Warning: SPOILERS for Justice League #20
Fans can debate whether Barry Allen or Wally West is the greatest version of The Flash, but DC Comics has just shown that the ultimate, most evolved form of the speedster is actually Wally AND Barry... combined.
At least, that sure looks to be the twist revealed in the latest comics, in which the older Superman of DC's future has returned to our time to introduce the Justice League to their future counterparts. It's a vision of the world that may one day be, and a world in which the heroes have truly won. And apparently, a world in which 'The Flash' is comprised of not just one speedster, but a synthesis of the two most iconic versions. Barry and Wally always were best friends... maybe merging into one speedster was inevitable?
The stunning debut of the higher level, advanced, sixth dimension version of the League was revealed in Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez's Justice League #19, giving hints of how Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and even Batman might ascend to their most heightened forms over time. But it was the version of Flash that seemed most curious. Now that Justice League #20 is out, the odd triple-nature of this Future Flash seems to be just as it appeared. Take a look:
The idea of Barry Allen in his classic Flash costume, and Wally in his own signature, cowl-less suit combining into one singular speedster is a compelling one, not to mention a creative way to end the 'Which version of The Flash is Better' debate permanently. But as strange as it might seem to even consider, there is precedent for it in the existing DC Comics mythology. Granted, it was only a small bit of trivia folded into the much larger lore of Mark Waid and Alex Ross' Kingdom Come series. But if Dark Nights: Metal proved anything, it's Scott Snyder's determination to honor DC history whenever possible.
In that vision of DC's future, the speedster known as 'The Flash' was once Wally West. But when Wally decided to stop ever stopping, he became a being of pure speed, and looked more like the god Mercury than ever before (as basically a deity existing at all points, at all times). That Kingdom Come/future Flash was a fictional pastiche of Wally, Barry, Jay Garrick, and other speedsters powered by the Speed Force. So if Justice League #20 is teasing a literal blending of past Flashes into a single avatar of the Speed Force, it could be a beautiful homage. Not to mention a pitch perfect bit of sci-fi/fantasy.
Fans will obviously need to wait for the full issue to see how Snyder and Jimenez tease out or reveal the true nature of this sixth dimensional Flash, but even the suggestion of a Wally/Barry fusion dance is guaranteed to get fans' imaginations flying. Will the idea catch on, opening the door for both Flashes to someday merge into one ultimate Flash? Let's keep our fingers crossed for now, and just hope that Wally West is brought back to life first.
Justice League #20 will be available on March 20th from your local comic store, and directly from DC Comics.