Wally West may be best known as the Fastest Man Alive but he once gained another well-known superpower, before losing it in a flash.
With Infinite Frontier returning Wally West to the role of the Flash, he’s recently rediscovered some of the problems that come with balancing his hero life and his regular life, primarily when it comes to money and finding a normal job. However, this isn’t the first time Wally has had financial troubles. He’s been dealing with them ever since he first became the Flash. However, one lucky event solved all of those problems and, briefly, gave the Fastest Man Alive another famous superpower.
When Barry Allen died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally West famously carried on his legacy, but that also came with its own problems. The ridicule of the public, as well as fellow hero Green Lantern, over his efforts to replace Barry, put some strain on his mental health, strain that interfered with his speed during this time. If that wasn’t bad enough, Wally, no longer a teenager, struggled to juggle the many responsibilities of adult life.
That all changed when Wally won the lottery. In 1987’s The Flash #1 by Mike Baron and Jackson Guice, Wally had just turned 18 and was clearly desperate when it came to money. He was constantly shown eating fast food and microwave dinners just to maintain the energy he needed to use his speed powers. And, when asked to help deliver a heart to a distant hospital, rather than do it for free, he asked for medical insurance, insisting he be paid in a similar manner to everyone else.
After all of this misfortune though, Wally’s financial problems were alleviated by way of him winning the lottery. Everything changed for him in an instant. He moved out of his small Brooklyn apartment and bought a large mansion on Long Island. The TV dinners soon disappeared, as he could now afford to take his then-girlfriend, Frances Kane, on dates to fancy, expensive restaurants. He even gave both of his parents $500,000 each. However, although this newly acquired wealth made life easier, it wasn’t without its own problems.
Shortly after moving into his new mansion, Wally asked his girlfriend to move in with him. This move was short-lived as, almost as soon as she moved in, she broke up with him, claiming their relationship was moving too fast. Additionally, Wally’s father squandered the $500,000 he was given and came looking for more. If that wasn’t bad enough, when his mother and his new girlfriend Tina McGee moved into the large mansion, tensions rose between the two. And to top it all off, his mother started a costly remodel of the mansion without telling him.
Even though the Flash could have become a hero in the same vein as fellow Justice Leaguers Batman and Green Arrow, his time as a wealthy man came to a quick and startling end. After a particularly grueling fight with Vandal Savage, his day got even worse when he returned to his mansion. His mother informed him that he’d lost everything in a stock market crash. To make matters worse, any other lottery winnings he should have been gotten had to be used to pay off the thousands he owed in debt.
Wally’s time as a millionaire only lasted for fourteen issues. After that, money became an issue for Wally once again. Although it didn’t last for long, the idea of him being able to save others without having to worry about his finances an interesting idea that unfortunately came to an abrupt ending.
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