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Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund.
|First appearance||Showcase #20 (May 1959)|
|Created by||Jack Miller (writer)
Ruben Moreira (artist)
|Alter ego||Richard "Rip" Hunter|
|Team affiliations||Linear Men
|Abilities||Genius level inventor. Time-traveler. Skilled in fighting styles and martial arts from every era of history.|
Rip Hunter is a DC Comics character who first appeared in Showcase #20 (May 1959). Following three more appearances in Showcase (#21, 25, 26), Rip Hunter was given his own series; which ran for 29 issues (1961–65). He later starred in the eight-issue Time Masters series (1990), written by Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner. He was created by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira.
The Challengers of the Unknown is a quartet of science fiction adventurers created by Jack Kirby. They debuted in 1957, and their commercial success spawned two other science fiction characters: Cave Carson and Rip Hunter. Hunter was the more successful of the two, with art in his early appearances by Joe Kubert, Mike Sekowsky, and Nick Cardy. Hunter was the leader of a gang of time travelers who were featured in brisk and historically accurate adventures in various eras. DC editor Jack Schiff reported that he and writer Jack Miller had "lots of fun" creating the comics.
Rip Hunter has had a number of revisions within the fictional DC Universe. Those changes are generally connected to larger events and story lines. The writing and editorial staff often use a narrative device within the comics, known as a crisis event, to explain dramatic changes to the appearance or personality of characters. Rip Hunter has undergone a number of different developments within this fictional universe.
In his original incarnation, Rip Hunter is portrayed as an ordinary man who uses his self-invented Time-Sphere to travel through time. Aided by his friend Jeff Smith, girlfriend Bonnie Baxter, and Bonnie's kid brother Corky, they have adventures in time. These stories were told in the self-titled series Rip Hunter...Time Master which ran for 29 issues between 1961 - 1965.
Rip is next seen in the series Challengers of the Unknown, where, in the year 12,000,000 A. D., he assists the Challengers of the Unknown: Swamp Thing, and Deadman in defeating the dictatorial Sun Lords. The character's next major appearance is in Action Comics #552-554. With the aid of Superman and the team known as the Forgotten Heroes, an alien invasion of Earth is prevented.
The Forgotten Heroes are then seen in the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, a mini-series intended to change the fictional universe shared by DC characters. During this story, Hunter serves as a plot device to enable the superheroes of the Multiverse to travel to the dawn of time where they face off against the Anti-Monitor. The battle that ensues effectively destroys the Multiverse. Hunter then reunites with some of his Forgotten Heroes teammates, as well as cosmic heroes Adam Strange and Captain Comet in a quest to defeat the Anti-Monitor once and for all. With the help of Brainiac, they journey to Apokolips, where the tyrant Darkseid uses his advanced science to peer into the Anti-Matter universe and aid Alex Luthor, Superman, and Superboy-Prime in the ultimate destruction of the Anti-Monitor. This narrative event allowed the writing staff of DC Comics to alter many of their heroes and fictional situations.
The Crisis on Infinite Earths series was used as a plot device to dramatically alter the fictional histories of many characters. Unlike most other characters, Hunter continues with the same personality and memories that preceded this event. This event was used as a literary device to portray him as a man out of time and without a home. No one remembers that he existed. The writers further expanded on this by having their new fictional universe contain an alternative version of Rip, one who was native to this timeline, and also a master of time travel.
The original version of Rip is then depicted as attracting the attention of the Linear Men with his attempts to reach his original universe. Impressed by Hunter, the Linear Men recruit him into their ranks and the writers altered the appearance of Rip; using the stress of time travel as an explanation for those changes. Now, with white hair and bionic implants, he is seen in a number of series that involve time, or the manipulation of time as an element of the narrative — most notably during the Zero Hour mini-series and event.
In The Kingdom, Hunter turns on the other Linear Men, who believe that time follows a single course of events, and joins forces with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Rip also joins forces with young heroes from the future, to stop the time-traveling villain Gog in his efforts to destroy Kansas twenty years ahead of schedule. As a result of this battle, Hunter finally breaks down the barrier to Hypertime, revealing that the Linear Men are wrong about the non-existence of alternate timelines in the post-Crisis universe. Rip also reveals and that the timeline of the Kingdom can exist, regardless of what happens in the present.
Shortly thereafter, the Linear Men, including the original character of Hunter, are destroyed during the Imperiex onslaught. Although their consciousnesses survive, and they eventually construct new bodies for themselves, they have been driven insane by the experience. The Quintessence, a group of cosmic beings who counsel one another, disband the Linear Men, and Hunter vanishes in a whirlwind.
Running parallel to those stories, another version of Rip has adventures; as the inventor of time travel technology in the Post-Crisis universe. In this universe, Hunter aids heroes Booster Gold and Animal Man in their own time-traveling adventures, before taking on the vast Illuminati conspiracy during the eight issue series Time Masters. This more gritty and realistic (symbolized by jeans and a t-shirt rather than a costume) take on the character attempts to change the past to prevent the Illuminati, led by Vandal Savage, from coming into existence. During the series, a relative of the character known as Dan Hunter decides to stay in the past at the time of the Revolutionary War. This is used to create a link between Rip Hunter and the pre-existing western themed Dan Hunter, a character associated with Tomahawk. This series concludes with Hunter being stranded in the prehistoric past.
In the Chronos series, starring Walker Gabriel, an alternate version of Gabriel, experimenting with time travel to avert World War III, mentions a horrible accident suffered by a Commander Hunter, who apparently scattered himself across time, with only "bits of flesh and bone" which kept resynchronizing in the lab.
Rip's next major appearance is within the page of 2004's Justice Society of America, where he takes members of the modern day Justice Society of America back in time to fight the villainous Per Degaton. Once again, Rip serves as a device that allows for time-travel, and for other heroes to travel forwards and backwards in time. This version of the character returns to a sci-fi influenced costume and the use of a time bubble. The ramifications of being a time-traveler are explored by the writer Geoff Johns, who turns the name Rip Hunter into an alias. This is explained as being part of an attempt by the character to hide all of the details of his history, lest an enemy travel back in time and kill him as a child.
The themes of time and changes to the timeline are next explored in the weekly series 52. Following up from events in the Infinite Crisis mini-series, Booster Gold tries to contact Hunter. Booster discovers his base of operations in a time-locked concrete bunker in the Arizona desert, but when he finally manages to enter the bunker, he finds only a blackboard, a globe, and some pieces of paper filled with writings about the future. These papers had references to facts and events like the mortality of Vandal Savage, the last Lazarus Pit of Nyssa Raatko, and the appearances of the mysterious Supernova. The purpose of the blackboard was to provide clues for the readers of upcoming storylines within that series and other DC Universe titles.
Hunter finally emerges in the Bottle City of Kandor. Working with Supernova, Hunter has been trying to put together a machine that will "fix" time before Skeets can find him. When Skeets attacks Kandor, Supernova turns back into Booster Gold and battles Skeets using special items gathered from the planet. Rip Hunter and Booster then teleport away, angering Skeets even more. Upon discovering Mr. Mind burrowing into Skeets' shell, Rip Hunter uses T.O. Morrow and the severed head of Red Tornado as bait for the Venusian worm. Mr. Mind metamorphoses into a nigh-omnipotent imago form, a hyperfly feeding on universes. Hunter then reveals to Booster Gold and Booster's ancestor Daniel Carter that the Multiverse is restored as 52 individual universes as a result of Alex Luthor's actions after he escaped his "paradise dimension". Mr. Mind seeks to devour every parallel universe. Sealing Mr. Mind in a time-rift, the multiverse is saved. Hunter warns the others to keep the Multiverse a secret for the time being as he eagerly prepares to explore it.
Rip is next seen as an integral part of the cast of the Booster Gold series. Here, Rip acts as a companion and boss to Booster Gold. His identity is revealed to be that of Booster Gold's yet-to-be-born son and that most, if not all, of Rip's exploits committed were actually committed by Booster.
To protect himself and his own history, Rip forces Booster to turn down membership in the recently reformed Justice League and to continue to act like a self-absorbed goof in order to make sure that his father's legacy is one of failure and is ultimately forgotten by history. This is done to ensure rogue time travelers can not kill Booster in the past, erasing Rip in the process and the various works he and Booster will engage in to protect the timestream. Rip and an older Booster occasionally would interact during the present version's mission, as they discuss the need to manipulate Booster (in particular, taunting him with the chance to change history and prevent the death of Ted Kord and the crippling of Kord's one-time girlfriend Barbara Gordon).
In Carl Draper's Checkmate blog, a reference is made to the Smith-Baxter Group, a time-travel consultancy whose founders were trained by Hunter (presumably Jeff Smith and Bonnie and/or Corky Baxter from the Time Masters mini-series).
This new version of Rip Hunter is much crueler and darker than previously portrayed: besides his casual manipulations of Booster Gold, he imprisoned the surviving members of the Linear Men and engages in torture against those who seek to alter history for their own selfish good.
The New 52
Though Rip Hunter was shown blinking out of existence following the end of Flashpoint and the merging of three separate timelines, it is revealed in Justice League International Annual #1 that he survived and may have turned against the pre-Flashpoint Booster Gold (who survived the rebooting of the DC Universe at the end of Flashpoint). Through means which are yet to be revealed, Rip Hunter almost managed to prevent his father from frantically warning his newly created counterpart that the romance between Wonder Woman and Superman will erase the past of his future from existence.
Time Masters: Vanishing Point
Rip, along with Booster Gold, Superman, and Hal Jordan starred in Time Masters: Vanishing Point, a limited series that is a companion piece to Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. The series followed the heroes' journey to find Batman who was lost in time following Final Crisis.
In other media
- Rip Hunter appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Time Out for Vengeance!" voiced by Brian Bloom. He helps out Batman and the Justice League International travel in time to save other versions of Batman from the minions of Equinox.
- Jacobs, Will; Gerard Jones (1985). The Comic Book Heroes: From the Silver Age to the Present. New York, New York: Crown Publishing Group. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-517-55440-2.
- Challengers of the Unknown #85-87
- Action Comics #552-554 (Feb-Apr 1984)
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #11
- Legends of the DC Universe 80-page Giant #1 (Sep. 1998)
- The Kingdom #2 (Feb. 1999)
- Superman (vol. 2) #165 (Feb. 2001)
- Superman the Man of Steel #118 (November 2001)
- 52 Week Six
- Time Masters 1-8 (Feb-Sep 1990)
- JSA #66, 68-72 (December 2004-June 2005)
- 52 Week Nineteen
- 52 Week Twenty-Seven
- 52 Week Thirty-Six
- "52" Week Thirty-Seven
- 52 Week Fifty-One
- 52 Week Fifty-Two
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #30 (March 2010)
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #3 (September 2010)
- "DC's Own Time Master Dan Jurgens Talks Vanishing Point". Newsarama. April 15, 2010.