Why doesn’t it matter that Wally West is now black?

So, normally on this blog I respond to question posed directly to me or posted around the web. Today’s post is a little different as I’ll be covering, on a point-by-point basis, all the arguments for why changing Wally West’s ethnicity in the New 52. Also, why most of them are ridiculous at best and racist at worst.

The-Flash-TV-Show-Wally-West

I think it’s important to note: I’m not a DC apologist, nor am I, by pointing out why some arguments are wrong, saying that everything DC does is right. Twisting the argument to this, as people often seem to do, is ridiculous and it’s perfectly possible to admit that a company like DC has a long way to go and that people opposing them starting to make those changes are wrong.

Furthermore, Wally West is my Flash. Yes, I’m a Golden Age nerd and love Jay Garrick, along with Barry Allen, Bart Allen and all the rest in the Flash Family Tree. However, I was born in the same year Crisis on Infinite Earths hit the stands and Wally will always be the true scarlet speedster – so this is not coming from a place of someone who doesn’t care, deeply, about the character.

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Climbing through the Flash Family Tree

On January 21st, 2015, /u/Cyber85 asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

Can you also explain the flash family tree because there are so many flashes and I get confused on which is which.

TheFlash-FlashFamily

The Flash family and then some!

OK, so this is a bit of a big one so we’re going to break it down into stages to make it more manageable. We’ll be covering three main areas:

  1. The New 52 Flash Family Tree(s) – simply, by Flash standards
  2. The pre-New 52 Flash Family Tree – this is where it gets complicated
  3. Even more members of the Flash Family – yep, it just keeps going…

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What’s with speedsters, like the Flash, creating energy constructs like Green Lantern does?

On December 8th, 2014, /u/Hippieslayer555 asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

So, I read up on Flash on the DC Comics wiki, and it is stated that Speedsters have an ability called Energy Construct Creation that allows them to create objects like Green Lantern can, not exactly the same but the principle is still the same.

I’ve got to ask, I’ve read all of the New 52 series and Rebirth and I’ve never seen this ability demonstrated, do speedsters actually have this ability and how often do they use it?

Before I saw it, /u/harryboom offered this:

it was in rebirth, when barry and the rest all created new costumes out of speed force energy. it hasn’t shown up in N52

Then came my answer:

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What is the origin of Flash Facts?

On December 5th, 2015, /u/Hugostigglitz asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

Have been wondering when these were brought about and by who? Was it Gardner Fox with Jay Garrick? Broome and Infantino with Barry in the Silver Age? If it was in the Silver Age was it just to promote education in comics or was it to distance the comic from other comics that were being blamed for causing juvenile delinquency? Both? (Therefore was it a push by Julius Schwartz?).

So, normally I like to have a lot more reference material to work with when answering these types of questions, but the internet has let me down! It seems that nobody has really cared much about the history of ‘Flash Facts’ before – certainly not enough to fight the copious blogs and news stories that use it for headlines and make the search much harder.

Still, I’ll try, so here we go:

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Can the New 52 version of Flash run faster than light?

On December 2nd, 2014, /u/magnifishiv asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

New 52 Flash can run FTL right?


Well, I’m not actually sure it’s ever been stated exactly – but from this (absolutely amazing) ‘respect thread’ for the Flash of the New 52 we can see a collection of examples of his speed. The Tokyo evacuation certainly sounds like it would have to be pretty up there, not to mention the stuff above femtoseconds…

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Does Eobard Thawne/Professor Zoom exist in the New 52?

On November 17th, 2014, /u/Yaseen121 asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

Sorta complicated question but here goes, Does Eobard Thawne/Professor Zoom exist in the new 52 I know there was a reference to him in the Flash annual #3. Also in flash-point Thomas Wayne kills Eobard and then Barry goes back in time to stop himself from saving his mother, but wasn’t his mother killed by Eobard so wouldn’t that mean there’s another Eobard around? If he isn’t then who do you guys think is the most likely candidate for the murder of Nora Allen. Oh and if it wasn’t obvious Professor Zoom is my favorite villain which is why I care so much lol.

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What was actually changed from the Golden Age to the Silver Age?

On November 16th, 2014, /u/Holtzy35 asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

What was actually changed from golden age to silver age? I know things like Kal-L to Kal-El happened, but what else was actually changed?

Hey hey, this seems like my kinda question. For these purposes, and because it’s this sub, I’ll stick to what happened with DC during this time ;)

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Pre-Flashpoint, how did people think Barry Allen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths?

On October 27th, 2014, /u/dispenserhere asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

I have just started getting into reading the flash, and I thought i’d start with Volume 2, which takes place directly after Crisis on Infinite Earths with Wally West.

However I’m a little confused about the ‘in canon’ reason for Barry Allen’s death. My question is: Since most characters have no memory of the Crisis events, what reason do they have for Barry not being around? Do they know he died saving them?

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Will they ever explain ‘that fight’ between Martian Manhunter and the Justice League?

On October 20th, 2014, /u/Nightangale asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

Did [we] ever find out want went down between martian manhunter and the rest of justice league when he was a member?

Justice-League-Alex-Ross-Art-570x249

For those who don’t know, I assume /u/Nightangale is referring to the panel from Justice League #8 that references, as a single splash page, that it “didn’t go well” when Martian Manhunter and the Justice League worked together: Continue reading