I love the Flash franchise. I love Jay, I love Barry, Bart, Max, Jesse, the whole crew. It was one of my favorite books to pick up growing up (even if it wasn’t always the best book growing up). But in recent years, I’ve learned that I was a Flash fan during the wrong time period; during that twenty-three year sliver were Wally West was The Flash.
A funny thing about being a comic book toy collector is that the current happenings in the comics affect the toy line in subtle ways. We were lucky to get a Zauriel in Hasbro’s JLA line back in the 90s. DC Direct making Hourman III & Tomorrow Woman was a rare, but happy, fluke for me. Similarly, Mattel’s Classics line came into its stride just as Barry was returning to the comics. It wasn’t a good time to be a Wally West fan (it still isn’t five years later).
To be fair, Barry & Wally were both introduced into the Classics line at the same time. That’s a point I largely ignore in my pictures (and will no doubt hear about in the comments), but it’s true. Classics was seven waves in and it was building in random, inconsistent directions. The Flash franchise went largely ignored the first year and when it finally came time to do them, Mattel went super-early Silver Age. Wally came into the line as Kid Flash, a particularly young Kid Flash that has never squarely fit in with any other Teen Titans figures that have blooped out of the line. That figure was a wash to me, so much so that I forgot to even pull it out when I was getting figures for the review. Duh.
While the Barry figure is one of the best figures in the line, an adult Wally West has really been just as crucial to the collection. But despite all the years at retail, Mattel never managed to get around to it. Barry was reissued several times (even once on the wrong buck) and was repainted three times (a metallic deco, Blue Lantern, & White Lantern versions). It could’ve been a Mattel thing. It could’ve been a DC thing. Who knows? When the second subscription year was announced and Wally was finally going to make his adult debut, I was ecstatic.
And then I saw the figure.
I’ll be honest. This is probably just a case of my being a fussy, unappeasable collector. To be sure, the Wally West figure was always going to be cheap. It’s the most basic of bucks – heck, I usually use the Flash figure when I need a quick DCUC silhouette. The boots are Flash-centric, but they’re tooled and ready to go. The figure really only needed a new head – and it got one. So that should do me. Continue to Page 2…