Who’s your FLASH? Barry Allen vs Wally West

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Clark Kent is Superman. Bruce Wayne is Batman. Peter Parker is Spider-Man but The Flash is…has been more than one person. This isn’t that uncommon in Comic Books the Flash is the biggest example of this.

There’s has been a total of four people who have taken up the superhero identity as the Flash but it is a certain Barry Allen and a certain Wally West who are the most iconic Scarlet Speedsters. In terms of their powers they’re pretty much the same but it’s their character traits, civilian lifestyles, and personalities that sets them apart.


A total of four men have taken the mantle as The Flash. In order: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen.

Wally West: From Kid Flash to Flash

If you’ve been reading comics anytime since after 1985; chances are Wally West was The Flash you knew. Wally, actually the 3rd Flash, started off as Kid Flash but then became the Scarlet Speedster after grew up to become The Flash himself when his mentor died.

Wally had developed quite the fan following during his run. Wally was rated as the 8th best comic superhero of all time by IGN was the Flash in the much-acclaimed Justice League animated series. Being younger than the others; his lack of maturity but provided a different and often humourous perspective.

His powers were somewhat toned down somewhat and he gained the flaw of having a ridiculously fast metabolism. But in the New 52, Wally has so far been shelved, much to the outcry of many fans (Exhibit A) while his former mentor as returned from the dead.

kid flash

Loveable red-head Wally actually started out as Kid Flash.

Barry Allen: The Second Coming

Barry Allen was Wally’s mentor before he died. After a 20 year plus absence, DC Comics brought Barry back to the frame in 2008 with Barry once again becoming the Flash. Much to the outcry of diehard Wally fans. He’s not as outgoing as Wally but more responsible.

Ironically, Barry is known for being slow with his work as a forensic scientist thorough; to make sure his find the correct evidence to ensuregets his cases are correct no one else is wrongly convicted as his father was.

His job is more than just a job to him. He’s a polar opposite to Hal Jordan; making them the perfect team. Barry was a founding member of the Justice League way back when and all the other Flashes are connected to Barry in some way. Barry remains the Flash to this day but that hasn’t stopped die-hard Wally fans making their voices heard. Pleas for Wally to return are a dime-a-dozen on Flash forums. Just check the official Flash Facebook page.

Flash Facts

I never grew up reading comics so I don’t have this admiration for Wally that seemingly everyone else my age does but I can understand why they feel the way they feel; having their childhood hero replaced by some guy they barely know. I am a big fan of Barry but it’s his re-booted back story that really wins me over.

The New 52 comics, the Young Justice series, Injustice, the DC-Universe altering storyline Flashpoint, and the upcoming season of Arrow all focus on Barry as the Flash. I would even put on money Barry being chosen for a live-action Flash film in the Justice League that we’re supposedly getting. DC are putting a considerable amount of effort on Barry Allen so for now and the foreseeable future, whether die-hard Wally-fans like it or not,  Barry Allen is the Flash.

You can barely tell them apart...

Barry Allen (right) and Wally West (left) The two most iconic Flashes. You can barely tell them apart in costume.

Where’s Wally?

“Wally is benched for now”. That’s a direct quote from DC themselves. That being said, in my opinion, Wally doesn’t have to be excluded from the DC universe completely as he is in the New 52 thus far. Though I’m a Barry fan, I have no qualms with Wally being present in storylines but there doesn’t need to be two main Flashes.

My suggestion would be to create a new superhero identity just for Wally in a similar vein to Nightwing or Red Robin. If they’ve managed to have all Batman’s former Robins exist at once, they could do the same for Wally. Personally, I believe DC’s have something up their sleeve and are just waiting for the right time for it to be revealed. I’m confident Wally will be back sooner than you think.

Once again, Barry Allen is the fastest man alive, The Flash. And while Wally hasn't made his appearance yet in the New 52; I'm sure it's only a matter of time. =)

Once again, Barry Allen is the fastest man alive, The Flash. And while Wally hasn’t made his appearance yet in the New 52; it’s only a matter of time.


7 thoughts on “Who’s your FLASH? Barry Allen vs Wally West

      • It’s retroactive. The speed force was introduced during Wally’s run and explained to him by Max Mercury. All speedsters use the speed force, it’s how they exceed the scientifically possible super-human speeds (don’t ask). However, Wally was the first one to use the speed force actively. It was explained that Barry had the speed force and thus implicitly used it, but Wally could steal/give speed to people, he could create kinetic reactions by vibrating through things, he could even travel through time WITHOUT the cosmic treadmill.

        The move to make barry the originator of the speed force was done in Flash: Rebirth because they needed to keep one-upping in order to give the flashes after Wally a step up to be as powerful: Bart became the speed force while he was the flash, and then Barry was revealed to have been where the speed force came from just so Wally can never go beyond him; but to be honest, he hasn’t shown even a scrap of the ability to manipulate it that Wally has.

        *runs away*


  1. I like both characters but preferred Wally for the simply fact that he was a much more compelling and oftentimes flawed character. Barry suffers from what a lot of what plagued other Silver Age DC heroes – they were defined by their powers, not their personalities.


  2. Pingback: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review | Nikyle's Two Pence

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