The Time Trapper
Created by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte
NAME + ALIASES:
Mentioned: Adventure Comics #317 (Feb. 1964). Depicted: Adventure Comics #318 (Mar. 1964)
He or she has shown great interest in the Legion of Super-Heroes, and has expressed interest in Superman as well. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #105) He or she also claims to be able to see other time lines, including some in which the Legion's history and even his own nature were very different.
The Time Trapper was one of the Legion's most mysterious foes. Not only were his origins a mystery, but his time-manipulation powers make it almost impossible to be sure what has really happened after an encounter with him. He claims to be the incarnation of entropy, and to live at the end of time. He is much more powerful than any ordinary human being; he was once able to bribe a Controller into impersonating him...meaning that he could offer that already powerful being something more than his own power could give him.
Original Time Trapper
The Trapper's first known contact with the Legion was indirect, when he sought to steal the Miracle Machine so he could break open Glorith's barrier. He was able, from behind the barrier, to mentally manipulate an android mechanic into creating the Molecule Master, an android which would infiltrate Legion headquarters by pretending to be an applicant, and would release into the air a slow-acting poison to kill them. This plan was foiled by ERG-1, who was returning to Earth, and the Legion, after a quarter-year-long absence. (Superboy #201)
The Time Trapper made no further attempts to break down the barrier, but it was broken down for him through a freak accident: the combining of strange energies from Ultra Boy's force field and a pirate's cannon. The Trapper, his power restored, immediately grabbed the unconscious Jo Nah and switched his mind with that of the Superboy he created, but whose purpose had never been fulfilled. He put Superboy, with Ultra Boy's memories, on the real Earth, and watched as the confused Ultra Boy thought himself another Rimborian hero, Reflecto. When the Legion investigated the matter, the Time Trapper used his powers to send the Legion to the Pocket Universe's past, and not the regular universe's past. The Trapper made mental contact with a Controller, bribing him to impersonate him, to set up a feasible fall guy, and released another Molecule Master android into the Pocket Universe to draw the Legion's attention. With Dawnstar's tracking powers and Phantom Girl's dimension-travel abilities, the Legion managed to find Jo Nah's body and the Controller-Trapper. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #277-282)
It took much of the Legion's power, but the team managed to take down the Controller-Trapper and imprison him on Takron-Galtos, where, shortly afterward, he was drained of his power by Darkseid (Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #291), and, since he was a disappointment to the real Trapper, was plucked from Takron-Galtos before its destruction so he could be punished with destruction by the Trapper himself. (Legionnaires 3 #1)
Meanwhile, the real Trapper's plan was proceeding as he wished: Superboy was now a member of the Legion, and was accepted as the younger self of Superman. The Trapper built himself a palace at the end of time, staffed it with servants, such as the sycophantic but competent Otok (Legionnaires 3 #1-4), and assembled an army of soldiers from all eras of time, such as Commander Jamil and Xeron, who the Trapper killed for failing to quietly kidnap Graym Ranzz (Legionnaires 3 #1), Zachariah, who he had killed for failing to keep Saturn Girl imprisoned, and Regreb, who was guarding Graym Ranzz when his companion punched him out on Saturn Girl's telepathic suggestion, and Z'Tivel, who spotted Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy with Otok. (#3) He then proceeded to test the Legionnaires psychologically to make one of them crack and reveal the Legion's secrets, starting in 2985 by kidnapping Graym Ranzz and forcing the founding Legionnaires to run a gauntlet to earn his release. (Legionnaires 3 #1-4) He intended to test even more, but in 2986, Cosmic Boy and Night Girl took a trip back to the twentieth century, where they met the real Superman, who claimed to have no knowledge of the Legion. Cosmic Boy suspected the Trapper's involvement and tried to inform the Legion, but the Trapper brought him to the end of time and held him prisoner. Cosmic Boy escaped, and the Trapper decided that he had better put his plan into motion. (Cosmic Boy #1-4)
He forged a time-link between the pocket dimension and the real universe in the late twentieth century, at the time of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Superboy tried to stop the wall of anti-matter from destroying his world, but failed. The Trapper appeared to him, and offered him a machine that would move the pocket universe out of harm's way...if he would bring the Legionnaires, held in stasis, to him. Superboy accepted the terms, and captured four of eight Legionnaires who had come back in time to investigate the discrepancy and the Trapper's destruction of the Time Institute. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #36) The other four managed to escape and find Superman, who was able to convince Superboy to betray the Trapper. When he did this, the Trapper destroyed the machine that kept the Crisis from destroying the pocket dimension and disappeared. The Legion managed to save the pocket dimension, but it cost Superboy's life. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #37-38, Superman v.3 #8, Action Comics #591)
Post-Crisis: The Pocket Universe
In revenge, the Legionnaires took the inert body of Jaxon Rugarth, and transformed it once again into the Infinite Man, whose power came from being thrown through time, in cycles. The Legion arranged a confrontation between the self-styled "incarnation of entropy" and the Infinite Man, who embodied a cyclical view of time. When the two battled, the Infinite Man appeared close to asserting his view of time on the universe, so the Trapper retreated...to his pocket dimension, where he defined its end. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #50) The Legion believed him dead.
Confusing the issue even more is the fact that Glorith of Baaldur sometimes used a disguise similar to his, but it is now believed that it is known which appearances of a robed figure should be attributed to which person.
The truth is that the Trapper was Rokk Krinn, who was kidnapped by Mordru and Glorith in 2996. (Legionnaires #17) He made his way to the Infinite Library, where he learned all the secrets of time, and escaped at the end of time. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #60, Legionnaires #18) But while there, he discovered a cataclysm approaching the thirtieth century, and tried to prevent it. First, he set up an "iron curtain of time" to slow it down, and then he tried to preserve the Legion in a pocket dimension so that they could inspire the rebuilding of the world after the time-disaster ran its course. He split the Legion into two time-tracks, at a point right after their first encounter with Universo, at which point they were innocently untouched by the spectre of death. He hid one set of them in stasis in the Time Institute, and let the other live. But then the interference of Glorith's own plans prevented him from saving the thirtieth century in the way he had planned. He tried to change time to prevent that from happening, but in doing so, he ended up changing his own past, and drove himself insane. After several abortive attempts at twisting history, during which his own history became further corrupted, he forgot his own mission and became a powerful conqueror rather than a savior. He carved for himself a small fiefdom at the end of time, and ruled it contently for a while.
Bored with ruling the lifeless era at the end of time, he decided to extend his rule to the populated eras, and he picked the thirtieth century for its lack of extremely powerful opponents. The only being with whom he would have to reckon, he thought, would be the sorcerer Mordru. Since he was not certain he could beat Mordru in a head-to-head battle, he decided to create a group of heroes who would fight Mordru and weaken him (before getting destroyed themselves) so that he could come in, beat Mordru, and take over. To this end, he created a pocket dimension (the concept brought from a repressed memory) in which to create a fake legend, that of Superboy, to inspire the group's young heroism. He claims that his plan once succeeded, but that it was retroactively erased when he was defeated by a Legionnaire; there is no way to evaluate the truthfulness in his statement, and it may, ultimately, be irrelevant. In the known timeline he failed, because he did not see Glorith of Baaldur as powerful enough to give him problems. He was wrong. She had hatched a similar scheme, using a hero called Valor, and prevented the Trapper from executing his plot by erecting a dimensional barrier, which kept the Time Trapper out of the real universe for some time.
He laid low there for a while, licking his wounds, until 2994, when he attempted to enter Glorith's mind and take it over. Glorith's defenses were too strong, though, and she confronted him over his attack. In a last-ditch effort, he tried to bluff and propose a partnership, but Glorith was able to tell how weak he was, and she consumed his essence, destroying the pocket dimension, and, she thought, him. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #13)
But he wasn't dead. His mental essence was absorbed into Glorith's body, and remained trapped in dormancy, until late 2995, when Glorith was fighting the Legion, and the effects of the machinations of Glorith of a different time effected a paradox. Seizing this breach in the time stream which she caused, he was able to overpower Glorith from within, and the two of them disappeared from existence. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #53) No one knew that he was the cause of Glorith's disappearance. His time within Glorith, though, settled his mind, and he remembered who he was and what his purpose was. He tried once again to undo some things that went wrong from the way he remembered them, such as Glorith's destruction of Daxam (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #57), but he found it too much, and decided to take a drastic step. He went back to the end of time to await Rokk Krinn's arrival, and he told him of his true history. (Valor #23, Zero Hour #3) Rokk, who now knew all this to be true, changed history and decided to not become the Time Trapper. Rather, he would return to 2996, and heal the time-problems that the Trapper's meddling caused. The key to healing these problems was twofold: the split Legionnaires...the younger set of which was discovered by Dominators, assumed to be clones, and dubbed "Batch SW6"...had to reunite, and, the iron curtain had to be removed. Only then would the timestream be smoothed out, and a clean regrowth could be achieved following the destruction that would, inevitably, come. The Trapper got the Legionnaires to reunite (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #61), and took down the iron curtain (Zero Hour #1), whereupon he was attacked and killed by the twentieth-century man whose fault it was in the first place...and who had attacked him once before, at the end of time. (Zero Hour #4)
Legion Reboot: Earth-247
The Legion's its first known encounter with the Time Trapper was when the entity bounced XS to different time-periods while she was attempting to return to the thirtieth century from the twentieth. All that is known about the Trapper is that he or she had been a time traveler until, for some reason, they became "trapped in time."
The Trapper ultimately brought XS to Vanishing Point, headquarters of the self-appointed timeline police, the Linear Men, where she witnessed a number of beings passing through, including Linear Men Hunter and Liri Lee, Justice Society of America members Atom, Flash, Hourman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Starman and Wildcat, the time-being Waverider, the later twentieth-century heroes Darkstar and Green Lantern and Superman. The Trapper told XS that this had to happen in order for her to be able to fulfill her ultimate destiny, but before she could extract further information, the Trapper caused her to forget their meeting and sent her back to the year she left. (Legionnaires Annual #3)
Several months after that incident, during a time when the entire Legion was trapped in the time stream (Legionnaires #47-Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #91), the Time Trapper gave Legion guest Lori Morning the H-dial once owned by twentieth-century hero Robby Reed which was in the twenty-fifth century Space Museum. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #105) His purpose in doing this is uncertain, though he has tried to make Lori his partner on at least one occasion. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #105)
Shortly after that, the Trapper trapped and implanted memories into seven Legionnaires and Inferno in a pocket dimension version of 1958 America on Earth in order to test their tolerance for other cultures. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #92) A few weeks later, he trapped and implanted memories in nine Legionnaires and placed them in a pocket dimension during World War II on Earth to test their ability to function as super-heroes without thirtieth-century technology. (Legionnaires #54)
Later, when six Legionnaires and Lori Morning found themselves in an odd world in which they were not Legionnaires and in which the Legionnaires they know were different, they encountered the Trapper during their attempt to return to their familiar reality. (Legionnaires #61) The Trapper explained to them the nature of the pocket universes and revealed that he had the other Legionnaires trapped in such a dimension, where they were fighting against and alongside variant versions of themselves. He attempted to seduce Lori into joining him in his tormenting of the Legion, but she remained faithful to the Legion and used her H-dial to make herself into a heroine who could free the other Legionnaires. She did this, and freed many of the variant versions as well. During the melee that followed, the Trapper observed that the Legion is heroic even if their view of reality is challenged, and sent them home once again. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #105)
It was not until later that the Trapper's purpose, at least in part, became clear. The Time Trapper was trapped within a space anomaly that manifested shortly after the team of Legionnaires trapped in the twentieth century returned to the thirtieth. As energy from this anomaly was tapped by Leland McCauley for the use of the Dark Circle, it warped and buckled, until time itself stopped for everyone...except the Legionnaires, whose contact with the Trapper rendered them immune to this effect. Thanks to the Trapper, the Legionnaires were able to act to re-start the flow of time, incidentally freeing the Trapper in the process. The Legion created the device to re-start time, but it was actually activated by the Composite Man, a formerly villainous Durlan who copied the Legionnaires' ability to act outside of time. (Legionnaires #65) Shortly thereafter, the Time Trapper attempted to thank Cosmic Boy and reward him for freeing him, but Cosmic Boy, angry at having been manipulated by the Trapper, lashed out at him and the Trapper, in return, vowed that Cosmic Boy would grovel before him one day. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #108)
It can be assumed that the Time Trapper's plan somehow called for Lori to join the Legion; the robed being became surprised and upset when she joined Leland McCauley's Workforce instead. (Legionnaires #69)
The Time Trapper is a mysterious robed being who has vast powers over time, including the ability to age another being, to freeze another being in stasis, to implant false memories in a being's mind (although this ability seems limited to superficial thinking) and, perhaps most impressively, to create entire universes out of "pockets of time" (these are commonly referred to as pocket dimensions).
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Action Comics #385-387, 591
- Adventure Comics #317-318, 321-322, 338
- Cosmic Boy #3-4
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #10
- Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #37-38, 50
- Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #4
- Superboy v.1 #223
- Superman v.2 #8
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #23
- Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #7
- All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55
- Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #280-282, 291
- Legionnaires #18
- Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #13, 50, 53, 61
- Valor #23
- Legionnaires 3, 4-issue limited series (1986)
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, 5-issue limited series (1994)
» SEE ALSO: