With the question "Who remembers Wally West" emblazoned across the cover, it is no surprise that today's The Flash Annual #1 brought some memories flooding back -- including those of characters long thought gone (or at least permanently changed).
From sidekicks to foes, allies to...coffeeshops?...a number of DC heroes, villains, and...well, coffeeshops again...made their triumphant return in this issue, which kicks off the "Flash War" storyline in which a mysterious figure is pitting Barry Allen and Wally West against one another.
We took some time out, flipped through the comic a second time, and figured out just who showed back up after a long absence in The Flash Annual #1.
Here's who we spotted. Did we miss any? Let us know @comicbook!
Bart gets not just a statue hidden away in the building but also a close-up on an Impulse puppet with its face shattered.
Impulse first appeared in 1994, during Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo's run on The Flash. The character served as a kind of quasi-sidekick to the Wally West Flash for years, although it would be about a decade before he would become Kid Flash, a name he took on during Geoff Johns's run on Teen Titans.
About a year later, in 2005, Allen would briefly replace Wally West as The Flash, when Wally retired from the role and left the present day to live peacefully with his wife and newborn children in the future. he was only The Flash for a short time, before he died and was replaced by Wally, who had been brought back to the present in a Justice League of America storyline.
Bart would return from the dead in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, part of the same over-arching story which saw Barry Allen return from the Speed Force and supplant Wally as the primary Flash.
We do not see him in person in this issue -- that is actually the case with the first handful of these "returns" -- but we do get conclusive evidence that, based on displays at the 25th Century Flash Museum, Impulse and a number of other Speedsters missing since 2011's Flashpoint event do indeed exist in DC's current continuity.
What happened to them, on the other hand, is anyone's guess.
Johnny Quick, Bart Allen, Max Mercury and John Fox are their names. We will get a little into what makes them special here...
Max Mercury is a time-traveling hero and Speed Force guru that aids the Flash and other speedsters to better understand their abilities.
Originally a Golden Age superhero, Mark Waid revitalized the character in the 1990s and gave the character his own unique control over the Speed Force.
While not as fast as the Flash or other speedsters, Mercury has much finer control over his abilities, allowing him greater coordination while running. Mercury taught several generations of speedsters over the years, including Jay Garrick, Johnny Quick, Wally West, and Bart Allen.
The only major comics story ever to feature Savitar, "Dead Heat," ended when Wally (who was The Flash at the time) amassed an army of speedsters to take on Savitar, including Johnny Quick, who sacrificed himself to defeat the "speed god."
Wally then took Savitar into the Speed Force and imprisoned him there, getting lost along the way; instead of Wally returning to the spot where he had been battling Savitar, John Fox arrived, suprising and confusing everyone in attendance.
Fox hails from the 27th Century, where he was a scientist sent to the past to recruit the help of a Flash to defeat a powerful supervillain. Instead, he inadvertently gained speed himself and defeated the villain on his own.
After meeting up with a time-tossed Wally, Fox headed to the 20th Century to keep the Flash's seat warm for him, briefly filling in for the hero while he was away. Fox wore a blue costume and while his lightning as yellow like Wally's, a white stripe in his otherwise black hair would sometimes give off a white or blue lightning effect.
While "Dead Heat" and its follow-up issues certainly defined the character of Fox for most readers, he had previously had his true "first appearance" in The Flash Special #1 in 1990 -- a comic published to tie in to the then-new TV series starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen.
Created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Magenta first appeared in a 1982 issue of The New Teen Titans. Given her name and power set, she inevitably draws comparisons to the famed X-Men villain Magneto.
She did not want her heroes, but was, as the Flash Annual suggests, a reluctant hero for a time before turning bad.
Besides being a Titan and a Rogue, she briefly served as part of the Suicide Squad.
Magenta was also part of a "New Rogues" storyline that involved characters like Weather Witch and Mirror-Man. Given the reinvention of the Rogues as 25th Century antiheroes, it is difficult to ignore the possibility that the parallel was intentional.
She was a minor character, but reappeared during Geoff Johns's run on The Flash and is probably most famous for having appeared on an episode of The Flash last season, played by Wish I Was Here star Joey King.
Speedsters in their own right, Don and Dawn were born in the future, where Barry and Iris retreated following the epic "The Trial of the Flash" storyline.
Conceived toward the end of Barry's life (well, his pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths life. He came back later), the pair lived in the 30th Century and were a part of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Because of Barry's death in the Crisis, they never knew their father and were often depicted as jealous of Wally West, who got to have Barry as a kind of surrogate dad. This blew over when Wally, time-displaced after that aforementioned battle with Savitar, ended up in their time and they got to know him as a person.
Recently, fans have seen that the Tornado Twins are indeed alive -- or a version of them - but the crazed, evil ones pictured above are nothing like the smiling, tights-wearing pair in the statue.
Radu Stancu owns a cafe in New York -- which as is wont to happen when a place gets popular in one comic, was transformed into a DC Universe chain after appearing as a consistent location during Ron Marz's Green Lantern run.
You can see Radu's in the scene where Wally and Frankie are getting coffee. Radu himself is nowhere to be spotted, which is too bad! As someone who read Marz's GL run, it's easy to miss a likabl esupporting character. As Wally correctly points out in this issue, so many superheroes do not have lives outside of the costume anymore, and that means rich supporting casts often go to waste.
There's more than one character who's called himself the Reverse-Flash or Professor Zoom. The first, Eobard Thawne, is a time-traveling supervillain who drew his powers from the speed force like Barry Allen did, who had comparable speed and powers but who used them for evil.
The second, Hunter Zolomon, was somebody who fancied himself a friend and aide to The Flash.
"My name is Hunter Zolomon. Despite what the public believes, I am the fastest man alive. I am Zoom. But I am not a Rogue. Far from it. I have taken the name and colors from Eobard Thawne -- the time traveler know as Professor Zoom -- in order to terrorize my friend. Wally West. The Flash. I suffered through tragedy. I lost my family to it. I understand the depths it will drag one down to. And only by surviving it does one become stronger. I will recreate myself to help my friend and in turn -- the world. I will do anything to make the Flash a better hero."
He wasn't technically faster than The Flash, though; his powers worked a little differently and involved manipulation of time, allowing him to basically move between seconds, appearing fast but in fact moving at normal speed, just in a way that made him nearly impossible to hit.
His backstory: He was severely injured following an attack by Gorilla Grodd and left paralyzed. He wanted then-Flash Wally West to travel back in time (The Flash can do that, especially using the Cosmic Treadmill) to stop the injury from happening, but Wally refused, not wanting to mess with the timestream. When Zolomon tried to use the treadmill himself to do it, the resulting explosion is what gave him his powers. He determined that in order to be a better hero and understand personal loss, Wally had to experience some of his own, and targeted Barry's loved ones, even causing a miscarriage in his wife.
Like the Reverse Flash on television, he incorporated some black into the outfit, he worked to make Barry "better" and he had the crazy red eyes.
And now it looks like making Barry a "better" hero is going to include using Iris as leverage to pit him against Wally for...reasons.