ByFlint Johnson, writer at
An historical SciFi author who sees comic heroes as the modern myths and integrates them into his stories.
Flint Johnson

On many occasions I have mentioned my preference for the Marvel universe over the DC. I thought perhaps a point-by-point comparison might demonstrate this best. This week, the un-aging and immediately healing Wolverine and the un-aging and immediately healing Wally West (The Flash).

Wally West was first created in 1960, his abilities include not only healing and a lack of aging, but also speed. That's actually an understatement. The DC universe has what it calls a speed factor, something that controls all speed in the universe. Speed Factor gave Wally speed beyond all measure. He has been to the beginning of time and back. He has outrun death. He has moved half a million people 35 miles in the 100 picoseconds after a nuclear explosion.

The Flash has other abilities as well. He has a Speed Force Aura which protects him and any person moving with him. He has the ability to construct things using the Speed Force; such as his costume. He can steal the speed of others. He also can survive in space and has nearly unlimited stamina. In other words as long as he can see an opponent coming he is unbeatable.

James Logan was first penned in 1974. His powers are genetic. In addition to his healing and lack of aging he has superior senses and the ability to communicate on a very basic level with animals. He can also survive the elements. As he has spent many years in a feral state over his life, one wonders how much of this is natural ability and how much has been learned in the wild.

Wally's abilities make him almost boring. He can't be hit except by luck and if he is moving at speed the strike will be harmless. If he is rendered unconscious the only way to stop him is to kill him before he wakes up as his speed makes him unholdable as well. I cannot think of a reasonable opponent for him apart from someone intelligent enough to kill him before he knows someone is after him.

The Wolverine is by comparison quite vulnerable. He can heal quickly and has those claws but he can still be overwhelmed. His healing can be neutralized by a retrovirus, his wrists can be pinned to make his claws useless.

Wally is a typical hero. He fights the good fight, he gets the bad guys, he goes home. Wolverine is more than that. He does what is right generally, but he is a loner. Everyone he has ever cared about has been killed. He has gone insane many times and lived in a feral state, only to come out of each experience trying to interact with the human world. Wolverine, frankly, is interesting. Wally is not.


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