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DC’s shortcomings, parallel universes, and the return of Wally West

Flash Annual #3
DC Comics

One of the more frustrating points of DC’s NEW 52 is the lack of characters, specifically beloved ones such as Wally West (The Flash), Stephanie Brown (Batgirl), Lady Black Hawk, Oracle, and a myriad of other personas and alter egos which are mysteriously absent from the slimmed down DC roster.

Many individuals grew up with these characters and have honestly become quite nostalgic, if not beloved fan favorites cultivated over a generation or two. For example, the camaraderie displayed between Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) and Wally West (The Flash) during the onset of the Modern Age was incredibly reminiscent of the relation forged by Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) at the height of the Silver Age.

These types of relationships create a sort of ongoing parable that oftentimes promotes friendship, teamwork, and a basic code of ethics that are creatively relayed to people of all ages. This then coupled with a multigenerational cast of characters bridges the gap between young and old, and allows for more people to be exposed to such great life lessons.

However, as the byproduct of DC completely rebooting their universe in September of 2011, as well as narrowing down the timeframe in which these classic characters and villains have known of one another, drastically minimizes the scope of their interpersonal relationships, effectively diminishing the bond between them and the reader. Slowly but surely, DC is introducing old and new faces, and as time marches on (hopefully) fans will be rewarded with the aforementioned gravitas that is currently missing from the DC Universe.

DC is gambling is readership— How long will diehard fans hold out for their favorite characters before they jump ship? Or, how difficult will it be for new fans to get indoctrinated without a wide range of interesting and meaningful characters?

Fortunately for DC-phytes there is some immediate relief. Kyle Rayner’s old school BFF and Modern Age Flash will be finally returning on the 30th of April in “The Flash Annual #3.” As announced by new creative team Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, and Brett Booth in a USA Today article, Wally West is depicted on the cover and will grace its pages in his first appearance in what should be dubbed, ‘The Year of the Flash.’ This will mark Wally West’s return to the NEW 52 after being ousted by Silver Age all-star, Barry Allen, and also conveniently ties into the several other media enterprises featuring the Scarlett Speedster such as CW’s soon-to-be TV property, “The Flash.”

Hopefully, this means that DC will be returning to its roots and start plunging into its wealth of heroes and villains. There is plenty of material for the writers and editors to comb over that would do wonderfully revamped and refreshed for their infant universe. Plus, one of the caveats of DC’s reboot was the re-inclusion of parallel universes, which means there are plenty of opportunities for creative teams to stray into the bizarre and unusual with some of their more firmly planted characters and story arcs. All they need to do is uncork the bottle and let the tap start a flowin’.

Discuss away on which character(s) you would like to see ‘refreshed’ by Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, and the team over at DC Comics! Are there any parallel universes you’d like see explored? Or, some awesome ideas for a steampunk Flash that you’ve been holding onto?— If-so, comment below.