Wally West will finally meet Wally West in this week's The Flash #9, which also follows up on the mysteries of "Rebirth." And according to writer Joshua Williamson, the issue's events will tease "other books that haven't been announced yet" and includes something that will "make people very happy."
The Flash launched in June as a twice-monthly "Rebirth" title with art by Neil Googe, Carmine De Gianomenico, and Jorge Corona. Since then, the story has been building toward the "New 52" version of Wally West becoming the new Kid Flash.
But always looming in the periphery has been the return of the post-Crisis Wally West in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. The two Wallys were quickly established as cousins (distant cousins, in more ways that one), and now the two will meet for the first time.
Newsarama talked to Williamson to find out more.
Newsarama: Josh, what can readers expect from tomorrow's issue? The Wallys meet each other, right?
Josh Williamson: Yeah, it's pretty great! I've only been able to write the original Wally West a little bit, mostly in The Flash: Rebirth #1 issue.
I've always been a big fan of the original Wally, so it was awesome getting a chance to write him as a piece of the big mystery that he's building.
It's a little more personal issue between all the different characters. It's really exciting to be able to write those three characters together.
Nrama: Will the Titans Wally West be following up on some of the things he discussed with Barry when he came back?
Williamson: With this particular issue, we're retouching on some of the elements of The Flash: Rebirth #1, and a little bit of what's going on with "Rebirth."
The main priority is to have the two Wallys meet and to establish that family connection.
However, a lot of really big stuff comes out of it. We tease a lot of different things.
Nrama: So far, Batman is the only other person who really knows anything about this, right? They're still trying to keep it a secret?
Williamson: Yes, Barry and the original Wally who's with Titans - they feel that they need to keep this secret, and we'll get into why they're keeping some of the secrets they are, and why they don't think that people are ready for things to be revealed.
Nrama: But the issue is advertised as a "Rebirth" issue. Does it reveal anything new to fans?
Williamson: Well, you know, last week with Batman #9, Tom King was able to tease a couple things for the next year of Batman stuff and some other things that are going on in the books.
With The Flash #9, we're able to do the same thing. We're able to get in there and tease a lot of events that are going to be happening in the Flash books in 2017, but also stuff that's going to be going on in other books that haven't been announced yet.
Nrama: Wow, so there are other books that come out of this issue?
Williamson: I can't say anything else.
Nrama: In the Titans book, there's been a story-based explanation for Wally's disappearance from continuity. But he knows there's something more, right?
Williamson: Yeah, and that's definitely something that comes up in this issue, something that Barry and Wally touch base on, and they definitely compare notes about what's been happening to them and the events that have been going on.
A lot of the focus of this issue is the relationship between those three characters, particularly these two Kid Flashes meeting for the first time.
This issue is sort of a one-off, but it's almost a prelude to a lot of other things that are going to be happening in The Flash, and again, in other books.
So with that beat, when they start talking about some of the things that are going on in Titans, we're only getting a piece of that moving forward.
You're going to get answers on some things, but you're still going to have other questions as well.
Nrama: I'm not surprised. Of course you can't answer everything in one issue.
Williamson: Yeah, it's funny. But this issue is interesting because, I mean, this issue in particular – the first time we started talking about working on this issue was last year.
Nrama: Wow, so you started planning this run a while ago.
Williamson: I've been working on The Flash for so long - even when I was starting to work on issue #1, we already knew about this issue. I mean, this exact issue #9, and what it was going to be. And how it was going to be about the two Wallys meeting each other.
For me, it's kind of changed though. Although we knew it was going to be about the two Wallys - it's always been the "Kid Flashes of Two Worlds." But for me, it's changed because of how my relationship with the characters has changed... my connection with Barry and with the new Wally. Because I've been writing them the last year. So I really wanted to tell a little bit of an emotional story with those two characters and talk about where they are emotionally after the first eight issues of The Flash, and where original Wally is after the first few issues of Titans.
I wanted to have this issue explore that relationship they have with each other and that connection.
When I first started writing The Flash, the theme of family was important to me. I feel like a big part of the Flash legacy is the idea of a Flash family. And I really wanted to explore that and get into that.
That was my priority with this issue.
And then I get to tease out some stuff, and I get to kind of touch base on a few things, and show that, yes, we're still paying attention to this mystery. And Barry and Wally and the new Wally are definitely going to be involved in this going forward.
So this issue will be a touchstone of that, of the things that have been going on since May in DC Universe: Rebirth issue and The Flash: Rebirth #1.
Nrama: In The Flash #8, Barry is thinking about the similarities between the two Wally Wests. But now that you've written both characters - even the two of them meeting each other - how would you describe the similarities and the differences?
Williamson: In #8, we had this idea that they have the same heart, and a lot of it's because they were both raised by Iris. So they both want to help people, and they want to go out and sort of do the best they can to help people. I think that's the obvious similarity between them.
And, like Barry, they both enjoy putting on the costume and running out and being a hero. I think all three of them enjoy that, and it's part of why they have this connection.
As far as differences, the main one is confidence. I think the new Wally is... well, new. People may not pick up on this, but it's something that Wally consistently does. He runs away from his problems. He's constantly running away from things. He did it in #7, and it's just part of his character.
A lot of that comes from being young too. He's young and he's new to this.
The older Wally is a little more confident and sure of himself. But that also comes from the experiences he's had.
If you go back and look at Wally in the Mark Waid run, before that, he was always trying to live up to Barry's memory. But I don't think the new Wally is doing that. I don't think he wants to be the Flash. I don't think he looks at Barry and The Flash and immediately thinks, like, this is what I want to do. I think he wants to help people, not necessarily thinking that he would want to become The Flash.
But that being said, one of the things we're doing in the book is that Kid Flash does not know that Barry is the Flash. They're still keeping that secret from him. Barry is not ready to tell Kid Flash that yet.
And that's something that we're going to explore a lot, in the next arc after this, which is called "Speed of Darkness." The entire arc is about trust issues between Kid Flash and The Flash.
So we'll kind of touch on that here, before we get into the "Speed of Darkness" arc next.
Nrama: That story arc has the Shade showing up, right?
Williamson: Yeah, the Shade's back. He comes to Central City looking for something he's lost. And he thinks that he can get the Flash to help him find it.
And it takes them on sort of this dark adventure.
It was fun because I got to do sort of a fantasy story, or a story with the Flash that had some fantasy mixed in with the science elements that we normally do, because, you know, the Flash book is so grounded. It has a science fiction background. But with this, I was able to bring some fantasy elements.
It's difficult to talk about this, because I don't spoil anything. There are a lot of twists and turns coming.
But if you're a fan of the Shade, you'll enjoy this issue. We definitely move the character forward, but we also honor The Shade's past. I'm such a fan of James Robinson and Tony Harris' Starman and the stuff they did with the Shade there. And so I knew if I was going to use The Shade as an antagonist in this, I wanted to make sure we honored everything that came before.
Nrama: Any last teasers about tomorrow's issue? And you said it sort of feeds into other series - is the "Rebirth" story going to continue in the Flash or throughout the DCU?
Williamson: There are going to be clues in different books. If you're looking, you'll see stuff. In The Flash, we'll definitely be touching on part of the mystery.
With this particular issue, we show something that is fun and exciting - something that should make people really happy. There's something in this issue that will make people very happy.
I love writing this book. I feel very lucky to have been writing this book for the last year - working on it, you know, since a year ago when we were developing the story, and then working on the scripts. So it's been a big part of my life. And I'm really thankful that people are enjoying it, and I get to be a part of this big "Rebirth" storyline that we're building.
With The Flash #9, it's just a piece of this thing we're building. Those characters- Barry, Wally, and the new Wally - are really important to the story moving forward.