I was lucky enough to find some old Rip Hunter stories and decided to review them all but for some reason I'm lazier with writing older comic reviews. Rip Hunter Time Master is (so far) an interesting ride. Yes, it does have some quirky Silver Age moments such as the story twists and unmasking al la Scooby Doo. But the characterization isn't what I thought it would be. I haven't read all the issues yet but all the team members are useful and while Bonnie is the girl of the group she helps the others and the men play the role of kidnapped teammate too. This is a little different from my recent reviews as their written "live" as I read them.
Silver Age SPOILERS AHEAD#1:
The one page tease has the group being attacked by native Americans and I have to wonder at the cliche of people in the past assuming that anything that flies is automatically a bird. Has anyone ever wondered why something that clearly doesn’t look like a lifeform is flying? I heard that this series never really had an origin and yeah I know that the Time Masters were introduced in Showcase prior to this but still. Their already Time Masters. Jeff is fixing up the time sphere and Rip calls the group together which includes Corky, although I’m still clueless to what he provides. Bonnies’ at least described as Rips’ assistant. Did little brothers usually follow their sisters to their jobs?While amused at them randomly going into the past for errands for friends I have to wonder if their ever do anything for more dramatic reasons.
An old friend of Rips’ wants to get married to a woman named Nancy but her father won’t allow it because he’s worried about the Craig family curse. What catches my interest is this being the first time I can recall anyone giving an idea of how old Rips’ supposed to be. See his buddy Martin says his familys’ curse is supposed to go into affect when a Craig reaches their 25th year. While it’s possible for Martin to be a few years older or younger than Rip I noticed that Silver Age tales tend to have buddies that are school mates or such, sharing the same age. Like Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Victor von Doom. In the first Booster Gold series Jack Soo even comments on Rip being the youngest person to achieve something at M.I.T. It’s unclear how old he is was in the BG second series but interesting nonetheless.
Martin Craig doesn’t believe in the curse stating that just a couple people died roughly a hundred years apart from each other. I just love that Martin smokes while Rip seems to be digging into a Sunday. The perimeters of their mission is just so vague since even Martin is unsure when it all originated and I’m not sure what kind of proof their going to look for.
“Time Scanner”? T.O. Morrow so stole that idea for his time screens.
“Since everyone knew each other in these old towns let’s ask them while wearing clothes from the future and give the people that believe in curses something else to freak out over.”
Much to my surprise this IS addressed, very briefly, with Rip basically telling them to disregard what their wearing. Although his unsure nature makes this endearing. The town folks tell him where the family is without batting an eye. Rip has sense enough to take Jeff and not Corky with him. I would have loved to see how he explained the whole thing to his friend and his soon-to-be-father-in-law:
“Well first of all not every Craig died at 25. Sure one guy did but his cousin didn’t. Then one of the guys that was supposed to be killed at that age made it look like he got killed fighting a fake monster his friends built to regain his family’ honor. The curse actually started when a Craig that was a lord called a supposed wizard out on being a fraud. The wizard made up this “curse”, and murdered Craig to preserve his reputation with the king. We confronted the fake wizard and I kinda accidently caused him to have a heart attack that killed him. Luckily he wrote a confession of his guilt in invisible ink which he told us of in a cryptic speech prior to his death.”
Gotta say it makes more sense then the Booster Gold plot to find proof of Maxs’ existence by hanging out with Ted , then going back into denial over Teds' death did. (No I'm not over that one.) At least Rip had an inkling of what to do. Anyway, this was a fun story.
What's different about this issue is that the team actually go visiting ancient ruins in present day. As usual it’s not long before a giant monster attacks and the Time Masters have to go back in time to figure everything out. This leads them to another beast and another alien secretly connected to earths’ history. Although the alien freely admits to not trusting humans after one betrayed him this guy nevertheless is talked into believing Rip. Nytok, is a big game hunter on his planet and came to collect three beasts that are natural enemies of each other. The problem is that his spaceship crashed on Earth releasing his captives. I love the little detail of Jeff and Rip sitting on the ground with him while listening to the story. It’s a nice touch that seems to be missing in a lot of Golden and Silver Age stories that humanizes the characters somewhat.
Since Nytok was injured he asked the first human he found to take one of the creatures controls to stop it’s rampage. The problem is that the guy ended up using the beast to lord over his own people. Unless Rip’s taken to talking to himself in third person I’d say that this is a standard Silver Age goof of misplacing the word balloons. Not as bad as it was in early X-Men stories. (I have a few Silver Age reprints from Marvel so this is the first time I read a DC S.A. series. ) Anyway, Jeff wants to take one of the controllers to take care of the monster in the future but the alien refuses unless they recapture the three he lost. Rip agrees since it would be pretty jerky to let people be endangered (pretty sure it might mess up time too.)
Again with the age confusion. “Two young friends”? I know back then there was a lot of slang (read anything by Stan Lee in this period) but is this supposed to mean Bonnies’ 18 or something? They established that she’s his assistant. The Baxters have trouble keeping the Time Sphere aloft with the level stuck (here’s a thought: get someone who isn’t a ten year old to work the level) diving them down towards one of the beasts. Rip tells them to get out of the time sphere but Bonnie refuses since it’s their only ride out of the past. Luckily Nytok using the control to stop it in time. Corky thinks it’s cool but Bonnie would like her baby brother to kindly get the hell away from the giant killer alien creature.
One of the most amusing things about this is how hands on Rip is with tackling the situation. Both literally and figuratively. He’ll take the biggest risks but doesn’t seem willing to let anyone else get hurt. Expressing concern for his team. While their not quite the family unit the Fantastic Four are Rip is by no means an early Reed Richards.
Another typo since I think Rip means Bonnie and Corky not Jeff who’s right beside him. Thus Rips’ plan for the first Pokemon battle begins with their monster fighting the bad guys’.
“Sorry pal--I’m too young to die!” Rip says while throwing the other guys’ spear into the ground and tossing the guy off. Further proof that he was always awesome. I’m not really sure what Jeff is doing to knock the others down. Throwing one of them? Much to Rips’ annoyance they created their own woes in the future since the Snaar they controlled was trapped in a cave by the other creature and will be released in their time. A typical time travel twist but lots of fun.