Monday, November 30, 2009

The Countess

Fiorella de Ravenna hails from the Firenze (Florence) Italy. Deeply fascinated with the concept of seeing the future she quickly latched herself onto Konstanin Vyronis, a former member of Goodfellows' trope. In 1464 Walker Gabriel was introduced to her by Vyronis, in hopes that Walker could be of use to their goals. Thinking that he's seen the last of her Walker was in for a surprise when he found her in 2113, claiming that another ex lover had brought her to the present. That man, Baron Winters owned a house with many doorways that accessed different points in time. He warned Walker that the woman known as simply "The Countess" had a habit of seducing and destroying men. 

The Countess wanted to return to her old life in the courts of 1464, only to discover that Walkers' actions had unintentionally trapped her. 

Real Life Connection: Based on a real life mystery woman named Maria Lani who suddenly appeared in Paris in 1930. Lani persuaded several artists, who would later become quite famous, into painting her portrait. She was said to have sold some works, and held an exhibition before taking the remaining paintings. She disappeared without a trace. 

What became of her: Since their introduction Fiorella has greatly improved both her english and her ability to use fire arms. Early on we learned that she was supposed to become Walkers' lover, an experience that would embitter him. She resided in the non-linearly synched city of Chronopolis in the process of remodeling. Her faithful android servant Mordecai serves her in at least two futures. Stating that she would "live forever" she does her best to keep away the boredom by indulging in parties, gossip and her vanity. This might be a vastly different future thanks to Walkers' meddling with his own timeline. 
First Appearance: Chronos #1

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Goodfellow Traveling Theatrical Troupe

Many know of the TIme Masters and the Linear Men, few knew of a group of time travelers that hid in plain sight. A group of twelve individuals from different points in time were brought together by a mysterious benefactor. Their mission was to help keep the timeline on the right path though time enforcement called the Linear Authority didn't approve of what they saw as meddling into their affairs. The group soon found that the best way to blend into what ever era they were in was to have the front of entertainers as any culture slip ups would be seen as eccentricities of actors.
The troupe was led by Lucas Goodfellow a former gambler who was given the role of guiding the others. Each member was given a Keystone, a device that only worked for the user. It was a means to send one way communications to it's members and used with the Gate of Eternity (an Aztec calender) it could send it's user directly to where they needed to go. Without it the traveler had to jump to several different points until they got where they needed to go. The only person to ever be able to go through the portals without being an owner of one was Walker Gabriel, much to the confusion of Goodfellow and his troupe.

The Gate of Eternity

Lady Chronos

Lady Chronos
Jia seemed like the girl of Ryan Chois' dreams but in the end she chose to marry the jock instead of the socially awkward Ryan. Upon hearing that her dead husband Alvin was stalking as a zombie Ryan offered his assistance only to learn that she wasn't as innocent as he assumed. Little did he know that Jia was responsible for him becoming the fourth Atom in a plot to ruin the reputation of Ray Palmer. Forming a partnership with David Clinton she took the name Lady Chronos. The two became lovers though Clinton did have his doubts of her loyalty having seen possible futures with her deception revealed.

In trying to recruit an unaware Ryan into joining her in a possible future where she ruled all of the timeline Jia showed her hand too soon. Her future self sent a message that warned her past self of the threat Ryan posed and Clintons' scheming against her. Jia seemed to know Booster Gold who she called by his real name when he arrived to assist the lost hero. Later the Chronos couple showed up as part of the Starro threat against Time Masters. Having no other option Booster agreed to let her go after she helped him and owe her a favor of her choosing. When the crisis was over Booster who had never met her before (though she was already familiar with him) wanted to know her story. Jia used her wiles again making yet another bold statement that they were lovers in her time. Rip Hunter angrily told her that he would never permit that to happen. She kissed Booster much to Chronos' annoyance saying it was just insurance. How much if any is true has yet to be revealed.

Powers: Lady Chronos has an ability she calls Void Time that freezes the victims body making it impossible for them to move much less defend themselves. How she came by these powers, whether they are natural or a product of her costume has never been stated. She likely can not time travel without the Time Watch both her and David Clinton use though she can open portals through time. 

Her future?: Jia has told many stories of how things will play out. She has said that David Clinton will be/was her husband, that she still cared for Ryan, that Booster and her were together, etc. Not everything is clear with her, like her referring to Dwarfstar, a fake Atom like hero, as her first born. Whether he is in fact her son is questionable at best. What is known is that at some point in time she will gain control over the timeline only to have Booster Gold and an Atom rebel. Her body was found with Ryans' future corpse appearing to have stabbed him while he strangled her.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chronos 2: Walker Gabriel

The Second Chronos, Walker Gabriel has a history that's a little hard to explain even without my usual "don't spoiler too much" stance. His story involves his 30 year old future self and his rookie 23 self, alternate timelines and his own status as an abnormal life form in the time stream. Walker was adopted not knowing anything about his real parents until sometime after he created his own displacement suit. We never learn why he was kicked out of college (according to Jean Loring) but he creates a costume of his own design to help him steal the money he needs to fund his research. A contact of his that helped him improve his prototype suit was David Clinton. As Clinton was at that point rapidly aging and slowly fading away he was only to eager to help, so long as he got his cut from Walkers' thefts.

Once Clinton was legally declared dead he left Walker in his will though the two were only associates. Many started to dub him the new Chronos, the apparent heir of the title. After an earlier theft gone horribly wrong many time travelers soon became interested in Walker. Wondering why his mere presence registered as a temporal anomaly. Through a series of events he became more and more involved in events he'd rather stay out of. The whole hero vs. villain scene didn't interest him in the slightest yet he kept getting pulled into the kind of conflicts where he had to choose a side. 

Through his self interest Walker did come quite close to becoming the bad guy. Making one horrible mistake that he alone had to set it right. He kept people guessing of where he stood usually doing things for the right reason but also having his own self interest tied in. The comic was about Walkers' journey of discovery of who he was and what he was willing to sacrifice. His series didn't last long due to low sales, the demand to tie the character to different DC events and the death of Archie Goodwin, a driving force to the book.

What can he do?: Not much of a fighter Walker can freeze and/or slow down the time around him. John Fox, a future Flash, was in fact affected by this enough to not be able to move. Walker is Time Sensitive. He can touch items to be transported back in time to different points in it's existence. Once the capabilities of the suit have been improved upon he can time travel at will. At this stage the early post-crisis means of time traveling by the 2 way method seems to be void. 

Where is he now?: Walker hasn't made too many appearances since. The biggest ones have been his odd death in JSA (it's odd if you read his series, trust me) which is later erased when the timeline is restored. He was in Superman 3D in Limbo and his costume was seen in a possible future where Lady Chronos rules next to David Clintons' living statue.

First Appearance: Chronos #1 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chronos 1: David Clinton

David Clinton started off his criminal career in pretty simplistic terms as a thief content with revolving his crimes around time themes. Sundial crossbows, spring weapons, everything focused on his passion. In those early days his only great foe was the second Atom, Ray Palmer. Over the years Clinton even joined many teams such as the Secret Society of Super Villains,  the Crime Champions, the Injustice Gang and others. Desiring to have actual control over time Clinton was one of the many super villains to agree to sell their souls for an exchange from the demon Neron. He gained the ability to time travel at will but failed to realize that the deal wasn't fair. Soon it became apparent that he was rapidly aging and becoming out of sych of reality. Clinton made several attempts to save himself including leeching the youth from fellow travelers. Before he could fade out of existence he becomes a mentor of sort to Walker Gabriel in his endeavors to research and thefts based on his own displacement suit.

After he was legally declared dead more of his personality was shown. The man was a pack rat collector who had the worst luck with women, already having two ex-wives to prove that point. The latter being a trait that would lead him to his partner/lover the woman that would later be referred to as Lady Chronos. For reasons that were never entirely clear Clinton (one version of him at least) returned from his apparent grave to led Ryan Choi to become the fourth Atom when Ray Palmer went missing. To embarrass the legacy of his foe but in a possibly future it is implied that he undermined Lady Chronos to ensure that she was stopped by messing with Ryans' life.

Current Status: Given how often his story changes it's hard to say. He faded away until Lady Chronos came into the picture. In a future where she rules the entire timeline Clinton is a living statue next to her throne. She comments that he cheated death many times "eventually he had to learn that time doesn't heal all wounds." Of course this claim is at odds with her later statement that she "collared" him herself.

Rex Hunter Version 1

Rex Hunter
When Booster Gold #4 Vol 2. was released the character of Rex Hunter was first introduced claiming to be a former Time Master. This left more than a few readers looking on wikipedia to see if Geoff Johns was putting in an obscure character from the Silver Age. But no, we find out everything there is to know about him from Rip Hunter himself when Booster asks if the two are related. His real name is in fact Jason Goldstein, a man that never thought much of the rules of time travel claiming he could do a better job. Rex was kicked out of the Time Masters after attempting to push a ten year old Lex Luthor onto the railroad tracks. The butterfly effect of the act made certain that billions of lives were later lost since Connor Kent/Superboy wasn't cloned. 

Impatient, Rex isn't one to think of his actions in the greater scheme of things more focused on a short sighted end goal. He doesn't see things that way claiming that Rip isn't nearly as smart as he thinks he is. To enact his revenge Rex got rid of the Time Masters (stating that he killed Bonnie himself) except Rip Hunter whos' true identity he could never discover. Unfortunately for Rex bragging was yet another rule he broke. This would later prove how he overestimated his value to the rest of the Time Stealers once he was captured by Rip. They decided to kill his infant self in his crib to prevent him from talking. The results weren't what they were expecting. 

My take: Personally I liked the addition of Rex to the Time Masters mythos. He shows how important it is that you have the right people in charge of such an important mission. While he doesn't think of himself as a bad guy his stubborn refusal to listen to his teacher feels very true to life. I'm an art student so I've come across (and been a little) like this myself. There are little things about the character that aren't revealed but are hinted at in the story. Jason seemed to be more than a little obsessed with Rip to the point that he chose for his new identity to be as close to his as possible. Rip refers to him as a kid though it's apparent that Rex is an adult. I don't see Rip as the sort to randomly call people kid that aren't as well versed in something as him. This leads me to assume that Rex was a younger age (likely a teen like Corky) when he was a student.
First Appearance: Booster Gold Vol. 2 #4 

Time Masters mini Character Summaries: Rip Hunter

There are a few different version of Rip Hunter. His pre-Crisis self, the post-Crisis Rip, the Linear Mens' Hunter and now the Geoff Johns version. What the first three share is that Rip Hunter was in fact his real name. Granted some times his first name wasn't always the same as it changed to either Ripley or Richard. But he was a scientist and an adventurer, something I think the Linear Mens' version severally lacked. Regardless this Rip (Post-Crisis) was shown to have a family. A cousin in Dan Hunter and in a grandfather that inspired his passion for history.

Rip discovered that the invention he was currently working on was a success when Booster Gold came knocking on his door courtesy of Jack Soo, a friend and employee of Booster. Traveling to the future to save the hero he came to learn of the horrors to come and began obsessing over how to save the world from nuclear war. Finding little help from the rest of the heroes it became clear that Rip would have to take matters into his own hands. He's harsher to others but he does have regrets over his behavior.

What Happened?: His fate is a little vague at the end since another mini series was planned but never released. In the proposal for the comic Chronos one of events the lead character was going to do was tie up that loose end. Though Rip made an appearance in the comic that storyline never saw print inside the series as the writer pulled the plug.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time Masters mini Character Summaries: Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith was Rip Hunters' best friend, a fact that Lewis Shiner played up. Shiner did make some major changes to the character like Jeffs' race and made him less physical. When things were at their worst Bonnie could snap at Rip but it was always Jeff that would be able to get his point across without raising his voice. The two were together since college. 

Jeff is willing to go along with Rips' plans though he doesn't care for the means used to achieve their goal. He goes through it without much complaining because at heart he is a good friend. In regards to his relationship with Bonnie there's a definite communication problem although that is partly Bonnies' fault. She seems to have trouble telling someone her feelings on matters save for two exceptions: her break up with Cave and her later arguments with Rip. With Jeff the disappointments never reach his ears.

Physical Appearance: Silver Age Jeff Smith (shown with Rip.)

Time Masters Jeff Smith

Where is he now?: Last time he was mentioned was in the Checkmate blog, referred to as Smith of the Smith and Baxter group. They were said to have helped installed the security in Checkmate to prevent time travelers from sneaking into their base. This may not be the case anymore. See Jason Goldstein a.k.a. Rex Hunter for more information.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Time Masters mini Character Summaries Bonnie Baxter and Tony

(Corky Baxter, Jeff Smith, Rip Hunter, Daniel Hunter in back with miss colored hair, Bonnie Baxter and Tony.)

In 1959 Bonnie Baxter was the love interest of Rip Hunter, Lewis Shiner thought that in his series it should be more apparent that she was a desirable woman. The results were interesting to say the least. When we first meet Bonnie it's because her then boyfriend Cave Carson (who was part of the Forgotten Heroes with Rip before the Crisis) needs to talk to her. Or rather break up. Bonnie having come over for *ahem* other rather obvious reasons is understandably peeved. This sets the tone that she has with most of the men she relates with in the book. These relationships she has with them tend to disappoint her. Frustrating her with the stubbornness of the person (Rip), being rejected (Cave) or the overprotectiveness (Jeff.) 

As a way to make up for not only breaking up with her but also firing her (she was his research assistant) Cave finds her another job working with Rip. Right away there's a definite attraction between her new boss and her. But unlike Cave and later Jeff, Bonnie stops things before they get too far. Rip was unaware that his best friend Jeff Smith was moving in on her for a long time. Once he found out Rip does the honorable thing and backs off completely. 

Even so throughout the book there's a tension between him and Bonnie. Both deny it's anything serious yet they bicker like an old married couple. Bonnie is openly affectionate to both Cave and Jeff in front of a clearly annoyed Rip. Yet she also seems so proud of him for his success and later decides to help with the mission herself. And somehow along the way she figures out that her addition to the cause is actually important to her. 

New Earth: Bonnie Baxter (and likely the rest of the Time Master save Rip) was "erased" from the timeline as a baby thanks to the traitor Jason Goldstein, who is not a character in this series.

Tony was found by Corky Baxter "admiring" Dan Hunters' car. To prove she wasn't a thief she used the computers inside the lab to show her "bum rap" police file. Toying around with the computer further she managed to bring up one of Rips' projects and eventually they worked out an arrangement to have her work for them. Corky was less than thrilled with how fast she was accepted into the gang. Tony joined the cause but shortly after Bonnies' mission the stress became too much for a few of them to take and she decided it was time to leave. Meeting up with her sister Tony hasn't been seen since.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Time Masters mini Characters Summaries: Corky Baxter

corky baxter
Corky Baxter was quite different from his pre-crisis counterpart. In 1959 (our time) the Time Masters were introduced in Showcase #20. Two years before Marvels' Fantastic Four had their own foursome of a genius, his girlfriend, her kid brother and the jock best friend would take their fateful rocket trip. Corky was the little brother of Rip Hunters' love interest Bonnie Baxter. In those days he acted as the proper Silver Age sidekick: always excited about their adventures and in awe of his role model. In the Post-Crisis mini series writer Lewis Shiner had a different take to the characters of the Time Masters. 

While two new members were added (Tony and Dan Hunter) the core four all had changes in store for them. Some changes were more subtle like with Rip Hunter, while others were bolder and much more noticeable. Corky for example was no longer the happy go lucky kid he had previously been. He now had a history of drug problems and a bleak outlook on life in general. Not many connected with the teen but he found a new thrill in time traveling. His role help set the tone for this new version of Time Masters. 

Where is he now?: Since the series Corky Baxter has yet to make any appearances although his fate has been hinted at in the second Booster Gold series.