When Wally West begins the road back to redemption in September’s Flash Forward #1, he’ll be helped along by a new-ish character that was created by DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and artist Kenneth Rocafort.
The character was featured in the background on the cover of Flash Forward #1, the six-issue series that Brett Booth and Scott Lobdell are launching in September.
But the outline of Tempus Fuginaut on Flash Forward #1 wasn’t exactly recognizable to most fans, because he hasn’t appeared very often - and most of his appearances occurred in books that were canceled soon after.
Despite fans guessing that the mysterious character might be the time-traveling Hourman android (who recently got a quick cameo in Scott Snyder’s Justice League), the mysterious character pictured on the cover of Flash Forward #1 was revealed to actually be Tempus Fuginaut.
Why Tempus Fuginaut?
At the DC Publishers Panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, DiDio said that Wally was going to be put “through the ringer” in Flash Forward, but that it would "lead into a big event next year."
It’s probable that the “ringer” (and/or the “big event”) requires Wally to travel to other dimensions, something Tempus Fuginaut can definitely help him do.
When DiDio co-created Tempus Fuginaut for the short-lived series Sideways, he seemed to be setting up the god-like character to train the young hero named Sideways to help him heal dimensional rifts and battle creatures from the Dark Multiverse.
But the book was canceled before that idea got fully off the ground.
Then earlier this year, Tempus Fuginaut was featured again in The Unexpected, which was also canceled a couple issues after the character’s appearance.
Now, the character is appearing in Flash Forward, and it was editorial who decided Tempus Fuginaut would be utilized for Wally West’s story. As Lobdell told CBR, the character "was in place editorial [sic] before I had my first meeting for Flash Forward."
Who is Tempus Fuginaut?
When Tempus Fuginaut was first introduced in Sideways #1, he explained that although the familiar Monitors of DC history were created to “watch and observe,” the Tempus Fuginaut is tasked with preserving the boundaries between dimensions.
As such, Tempus Fuginaut has the power to heal tears in space-time and prevent them from happening, and he carries a powerful scepter that is able to limit or enhance other people’s dimensional travel.
Although Tempus Fuginaut initially threatened Sideways, he eventually realized the young hero’s potential and recruited him to help with dimensional problems.
In The Unexpected #6, Tempus Fuginaut showed up again, this time instructing that book’s characters about the punishment for “unchecked movement between dimensions.” At the end of that series, the Tempus Fuginaut had been seemingly killed by the villain Mandrakk.
But with his upcoming appearance in Flash Forward, he obviously was not killed, and could possibly even be immortal.
How Will This Affect Wally?
The storyline described in solicits for Flash Forward indicates that Wally West will be recruited as Tempus Fuginaut’s champion — and perhaps will finish some of the threads from the canceled Sideways series.
Lobdell said Wally will be pushed “far out of his comfortzone,” and the descriptions for the series’ first two issues promise that Wally will be battling forces from the Dark Multiverse.
As the solicitation for Flash Forward #2 says: “When the border between the Multiverse and the Dark Multiverse starts to buckle, who do you turn to? The answer: Wally West … Will Tempus Fuginaut’s chosen champion rise to the occasion and fight back the demons of the darkness, or will Wally’s own demons win the day?”
That mention of “Wally’s own demons” and the potential for the character’s travel to the Dark Multiverse open up an interesting possibility for the character: If Wally travels into the Dark Multiverse, might he encounter a universe where his kids are still alive, and/or where he and Linda are married?
Whatever the next step in Wally’s story — including his time with the Tempus Fuginaut — readers can look forward to some significant Multiversal challenges for the character, all leading to some type of event featuring him in 2020.
Flash Forward #1 (of 6) is scheduled for release September 18.