Warning: The following contains spoilers for Flash Forward #1 by Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund & Evan Shaner, on sale now.
Superman is one of the most powerful figures in the entire DC Universe, with the various versions of the character often proving to be major presences in their respective universes throughout the entire multiverse. But it appears that one, in particular, has a vital role to play in the continued survival of the multiverse.
In Flash Forward #1, Wally West is recruited to try and save Calvin Ellis, the President Superman of another world, from certain death. But why is this Superman important enough to send Wally speeding across the DC Multiverse?
Hail to The Chief
The issue begins with the multiversal figure Tempus Fuginaut trying to contend with the infection of the Dark Multiverse in the mainstram multiverse. With each passing moment, the darkness of that plane corrupts pieces of the main multiverse. Determining that there's one specific world that's destroying the barriers between the two planes of existence, Tempus decides to break his vow of non-interference to try and save everything.
For this cause, he recruits Wally West from his cell in the Blackgate supermax prison. The former Flash has been imprisoned since the conclusion of Heroes in Crisis revealed Wally was responsible for the many deaths at Sanctuary. Despite Wally's protests, Tempus sends the former hero across the multiverse to help a seriously wounded President Superman in battle.
President Calvin Ellis, aka Kalel, is the Superman of Earth-23. He was first introduced during Final Crisis by Grant Morrison and Doug Mankhe. Somewhat inspired by real-life United States President Barack Obama, the character reappeared in Morrison's run on Action Comics during the New 52 and again during Morrison's Multiversity.
Ellis is the President of his reality's United States and still operates as his world's Superman and an active member of his world's Justice League. He also uses a reprogrammed and rehabilitated version of Brainiac, helping protect his entire world.
Why Ellis is Important
President Superman also has a larger role to play in the greater multiverse. Calvin is a founding member of Justice Incarnate, the multiversal equivalent of the Justice League. The group was introduced in the fallout of Multiversity, which saw the heroes of multiple timelines coming together to fight back against the reality-consuming Gentry.
Since then, they've remained an inter-reality peacekeeping force from their HQ, the House of Heroes within the Orrery of Worlds. This makes Calvin one of the most important versions of Superman in the entire multiverse, which explains why a figure like Tempus would require his help to try and beat back the spreading Dark Multiverse.
It looks like Tempus acted just in time, too. President Superman seems to be wounded when Wally arrives in his reality. Specifically, he's been physically beaten and even slashed across the chest. Given his typical impervious status, this kind of injury stands out. It's evocative of an attack by someone as strong as the Dark Multiverse's Batman the Devastator or Doomsday, suggesting readers might see Wally try to prevent the Earth-23 version of "Death of Superman."
But the necessity to save (and recruit) Calvin Ellis to protect the multiverse speaks to the magnitude of the danger Tempus fears. Calvin will no doubt bring Justice Incarnate alongside him into any multiversal battle, which suggests the coming conflict might be more titanic than even Tempus realizes. Protecting Ellis might just give Wally a major role in saving all of creation.
Flash Forward #2 is scheduled to be released Oct. 16.