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“Dark Night: Death Metal-Speed Metal”: Wally West takes the Lead

8 mins read

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

During the battle against the Batman Who Laughs, the recently cosmic-powered speedster, Wally West, has stepped out from the shadow of Barry Allen, the second Flash.

In Joshua Williamson’s “Dark Nights: Death Metal-Speed Metal,” the third Flash steps up in a more proactive and mature role as a hero.  

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The comic begins after the events surrounding “Dark Nights: Death Metal no. 3.” Wally, Barry, Wallace West (Kid Flash), and Jay Garrick (the first Flash) are being chased by the Batman Who Laughs. In addition, Laughs also sends a herd of Black Flashes after the speedsters.

In “Death Metal” Laugh’s agenda is to steal the anti-crisis energy from Wally and use it to create the multiverse in his own image. As the Speed Force burns away due to the Flashes and Black Flashes tapping into it, Wally uses the Speed Force formula, that he learned from Johnny Quick, to stop time.

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As a result, the speedsters are able to catch their breath and end up in front of a now dilapidated Flash Museum. However, Barry reprimands Wally for acting irresponsibly with the Speed Force formula. Wally and Barry are about to argue only for Jay to stop them. Wally tells his fellow speedsters that his plan is to steal the Mobius Chair from the Batman Who Laughs.

In the 6-issue miniseries “Flash Forward” that takes place after “Heroes in Crisis” (in which the third Flash accidentally murders his fellow heroes) Wally obtains the Mobius Chair after purging various alternate worlds of dark matter. Tempus Feginaut, a cosmic being and watcher of the multiverse, guides Wally to the Mobius Chair and tasks him with while purging the universe of the ever-metastasizing dark matter. Wally uses the chair to purge a world of dark matter created by his own fears of losing his family, his wife Linda Park and his twin children Iris and Jai. The chair also grants Wally powers similar to Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan and even changes his crimson-colored costume to a neon blue.

When Wally decides to sit in the chair to save the multiverse, he tells Tempus to bring his children back home to his wife. At the end of “Flash Forward,” Wally watches over his family with sadness but is determined to take on his new role. But shortly after, he loses the Mobius Chair thanks to Laughs and a cosmic being name Perpetua.

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Wally plans on running through the Black Flash herd to steal the Mobius Chair. Conversely, Barry is against the idea and believes that running from the evil speedsters is the best chance for survival. The third Flash retorts that if Barry would not follow through with his plan, then he would go at it alone.

Barry follows Wally in the Flash Museum and both mentor and mentee have a heart-to-heart. He explains that despite his heroic efforts after Barry disappeared during Crisis on Infinite Earths, he felt that he was always in Barry’s shadow and running behind his mentor.

Barry assures Wally that he never wanted him to be in his shadow. He tells Wally that he missed Wally growing up as a man and a hero after his disappearance. Furthermore, Barry alludes to how the Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne showed him how much the evil speedster had hurt his family and that he could not blame him for all his problems. Barry then tells Wally that the biggest mistake he made was that he never stood by Wally when he needed him and that he would never repeat the same mistake again. The two speedsters make up and decide to go along with Wally’s plan.

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However, the celebration is cut short when the Laughs corrupts the Speed Force. In addition, the corruption causes the costumes of Barry, Jay, and Wallace to alter.

The speedsters are able to tap into the Speed Force and plow through the Black Flashes. While Jay and Wallace hold off the Black Flashes, Barry has an epiphany. He realizes that everything Wally told him was right and that even though Wally was faster than him, he was the leader. He also admitted that Wally had followed in his own path instead of staying in his shadow and that he felt inspired by that. Barry tells Wally to not use his anti-crisis energy but use his remaining Speed Force power to take the Mobius Chair.

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With Barry’s speed boost, Wally is able to steal the Mobius Chair from the Batman Who Laughs. And he also does this while donning his original Flash uniform. Wally is taken to the Speed Force where he reunites with the other Flashes and his wife and his children.

However, Wally knows that the fight is far from over and he and the Flashes plan to give Wonder Woman the Mobius Chair. The comic ends with Wally telling Barry to “lead the way” only for Barry to tell him that “nah, I think you got it covered. It’s your turn.”  Wally responds with “Damn right” as he, Barry, and Jay run with the Mobius Chair following them.

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 “Speed Metal” showed a Wally West who has grown up not only as a hero but as a man. Wally went through hell by nearly being wiped out of existence by Dr. Manhattan, having to atone for his accidental killing of his fellow heroes and friends, and saving alternate earths from dark matter. Now, he’s could very well be the key to defeating the Batman Who Laughs.

If Wally and the Justice League succeed in defeating the Batman Who Laughs, Wonder Woman’s plan to restore the multiverse into something better may be the best news for Wally. There’s a good chance that the restored multiverse may restore the heroes and friends Wally accidentally killed. With everything Wally has done to help save the multiverse, the restoration of the multiverse should be his second chance to be a hero to his allies, a husband to his wife, and a father to his children. His heroic efforts have earned him that. And that, one can argue, is a Flash Fact.

Courtesy of DC Comics

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