Anxiety is a killer.
As someone who is regularly on the receiving end of such an overwhelming truck of an emotion, it is somewhat cathartic to actually read about it on page as written by someone who clearly understands how you feel. It resonates with you, and somehow makes you identify with it on a level that not even people you thought were close to you would understand.
That is what attracted me to the world of Wally West.
In Mark Waid’s “The Return of Barry Allen”, not only is Wally finding himself constantly under the shadow of his mentor’s legacy, but also has to bear the reality that the legacy he was meant to uphold suddenly became redundant as the mentor he thought dead suddenly returned. To add insult to injury, the same person who he held in such high esteem suddenly starts behaving erratically. So not only he is put in a position where he questions whether there is a need for him anymore, but also questioning his perspective of how much he idolised his mentor, perhaps even foregoing his humanity (arguably what makes Barry Allen himself)
I will not spoil the ending, but it is a run which absolutely blew me away. From a narrative standpoint, it fleshes out the universe and history of the Flash as well as their personalities in ways that was perhaps unprecedented at the time, when the Flash is seen as nothing more than ” a good boy with fast legs”, and his rogues’ gallery as nothing more than gimmicks.
This is the book that opened the door to the Flash and made me identify with his universe.
Mark Waid’s Flash review by Raphael Borg