What in the comic universe is more fascinating than the idea of time? In the DC comics, Time Trapper is, in my opinion, much more fascinating than the idea of time. One of the most enigmatic supervillains, his existence near the end of time makes him all the more intriguing.
He roams the world creating odd traps and challenges for superheroes, particularly the Legion of Superheroes. His name, face, and true identity are all unknown. In fact, we are not even sure he is a male. One of the most intriguing characters one could ever come across in a comic book is The Time Trapper. Therefore, we will look into his ancestry today.
Origins and various story arcs of the Time Trapper explored
The Time Trapper first appears in comic books as a warlord from the far future who made the “Iron Curtain of Time.” In order to prevent the Legion of Super-Heroes from influencing their future, he established it. Actually, he was only laying the groundwork for his eventual objective.
He planned to enter the Legion Clubhouse and take the Concentrator as his ultimate objective. This superweapon had the ability to draw energy from any source in the cosmos. The Trapper tortured the Legionnaires mentally in the hopes that at least one of them would submit so that he could learn the location of the Concentrator. He pretended to be the Commissioner of the Science Police.
The heroes were skillfully tested to see if they were capable of joining the team and having access to top-secret knowledge about the United Planets’ defensive systems. All of this was done cunningly under the appearance of conducting trials.
Given this circumstance, Lighting Lad made the decision to trick the Trapper by asking the Legion at random to construct the actual Concentrator. When the Time Trapper was dispatched to the Clubhouse, he was unable to discover anything there and came back empty-handed and clearly furious. He launched a volley of darkstars upon the planet of the Legion in this rage. Fortunately for the Legion, just one discharge of the Concentrator was required to deflect the star assault and safeguard everyone.
The Time Trapper lives at the End of Time, where he is looked after by Glorith of Baaldur, one of his henchwomen and a barrage of slaves. With the exception of Superboy and Brainiac 5, who were trapped in a distant future because the Trapper had used the Iron Curtain of Time and trapped them, the Trapper sent Glorith to de-age the rest of the Legionnaires into children using magic.
Unfortunately, this strategy failed since the infant Legionnaires were even more difficult to manage. The Trapper killed Glorith for making the infants uncontrollable. At the same time, Superboy and Brainy managed to escape the Iron Curtain of Time and return to the 30th century.
The Time Trapper realized that they had reached an impasse, so he chose to bargain with the Legion: The Legion would be required to construct a working spacecraft with which to fly off-world, and in exchange, he would use his powers of time to age the Legionnaires back to their original ages. The Legionnaires kept their end of the agreement exactly as decided, but what they failed to disclose was that they had placed a force field around the Trapper’s spacecraft, which would prevent him from running away. Instead, it left him stuck on a lifeless planet.
The Time Trapper freed himself from the barren world due to Pulsar Stargrave’s devious plans. He then attacked an older Superman during the Man of Steel’s journey through the timestream 100,000 years in the future and raised the Iron Curtain of Time against the past.
This forced Superman to only move forward through time. The sadness at every single remnant of his old existence passed him by, and outliving everything and everyone who had ever held significance for him nearly overwhelmed Superman as he went through the timestream across leaps of millennia. The Trapper wanted to break his willpower in retaliation for his earlier losses from when he had been a member of the Legion as Superboy.
Superman acquired an almost suicidal death wish in a time period further into the future than he had ever traveled before. Thankfully, before anything could happen, Superman was carried beyond the End of Time on the tail of an oncoming comet. This helped him relive his whole existence up to the point of his departure through time. This, Superman could only explain using the theory which states that time is actually a recursive loop that continually wraps in on itself which allowed him to go back and relive his memories.
Later, we see that the Time Trapper created the robotic assassin known as Molecular Master, who had the ability to manipulate matter. He sent the Molecular Master to assassinate the Legion of Super-Heroes and to steal the Miracle Machine from the Legion headquarters.
While most of the Legionnaires were vanquished by Molecular Master, he was unprepared to face the newest member of the Legion, ERG-1, who would soon take on the more famous role of Wildfire. Funnily enough, the Legion did not know that the Time Trapper was the one who created Molecular Master until years after this incident.
In another incident, the Green Lantern Corps from the 30th Century decided to stop the Time Trapper’s threat and fight a rather climactic battle. However, the Trapper seems to always be a step ahead of them and used the energies of their willpowers from the power rings of the superheroes to single out all timelines of the 30th century. This led to the erasure of the Legion and their universe from its very existence except for that of Earth-AD.
Green Lantern from the future in Sector 2814, planet Xenofobe, who was a refugee from the Legion’s timeline, journeyed back to the 20th century to Earth-One and disguised himself as a wacky supervillain dubbed as “Father Time” to entice Superman to look into the alterations that have taken place in the 30th century which are different from what he had remembered.
As a result, Superman fought with Jaxon the Mighty, who could have been a future descendant, over ownership of his suit, exchanging punches that produced enough power output into Xenofobe’s power ring in order to reverse the Time Trapper’s destruction.
The Time Trapper realized that there are five Legionnaires who are present in every future timeline where he eventually fails to win and conquer the universe. He also predicted that their existence would ultimately result in his own ruin. So, he got Superboy, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Chameleon Boy, and Sun Boy out of the linear time frame of the 30th century. He took them out 4 days into the future of this “present” which was light years away into his secret lair, assumably End of Time.
At the lair, the Trapper revealed his plans and paused time, enabling him to fight all five of them in five distinct parallel timeline branches concurrently and individually. Now, Time Trapper gains superhuman strength and becomes nearly invulnerable from the distortion of time, was about to end their lives when Saturn Girl telepathically spoke with Superboy and Boy of Steel and told them that the hourglass on his body was the source of the Trapper’s power.
The Time Trapper pulled the Legionnaires back in time when Superboy broke the hourglass and ended up at the moment when the Time Trapper picked them out. The Time Trapper, on the other hand, appeared to have been thrown into the red sun’s corona as a result of the unexpected resumption of time on his end.
However, Time Trapper survived, resulting in the disbanding of the United Nations in Superman’s age. As a result, nuclear war soon followed. This changed the intended direction of the timeline of the 30th century into a darker era where the Earth was divided among amongst itself into a few hyper-militaristic superstates that were always at war with one another and other sapient being-inhabited worlds.
The United Planets was not created as a result, but the Legion persisted as a more guarded, covert peacekeeping group. Superboy, by then, had realized that the future had changed from what he remembered from his journeys into the timestream and persuaded other Legionnaires to travel with him to the late 20th century, which had been discovered to be the source of a significant time-flux by Brainiac 5.
In the 20th century, Superboy and the Legionnaires followed and tracked a man in a trench coat who, as it turns out, was the Time Trapper. Before attacking the Legionnaires with a red-sun radiation weapon, The Trapper admitted that he was to blame for the time flux, and then he disappeared to his castle at the End of Time. They followed the Trapper and stormed into his fortress after the team had reunited in the 30th century.
There, the Trapper revealed that he is a renegade Controller who advocated for his race to use its enormous psychic and technological power to control the very fabric of time. The Time Trapper also revealed that one of his followers was the renegade Controller who had once used a Sun-Eater to attack Sol, which indirectly killed Ferro Lad. The Sun-Eater had later tried to use a simulation of Ferro Lad’s ghost to gaslight Superboy in order to take over the Kryptonian’s body. The other renegade, however, was only limited to advocating the use of his powers for corporeal conquests.
The reality-bending Miracle Machine, which The Time Trapper created, was the greatest invention of his people, and he attempted to use it to rewrite the whole history of the world in his own image, kind of like he was God. However, the Legionnaires focused their combined willpower against the Time Trapper’s highly developed alien psychology.
Eventually, they overcame the machine’s control and forced it to undo the temporal distortions created by the Trapper. They then banished him to the other-dimensional plane consisting of his fellow Controllers, where his own race could administer justice to the deviant as per their laws.
The Time Trapper used the last of his strength to escape the domain of the Controllers and travel to other spatial planes, where he regenerated his powers and devised a scheme to exact revenge on the Legion. The Trapper waited for an opportunity to isolate a sizable number of Legionnaires in a different time period because he understood that the Legion would be most vulnerable if its core membership roster were spread throughout numerous periods.
This plan came together when the Legionnaires discovered that Superboy’s mind had been overwritten with a copy of Ultra Boy who was thought to be dead. A group of Legionnaires, including Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Phantom Girl, Dawnstar, Blok, and Superboy himself, had to go back in time to the 20th century to Smallville, Kansas, to find out what had happened.
When the Legionnaires arrived, The Trapper set up the Iron Curtain of Time to prevent them from employing time-travel techniques to return to their original age. He also made himself known to take pleasure in his opponents’ misery. I mean, obviously, he is pretty much an undefeated supervillain with a really successful plan.
To make matters worse, the Legionnaires were already under surveillance by the American military as a result of Superboy’s recent interference with an A-bomb test while under the influence of drugs. The Trapper sent a new Molecular Master to kill the Legionnaires, which further worsened their situation.
The Legion defeated molecular Master, but the destruction of the android resulted in a huge explosion that rendered the majority of the Legionnaires comatose. Only Phantom Girl was still awake when she transported Superboy and Dawnstar with herself to her home world Bgztl.
This tricked the Trapper into believing that the three Legionnaires had died because Bgztl was not part of the linear time-space continuum. In contrast, those three discovered Ultra Boy. He was in stasis within the Interdimensional Limbo. They freed him and then banded together with the honorary Legionnaire Insect Queen to free the other Legionnaires from military imprisonment in the 20th century.
The Legionnaires used the Bgztl dimension as a time-travel stop-gap while avoiding the Iron Curtain of Time and gathered those who left Smallville, and then they all traveled to the End of Time and broke into the Time Trapper’s castle while he was preparing his attack on the main Legionnaires who never left the 30th century. The Time Trapper was aiming a laser cannon at the Legion when Phantom Girl deflected it.
She presumably vaporized the Time Trapper in the blast-emission from the barrel. However, Lightning Lad knew better and did not think that the Trapper was dead because there is no way that this super smart supervillain would not have protections for his recovery in case of conditions of “oblivion.”
Unknown to history, the Time Trapper was found and imprisoned on the prison planetoid Takron-Galtos for his long history of terrorist offenses. A Servant of Darkness who had been cloned from the New God Orion assaulted him in his cell during this time in prison in an attempt to take his power so that his master Darkseid could use it. When Takron-Galtos was attacked, the Legionnaires Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Mon-El, and Shadow Lass arrived at the rescue.
When they arrived, they discovered a scared and worn-out Time Trapper amidst the wreckage, reduced to rambling erratically about how darkness is taking his power. This Time Trapper was eventually revealed to be a proxy of the real Trapper who lived at the End of Time. The Time Trapper punished the Controller as a result by aging him to fine dust.
After an incident named the Crisis, which was revealed by the Trapper to have been an incident that had endangered all of reality, including his own; he traveled through time one million years in the past and created a Pocket Universe. This Pocket Universe resembled the reality of the previous Earth-One . this was all a part of an elaborate plan to defeat the Legion. This plan resulted in the death of Superboy from that reality.
This enraged several of the Legionnaires who then journeyed to the End of Time to murder the Trapper after witnessing him manipulate events and killing Superboy. They seemed to have a successful battle as Infinite Man appeared to have killed the Trapper by pushing him back into the beginning of time.
Later, it was discovered that the Trapper did not die and was now existing within Mon-El’s mind. When Mon-El learned of this, he overthrew the Trapper. However, this resulted in a change in the 30th century with Mordru taking control. Glorith (who was now one of his wives) attempted to imitate the Trapper’s behaviors as a way to remove Mordru from his position of authority. But she was too late to realize that the technique was lethal to the one imitating the action.
The Trapper was able to come back to life in the 30th century as a result of this, but his attempts to regain power caught Glorith’s notice. Glorith went to the Pocket Universe the Trapper had created and attempted to kill him by eating his strength, essentially taking over as the new Time Trapper.
However, Glorith’s attempts to change history caused the death of Valor, who was the replacement of Mon-El and Superboy, which allowed the original Time Trapper to be brought back to life. The Trapper then punishes Glorith by being made to relive her last battle with the Legions again and again while he drained her power. Quite an evil mastermind move if you ask me,
The Trapper made a replica of Valor in the 30th century and sent it back to the 20th century to replace the original Valor who was dead at the time because he needed Valor to motivate the Legion’s founding in order to prevent Mordru from gaining control. This, and the production of temporal replicas of the Legion (they were thought to have been cloned), caused the chronology to become so unstable that even the most insignificant changes could cause enormous changes in the timeline.
The timeline was further disrupted as a result of Mordru and Glorith gaining the ability to alter reality according to their whims. Mordru and Glorith try to capture Rokk Krinn because they know that he is of crucial value, but they do not know why.
However, he escapes and flees to the Infinite Library, where all of the historical information about the entire universe is kept. The Trapper, who is revealed to be a version of Rokk Krinn from the future, tells Rokk Krinn that some of his actions have resulted in him being changed into something unrecognizable. This happened because he temporarily went insane due to the erasure of the history he belonged to, and his efforts to restore it had only made things worse.
The Trapper persuades the Legion that there is only one way to survive the Zero Hour. The way to do that is for the temporal clones to join with their current-day counterparts. This results in him being killed by Parallax Hal at the End of Time. However, the Time Trapper is still there in Post-Zero Hour with all of the memories of the past Time Trappers although his identity changes. According to Brainiac 5, “sentient alternate timeline rebelling against ours. His own history changes, I’d guess even his identity could alter as the true timeline marches on.”
Time Trapper was a handful for the Justice League in the animated movie – JLA Adventures trapped in time
In the film, we start with the present-day situation. We see Lex Luthor with the Legion of Doom. They are shown attempting to employ cryogenic rays from orbiting satellites which would lead to an increase in the size of the polar ice caps in the Arctic Ocean. This would further lead to a drastic decrease in sea levels and cause new islands to form which they could dominate.
Superman and the Justice League face the Legion by dividing their resources to combat the Legion and take down the satellites and save the planet. Robin deliberately crashes the Batwing into the array of the satellite during the subsequent space fight. Captain Cold, refusing to concede defeat, overloads the last satellite, causing it to fall back onto the Earth and buried Lex Luthor in a sheet of ice just before exploding. The League believed that they won and that Luthor is no longer alive.
We then move to the utopian 31st century, where Dawnstar and Karate Kid are visiting a Justice League museum. They learn that Luthor was found, unearthed from the ice, and put on display in the 29th century. He had been in a state of suspended animation in the ice for almost a millennium. Karate Kid accidentally frees Luthor, and he awakens nearly a thousand years after his previous awakening.
Luthor then investigates the museum and learns about Superman’s actual identity. He then finds an ancient artifact called the Eternity Glass, which can be used to alter the course of time and space. He then froze Dawnstar and Karate Kid using Captain Cold’s weapon from the museum. He proceeded to release Time Trapper and commanded him as his servant. This allows him to use the Eternity Glass in order to return to the time when he last battled the League. While Luthor prepares to kill Superman, Dawnstar and Karate Kid escape and follow him.
After reassembling the Legion of Doom, Luthor makes the Time Trapper send some men back in time to stop the Kent family from adopting baby Kal-El from Smallville. To stop them, the 31st-century heroes go to the Hall of Justice in Washington, DC, where they enlist the Justice League’s help.
Following a miscommunication, they ask to use Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth to confirm their story. While Superman and the rest of the members of the League work to stop Luthor’s Legion in the present, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg go back in time to stop Bizarro, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, and Toyman from sending infant Kal-El into space.
The Legion of Doom sends Kal-ship El’s away from Earth in spite of the Justice League’s best attempts. Due to this, there is no Superman, and no one in history is left to provide an example for those with the amazing ability to one day become superheroes. Due to the resulting temporal paradox, Time Trapper is able to obliterate the Justice League in the present. This shows his immense power and ability. This scares Dawnstar and Karate Kid, and they withdraw, unwilling to take the chance of disappearing forever.
The Legion plunders the world without the Justice League, plundering banks and other cash reserves. They were destroying Washington in absence of the Justice League. The teenage heroes understand that by preventing Lex Luthor’s previous counterpart from visiting the 31st century, they may create their own paradox and prevent him from stealing the Eternity Glass and going back in time.
With the help of Karate Kid, Luthor’s younger self is released from his captivity by using Dawnstar’s tracking skills to find him there. Because he resides outside of time, the Time Trapper is immune to this paradox. Now that Luthor’s counterpart has been set free, the Time Trapper is free to act in whatever way he pleases since Luthor is no longer his master. This makes him even more wild and free.
The Time Trapper attempts to reshape the present world in his image while banishing the future Luthor from existence. He is faced by Superman and the Justice League, who have returned to their place due to the absence of Luthor. However, the Justice League cannot defeat Time Trapper because he has grown much too powerful. In an attempt to defeat the Time Trapper, Karate Kid finds out that the Trapper is entirely made of dark matter. This gives him the idea that the Trapper can be defeated using Dawnstar’s light-based abilities. Dawnstar attacks Time Trapper, and the League defeats him. When the Eternity Glass is turned back, Time Trapper is once more imprisoned.
What makes Time Trapper such a serious threat?
The Time Trapper is a Darkseid-class enemy. He does not need physical strength since he is the corporeal embodiment of entropy and can access time’s power. With his immense temporal power, Time Trapper may transfer beings across the timeline, age or de-age them to death, or transform them into protoplasmic slime. He can even turn them into bones or ashes.
He can even travel across time and freeze or change it. A time-traveling Superman was kept out of the 20th century by The Trapper using this ability to erect a temporal force barrier. He was able to create an identical Earth and Krypton to the recently destroyed Earth-One universe by slicing through time to the Post-Crisis DC Universe, creating a Pocket Universe. That is just how impressive his abilities of time manipulation are. In order to link this pocket world with the 30th century, he also distorted the whole time stream.
It was subsequently discovered that the Time Trapper had “pruned” his duplicate world such that only Krypton and Earth supported life; in other words, he had removed the Guardians of the Universe, the New Gods, and other entities from his replica.
The “Iron Curtain of Time,” which is a temporal barrier, forbids time travel, is possibly his most well-known invention. The Time Trapper is also capable of levitation, size-shifting, telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation. He is undoubtedly one of the most potent villains in the DC Universe with his abilities.
The Time Trapper is an undefeated and one of the most powerful supervillains in the DC comicverse. He is time in itself. He can manipulate just about every aspect of him and has come so close to defeating the Justice League and the Legion of Superheroes. This supervillain is one of the most fascinating characters seen so far. It is really interesting to see how close the superheroes come to losing to him and how well his identity is concealed even now.
He has been mentioned in the Arrowverse in the ongoing Flash series in recent events. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to hope that we see him in the series soon enough. It would be quite interesting to see how The Flash manages to defeat the Time Trapper, considering that the Trapper can pretty much slow down time and catch the Flash easily. Let us know your thoughts on the character and the Flash series!