During a Heroes In Crisis press-only event on Friday morning of Comic-Con International: San Diego, writer Tom King offered one tease about the upcoming story that didn't make DC fans very happy.
He quoted what Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said back when Infinite Crisis was being hyped years ago: "You can't have a Crisis without killing a Flash."
Later in the convention, Dan DiDio joked about killing a Flash again, this time specifically mentioning Tom King killing Wally West. When a fan asked King about Wally's death later, the writer responded, "Who said I'm doing that? I mean maybe I am."
With Heroes In Crisis starting in just over a month, there's now speculation that Wally West (the elder one, that is) might die in the event.
Is the threat credible?
Flash Crisis History
First, let's consider the quote King used. Was Dan DiDio right? Does a Flash have to die in every Crisis?
Actually, no. Although the granddaddy of all DC Crises famously killed a Flash, the other major crises haven't. In fact, DiDio's "You can't have a Crisis without killing a Flash" was used to hype up Infinite Crisis, a story in which no Flash died.
However, just about every "Crisis" has a major event involving a Flash...
In 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry Allen was killed while saving the Multiverse from the Anti-Monitor (although it was later revealed that Barry's death was actually him being lost to the Speed Force). His death was a blow to fans and, because he stayed dead for decades, was one of the more significant deaths in DC history.
In 2005's Infinite Crisis, Barry reappeared within the Speed Force, although briefly, as he helped his grandson Bart Allen battle the villain Superboy Prime. During the event, although no Flash technically died, two major changes occurred in the Flash family: Wally West left with his wife for an alternate reality and Bart Allen aged significantly to become the newest Flash.
In 2008's Final Crisis, Barry Allen basically returns from the dead after outracing death, leading the Black Racer toward the story's villain Darkseid instead. And in a tie-in series, Bart Allen also returned from the dead (having been killed in his own title about a year earlier). So this Crisis actually brought revival to the Flash family.
There have been other crises, but these are the major ones. And not all of them featured the death of a speedster. It would be more accurate to say "You can't have a Crisis without something major happening to a Flash."
That said, there's a lot of evidence that Wally West might actually die in Heroes in Crisis.
Evidence of Wally's Death
After Wally West failed to find his children during the just-completed "Flash War" event, the hero wasn't doing so well mentally.
So by the end of this week's The Flash #51, Superman and Wonder Woman inform Barry Allen that they're going to make sure Wally is "well taken care of at Sanctuary." The issue, titled "The Last Race of Wally West?", has an editor's note stating that Wally's story will continue in Heroes in Crisis #1. Sanctuary, a mental health facility built for the villains and heroes of the DCU, is the centerpiece of Heroes in Crisis. It was created by the DC Trinity, combining Batman's smarts with Kryptonian technology and Amazonian philosophies to help people deal with the stress and trauma of fighting in the DCU.
According to information that's been released so far, Heroes in Crisis will tell the story of a murder investigation at Sanctuary. In the aftermath of an attack on several patients, two characters are prime suspects: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold. And Heroes in Crisis will show them trying to clear their names while other heroes and villains are investigated.
With Wally West now confirmed to be a resident at Sanctuary, there's a very good chance he'll be among those heroes that end up dead in the promised attack.
There's also the fact that "Wally West" is the name of two characters in the DCU. DiDio also famously stated in the past that he can't stand duplicate characters. Wally is not only a duplicate Flash (because the DCU already has a Flash in Barry Allen), but he's even a duplicate Wally West (because the current Kid Flash is also named Wally West and more closely resembles the character on the WB's popular The Flash TV show).
So King and DiDio might be telling the truth.
But there's also a lot of precedent for Wally being just fine at the end of Heroes in Crisis.
First off, as we outlined above, the last time DiDio teased that a Flash would die in a Crisis, it was Infinite Crisis, and a Flash didn't die. (That said, a year later, a Flash did die, as Bart Allen lost his life in the aftermath of Infinite Crisis.) It's also unlikely that DC, who just won fan accolades for finally returning Wally West to the DCU in 2016 after his five-year absence, would rip him right back out of readers' hands so soon. There's also a lot of precedent for a Flash being trapped in the Speed Force or running into an alternate reality or something during a Crisis, so Wally's “death” could resemble something like those former deaths.
Or, if Wally is a suspect, it's possible that the character's death is staged by the Trinity and/or Barry Allen until they can prove the hero's innocence
Whatever the outcome, it's probable that DiDio and King are prepping the audience for something alarming happening to Wally West. And he's probably not going to be the only one.