The Flash is one of DC's most important characters. He debuted in the Golden Age with Jay Garrick in the role but it was a mantle that would change hands over the years. Barry Allen was the second Flash, and after his death, his sidekick Wally West took over. Towards the end of Barry's first time as Flash, the character wasn't as popular and Wally was able to bring the character back, even becoming the fastest Flash.
However, in the years after Barry's return to life, Wally would be marginalized more and more, placed into the background, wiped from existence, brought back, and then turned into a murderer. While the character has been brought back to prominence, DC has hurt his legacy a lot over the years.
10 Created Walter West As A Kid Flash Replacement
Kid Flash was always an important part of the Flash mythos and fans missed the character during the New 52. So, DC announced that they were introducing a new Kid Flash who was Wally West. Fans were excited but it wasn't the Wally West they were expecting. This new Wally West was completely unrelated to the old one except in name.
It was a weird flex and while some terrible fans didn't like it because the new Wally was African-America, many just saw it as another way of DC ignoring and marginalizing one of their greatest legacy characters again.
9 Bringing Back Reverse Flash Took Away Zoom's Thunder
Barry Allen had Reverse Flash and Wally had his own version of the character, Hunter Zolomon's Zoom. Wearing the same costume, Zoom was inextricably linked to Wally— he gained his powers because Wally refused to go back in time and change his past. Zoom wasn't a speedster like Reverse Flash, instead controlling the flow of time around himself and making him a different kind of foe.
It took everything for Wally to beat him and showed just how great a Flash Wally was. Zoom also would have been great villain for a returned Barry to fight but DC brought back Reverse Flash. Getting rid of Zoom makes him seem less important, which by extension, makes Wally less important.
8 Making All Of Wally's Accomplishments Barry's
One of the many problems with the New 52 was that DC never really laid out was canon and what wasn't. However, some stuff definitely was because it had to be. Taking away Wally West meant that events he participated in had to be changed, which took away a lot of his accomplishments and gave them to Barry.
Wally was a linchpin of the JLA for a long time and it was one of the places where he proved that he was the best Flash. Taking him out of continuity meant that all of those great things he did were instead done by Barry.
7 Replacing Him With Bart Allen After Infinite Crisis
Barry Allen died in Crisis On Infinite Earths and it was a heroic moment, one that helped define the character in the eyes of modern fans. So, when CoIE's sequel, Infinite Crisis, came out, it was decided that Wally would make a similar sacrifice as Barry and be replaced by Bart Allen, Barry's grandson and the Kid Flash of the time.
This was a mystifying decision. Wally was at the height of his popularity and his sacrifice was so open ended that it was begging to be reversed. It would be soon after, because fans just weren't into Bart as the Flash. It was a huge misstep that showed how little DC understood about why fans loved Wally as the Flash— they wrongly assumed fans loved the mantle and not the man behind it.
6 Downgrading The Rogues
The Flash, regardless of who wears the costume, has some of the greatest enemies in comics. During Wally West's tenure as the Flash, writers like Mark Waid and Geoff Johns built the Rogues up into credible, dangerous threats, taking their somewhat silly Silver Age gimmicks and refining them.
Since Barry's return, he's mostly fought new speedsters and the like. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is- the Rogues were made into a dangerous threat to Wally (and Bart, who they killed), generally considered the most powerful Flash, and for the writers to downgrade them makes Wally himself look bad— Barry can hardly be bothered against foes that challenged Wally.
5 Making Barry The Source Of The Speed Force
The Speed Force was introduced during Wally's tenure as the Flash and it was one of the things that set him apart from Barry. Wally learned how to use the Speed Force and it was the reason he was able to become the fastest and most powerful Flash. However, when Barry returned, DC retconned the Speed Force making Barry the originator and generator of it.
This was a weird flex, because while everyone still acknowledged that Wally was faster and more powerful, it made Barry more important. He generated the Speed Force, making him integral to the whole thing; he was the source of the power, making him greater than its most powerful user.
4 Taking Away His Family Robbed Him Of Part Of What Made Him Unique
Wally was unique among a lot of superheroes in that not only did he have a successful marriage that made him more realistic and relatable but he also had children that were a big part of who he was. In fact, they even had powers and it looked like DC was going to incorporate them more into the comics. His fans loved his relationship with his wife Linda and their two children: Jai and Iris.
Upon his return in DC Rebirth #1, it was revealed that Linda didn't remember him and his children no longer existed. It took a lot away from him and opened up the door to later stories that would do a lot to hurt the character.
3 Erasing Him From Existence In The New 52
As intimated several times, Wally's erasure from the New 52 was pretty catastrophic for the character's legacy. In some way, it makes sense- the New 52's whole mandate was to get new readers and having two Flashes might be confusing. They went with Barry and completely erased Wally from existence.
Disregarding his replacement by a new version and everything else, the act of just not bringing him over at all, in any role, was a huge insult to a fan favorite character who had completely revitalized the Flash mythos and made the concept popular again.
2 Bringing Barry Back To Life
In the '00s, DC was all about re-casting its universe into a more classic version of itself. Oliver Queen was brought back to life and made Green Arrow in 2000, Hal Jordan would return as Green Lantern in 2004, and in 2009, it was Barry Allen's turn. While fans were actually pretty happy about this return, it would mark the end of Wally's relevance.
Wally was still the Flash but he was very much secondary to Barry. Barry would take up Wally's old role as main Flash of the DC Universe, pushing Wally further and further into the background until the New 52 hammered the coffin lid on Wally shut.
1 Making Him An Inadvertent Murderer During Heroes In Crisis
Heroes In Crisis felt like the last straw in DC's character assassination of Wally West. While it's not as bad as its reputation suggests, for Wally West fans it was the moment that broke their faith in DC's treatment of the character. In it, Wally West, distraught over the fact that his family no longer existed, lost control of his powers, accidentally murdered a bunch of his hero including his old friend Arsenal, and then tried to cover it up by framing Harley Quinn and Booster Gold.
There was just so much wrong with the whole thing and it was the last straw for a lot of fans. While DC has worked hard to rehab Wally's image since his primary enemy at DC, Dan DiDio, left, Heroes In Crisis represents a huge blemish on his reputation.