As a long time Wally West fan, I have to confess that I am not upset with Tom King for what he did here. If you take into account what has happened to Wally over the past couple of years into account and apply it to the context of Heroes In Crisis’ overall themes this makes sense.
Since DC Universe Rebirth #1, it has been revealed that Wally was trapped in the Speed Force for years and everyone forgot he even existed. His kids seemingly no longer existed, which he was willing to do anything to get them back. Much of this pain I would imagine has been held in and never fully addressed by any writer because of what I feel is an overreliance on escapism and the belief that these stories always have to be about “hope, heart, and optimism” to please certain people who don’t fully believe in the flexibility of these human characters to be more than that. This unwillingness to allow Wally to unpack all of his angst, trauma, and pain out after entering a new world has ultimately allowed Heroes in Crisis to turn into the explosion that it is. In some ways there’s even a meta aspect to it that is best highlighted by what King says here about the story:
“I feel like all of Heroes in Crisis is about the fact that denying your pain or repressing your pain or dealing with your stress by not thinking about it is not the way to go.”
This is a pretty apt summary of what our man Wally has been doing since 2016 and King finally allowed him to unpack in a way that is relatable for anyone who has faced mental health issues. Something he never had a chance to do. We can only take so much pain and walk so much of it off as if we didn’t feel it, but eventually we have to let it out. We have to stop hiding it. If anything, this speaks to how much respect King actually has for Wally to the point he did the character a big favor. He never set out to “assassinate” him like a lot of people have tried to say.
P.S. STOP SENDING TOM DEATH THREATS JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE HIS WRITING.
ANerdwonder I’m with you on Heroes in Crisis. Wally has PTSD from having his entire family not killed but erased. In his grief, he lost control, he did not murder anyone, it was an accident. We’ve still to see what his final plan was. And, it’s a story, ignore it if you want. I do that with half the Hawkman retcons they keep trying.
Love this. Completely agree
That’s the other thing too, @msgtv.
Wally didn’t murder people as we see in that beautiful splash page from Mitch Gerads. There’s a lot of context people are ignoring about this book and I frankly don’t fully understand how when it is pretty obvious to me.
I don’t necessarily have an issue with Wally losing control of his powers after witnessing everyone’s trauma on top of his own. I have an issue with him using time travel tech to meticulously frame two innocent people for mass murder, then committing suicide - allegedly, since there’s still another issue. If Wally had the frame of mind to do all that, why wouldn’t he have just gone back in time to run himself to an empty space for his previous breakdown? This would have saved everyone (not just Ivy with the flower thing), maintained Wally as a hero and not a suicide/killer, exposed the flaws with Sanctuary, and opened the possibility of real healing for Wally (and the others).
@c02goddess.16092 it probably would’ve been easier for him to just block the door after his past self ran out, preventing anyone from going outside.
co2 I think the frame up was intended to give Wally time to do whatever it is he’s doing. One thing I really appreciated in this series is its depiction of PTSD. The feeling os helplessness, anxiety, the need to understand why crappy things have happened to you. Citizen Steel sure he would just die again. Said it before in posts but will say it again, there’s a cost to putting on the uniform in their universe and in ours.
@msgtv I agree that the frame was to buy time, but with time travel on the table, what could Wally possibly have done in those five days to make up for not only killing all of those people, but also setting up Booster and Harley to take the blame and killing himself? That’s a lot of trauma purposefully inflicted after the initial accident. Time travel could have erased the accident. Wally and the others would still have traumas to explore, but in this scenario they’d have a chance to try and work through those traumas. Also, Wally could then proceed with whatever he planned to do over the next five days without other heroes hunting for a murderer.
Of course, all of that assumes that the events actually played out as shown and that Wally himself wasn’t in a giant Sanctuary session the whole time. I guess we’ll find out next month.
@ANerdWonder: I just wanted to say what a great post. I agree with everything you said and that it makes a lot of sense that Wally would react adversely after everything that’s happened to start im. He’s got to have some major PTSD after being trapped in the speed force for so long and then finding out he basically has lost everything as a result.
I was on another forum in a post about a different character in a somewhat similar situation where the writer isn’t dealing at all with the ramifications of being imprisoned and losing everything as a result and that’s really helped me put the latest issue of HiC in perspective.
Also sending death threats to writers is just wrong on so many levels. Don’t be that fan.
Have people actually sent death threats to King? That is stupid and inhuman on many levels.
Also, they know he’s ex-CIA, right?
Yeah, there’s always a cost for doing the right thing or following your dream.
Sometimes it’s your family getting murdered, or your wife getting raped by a C-list villain… Sometimes you just go boom and kill a bunch of other heroes.
Lesson: don’t do the right thing and avoid your dreams.
Everyone will be happier.
So it’s realistic that people who’ve experienced trauma and mental health issues become mass murderers?
The biggest problem isn’t that he accidentally killed all those people. The biggest problem is that he decided to cover up the fact by framing two other people and sending others on a wild goose chase. He was obviously not very sorry about his actions if he went through all of this instead of going back and fixing the problem. The problem is that there is no way he can be redeemed after this.
I’m not surprised by the death threats even though there is no reason for them. I’m just surprised that King and DiDio didn’t expect them.
@BatJamags - yea it kind of is. It wouldn’t be realistic for everyone who experienced trauma to become a murderer, but it is a reason why a particular person might.
Worth noting that Wally isn’t a murderer. He didn’t intentionally kill anyone. The deaths were an accident.
The cover-up, now that’s another thing. That was premeditated. That’s the part that’s hard to swallow. But I still think there’s more going on with the coverup than has been revealed.
@Kent: I don’t believe any writer should go through their careers expecting death threats as a matter of course. At the end of the day these are fictional characters and sending writer’s death threats over how they are being used is asinine and over the top.
In my opinion if you don’t like how a writer is handling a favorite character then maybe you shouldn’t read it and avoid that writer’s works in the future as well. That’s a better thing to do then sending off death threats. At some point someone out there will actually attempt to make their threat a reality and they will start cracking down on people making such threats like they are already doing with threats against schools now.
I don’t think there is any excuse for a death threat, but considering how upset people got over the BatCat wedding, then I think they should have realized that people would be more upset. I agree that death threats are stupid and are just a way for people to anonymously hide behind a computer. Some people in our country over react to everything, and I think that they should have expected that there would be some fans who would take things way too far. I agree that you don’t have to read the comic and that these are fictional characters, but some people don’t see it that way for some reason. They take everything too personally.
Maybe writers shouldn’t be surprised when readers get upset of things sure but they are only human and so are not perfect so I’m not really bothered by that type of reaction not that I think that they are entirely unaware of fan reactions mind you. Being upset is one thing and I can completely understand that as well as reasonable reactions to that but since these are fictional characters there is really no need to go overboard and actually threaten a person’s life over it. I’ve seen people become so involved in a character that they start to think of themselves as that character.
@batjamags no, ptsd doesn’t make you kill people, but it was an accident. He lashed out, which people with ptsd do. Being a super hero and having the powers he does, is what killed the people.
I agree with the original post, I disagree with the notion that we can’t allow these characters to feel broken and make mistakes every once in a while. Wally is not a murderer; the deaths that occurred in Sanctuary were caused unintentionally by his powers lashing out.
Some people have said that Wally’s dealt with more traumatic things in the past, and that the speed force explosion is a stupid new thing that doesn’t make sense. The truth is that it really doesn’t matter what individual things have happened to Wally before; the accident with his powers was caused by a culmination of stress and anxiety that has been boiling in him for YEARS, the events of rebirth and seeing the testimonies of the rest of Sanctuary pushed him over the edge finally.
And in terms of Wally faking the crime scene and how he can be redeemed, we just have to wait and see. A mystery book like this can’t be judged chapter by chapter, we have to see how it ends. Maybe the good deed he was talking about was finding a way to undo their deaths, or something like that. We have to wait and see.