Having himself taken the Flash mantle from Barry Allen, Wally West had an important decision to make about which speedster would uphold the legacy in DC’s future. It was a tough choice, but after much deliberation, he ultimately chose Bart Allen to be the successor after he ultimately proved he was fast enough and worthy of running in Barry and Wally’s footsteps.
However, in order to push Bart into the role, Wally made a call that ended up harming the reputation and pride of his friend Jesse Quick. With two superhero parents, Jesse had the potential to be more powerful than most other Speed Force users, and was able to grow into her role as a speedster under Wally’s mentorship. She was the perfect choice to be the next Flash before the young and headstrong Bart, but Wally West squandered her chance by making a fatal mistake.
At first, it seemed that Wally truly wanted Jesse Quick to become the next Flash in The Flash #97 by Mark Waid, Salvador Larroca, José Marzan Jr., Tom McCraw, and Gaspar Saladino. When forced to confront a problem such as his eventual disappearance, Wally decides to name Jesse as the next Flash because Bart isn’t ready. He told her that she was the best out of all of them and had the wisdom and training to take on the responsibility that comes with the title. This was all true – out of all the speedsters at the time, Jesse Quick was the most ready to take on the mantle, and would have been the perfect successor after Wally and before Bart. She was level-headed, intelligent, and knew the risks of the job because of her superhero parents. She would also have been the first ever woman to canonically carry the title.
Wally Betrayed Jesse’s Faith
But it was all a ruse, because Wally West was actually just trying to motivate Bart to get better and earn his place as the Flash. Understandably, when it was revealed that she was simply being used to motivate another hero, Jesse was angry at Wally and left his company in The Flash #98. Even though Wally admitted that she was dedicated to the job and could well progress past the need for the Speed Formula that gives her powers, he decided to use her instead of sincerely giving her a chance.
Had Jesse been allowed to truly become the Flash by Wally (and DC’s writers and editors), her run would’ve been impactful representation for DC fans all over the world. Wally’s decision was a huge mistake for the Flash’s reputation and deprived Jesse of the chance to develop her powers as a speedster. Jesse quickly showed him that he had made a grave mistake by selling her short in The Flash #99. Without her, their mission would have been unsuccessful, and Linda Park would literally have died if Jesse didn’t save her and Wally by pushing them out of the way. Unfortunately, while the comic was willing to show Jesse would have been a great Flash, DC wasn’t actually willing to allow her to take up the mantle.
Jesse Quick is a beloved character in the Flash Family and has proven herself to be an incredibly capable hero in the face of danger, even going so far as to save the life of the current Flash when others couldn’t. Using her as a chess piece or prop for another character severely damaged her storyline and neglected her development by pushing her away from the rest of the speedsters out of anger. Wally West and DC made a huge mistake by using her like this, and in the long run Jesse Quick still deserves to wield the Flash mantle at some point in the future.