Article Written By Desi LaSalle
Have you ever been a fan of a superhero sidekick? I sure have. Throughout comic book history there sure have been a lot of great ones, in both Marvel and DC comics, but I personally have always liked the DC sidekicks more. One in particular is a personal favorite of mine and his name is Wally West, aka Kid Flash, who went on to gain the mantle of the Flash. Wally West, as a character, is very relatable to readers. Nephew of Iris West, fiance of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, Wally grew up in a small town called Blue Valley and was only close to one relative, Aunt Iris. Initially, he found Barry to be very dull and uninteresting, until he found out that he was the Flash that is, who later on mentored him when he gained his super speed powers and revealed to Wally his identity.
Kid Flash became Barry Allen’s sidekick and had many awesome adventures with him. Soon after, Wally met Robin, aka Dick Grayson, and Aqualad, who joined forces and became the first incarnation of The Teen Titans, including Wonder Girl. To my knowledge, this is the first time that the concept of a super hero team of sidekicks banded together, in turn granting them their own comic series and having it be a success. Through this series, Wally West would have a part-time solo career, have a crush on Donna Troy, aka Wonder Girl, and leave the Titans to return to college in Blue Valley. West really was a hero with real life struggles, such as love, school and family. As a character, Kid Flash was so interesting and attractive to comic book fans due to hiss imperfections. Wally West struggles with a lot of things and there is not always a fast and happy ending in sight.
Later on Kid Flash would reappear and flourish in the pages of The New Teen Titans, this historic and legendary run was brought to us my writer Marv Wolfan and artist George Perez. In 1980, it was considered to be one of the greatest comic book runs in history. If you are going to start a back issue collection, I highly recommend it, the quality of the work on this title and the high level of sophistication in the stories just proves furthermore how far you can take a various characters in a team book. It is here where we see Wally West with an inner struggle trying to be a hero, falling in love with his teammate Raven and unsure of his decision to be a member of the Titans. Things that regular everyday people and readers would relate to, that is the true formula of success attributed to Kid Flash and the reason why so many people love this character.
Wally would later go into semi-retirement and reappear on The Crisis on Infinite Earths iconic story-line, where Barry Allen dies and Wally West assumes the mantle of The Flash. In this series we see Wally determined to live up to the legacy of The Flash, taking part in many weird and wonderful adventures. After the events of Flashpoint, Wally West was nowhere to be found in DC’s New 52. The outrage in the comic book community was felt immediately. Kid Flash reappeared, but it wasn’t the Wally West that we know and love, he wasn’t our imperfect hero with his life like struggles. Fortunately in DC’s Rebirth, and to the rejoice of comic book fans everywhere, we finally have Wally back! (YESS!!) A comic book panel with beautiful art, no words, just a tearful reunion and hug between Wally West and Barry Allen (TRULY BREATHTAKING!). Immediately, as a comic book fan, I can only think of all the possibilities there are for new stories, the Real Kid Flash, the one I grew up with, the one who struggled just as I did, who fell in love and was able to grow up through all the bumps and bruises, and still emerge a hero. Welcome Back Wally! I really missed you!