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How the Secret Identity of a Major DC Hero Was Revealed Off Panel

This is “Out of Sight,” a feature where I explore notable comic book moments that occurred off-panel. When I say “off-panel,” I’m mostly talking about a character not being around and then showing up and us learning that something dramatic happened to them off-panel. I’m flexible enough that I can deal with maybe something “in between panels,” as well. You can hit me up at brianc@cbr.com if you have a suggestion for a future column!

I have a feature called “Got Me a Secret” and reader MIk B. suggested that I spotlight how Wally West revealed his secret identity to the world. However, here’s the funny thing – it never actually happened!

Wally made his official debut as the new Flash in Legends #1 (by Len Wein, John Ostrander, John Byrne and Karl Kesel), and it is clear that his identity is a secret…

However, amusingly enough, it is apparently so obvious that the new Flash is the former Kid Flash that even the super villains know it…

So, Wally gets his own ongoing series by Mike Baron, Jackson Guice and Larry Mahlstedt. As he buys some candy bars and some lottery tickets in the first issue, it is clear that he is not known to be the Flash…

Which is weird, though, as is contacted as Wally West by a doctor looking for someone to transport a heart needed for a transplant…

He says “I’m Wally West” while in the costume.

However, later, when he is knocked out and taken to a hospital, he is concerned about his mask being removed…

But then visits the lady who received the transplant as Wally and says that he is the Flash to her…

Vandal Savage figures out Wally’s secret identity very easily in the next issue…

And when Wally goes to the doctor, he is clear about the whole “Flash” deal…

However, the end of the issue is the clearest sign that Wally’s identity is still pretty much a secret. He actually WON the lottery, but when he is awarded is winnings on television, he is just referred to as Wally West…

In the next issue (with a guest inker), Wally tells his new love interest, Tina McGee, that he doesn’t really care about his secret identity…

And somewhere between #3 and #5, Wally’s secret identity became public knowledge, because the city council where Wally lives knows about his superhero career and don’t want him in the neighborhood because he could attract danger…

So, yeah, Wally’s secret identity became public knowledge off-panel.

NOTE: Another writer than filled in the blanks later on, but that is a story for another feature! Expect to see it eventually!

Thanks for the suggestion, Mik!

If anyone has a suggestion for a notable plot point that happened off-panel, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

In their feature spotlighting notable plot points that occurred off-panel, CSBG shows how a major DC hero made his identity public…off-panel?

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