YMMV / The Flash

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Hunter Zolomon. Does he truly believe that tragedy will make Wally better, and is merely too mentally unbalanced to realise that he himself could be a hero as he meets his own criteria for a great hero? Or is he just a sad, broken man looking for an excuse to attack Wally's friends and family because Wally didn't help him? Or is it a mix of both? The comic where he becomes Zoom has him note in his internal monologue that he feels like his grasp on reality is slipping away, giving evidence that he really is jus that crazy.
  • Author's Saving Throw: DC Universe: Rebirth #1 was this for Wally West fans. The New 52 Wally West proved to be a very big Replacement Scrappy, and Wally fans just refused to accept him. Rebirth brings back the original Wally West while retconning the new Wally into the cousin of the original. It worked out really well, since Wally II no longer being Wally's replacement meant that classic Wally fans were much more willing to give Wally II a chance (it helps that his Jerkass tendencies were reigned in by this point). Wally's return also retconned back his history as Kid Flash, thereby retroactively making Bar Torr the second Kid Flash and Wally II the third, meaning even the legacy is intact! Turns out you can please them all!
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base Breaker:
    • Bart is a major divider. From the time he went from Impulse to Kid Flash, to becoming the Flash, to his death. And now he's back to being Kid Flash and has his original Impulse personality, people are still complaining. Why? Because they want him back as purely Impulse and see Wally's daughter being Impulse III being "an obstacle for Bart to return to form". Already some Bart fanboys are losing it and getting very angry with Iris claiming his former codename...
    • New 52 Wally West with his Race Lift, completely different backstory, and everything, though the reveal that he's the original Wally's cousin has healed it a bit.
  • Broken Base:
    • Mostly between Barry and Wally fans; Jay fans are mostly spared this, as there's a general consensus as to where and what he should be. (Or at last there used to be, before New 52. With Jay now out of the main continuity and completely rebooted onto another Earth, who knows?)
    • The New 52 has caused a Broken Base of San Andreas Fault proportions, what with Wally, Linda, their kids, Johnny, Jesse, and Max all now absent and apparently never having existed (although a very different version of Wally eventually appears), Barry's marriage gone, Bart and Jay effectively different people, and all of this being Barry's fault.
    • Before that, there's Johns' turning a lot of reformed Rogues evil again. Many feel that some were more interesting as The Atoner. Others prefer them in their villainous roles.
    • Back to New 52 there is a lot of debate on just how stereotypical Wally West's (who is now biracial) portrayal is. Some think it's fine stating that his delinquent behaviour is justified given everything he went through prior to his first appearance. A second group acknowledges it as being a bit iffy but by all means not too tremendously bad. Finally there's a third group who views it as full on White Man's Burden. Unless you want to start a flame war you better be sure you're discussing it with people who know how to hold civil debates.
      • There's at least one small contingent who wonder why they couldn't just bring Wally back as he used to be, complete with red hair, freckles, married to Linda Park with Jai and Iris, but as biracial. The problem is not that Wally is biracial, but that all his previous characterization got thrown out the window.
  • Character Rerailment: Bart, when he returned from the dead in Final Crisis, got back his ADHD and Fun Personified nature.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The Barry Allen Flash's Arch-Enemy is Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, AKA Professor Zoom. An obsessive fan of Barry, Eobard managed to duplicate Barry's powers. He then attempted to replace Barry, before stalking, and apparently murdering his wife, Iris Allen, when she rejected his advances. Eventually he drives Barry to kill him to save his new fiancé before he can kill her. However, Thawne was resurrected years later, and has gone out of his way to cross every line he can find since. Using his time travel powers to edit his life, Thawne kills his brother (who he blamed for holding him back), his parents (who weren't supportive of his obsession with the Speed Force), a professional rival, and every man that a woman he is interested in has ever dated; he then traumatises her as a child when she still spurns him. He kills Johnny Quick shortly after his own resurrection, tries to force Barry Allen, newly returned to life, into becoming the Black Flash, and during the Flashpoint crossover, alters the time stream further and further to make Barry's life as miserable as possible. In addition, in The Flash: Rebirth he kills Allen's mother, among other acts, thus indirectly causing Flashpoint. He has no Freudian Excuse or mitigating factor for these actions, but instead he's just a selfish man who plans to get what he wants at the expense of everyone else.
    • The most infamous criminal in the history of Gorilla City, Grodd was driven into exile after killing the city's benevolent leaders and ruthlessly plundered the mind of his friend Solovar to discover the secrets of mind control. Combining a ruthless brilliance with a gorilla's power, Grodd established himself as a feared player of the underworld. He would brutally murder anyone who stood in his way or just dispose of humans for the enjoyment, considering them far inferior to himself. Grodd's mental prowess is such that he enjoys dominating and twisting the minds of others to feral savagery or into sycophants for his ego. In battle, he is also highly sadistic - for example, crippling Hunter Zolomon, who recalled with terror how Grodd treated him like a toy he could break. To date, Grodd has made no fewer than eighteen attempts to completely wipe out all of humanity to purge what he sees as a lesser race.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • In recent years a lot of the Rogues (the exceptions seeming to be both Captain Boomerangs and the second Trickster) have been getting this. While some of them are sympathetic and most of them do have standards that doesn't change the fact that several of them have done some genuinely awful things from time to time.
    • Inertia. While he does have tragic elements and went through a fate nobody deserved, he's still a sociopath, even more insane then Zoom, and he organized the murder of Bart Allen.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Impulse in Young Justice.
    • Wally defaulted into this role after he was Demoted to Extra following Barry's return.
    • Hunter Zolomon is pretty popular, if only because of his interesting motivation.
  • Evil Is Cool:
  • Evil Is Sexy: Blacksmith.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Rainbow Raider. To be fair, he's colorblind.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: There is a lot of fanon surrounding Wally, especially in fanfics. His father being horribly abusive, (which does have some basis in canon but not to the Up to Eleven qualities in fanworks), is common.
    • There's also him having a weird child-parent relationship with the Rogues due to the fact that they don't hurt kids in most continuities. This relationship includes them kidnapping him to take him to fun parks, and Flash/Barry being perfectly fine with the enemies that try to kill him on a daily basis kidnapping his nephew without his consent.
    • A lot of fans seem to believe that he went to high-school with James Jesse (Trickster I) and Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper.) While Piper was later retconned into being closer to Wally's age once they became allies Wally was already well into his twenties by this point and The Trickster has always been consistently older than him.
    • If there's a fan-story about a late teens/early twenties Wally having to overcome insecurities chances are the climax (or an event a little before the climax) will take from his epic beat down of Brainiac-ified Lex Luthor in the Justice League cartoon by having him running around the world multiple times in the matter of nanoseconds to beat the villain, only to overuse his energy and fall into the Speed Force leading to his supporting cast having to reach in and pull him out.
  • Growing the Beard: Vol. 2 (Wally's series) started getting stubble with William Messner-Loebs's run, in which Wally started toning down his cockiness and his girlfriend Linda Park was introduced. Then Mark Waid came on and the beard had officially grown out.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Return of Barry Allen has Wally and Barry/Eobard teaming up to defend a mobster named Handsome Jack Giacomo from his rivals.
  • Internet Backdraft: Who's faster, the Flash or Superman? Power level discussions involving the Flash tend to not be pretty.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Captain Cold and Golden Glider.
    • Many Impulse fans see Inertia as this at the very least, based off the Mercury Falling arc. There's actually a good deal of alternate universe fanfic and fanart branching off from this point.
    • Peek-A-Boo. She just wanted to help her sick father and her powers are the definition of Blessed with Suck.
    • Zoom, whose life is... Just messed up. It's even a stretch to call him a Jerkass, since he genuinely wants to help his friend, he just has such a twisted view of reality that his attempts to help end up being horrifying.
    • Eobard Thawne is a Complete Monster, but the most recent version of his origins given show his past, and with the crap he had to put up with from his parents, and his brother, it's not a surprise he turned out the way he did.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The New 52 Flash Annual #3, which promised the return of Wally West.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Gorilla Grodd, Depending on the Writer.
  • Memetic Badass: A post explaining why "the motherfucking Flash" is the greatest hero ever began on Slashdot, and got reposted everywhere.
  • Memetic Mutation: "IT WAS ME BARRY!" Used as the absurd punchline to some story told by Professor Zoom, usually to parody the idea of Zoom being responsible for every bad thing in Barry's life.
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • Barry destroying the Anti-Monitor's weapon during the first Crisis. Also his Dying Moment of Awesome.
    • Wally, faced with the prospect of Professor Zoom killing and replacing Barry, throws off 10+ years of psychosomatic blocks on his top speed and decks Zoom. The look on Zoom's face alone makes it worthwhile, as does Wally's shout of "You're no Barry Allen!"
    • Wally becoming the first person to ever enter the Speed Force and return to kick Kobra's ass with a slew of new abilities, becoming the fastest man to have ever existed.
    • Wally again, this time defeating the Black Flash (the avatar of death meant to claim the lives of speedsters) by outrunning it to the end of time where death no longer has any meaning. To make it even better, he brings Linda back from the Speed Force on his return trip to the present.
    • A villainous example: Zoom is so "fast" that the combined speed of four of the earth's greatest speedsters (Wally, Jay, Bart, and Jesse) need to be combined into one body in order to get close to catching up with him.
    • The Rogues destroying their evil unprincipled counterparts during Final Crisis.
    • Blue Lantern Barry in Blackest Night. ALL WILL BE WELL.
    • How about Bart punching Zoom in the face? Or defeating Blockbuster by collapsing an entire building on himself?!
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The first Reverse-Flash crossed it when he killed Iris Allen (she got better).
    • Gorilla Grodd when he ate an entire country in JLA: Classified.
    • The second Reverse-Flash crossed it when he caused Linda Park to miscarriage.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Professor Zoom. He killed Iris by phasing his hand into her head, and when a woman he was interested in denied his advances, he tortured her till she was reduced to a vegetable and killed everyman she ever dated.
    • Hunter Zolomon as Zoom adopts this trope. He murders innocent people close to superheroes, will not hesitate to kill anybody who gets in his way, and he thinks that his actions are improving other heroes. He truly thought that he was helping Wally when he tried to kill his pregnant wife.
    • Black Flash can come off as this at times, due to his his purpose as The Grim Reaper for speedsters as well as his unsettling character design.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Every single speedster has suffered this in someway. Jay Garrick is the only one with immunity, only because he was the first.
    • Wally for Barry, at first.
    • Bart's brief tenure as the Flash, which was thankfully reversed.
    • Iris claimed the name of Impulse and fanboys have raged as result.
    • Post Rebirth, Barry for Wally. It also doesn't help that DC decided to demote Wally's role to the point where his current status in their new reboot wasn't even shown for two and a half years.
    • The New 52 incarnations of Wally and Bart for their pre-Flashpoint incarnations. Noticeably, once the classic, original Wally West was brought back without disposing of Nu Wally, people were much more willing to give Nu Wally a chance because he wasn't replacing Wally anymore.
    • Even the Reverse-Flashes suffer from this. Flash: Rebirth brought back Thawne, but Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge discarded the two new Reverse-Flashes, Zolomon and Inertia. It doesn't help that Thawne and Zolomon are very different characters.
    • Patty Spivot for Iris West as Barry's love interest in the New 52.
    • The second Trickster for the first. Eventually, those the grew fond of the new Trickster felt this way about the first. It doesn't help that DC gave the Trickster a homophobia shtick once he went bad again, when he had never displayed it before, and was a friend of the Pied Piper's.
    • The New 52 Eobard Thawne is hated by fans of every Reverse-Flash, yes even fans of Eobard Thawne.
      • He's hated by Eobard Thawne fans because his motivation and backstory are just so contrived and stupid. Instead of making him a straight-up villain, the writers write him as someone who believes he is a good guy... Depending on the Writer, since his characterization seems to change between issues, from someone who believes he's a good person to someone who's an asshole. His overall villain plan is full of plotholes and contrived reasoning, as opposed to Eobard who had the simple goal of fucking with Barry's life since he couldn't kill Barry. He's just poorly written in his motivation and personality, when the Pre-New 52 Eobard Thawne was written as a Complete Monster, and delighted in how much of a prick he was.
      • Hunter Zolomon fans hate him because the New 52 Eobard is blatantly a poor attempt to blend both Pre-New 52 Eobard and Hunter into a single character, but with the Eobard traits dominating entirely. New 52 Thawne's powers and costume are more like Hunter's, when they never used to be. Not to mention that the New 52 already had someone with Hunter's powers — along with general theme — in Daniel West. At the same time, New 52 Eobard does not have anything else from Hunter; nothing to make him sympathetic or an excuse for his insanity, nor does he have an interesting relationship with the Flash.
      • Daniel West fans hate New 52 Eobard because DC promptly Dropped a Bridge on Daniel to make way for Eobard. Daniel didn't even get to die in the pages of The Flash, he was off'd in Suicide Squad! Though the nature of his death lends itself very much to He's Just Hiding, the fact that DC wasted Daniel, who had an interesting tie to the Flash in the form of the Wests, as well as a more sympathetic origin and potential for redemption pisses his fans off.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Wally!Flash, under Mark Waid and Grant Morrison.
    • Gorilla Grodd: After decades of attempts at turning everyone into apes, Geoff Johns had him single-handedly demolish several city blocks before going on to give Zoom his Start of Darkness.
    • Johns did this for the Rogues in general, whom Mark Waid had written out due to finding them cheesy. Bear in mind that their leader wears an Eskimo costume, most aren't into anything heavier than bank robbery even after The Dark Age of Comic Books, and were considered jokes even before then. Johns' Rogue Profiles one-shots redeemed most of the characters in fans' eyes.
  • Sequel Displacement: Despite the fact that he was the first, Jay Garrick is nowhere near as well known in popular culture as Barry Allen.
    • Originally played straight but then averted with Wally West; when he was the Flash, he became the most well known at the time in part because of his appearances in Justice League, until recent years when Barry came back and DC began pushing him to make fans forget about Wally. Even now, among comic circles its still debated on who is the 'iconic' Flash.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: While Barry isn't really hated (except as a Replacement Scrappy) as he is, the fact that he caused Flashpoint, which caused the New 52 gets him a lot of crap from people who don't like it. So, of course, Future Flash, a future Barry Allen, says that if it wasn't for him, Wally would be married and have two kids, and that it's his fault Wally is dead. While the latter is more of guilt for not saving Wally, it's uncanny how this dialogue matches up with complaints about Barry's actions.
  • Tear Jerker:
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • Wally being changed to a black guy has caused quite a bit of controversy. Mainly because many think he will either become an Ethnic Scrappy, or will stay the same, in which case they feel the change was unnecessary. With the annual now out, and Wally is introduced as a petty criminal and Angry Black Man, its easy to understand why people are upset at the change. Even eying that, there's just how massively different he is from Pre-New 52 Wally. Pre-52 Wally was from an altogether relatively normal family that he disliked, as his parents always told him to ground his expectations. But he loved his Aunt Iris, and was a big fan of the Flash, while being an altogether nice guy science nerd. New 52 Wally's father abandoned him, his mom went missing in Forever Evil, he and Iris are essentially strangers (instead substituting his uncle, Daniel West, the Reverse-Flash), he outright hates the Flash for a while, and he's a delinquent.
      • The decision to change Wally West specifically has been criticized since redheaded males get very little representation outside of Evil Redheads, Red Headed Bully or Redheads Are Uncool characters (all stemming from centuries-old prejudices) and Wally was arguably the most iconic male Red-Headed Hero. And since redheaded boys are frequent targets of bullying some have pointed out that they could use a hero.
      • This is thankfully subverted with the reveal that this Wally is Daniel's son, Wallace West III, as opposed to Wallace West II, the original Kid Flash, who makes his return in Rebirth.
    • All of "Bart"'s Origin in the New 52. The only similarity is that he's from the future, and he now has a very nineties-feeling Darker and Edgier backstory.
    • Jay Garrick going from a Happily Married Cool Old Guy to a single young man trying to find his way in life.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Captain Boomerang. In-universe not even his fellow Rogues like him, but fans consider him a memorable and likable villain.
  • The Woobie: Pied Piper.
    • Barry Allen falls into this territory by the time he came back from the dead with Thawne retconning his childhood and killing his mother and then, Flashpoint happened.
    • Minor character Fallout grieves over the deaths of his wife and daughter, who died when he tried to get close to them upon first transforming into his nuclear form.
    • Magenta can also qualify, as her mother believed that she was possessed by the devil, and the cause of the car crash that claimed her father and brother. She was pretty much pushed into heroics by her then boyfriend Wally West, and was later exploited and brainwashed twice, first by a doctor at STAR Labs who created her split personality as an assassin, and later by Raven during one of her jaunts on the dark side. Her fragile psyche and damaged mental health can be attributed to the times that she's fallen in with the Rogues, or any other villain the Flash has fought, such as the Cicada cult.
    • New 52 Wally. He's a twelve year old kid who was abandoned by his father when he was a baby, who's mother is missing and may even be dead, just had his Uncle Daniel (the only father figure he's had up to that point) carted off to prison by The Flash, and is now living with an Aunt Iris (that he's implied not to know very well) just so he won't be taken by Social Services. Spray painting the Flash Symbol and then putting an anti-sign (most likely to relieve both anger and stress) is completely understandable from his point of view. Given everything he's been through it's surprising that that's all he did. He also seems to feel at least a little guilty about causing his Aunt trouble.
    • Classic Wally was already one due to the crap he overcame-neglectful parents, mental blocks, power loss, crippling insecurities, lost his beloved Aunt and Uncle at different times, wife miscarried after being attacked, etc-but what happens to him following the Flashpoint really takes the cake. After Flashpoint, he survives after being sucked into the Speed Force, but since everyone's had ten years or so of their continuity removed, he has no Lightning Rod to pull himself out of it. He tries several times to find someone who remembers him but even Linda, his wife, has no memory of him. When he's finally freed after Barry's able to remember him, the two break down crying as Wally has lost many of his memories and so doesn't remember what, but knows that someone stole their memories, but doesn't know who or what, and doesn't know exactly what they took.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheFlash