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Kid Flash

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

Here's to bad choices!

Cousin of Wally West, this super-powered speedster joins the Teen Titans as Kid Flash.

Because Geoff Johns' reintroduction of Hal Jordan was well-received, DC foolishly let him do the same for Barry Allen. This, unfortunately, pushed the better Flash out of the spotlight, so when the New 52 relaunch hit, he was nowhere to be found. Three years into the new continuity, it was announced that Wally was finally going to be "reintroduced"... but this turned out not to be the existing character who fans had wanted, but rather a new interpretation of the same origin. No, DC. No. Their fans were still unhappy, so after another two years had passed, they finally brought the original Wally West back, meaning that this fill-in now had to be retconned. He was still Iris West's nephew, but from a different brother, and he started going by "Wallace" to set him apart (the idea being that both versions were named after the same great-grandfather). And all because Johns had apparently never heard the phrase "leave well enough alone."

In a shocking turn of events, this Kid Flash does not use the same molds as previous versions. For whatever reason, Mattel decided right at the end of their license that the time was right to finally make improvements we'd all been requesting for a decade. The boy is still quite tall and muscular, but definitely has a thinner frame than others do. The feet are a new mold, sculpted with small armor-ish details befitting the New 52 designs, and even a pattern on the soles!

Like the previous Kid Flash costumes (other than the first one from the '60s, which was identical to the Flash costume), this one leaves Wallace's mouth and hair exposed. The eyeholes on the mask seem shaped to make him look angry, even though his enemies would probably never see his face, and the ear decorations are red lightning bolts, rather than wings.

The new feet aren't the only change the New 52 costume has made. While this is still the classic yellow shirt, red pants combo, it also adopts a few of the changes introduced in the early '00s, like a black belt and a circle behind the chest logo. But then again, this being the New 52, the costume takes things a bit too far, making the belt really jagged, adding matching lines on the gloves and boots, and random red streaks on the shoulders? The toy's colors have trouble matching over parts: the shoulder balls are the same yellow as the bit of shirt on his waist, but not the same as his arms or chest, and the hips aren't the same red as anything.

Wallace moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. In a better world, Mattel would have been giving their DC figures balljointed hips and double-hinged knees since the beginning, not waiting until now to do it. His hands are swivel/hinged, and can be swapped out for the extra pair of flat ones included in the package. It's not really clear why they gave him one fist and one hand shaped for holding things, because it's not like he comes with anything to hold. Something like the Young Justice whirlwind effects would have been cool, though.

The figure includes three bits for the Lobo "Collect & Connect" build-a-figure: the arms and the hooked chain, which is made from real metal. Neat!

Kid Flash is a perfectly okay character, but he highlights the problems with DC's constant ill-conceived reboots. DC already had a Wally West fans liked, so the attempt to introduce a new one fell flat; but even more than that, the New 52 already had a Kid Flash, so he needed to be written out of the story before Wallace could be written in. And frankly, the existence of this action figure just underscores the fact that in its 16 years with the DC license, Mattel never released a toy of Impulse, making him one of the few major characters go to entirely unrepresented.

-- 04/01/20

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