Warning: SPOILERS for Flash Forward #2
Wally West has a new mission in the DC Universe, as the only hero who can cure the Multiverse from a dark corruption spreading from one world to the next. But what he wasn't told is that part of The Flash's new job would mean fighting The Avengers and X-Men. Well, the DC version of them, obviously (which is even better).
Flash fans who missed the first issue of Flash Forward may need to get caught up fast, since Wally was last seen in a special prison cell (having turned himself in after accidentally killing a dozen people during Heroes in Crisis). That all changed when a cosmic Guardian named Tempus Fuginaut tore a whole into Wally's cell, selecting him as the fastest man in the Multiverse--and therefore the only hero powerful enough to save it from darkness. Before Wally could talk specifics with his new benefactor, he ended up thrown across the Multiverse to a world on the brink of obliteration. But what Wally finds instead is two Marvel super-teams ready to fight him… at the same time.
The parallel world in crisis is officially designated "Earth-23" home of the President Superman (inspired by President Barack Obama). The previous issue ended with Wally arriving to find said Superman bleeding and broken, and Flash Forward #2 picks up right where that story left off. As some will have suspected, President Superman was attacked by manifestations of the Dark Multiverse corruption Wally has been sent to stop. But when he traces it to its source, Wally discovers another group of heroes trying to solve the same problem--from the other side of the tear in the Multiverse. See if they look familiar to you Marvel fans…
The similarities between these heroes and those of Marvel Comics go much deeper than appearances. Thanks to the Countdown series preceding DC's New 52 reboot, and later Grant Morrison's Multiversity, fans will know these heroes hail from Earth-8, a world where planet Earth is known as 'Angor' and is policed by two different superhuman groups, the first being The Retaliators led by 'American Crusader.' With him are the hulking Behemoth (an angry, giant, blue baby), the mechanical Machinehead, the sure shot Deadeye… you get the idea. It's a universe meant as an explicit parody of Marvel's, with these Avenger analogues mimicking the originals.
As further evidence of just how seriously this Multiversal corruption is being taken, the Retaliators have brought some back-up in the form of the Zen-Men, the same Marvel-ish universe's take on the X-Men (led by the heroic "Uni-Orb" and his psychic "beloved"). The bad news is the heroes can't help but assume Wally West is related to the corruption. The good news? Fans no longer need to wonder how The Flash would do in a battle against the combined forces of Marvel's Avengers AND X-Men. As if the answer was ever in doubt.
Marvel fans can claim these aren't the REAL X-Men or Avengers, so Wally's ability to stay one step ahead of them through their entire battle isn't valid. But all things considered, this may be DC's chance for some payback after Marvel made their Justice League cold-blooded killers. They may be heroes and mutant soldiers, but neither the Retaliators nor the Zen-Men have faced an enemy like The Flash. And that's all the edge a speedster needs to knock them off their feet. Wally West uses his unique connection to the Speed Force to absorb their best attack from Thor and Storm, and turn it against them to open a big enough window to finish the fight and, you know, actually save the day for both their Earths.
Bragging rights belong to The Flash in this particular crossover, but we have to wonder: would Wally fare differently if he were taking on Marvel's new, more brutal X-Men? A question for another day--Wally has a Multiverse to save!
Flash Forward #2 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from DC Comics.