Wrapping up the April only-themed back issues that get highlighted this month, today I've chosen an old favorite of mine, Flash#100. This was the last part of Terminal Velocity, an amazing arc by Mark Waid.
It was also one of a few centennial isues coming out back then. Wonder Woman, Superman, and Justice League of America all hit the centennial mark around this time, and this was Wally's turn.
Flash#100 (Vol.2) Terminal Velocity: Overdrive "The Quick and the Dead" by Mark Waid, Salvador LaRocca, Carlos Pacheco, and Oscar Jimenez.
Quick recap time: Okay so Waid had a lot of plates spinning up in the air within this arc.
Kobra and his international terrorist organization had set its sights on Keystone City, trapping the city and all of its people inside a seemingly impentrable forcefield. So Wally has to deal with that. He's also trying to mentor Impulse(Bart Allen), teaching him to grow up and use his powers responsibly....and failing miserably.
Wally's sense of urgeny about this is due to the fact that the Speed Force keeps calling him every time Wally runs, pulling him to merge with it. And since running is what he does, yeah, Wally's kinda' fucked. Wally's trying to smarten Bart up because he needs him to be his replacement. Replacement? Yeah in the beginning of the arc, Wally has a nightmare, a premonition, that he and his city would die.
And then there's his not-yet-wife, Linda to deal with. So yeah, lots of stuff to deal with, and only a short time left to do it all in.
By #100, Kobra's seemingly killed Wally, which he didn't but the rest of the city doesn't know that, and now the rest of the speedsters(Max Mercury, Jesse Quick, Bart, and Jay Garrick) along with Linda and the Pied Piper have to save Keystone City by themselves.
And man are they having a rough time of it....
Jesse and Jay get put on the shelf, leaving the rest to pick up the slack.
Oh and while this is happening, Kobra's hedging its bets by simultaneously attacking multiple cities around the country. Leading to scenes like this:
Talk about a timely save right?
Of course it wasn't.....
Yep, cue obligatory scenes of various heroes doing their thing.
But Wally's still "dead", and dispite their best efforts, it looks like Kobra's going to win out in the end.
Not that brave Linda believes that, as she intends to go out guns blazing. Literally.
Try as she might though, Kobra's just too powerful.
Talk about a timely save right?
Wally seemingly comes back from the "dead" and heals his friends' wounds, and saves the city he loves, thus preventing the horrible future that haunted him at the beginning of the arc.
But was it really Wally, or all just a dream?
As it turns out, Wally didn't die, but merely merged with the Speed Force. Other speedsters got permantely stuck there once they followed the call, but not Wally. His love for Linda is what kept him grounded, much like Barry had Iris as his anchor. Of course, up to this point, Wally was the only speedster that came back, thus further moving him out of his Uncle Barry's shadow.
Waid would stay on for a few more years, take a break, and then finally end his legendary run. But most think, myself included, that he should've ended his run with this issue since the rest of his run after this just wasn't as good.
Still, this is definitely a key arc in Wally's overall story as Flash, and it would go on to define him for the rest of his career.....until Flashpoint and Dan Dildo fucked all that up.
You can find Terminal Velocity in trade form or the individual issues on the cheap in the quarter bin.
Do yourself a favor and go find it. Its well worth it.