A dark world like that of The Boys might not seem like the ideal place for an optimist like Wally West’s version of the Flash. However, when the metahumans of DC’s universe become hunted by an elite task force, the third Flash still manages to be a true hero… and he does so in what might be his best costume.
Wally West has had more costume changes than most heroes in the DC Universe. As Kid Flash, he started out in a miniature Flash costume, before graduating to the iconic red and yellow costume with his hair exposed that most fans are familiar with. From there he would go on to gain a variety of costumes, such as the costume he gained when he took over for Barry Allen, his red and silver Rebirth costume, and Wally West’s more recent all-blue Dr. Manhatten costume. Though many of these costumes are good or even great, none of them quite reach the heights of his outfit from Nightwing: The New Order.
Coming from the creative team of Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy, Nightwing: The New Order is a dark future where Nightwing has turned against DC’s heroes. After an all-out war between heroes and villains results in Batman’s death, Nightwing detonates a bomb in Metropolis, eliminating the Justice League and stripping most of the world’s metahumans of their powers. Luckily one hero it didn’t affect was Wally West. Joining together with his former friends from the Teen Titans, Wally forms a resistance group to Nightwing’s anti-metahuman task force. To reflect the dark future, Wally’s new costume is predominantly black with red lines imitating lightning. Tying the outfit together is the iconic yellow bolt still at the center of the costume.
What makes the costume so effective is its simplicity. The main black looks sleek and provides a great contrast with the red elements. Trevor McCarthy’s art sells the costume and Wally’s role in the story well. Wally West has always been a powerful hero, but this older take on the Flash is glowing with power, the red lightning crackling off the costume. There is also an element of familiarity to it. In the similarly bleak future of The Dark Knight Returns, Barry Allen sports a similar black get-up, though his has more yellow elements and swaps out the full leggings for something akin to bicycle shorts.
It’s often said that adversity is what makes heroes, and that’s undeniably true here. Despite having his best friend turn on him, this future version of Wally is still a hero. Fans might still debate which Flash costume is Wally West’s best, but it’s hard to deny that DC’s version of The Boys gave Wally one of his most powerful costumes ever.
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