Eagle-eyed readers of this week's The Flash #0 spotted a name that raised a few eyebrows: Daniel West.
Fans were immediately asking: Could this a nod toward the former Flash, Wally West, whom fans have been publicly begging to see since DC rebooted its universe last year?
Official West Business
This morning, it became official that Daniel West is considered an important character by DC, because his appearance was featured on the DCComics.com blog, "The Source."
With the headline, "Introducing the Newest Member of the West Family," DC opened the door to all kinds of speculation from fans of The Flash.
After all, they used the term "West Family."
OK, DC... nice way to let the Flash out of the bag. It's a family, huh? Apparently, Daniel isn't the only "West" who's going to be showing up in the title.
"Part of what we promised from Zero Month was planting seeds that will play out in future arcs of each title," the blog said. "One way we did so was by introducing new characters who will play major roles in the coming months. Fans who picked up The Flash #0 met a new member of the West family. Locked away behind bars, Daniel West certainly seems to have an interesting story to tell. But who is this mysterious character? What are his ties to Barry? And how will his introduction impact the series?"
While Barry Allen is currently The Flash in the rebooted universe, in the pre-reboot DCU, Barry had died and left the mantle to a new Flash named Wally West. This new Flash held the mantle for decades, even after DC brought Barry Allen back from the dead in 2008. But with last year's reboot, it appeared that DC made the decision to get rid of Wally West, since Barry was now younger and hadn't died.
Over the first few months after DC rebooted it universe, DC Publisher Dan DiDio told fans at comic book conventions that there was no plan for the character to be part of the New 52. Yet just about every convention panel with DC featured at least one fan asking for Wally's return. Newsarama even asked for Wally's return in our Wish List for an alternate earth (although the writer quickly dashed those hopes).
But the Writers Want Him!a page from
The Flash #0According to statements by Francis Manapul, the penciller and co-writer of The Flash with Brian Buccellato, there was originally supposed to be a cameo by Wally West in last year's The Flash #1, but DC pulled it. At Boston Comic Con in April, Manapul told panel attendees (and confirmed in an interview with retcon-punch.com) that he wanted to bring Wally West into the New 52.
"The honest truth is, I’m not allowed to use Wally West," Manapul told retcon-punch.com. "That’s the basic truth. I’ve tried, I’ve tried to sneak him in there. I’ve tried to propose what I would do, but ultimately, I’m just not allowed to use him.
"The thing is, it kind of makes sense," he said. "I’ve been told that one of the big problems with introducing Wally West is that as soon as we introduce him, people are going to say, 'when is he going to become the Flash?' So essentially, by introducing him, we’re showing Barry Allen the door. Unfortunately, that’s the problem with introducing Wally West.
"I have some ideas for how I think I would do it, but all of that is a moot point because they don’t want us to use him," he said.
Yes, that indicates that DC doesn't want Wally West in the New 52 — or at least they didn't in the past. But we all know how quickly things change in the world of comic book publishing. As DiDio has admitted time and time again, the writers involved in the Infinite Crisis event convinced him not to kill off Dick Grayson.
So could writers have similarly convinced him to bring back Wally West?
The appearance of Daniel West — and DC's very public touting of his appearance — is probably indication that someone convinced DC powers-that-be to let them re-introduce Wally West to the Flash franchise. And because Manapul and Buccellato have wanted him all along, it could be that their voices won out this time.
The DCU used to have several related characters called The Flash, but the company has seemed reluctant to allow the Flash "family" to exist in this rebooted universe so far. In Earth 2, the Golden Age Flash named Jay Garrick is on an alternate earth. There's also a Kid Flash in the pages of Teen Titans, but he hasn't been shown to be related to Barry Allen yet. So a return of Wally West would break the trend toward keeping the heroes separate.
But how could he return? With superpowers? Without? As a sidekick?
However it might happen, it's obvious that DC would want readers to notice it. The call-out on DC's website of Daniel West and the "West family" implies that Wally West's return would be accompanied by lots of hype. DC has opened the door, and escorted the elephant into the room themselves.
While the prospect of a "Wally West event" might be derided by cynical fans if it were any other comic book news, the return of Wally seems to be so desired by Flash fans that they might overlook it. After all, for them, any Wally is probably better than no Wally at all.
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