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|First appearance||(as Ty. M. Master) Wonder Woman #101 (October 1958); (as Time Trapper) Adventure Comics #317 (February 1964) (first mentioned) / Adventure Comics #318 (March 1964) (seen)|
|Created by||Robert Kanigher (Time Master) and Edmond Hamilton (Time Trapper)|
|Notable aliases||Cosmic Boy, Lori Morning, Superboy-Prime|
While the character first appeared as "The Time Trapper" in Adventure Comics #317 (February 1964) in a story written by Edmond Hamilton, a similar character named "The Time Master" had appeared earlier in Wonder Woman #101 (October 1958) in a story written by Robert Kanigher. In Super Friends #17 (February 1979), writer E. Nelson Bridwell wrote a story that hinted that the two characters were one and the same.
Fictional character biography
The Time Trapper was originally a strange robed warlord from the extremely distant future, well past the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes. In his early appearances, the Time Trapper (also known as Paras) created a strange "Iron Curtain of Time" that prevented the Legion from going into their future. He also commanded a vast number of slaves and had a henchwoman named Glorith, whom he eventually murdered.
The Time Trapper (as The Time Master) appeared in 1958 to challenge Wonder Woman and Colonel Steve Trevor under the alias T.Y.Master by creating a diabolical "fun house". Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor were transported to various disasters throughout time when opening a door before defeating the Time Master by Wonder Woman vibrating through the doors. The villain then admitted defeat and disappeared, possibly returning to the "Iron Curtain of Time".
Later, it was revealed that the Time Trapper was a member of the fascist but well-intentioned race of Controllers. The Time Trapper was defeated by the Legion and it was believed that his menace ended when the villain Darkseid removed almost all of his power during the Great Darkness Saga.
Later retcons claimed that the Time Trapper was not a Controller at all, replacing this with a series of wildly contradictory origins. These various backstories include him being the Legionnaire Cosmic Boy, Lori Morning, Superboy-Prime, the living embodiment of Entropy in the Universe, and a sentient alternate timeline.
One of the more noteworthy stories involving the Time Trapper came after the reality-altering mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths and the 1986 revamp of Superman's origin, which removed Superboy from Superman's and the Legion's history. Given the problems this posed for Legion continuity, it was later revealed that the Time Trapper created a pocket universe from a slice of time in the distant past, and altered events in this reality so that an Earth resembling the pre-Crisis one was formed, complete with its own Superboy. The Time Trapper then further manipulated the timestream so that whenever the Legion would travel into the past to visit the 20th century (or Superboy visited the Legion's future), the two would be directed into each other's worlds. However, the "pocket universe" lacked a Kryptonian Supergirl, and thus was not a perfect answer to patching Legion continuity. (The "pocket universe" was later revisited and made the point of origin for a non-Kryptonian Supergirl, also known as Matrix).
Four Legionnaires, (Duo Damsel, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, and Mon-El) were involved in a conspiracy to destroy the Time Trapper, against the Legion's regulations. They managed to reach his citadel at the end of time and seemingly destroyed him by using the Infinite Man against him. During this attack, Duo Damsel's second body was killed and Mon-El was put into a coma.
Following the five-year gap in Legion history, Brainiac 5 learned that the Trapper's essence had survived in Mon-El's mind. Mon-El then murdered the Trapper in the Pocket Universe, which caused a chain reaction throughout time and resulted in the sorcerer Mordru dominating the universe for a time. Mordru's former sidekick Glorith, through a magical spell, managed to take the Trapper's place in history and it was revealed that the Time Trapper had originally engineered the creation of the Legion in order to halt the inevitable rise of Mordru.
However it is eventually revealed that the Time Trapper had managed to survive and was probing Glorith's mind in an effort to regain his power. Enraged by this violation of her person, Glorith confronts the Time Trapper in the remains of his Pocket Universe and literally consumes him effectively becoming the Time Trapper.
The Time Trapper appeared to have been killed by Parallax during the 1994 Zero Hour storyline, but was apparently reconstructed with the universe at the climax of that story. He was also revealed to be Cosmic Boy. Keeping a promise he had made to the pre-Zero Hour version of Cosmic Boy, he did not intervene to ensure the creation of the post-Zero Hour Legion, but after they were formed, he briefly bedeviled them, with memories of all of his previous incarnations intact. The identity of this incarnation of the Time Trapper remains unconfirmed; some evidence suggests that it may be a future version of Lori Morning.
The Time Trapper later states that he made countless attempts to separate Superman from the Legion and erase him from the timeline, but that these attempts never lasted. The Trapper claims to have confused the Legion with "pocket dimensions and alternate history", implying that he was responsible for the creation and existence of the "Batch SW6", "Reboot" and "Threeboot" incarnations of the Legion. He also reveals that he is the one who created the crystal tablet that stated Superman to be of Earth origin.
The Time Trapper's plan came to fruition in the 2008 miniseries Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds by Geoff Johns and George Pérez. He uses Superboy-Prime, which he views as a corrupted Superman, as a tool to destroy the link between Superman and the Legion. He brings Superman and the Legion founders to the end of time, where he attempts to kill them and is revealed to be an older Superboy-Prime. However, during the battle, Saturn Girl watches as the Trapper's "S" scar on his chest gains a slash across it as it simultaneously happens to Prime in the past. With this evidence, Brainiac 5 theorizes that the Trapper is in fact an alternate, sentient timeline whose identity changes constantly as the true timeline marches on, explaining the multiple identity changes he has gone through in each incarnation. In order to weaken the Trapper, the founders combined their powers, using the cracks in reality at the end of time to bring in many alternate Legionnaires to fight him. The Trapper was knocked out and brought back to the Legion's time. The Trapper tried to convince Superboy-Prime to join forces with him to destroy the Legion. However, Prime refused to believe that the Trapper was his future self and punched him, creating a blinding flash that sent Prime back to Earth Prime and destroyed that incarnation of the Trapper.
Powers and abilities
The Time Trapper has complete control over future time. He is able to freeze it, alter it, and even separate parts of it, thereby creating his own pocket dimensions. He cannot, however, alter events in the present time.
In February 1979, Time Trapper appeared to defeat the Super Friends. During the investigation, Wonder Woman suggested that the Time Master and the Time Trapper were the same person. Superman deduced that the Time Trapper wanted to get rid of all superheroes throughout time, particularly the Legion of Super-Heroes. Time Trapper kidnapped and transported the Wonder Twins in the past by trapping Jayna on Krypton and Zan on a water planet near the star-sun Neryla. With the help of Queen Hippolyta, the Super Friends separated into small teams to locate and rescue the Wonder Twins. Returning to the present, the Super Friends defeated The Time Trapper who then disappeared. Superman believed he was imprisoned by the Controllers from his world.
In other media
- The Time Trapper appears as the main antagonist in the animated film JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, voiced by Corey Burton. He is freed from his skeletal hourglass prison called the Eternity Glass by Lex Luthor (who had been thawed out in 30th century Earth by Karate Kid and Dawnstar). From there, he is enslaved by Luthor and forced to take him back in time as well as send his fellow members of the Legion of Doom further back in time to change events so that baby Kal-El would never have been raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent. However, a few members of the Justice League were able to follow and the others faced off against Time Trapper who displayed his immense power. Once Dawnstar and Karate Kid made it so that Luthor was freed from the ice in the present instead of the future, Time Trapper erased the alternate Lex from existence, freed himself, and used the Eternity Glass in an attempt to mold the present day in his image. However, thanks to Dawnstar's light energy combating his dark matter composition, the League and the Legionnaires were able to separate the Trapper from the Eternity Glass, and he was forced back into his prison. Dawnstar and Karate Kid took the hourglass back to the future, to ensure he wouldn't harm the present (or their past) again.
- The Time Trapper appears in the teaser of issue 7 of All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold (which is based on Batman: The Brave and the Bold). He is seen fighting Batman and the Teen Titans until he is defeated by them.
- Legionnaires 3
- Cosmic Boy (limited series)
- "The Exaggerated Death of Ultra Boy"
- "The Greatest Hero of Them All"
- "End of an Era" (comics)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds
- Adventure Comics #338 (October 1965)
- Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #101 (1958)
- DC Limited Collector's Edition #55 (1978)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #61 (Sept. 1994)
- Legionnaires #64 (September 1998)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 (May 2009)
- Legion of Superheroes (vol. 4) #4 (1990)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (Sept 2009)
- Action Comics #591 (August 1987)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 3) #50 (September 1988)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #5 (March 1990)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) Annual #1 (1990)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #13 (November, 1990)
- Legionnaires #60-61 (May–June 1998) and Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #104-105 (May–June 1998)
- Action Comics #864 (June 2008)
- Action Comics #858-863 (December 2007 - May 2008)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1 (October 2008)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (July 2009)
- Super Friends #17-18 (1979)