Time Variance Authority

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Time Variance Authority
Time Variance Authority.jpeg
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThor vol. 1 #372 (October 1986)
Created by
In-story information
Type of organizationBureaucracy/Criminal (depending on continuity)
Leader(s)Mr. Alternity
Agent(s)
  • Mobius M. Mobius
  • Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble
  • Mr. Orobourous
  • Mr. Paradox
  • Mr. Tesseract
  • Minutemen

The Time Variance Authority (TVA) is a fictional organization, a group of timeline monitors appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

The TVA also appears in the 2021 Disney+ series Loki, which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Publication history[edit]

The Time Variance Authority (TVA) first appeared in Thor #372 (1986).[1] Created by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema, the TVA originally paid homage to long-time Marvel writer/editor and continuity expert Mark Gruenwald: the TVA staff were all clones of Gruenwald. (The classification system for alternate realities—the Marvel multiverse—was devised, in part, by Gruenwald).[2]

Antecedents[edit]

Squadron Sinister/Squadron Supreme[edit]

Writer Roy Thomas and Sal's brother, artist John Buscema, had previously explored the concept of a Marvel multiverse with Marvel's evil Justice League correlates, called the Squadron Sinister, in Avengers #69 (1969).[3] Thomas later introduced a heroic version of the Squadron Sinister named the Squadron Supreme, which first appeared in Avengers #85–86 (February–March 1971), and which was co-created with John Buscema.[4]

In 1985–1986, Mark Gruenwald wrote a deconstructionist multiverse storyline featuring the Squadron Supreme in a self-titled twelve-issue limited series.[5]

Captain Britain and the Dimensional Development Court[edit]

The concept of a timeline monitoring organization had previously been explored in a Captain Britain story arc originally published in the Marvel UK series The Daredevils #6–8 (1983). Written by Alan Moore and Alan Davis, Captain Britain is brought outside of time to the Supreme Omniversal Tribunal in Eden Place to testify before Lord Mandragon, Majestrix of the Dimensional Development Court, on behalf of the former majestrix, Opal Luna Saturnyne. Saturnyne is accused of failing to protect the multiverse from the creation of a deviant version of Earth-238.[6]

Prior to Captain Britain's testimony, Mandragon declares that the Earth-238 universe must be "removed" from the multiverse before it destroys the continuums of the other universes.[7] Saturnyn's legal counsel, a faceless being referred to as Lord Chancellor, objects, as the destruction of the Earth-238 universe will destroy material evidence of Saturnyne's innocence. Lord Mandragon overrules the defense's objection, citing Ominversal Writ clause 723-801-(d). He then proceeds to remove the dangerous deviant timestream using crystal technology.[8]

It is revealed during the trial that the prime Earth that exists in Marvel Comics is Earth-616. (Because of this story, Alan Moore is usually credited with naming the mainstream Marvel Universe "Earth-616." However, Alan Davis has said that it was invented by Dave Thorpe, the previous writer of the UK-published Captain Britain stories.)[9]

TVA as homage to Gruenwald and Captain Britain[edit]

While Captain Britain's 1983 story arc does not mention the Time Variance Authority, the Dimensional Development Court contains elements that were plainly retconned by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema[citation needed] and in subsequent incarnations (such as the TVA employees—chronomonitors—functioning and appearing in new universes in the same manner as the Captain Britain Corps). According to Mark Gruenwald's widow Catherine, Gruenwald's 1985 Squadron Supreme limited series was the work about which he was the proudest.[10] Any homage to him in the creation of the Time Variance Authority was likely reflective of that fact.[citation needed]

Fictional background[edit]

The TVA claims responsibility for monitoring the multiverse and can prune timelines if they are deemed too dangerous to exist. They also take action to prevent other beings from altering the past or future. They were first seen allowing Justice Peace, a lawman from the future, to travel to the 20th century in order to stop the killer Zaniac. Peace is able to succeed in his mission thanks to the assistance of Thor.[11]

Despite their claims, the TVA's influence over time is not absolute. The scope of their influence is bordered by Alioth in the distant past as well as Kang the Conqueror, the Delubric Consortium, and Revelation at different eras throughout the timescape.[12] There have also been numerous incidents of time travel or reality tampering where the TVA has failed to interfere.

At the End of Time, the last Director of the TVA creates the Time-Keepers, the last three beings who exist in the remaining timeline in the universe, who subsequently enslave Immortus. The process also ends up creating the Time Twisters, a trio of beings who imperiled all realities until stopped by Thor and other members of the Avengers.

The TVA are next seen utilizing the law-firm that She-Hulk works for on several instances and laws. Jurors for cases are plucked from time soon before they actually die, minimizing the effects on the time stream. This also establishes the tendencies for time-travelers to go through genetic scrambling, also to minimize the effect on the time-stream. Notably, the scrambling tends to cause similar appearances among various males who undergo the process. A defendant who is found guilty in one of these trials is executed with a weapon called the Retroactive Cannon, or Ret-Can (a reference to retroactive continuity, or "retcon", a practice used by storytellers to add previously unknown material to an event or remove previously established material from an event in a previous story), which erases the victim, deleting their existence from the universe by undoing their birth and entire history. She-Hulk herself was handed this harsh sentence, but it was overturned as a reward when she helped defeat the villain Clockwise.[13]

Employees[edit]

Lower-ranked TVA employees, called chronomonitors, are literally faceless. They are created artificially, using "quantum technology". The moment a new reality appears, a new faceless agent is created to monitor it, along with the necessary equipment (a personal computer-like device, plus a desk and a chair) to do so.

Cloned managers resemble Mark Gruenwald—and, later, Tom DeFalco—both longtime Marvel Comics writers. The most frequent recurring manager is Mobius M. Mobius, a Gruenwald clone.[14]

On occasion, the TVA hires mercenaries for use in the more dangerous missions, such as Justice Peace and Death's Head. These mercenaries often lose limbs, which the TVA replaces with clunky robotic parts. Another example of their seemingly anachronistic technology is a time machine shaped like an old locomotive. Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble, a pastiche of the Doctor,[15][16] is a renegade from the TVA.

Known staff members[edit]

  • Mr. Alternity[17] – upper management
  • First Secretary[volume & issue needed]
  • Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble[15] – former employee, resigned and stole one of the time capsules
  • Justice Mills[18] – member who appears briefly in a flashback.
  • He Who Remains[19] – last survivor of the Time Variance Authority, present at the end of time.
  • Mobius M. Mobius[20] – bureaucrat and middle management, attempted to discipline the Fantastic Four for violations of the TVA's laws
  • Mr. Orobouros[21] – future clone of Mr. Paradox, ceased to exist when Clockwise used the Retro-Active Cannon on Paradox
  • Mr. Paradox[21] – ceased to exist when Clockwise blasted him with the Retro-Active Cannon
  • Mr. Tesseract (Junior Management)[17] – subordinate to Mobius, he was assigned to reconstruct the lost data from Earth-616
  • Time Zone Manager[volume & issue needed]
  • Time Variance Authority Police Department[22] – accompanied Justice Peace in effort to capture Godwulf
  • Justice Peace[23] – former freelance agent; he was punished for infractions of time travel; currently a member of the Federal Police and Special Services Units that are based in Brooklynopolis
  • Justice Might, Justice Truth, and Justice Liberty[24] – Three officers who aided Mobius in recapturing the Fantastic Four while they were running loose inside the Null-Time Zone
  • Justice Love[25] – agent and Justice Peace's partner; she appears to have legal training.
  • Justice Goodwill[21] – court officer, ceased to exist when Clockwise blasted him with the Retro-Active Cannon
  • Time-Keepers[26] – A group of beings created by He Who Remains to protect time
  • Minutemen[27] – armored agents of the TVA who are assigned to guard the TVA's facilities from the Null-Time Zone and extract the disruptive entities that come from the other time periods. Each of its members is a clone, cyborg, or robot.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe[edit]

The logo of the Time Variance Authority as depicted in Loki.

The Time Variance Authority (TVA) appears in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe / Disney+ series Loki (2021),[28] with Mobius M. Mobius portrayed by Owen Wilson,[29] He Who Remains portrayed by Jonathan Majors,[30] and exclusive members Hunter B-15 portrayed by Wunmi Mosaku,[31] Hunter C-20 portrayed by Sasha Lane,[32] and receptionist Casey portrayed by Eugene Cordero.[33] In addition, Ravonna Renslayer (portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw[34]) serves as a judge within the TVA and the organization has an animated anthropomorphic clock mascot named Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong[35]) who instructs new TVA agents. This version of the organization was created by He Who Remains, who sought to stop evil variants of himself. In building the TVA, he pulled time variants of various people from across time, erased their memories, made them believe they and the TVA were created by the Time-Keepers, and built androids to serve as the Time-Keepers.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thor vol. 1 #372 (October 1986). Marvel Comics.
  2. ^ "Alternate Earths". Marvunapp.com. Retrieved 2015-06-21.
  3. ^ Avengers vol. 1 #69 (October 1969). Marvel Comics.
  4. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History (Updated and expanded ed.). DK. p. 148. ISBN 9781465455505.
  5. ^ Squadron Supreme #1–12 (Marvel Comics, Sept. 1985 – Aug. 1986).
  6. ^ The Daredevils #6–8 (June–August 1983). Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ The Daredevils #7 (July 1983). Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ ibid.
  9. ^ "Marvel.com Blogs - Blah Blah Blog by Tom Brevoort". 2008-12-11. Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
  10. ^ See "Introduction" in Squadron Supreme (TPB, 352 pages, 1997, ISBN 078510576X). Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Thor #372 (October 1986). Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #3 (Nov. 1993). Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ She-Hulk vol. 2, #1-4 (Dec. 2005–Mar. 2006). Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #24 (1991).
  15. ^ a b Power Man and Iron Fist #79 (Mar. 1982).
  16. ^ Avengers Annual #22 (1993).
  17. ^ a b Fantastic Four Annual #27 (1994). Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Thor #372 (Oct. 1986). Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Thor #245 (Mar. 1976). Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Fantastic Four #346 (Nov. 1990). Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ a b c She-Hulk vol. 2 #3 (Feb. 2006). Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Deathlok vol. 2 #32 (Feb. 1994). Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ Thor #371 (Sept. 1986).
  24. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #27 (May. 1994). Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ She-Hulk vol. 2 #1. Marvel Comics.
  26. ^ Thor #282. Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ Fantastic Four #352. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (February 3, 2020). "Marvel's Time Variance Authority Explained: Why Is Loki Imprisoned in the Disney Plus Series?". IGN. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  29. ^ Polo, Susana; Patches, Matt; McWhertor, Michael (December 11, 2020). "All the Easter eggs in Marvel's Loki and Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailers". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 16, 2021). "'Loki' Season One Finale Postmortem: Director & EP Kate Herron On Whether He Who Remains Is Really Immortus". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  31. ^ Lovett, Jamie (April 5, 2021). "Loki: New Images From Marvel's Disney+ Series Released". Comicbook.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  32. ^ Robinson, Joanna (June 7, 2021). "Loki: A Complete Beginner's Guide to Marvel's New Show". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on June 7, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  33. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (June 9, 2021). "'Loki' Premiere Steps Into the MCU Time Machine". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 9, 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  34. ^ Lovett, Jamie (April 5, 2021). "Loki: New Images From Marvel's Disney+ Series Released". Comicbook.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  35. ^ Ankers, Adele (May 19, 2021). "Marvel's Loki: We Now Know Who that Weird Cartoon Clock Character Is". IGN. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  36. ^ Polo, Susana (July 14, 2021). "Loki built up to the reveal of an even bigger Marvel Comics villain". Polygon. Archived from the original on July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2021.

External links[edit]