Times have rarely been as exciting for fans of The Flash as they are thanks to DC’s Flash War event, culminating in the latest issue. But when the dust settles from The Flash #50 – after Barry Allen and Wally West went head to head and broke the Speed Force, after Bart Allen returned to life, and Wally West remembered the children he had lost – it becomes clear that the real heart of Josh Williamson’s time on The Flash may be what happens next.
Considering what’s transpired in his post-Rebirth run already, that’s saying something. We had the opportunity to ask the comic writer about the unexpected twists and game-changing reveals of Flash War, and where the story leaves every member of The Flash Family. His words may have some fans worried for their favorite speedster, but from the sound of it, Williamson is too dedicated to leaving his mark for the stories to underwhelm.
As a longtime fan of Wally West reading the ’90s comics, seeing him return in Rebirth was a huge moment. But this feels like, in a lot of ways, the big Wally West story we’ve been building towards. Was that a priority?
In a way, I suppose. I’ve been a big fan of The Flash family, and I grew up with Wally, too. Barry’s my favorite Flash now but I definitely grew up with Wally and Bart. And I think ever since Rebirth started, I remember I got the job on The Flash, and I think about two or three weeks later I found out that Wally was coming back. This was at the end of 2015-ish? So this was long before Rebirth had come out. So I got to be involved in a lot of the stuff really early on, and looking at the process of what they were doing when they were developing what was going to become Rebirth, and the stuff with Wally.
So for me going into this story, I was wanting to work with Wally for a long time but it just never worked out. And I always say this when we talk about it, you can’t just go to them and say, ‘I want to do this because…’ You have to have a story, you have to have a reason. Basically it comes down to that. So with FLASH WAR, I went to them and I said, ‘I want to use Wally, I have a really big idea.’ At the time I was calling it War of The Flashes – so I was like, ‘I want to do War of The Flashes!’ – and it wasn’t just about Wally, it’s a Barry story too. I really wanted to tell a story about both of them.
I understand Wally takes a a big spotlight in this story because he is the major catalyst with Hunter [Zolomon] being in there. But I didn’t feel like I wanted to tell ‘The Wally Story,’ to get back to your original question. I feel like Wally’s story is very big and very much a part of the heart of what’s been going in the DC Universe the last two years, and it’s just my turn in the relay race, you know? My turn right now to kind of continue on that story, and pass it on to the next thing.
His story is far from over, you can tell at the end of this issue. And that’s really the thing with FLASH WAR in general, it’s just a piece of a really big story we’re telling. I’ve been saying this whole time with FLASH WAR that it isn’t the end of a story, it’s really the beginning, it’s the next step in a really big story.
Well in the final pages of the issue, you run through all of the big… not necessarily mysteries that you’ve set up, but the new problems that will need to be dealt with. The biggest one, which I think fans of the TV show and now the movie will notice, is that The Flash’s time travel is no longer on the table. Obviously nothing in comics is permanent, but how committed to that twist should fans expect it to be?
Yeah, I mean that’s kind of how… [Laughs]. That’s a funny question to ask, like you said, nothing is forever in comics. That is the status quo for right now. The question you have to ask next is… what would have to happen for Barry to realize he has to get time travel back? So that will be part of the question over the next year, and parts of the story with the Flash Family. Right now they can’t travel through time, which is okay because Barry doesn’t like to, he doesn’t want to. But eventually something is going to happen and he’s going to have to travel through time. That’ll be part of the story that we tell in the book over the next year or so.