The characters in DC Comics are strangely ignoring the high-profile death of Wally West in Heroes in Crisis #1, meaning either the publisher doesn’t seem to care much about one of their flagship “Rebirth” characters dying … or Wally isn’t really dead.
To review, Wally West apparently died during a mass murder at the Sanctuary mental health center during Heroes in Crisis #1. His body was discovered by Superman (see above) and later viewed by Wonder Woman and Batman.
Wally West’s death is a major loss for the characters of the DCU. This version of Wally West had a pretty extensive past with the Titans and the Flash family. And although he was missing from this timeline during the New 52, his return during 2016’s “Rebirth” launch was accompanied by Barry Allen and a slew of other characters remembering who he was.
Yet this week’s issue of The Flash doesn’t even mention Wally’s death. Granted, the series is immersed in a story arc that has some pretty fast-moving revelations about the Speed Force (and other forces), but there’s not even a hint in this week’s issue that Wally West, one of the most important characters from the title — in fact, a key character in the recent “Flash War” event - just died.
We could probably write that off as merely a matter of timing to be addressed in a future issue but it doesn’t add up cleanly when compared to the way Roy Harper’s death (in the same issue of Heroes in Crisis) has been handled.
Over the last two weeks, Roy Harper’s death in the same mass murder has been mourned in more than one comic book:
- Last week’s Green Arrow #45 spent the entire issue dealing with Roy’s funeral and the reaction of those close to him, including his mentor Oliver Queen.
- This week, Roy’s death was again featured in Red Hood: Outlaw when Batman sought out told Jason Todd to tell him about the death of his former teammate and friend.
- And perhaps most telling, this week’s Titans #27 issue also dealt with Roy’s death, as Donna Troy visited his gravesite at the beginning of the issue. Titans #27 even addresses another tragedy in the DCU — the shooting of Nightwing Dick Grayson.
...but nothing about Wally West.
Not even a little.
Both Dick and Roy were on the Titans team, so it’s expected that the characters would react to their fates. Yet, of course, Wally West was also a long-time Titans teammate and the reason their previous incarnation before the current one reunited and remembered their collectivepast. No love for him?
As Newsarama pointed out in a recent story, the death of Wally West in Heroes in Crisis was particularly shocking because it reverses the character’s very recent (and popular) return-to-continuity, one that reversed his elimination from the previous New 52.
But the lack of acknowledgment from DC characters for Wally’s death seems to point to something … odd.
It’s almost as if he didn’t actually die.
Yet Heroes in Crisis #1 showed Superman confirming that Wally West died during the shooting. Clark Kent presumably used his super-hearing and x-ray vision to determine Wally’s heart had stopped beating.
Wonder Woman was shown touching Wally’s dead body, even using her fingers to close his eyes. And Batman was in the room with Wally’s body as well.
If all three of the Trinity think you’re dead, then it seems like DC and writer Tom King wants you to think he's dead.
But with the entire DCU effectively ignoring the death of Wally West (so far), it feels as if his death didn't stick outside the pages of Heroes in Crisis #1. Or maybe it wasn’t real at all?
The solicitation for Heroes in Crisis #3 might also offer a clue, stating that “Batman and the Flash combine their detective skills to investigate what went awry at Sanctuary and uncover a serious glitch in the system — not to mention an explosive, spoiler-ific secret.” Could that secret be Wally West’s ultimate survival?
Or is there another return to life of Wally West coming in the near-future of the DCU?
Whether Wally is dead or not, it’s definitely noteworthy that his demise wouldn’t be mentioned in any other title, while the entire DCU mourns Roy. And as of this week’s comic book releases, Wally’s apparently gone … and forgotten.
Unless he's not actually gone at all.