The Flash is one of DC Comics’ most iconic and beloved superheroes, known for his lightning-fast speed and red-and-yellow costume. But in the Kingdom Come storyline, readers are introduced to a different version of the character – one who is older, more world-weary, and grappling with the consequences of his actions. In this alternate future, the once-optimistic hero lives a lonely existence, having grown disillusioned with the state of the world and the actions of his fellow superheroes. But who is this older, wiser, and more powerful version of Flash? Numerous big names have carried the mantle of Flash during the many years that the character has existed, and due to that, we’ve decided to answer the age-old question of who is the Flash in the Kingdom Come storyline?
The Flash in the Kingdom Come Storyline is Wallace West, and he is purposely depicted as the amalgamation of several different flashes incorporating some notable and iconic bits and pieces of their design. This ambiguous appearance of the characters was done on purpose since the main purpose of the appearance was to be iconic and symbolic in nature rather than the fleshed-out part of the story.
Now that we’ve covered that the Kingdom Come Flash is indeed Wallace West and that the confusion about the identity of this speedster was on purpose. It’s time to analyze how the character came to be and its significance. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Kingdom Come mini-series introduced us to a new godlike version of Flash
Kingdom Come is a four-issue limited series comic book published in 1996 by DC Comics. The story was written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross. The storyline explored the themes of generational conflict and the nature of heroism through the eyes of older heroes and their successors.
Kingdom Come is set in an alternative future. Most of the heroes that are known to us today have, at that point, either retired or died. The world is now patrolled by a new generation of heroes. Those younger heroes are bloodthirsty, reckless, and destructive. They have the same drive for destruction as villains do. In response, Superman returns from his self-imposed exile and teams up with the older heroes to restore order and promote a return to traditional heroism. However, they face opposition from a new generation of heroes who refuse to adhere to the old ways and a powerful villain known as Magog.
In Kingdom Come Vol 1 #1, we are presented with an alternative and older version of the Flash. This Flash goes under the name Wallace West, and he has seemingly transcended all limitations of the Speed Force. He has all the same powers and abilities as his predecessors and other notable versions. After Superman had retired, Flash continued his heroic duties, and he started running and patrolling the Keystone City. Flash turned the Keystone City into a utopia. He never stopped moving. He was always running and, due to this, appeared to be omnipresent.
His amazing speed allowed him to transcend the borders of presence and space. He was described as being able to “live between the ticks.” He is mostly unseen due to running so fast and never stopping. The writers themselves insinuated that the Flash turned into something else entirely, something above mere human. It’s unknown how this version of Flash acquired the powers of the Speed Force, however, as it was never explicitly stated.
The Flash in Kingdom Come storyline was always supposed to be an amalgamation of the most famous speedsters
Flash in the Kingdom Come Storyline was identified as Wallace West, but his appearance and notable parts of his costume, as well as his powers, insinuate that he is something more. He has the metal hat of Jay Garrick, the lightning bolt backdraft of Wally West, and his costume is reminiscent of Barry Allen.
This was done on purpose to signify that the Kingdom Come version of the Flash transcends all previous versions of the Flash and spiritually incorporates every character that ever held the mantle of the Speedster. There has been much debate online concerning the identity of the Flash in Kingdom Come and whether he is an amalgamation of several different Flash, and all the theories turned out to be true. The fact that Kingdom Come Flash is both the Wallace West and an amalgamation of different Flash was confirmed in Kingdom Come #1 Annotations
“Keystone City here looks like Metropolis does in current DC continuity: bright and hopeful. The Spectre calls it a utopia, and it certainly seems to be. Why? Well, as the Spectre points out, it’s the home of the Flash, who here seems to incorporate bits of several of the figures who have borne the name: he’s got the winged metal hat of the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick; he’s got the lightning-bolt backdraft (a residue of the Speed Force) of the current Flash, Wally West; he’s got the in-several-places-at-once appearance of Mort Meskin’s Johnny Quick; and his color and skin-tight costume are similar to the Silver Age Flash (and first patron saint of DC) Barry Allen. Ross’ original character design of the Flash called for him to be called “Mercury” as a way of showing how far above mere humans and how close to godlike, the Kingdom Come Flash has become.
Both Mark Waid and Alex Ross said that the identities of Flash, Hawkman, and the Green Lantern (who we’ll see in the next few pages) would not be explicitly stated and that this ambiguity was intentional, as the main point of their appearances here was their iconic significance. Ross added that his character designs were meant to incorporate elements of the characters from all the comic eras.”
And there you have it, one of the most powerful versions of the Flash, the Kingdom Come Flash, was purposely so ambiguous, and his identity was kept hidden for a reason.