Super-fast characters can be found in both the DC and Marvel universes, with the Flash family of heroes serving as the gold standard. This includes Barry Allen, who has since gone on to become one of the DC Universe’s most recognisable heroes. With a fresh form of Makkari making their cinematic debut in Eternals, it’s worth revisiting a period when the two characters collided. Makkari, the Eternals’ speedster from Earth-616, once had a footrace with someone who was meant to be DC’s Flash, and the Marvel hero never stood a chance.
The Marvel Universe was introduced to a suspiciously familiar speedster in Quasar #17 (by Mark Gruenwald and Mike Manley). When the cosmically supercharged Quasar was studying the Earth from space, he was startled to see a figure bathed in light run by him. Quasar and an ally, Makkari of the Eternals, chased him down and discovered the Runner. One of the Universe’s Elders, The Runner challenged Makkari to a race across the globe. Quicksilver, Spectrum (formerly known as Captain Marvel), Speed Demon, Whizzer, Super Sabre, and Black Racer were soon joined by the other of Earth’s fastest heroes and villains for the competition, which would take them through warp space to determine who was the world’s fastest.
The race turns out to be very close, with Makkari battling to take the lead but eventually succeeding. But all changes when a mystery man with a blonde beard appears out of nowhere. The person, who is amnesiac and dressed in tatters, is forced to run by an energy source within him, rapidly joining the race and outperforming several of the rivals. The figure soon catches up to Makkari and passes him without even recognising the stakes. On reaching the finish line, the Elder is impressed by the man, who simply calls himself “Buried Alien.” Despite the man’s desire to just return to homeworld, the Runner took the man with him to compete in a galactic marathon after declaring him the victor.
The unknown man — who had previously only appeared in Quasar #58 (by Mark Gruenwald, Peter Sanderson, and John Heebink), later competed with Makkari in another race. He’d accepted that he couldn’t go back to his old life or reclaim his old memories by this time and instead made peace with running for the sake of running. The figure, who adopted the moniker FastForward, was as quick as Makkari, but willingly dropped out of the race to prevent another contestant from meddling and disqualifying the Eternal. After a technicality saves Makkari from his impending fate, the story concludes with the two having a friendly race.
Buried Alien is an apparent imitation of Barry Allen, nicknamed the Flash, who debuted in the Marvel Universe mere years after the conclusion of DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. The iconic hero was one of the most crucial fatalities of the event, slain while thwarting the Anti-plot Monitor’s to wipe out the entire universe by running himself to death to save his loved ones. “Buried Alien” might be interpreted as a version of Flash who made it through the Crisis and into the Marvel Universe.
However, his Marvel look allowed him to continue in some manner, and he even proved to be faster than the universe’s quickest figures. FastForward established that the Flash is the quickest man living in any universe, even when up against someone as quick as Makkari.