The Unofficial Explaination of How
Rip Hunter... Time Master
Became Hunter of the Linear Men
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
Before Hand: The following essay presents the facts known about Hunter's many origins with facts and issue numbers to prove the statements. But, for completeness sake I have tried to fill in a few of the gaps in creator errors with situations that have been inspired by actual Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis Rip Hunter adventures. This essay does NOT contain any possible situations that Hypertime ‘could of' created. You have my word that, any educated guesses made are based on actual stories seen in printed material. For purpose of proving my sources I have given the issues titles and numbers in which information mentioned can be found in. I personally believe that the DC Comic's Multiverse was created in Flash #123 and that it hadn't existed before that time. The same goes for Hypertime (regardless of what the writers say) which first appeared in The Kingdom #2 (circa December 30, 1998).
Rip Hunter, code name - Hunter, agent of the Linear Men. During the events of the Invasion! Story arc (March 1989) "Rip Hunter succeeds in piercing the time barrier, an act that will later signal the formation of the Linear Men" (JLA In Crisis: Secret Files & Origins #1). But, this is not a true statement. The Post-Crisis Rip Hunter (RH-Prime) pierced the time barrier with Booster Gold in February, 1987, exactly eleven months before the Millennium event (January, 1988). To explain this difference in time-lines it is important to note there are four main variations of Rip Hunter that appear long enough in the DC Universe to of importance: the Pre-Crisis Rip Hunter... Time Master (RHTM-I), the Post-Crisis Rip Hunter (RH-Prime), the Post-Crisis Linear Man - Hunter (H-I), and the Post-Zero Hour Linear Man - Hunter (H-II). [For a brief overview of these variations as well as the many minor variations, please read Realities of Time. And for explanations for the DC Comics lingo used here-in, please refer to DCU Terminology.]
Rip Hunter... Time Master (RHTM-I) first appeared in Showcase #20 where he teamed with Bonnie Baxter, her brother Corky, and Jeff Smith to study history for the greater good of humanity. After a visit to the dawn of time they came across a golden temple that altered their genetic make-up, aging them. They soon joined the Forgotten Heroes and with the help of Superman they uncover the perpetrator of the temples is none-other-than Vandal Savage. With the combined might of the Forgotten Heroes and Superman they defeated Savage at a great personal cost to Superman, he ceases to exist (Action Comics #553-554). Soon after the Forgotten Heroes fight the Forgotten Villains and then are caught up in the Crisis where all history is wiped clean (DC Comics Presents #77-78).
Rip Hunter (RH-Prime) first appears as merely a supporting character to get Booster Gold to the future to save his life, but in fact if it weren't for Rip Hunter's Time Sphere, there wouldn't be a Booster Gold. After a narrow escape in the future Rip Hunter is given a position in Booster's new company ‘Booster Gold International' as a time-travel researcher (Booster Gold #13-16). In the end Rip hunter winds up teaming with his old friend Jeff Smith until a freak accident occurs at the lab. A conspiracy is uncovered that is connected to the future he visited and reaching back to the dawn of man, and Rip Hunter takes it in his own hands to stop the Illuminati any way possible. He enlists the aid of Bonnie Baxter, the unwanted Corky, his brother Dan Hunter, the mysterious Tony, and Cave Carson to help in uncovering the secrets due to the time-travel limitations which limit a normal human to only being able to time-travel one time per method used. In the end Rip Hunter is stranded in pre-history after battling Vandal Savage's father to the death and the young Vandal Savage is hit by falling star of Arion (Time Masters #1-8).
Hunter (H-I) has his origins only in Who's Who Update ‘93 #2 where he is mentioned to of taught Matthew Ryder and later joined him as a member of the Linear Men. With this type of origin it can easily be assumed that someone [whether it be the Time Masters, the Linear Men, or even Chronos II] brought Rip Hunter back from pre-history in order for him to join the Linear Men. All the Linear Men's adventures with Superman lead to their deaths in Zero Hour.
All this leads to Hunter (H-II). The divergent time-lines can be attributed to, the fact that, the Post-Zero Hour Hunter (H-II) could ,in all actuality, be the Pre-Crisis Rip Hunter... Time Master (RHTM-I). He could of, theoretically, been present at the dawn of time [much like in Action Comics #553-554] when the universe was recreated and thus survived the, Zero Hour re- written, Crisis unharmed. After Crisis the time-lost Rip Hunter... Time Master (RHTM-I) became a reckless wanderer and created massive chronol upheaval which brings him to the attention of the Linear Men. They wind up stopping him from unraveling the fabric of time, at the end of time, and make him a full fledged member just as they witness Travis O'Connell creating the events that transpired in Superman's Time & Time Again story arc ( Legends of the DC Universe: 80-Page Giant #1). The rest is DC Universe continuity. Hunter's attitude goes down the drain, he and the Linear Men go on to take a part in Zero Hour, fight Dominus on a infinite number of time-lines, all leading to Hunter going rouge in The Kingdom story arc and breaking the Hypertime barrier. The full effects would not be realized until a flashback to an early Forgotten Heroes battle puts the original Rip Hunter... Time Master (RHTM-I) back into the canon continuty of the DC Universe (Resurrection Man #25).
In conclusion, Crisis created the events of Time Masters, Zero Hour re-wrote them, and The Kingdom killed all the boundaries of what was believed to be continuity. Whatever the powers- that-be decree as the new continuity for the future of Rip Hunter is up to them. But, what is certain is the events of Time Masters have been covered up by a new continuity, never to return.