A blog showcasing the characters, vehicles, items and pretty much anything else that involves Time Travel in DC comics.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Writers Block: Rip Hunter Subtle Depth? Part 1
Unlike Michelle the history of Rip Hunter is longer than the efforts of a handful of writers. In fact out of the four characters I'm writing these Writer Block metas on he's the character that's been around the longest. But his retconned origins have changed so this Rip doesn't share the same history as his pre-crisis and post-crisis counterparts. This change starts going into effect just before Infinite Crisis.
Johns sets off by fine tuning Rip to have his character make sense in a more realistic context during his JSA run. If Rip Hunter is called a Time Master because he's the number one expert on time travel then wouldn't knowing his identity make it easy for anyone to kill him? By making his name an alias he creates a sense of mystery the character previously lacked and ups the danger level of time traveling. While Rips' intelligence and skill will be expanded on it's the start of the character that will be shown from 52 forward.
More over Johns goes the extra mile to showcase what a big reputation Rip has. He's someone that constantly causes villains like Per Degaton trouble and fellow time travels trust. During 52 it's shown that Rip can not only hide from detection but also rally others to his cause. Villains and paradoxes believe in him. And although he appears to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown it becomes obvious around the time Mr. Mind "eats" the Phantom Zone that he has a plan. Was he pretending to panic just to pull off some grand master plan? Never said but it's a definite possibility that leads to more intrigue with Mr. Hunter.
Throughout Johns run on BG and even along other writers Rips' been the most subtly written character in the book. (*1) It's unclear if everything is part of a scheme he's come up with to keep the timeline together or an actual problem their struggling to solve. Johns even plays with this when Rip tortures Rex for information making the reader question if he's actually right. While Rip does express sorrow it's almost always overshadowed by what's happening around him. Sometimes readers have overlooked these vulnerable moment to wonder if it's even sincere. Although I don't think that was ever the intent of the writers. Rip does show emotion but most of the time he tries to stay focused.
Details from his past history (pre-Johns) are thrown in like his obvious affection for Bonnie Baxter. Johns even gives a tribute to Rips' hands on approach to difficulties in the field (ie. kicking ass.) It's not that he likes misleading people or that he's cruelly manipulating helpless pawns. Rip's just doing the job he's been trained for. He cares for the crew he lost, he offers to help Jason/Rex despite his betrayals and finally when no one is looking shows pride in his dad.
*1 Ironically the only one who's more subtle is Black Beetle since we still don't know his motives. Which is funny because Rip at least had some of his thoughts revealed.