a fan like me pay attention. I would definitely recommend going to iTunes or on-demand and checking out the last two episodes of Supergirl, the first one with Lex Luthor’s appearance is O’ Brother Where Art Thou. Cryer had a great start in that installment, but I was even more impressed with how good he is in this role in his second episode. I wouldn’t say I’m that big enough fan of Supergirl to recommend diving into the series as a whole, but I definitely think if you’re a big DC fan and you finally want to see a solid Lex Luthor,  check out these episodes. I’d also recommend checking out any of the episodes where Superman makes an appearance and this year’s crossover with Arrow and The Flash: Elseworlds. While I’m on the subject of crossovers, with the most ambitious and thrilling crossover the Arrowverse has ever attempted, Crisis on Infinite Earths, debuting this fall, Lex being a major player in the Arrowverse now makes that already exciting crossover even more interesting.

With Lex seemingly not going anywhere for the rest of the season, I cannot wait to see what else the show’s writers and John Cryer do with this extremely interesting take on Lex Luthor. As always thank you for reading!

-Paul