Flash Quantum Leaps Into a Prehistoric Speed Battle

No! Velocity raptor!

As DC Comics new era continues, more drastic changes come to the publisher’s fastest family, but things get a little hectic when Wally West gets sent hurtling through time.

The Flash 768
Written by Jeremy Adams
Pencils and Inks by Darko Lafuente, Brandon Peterson and Marco Santucci
Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Luis Guerrero and Arif Prianto

Wally West was my Flash. When I started reading DC Comics regularly in 1993-1994, Wally West had been running around as the world’s main speedster for seven years. He had taken over the mantle of Flash after Barry Allen sacrificed himself during Crisis on Infinite Earths and had established himself as one of the big guns. I never really had a strong connection to the character, though. I enjoyed Geoff Johns’ run on the Flash solo comic and was a fan of Grant Morrison’s portrayal in JLA. I just didn’t latch on to the Flash the way I did other heroes.

But Wally West went away when DC Comics’ New 52 era started in 2011 and didn’t return to the fold for five years. After the way he was treated in Tom King’s disastrous HEROES IN CRISIS miniseries, I kind of wish he had stayed on the sidelines. The Rebirth era managed to take a well-adjusted hero who had managed to find a balance between crime-fighting and his family life and turn him into a mope who had lost his family and his place in the world. And then, during a depressive episode at the Sanctuary home for troubled heroes, he murdered other metahumans in the most ill-advised miniseries since Identity Crisis.

Now, in the new INFINITE FRONTIER era, we have the latest effort to redeem the character of Wally West. With Barry Allen going off to explore the multiverse with President Superman, he’s chosen Wally to take his place in the Justice League. The problem is, now Wally has been reunited with his wife Linda and his two kids and all he wants is a normal life. Barry can’t believe it, leaving Green Arrow – whose former ward Roy Harper was killed at Sanctuary – to be the voice of reason.

The decision to quit comes with consequences, though, with Barry trying to wipe Wally of his speed. The effort doesn’t work as planned – Barry, Max Mercury, Jay Garrick and the other Wallace West all lose their speed while Wally is sent back to prehistory, where his spirit takes over the body of a caveman. As he attempts to get his bearings, he has to outrun a raptor who has its own speed powers. Wally calls him a Speed Raptor, leaving on the table the chance to name it a Velocity Raptor. Missed opportunities all around, though maybe it was too obvious…

Wally manages to outrun the Velocity Raptor but Quantum Leaps into the far future, where he inhabits the body of future speedster Bart Allen – Impulse – and has an even bigger battle looming.

Making Wally West the new Sam Beckett, with Barry Allen and other members of the Justice League serving as his Al in the present should be a fun concept, but it feels like it runs its course pretty quick in this first issue from new writer Jeremy Adams. If the plan is to restore Wally to the mantle of the Flash while Barry goes off into the multiverse, a centuries-spanning story that has Wally saving the day feels like a little much. The last few years of the Flash comic has been a non-stop race of epic battles between Barry and his gallery of evil speedsters. Some smaller stories re-establishing the connection between Flash and the city he protects would be a welcome change.

As it is, I feel exhausted thinking about more widescreen action for the Flash – even if it’s now Wally and not Barry – with no end in sight.