- There is no tomorrow unless the Time Trapper sees it!
- — Time Trapper src
The Time Trapper is a mysterious figure who has countered the Legion of Super-Heroes on multiple occasions.
The Time Trapper first appeared as a warlord from the far future who prevented the Legion of Super-Heroes from traveling into their future with an "Iron Curtain of Time." This was a prelude to the Time Trapper's true ambition, which was to steal a super-weapon that could draw upon every energy source in the known universe, called the Concentrator, from the Legion Clubhouse. To that end, the Trapper impersonated the Commissioner of the Science Police and subjected the Legionnaires to grueling psychological torture to extract the location of the Concentrator from one of them, under the pretense of conducting the trials to test the Legionnaires' worthiness to be on the team and to be privy to top secret defense information of the United Planets. Lightning Lad guessed at the true nature of the situation and pretended to crack to mislead the Trapper, using the advantage that gave the rest of the Legion to build the real Concentrator impromptu. When the Time Trapper returned from the Clubhouse empty-handed and furious, he directed a barrage of darkstars at the planet where the Legion was at. Fortunately, one discharge of the Concentrator was sufficient to deflect the stellar onslaught.
The Time Trapper, back in his citadel at the End of Time, was attended to by slaves and a henchwoman named Glorith of Baaldur. The Trapper sent Glorith to de-age the Legionnaires into infants through sorcerous means, excepting Superboy and Brainiac 5, whom the Trapper stranded in a far-flung future era by raising back the Iron Curtain of Time. However, the plan went awry as the baby Legionnaires were uncontrollable. The Trapper killed Glorith, and Superboy and Brainy found a way to circumvent the Iron Curtain of Time to travel back to the 30th century. Having been forced into an impasse with the Legion, the Time Trapper decided to bargain: He would use the prodigious powers over time at his disposal to age the Legionnaires back to their original selves, and the Legion would be obligated to build the Trapper a functional space-craft with which to blast off-world. The Legionnaires held up their side of the bargain to the letter, but never willing to make a concession to a criminal, they neglected to mention that they had erected a force-field about the Trapper's space-craft, preventing him from escaping and leaving him stranded on a barren world.
Having extricated himself from this predicament thanks to the machinations of Pulsar Stargrave, the Time Trapper struck at the mature Superman during the Man of Steel's voyage through the timestream to 100,000 years into the future, raising the Iron Curtain of Time against the past and forcing Superman to move only forwards through time. Superman traveled through the timestream over jumps of millennia, nearly being overtaken by the sorrow at every last reminder of his former existence having left him by and outliving everyone and everything that ever held meaning to him. Superman developed an almost suicidal deathwish in an era farther into the future than he had ever traveled before, very nearly accomplishing the Trapper's goal of shattering Superman's willpower in revenge for his past defeats by the Legion he had been a part of as Superboy. However, Superman was swept beyond the End of Time by the tail of a comet and relived his entire life up until the moment of his departure through time, which Superman could only attribute to the theory of time as a recursive loop that winds in on itself perpetually.
The Time Trapper later constructed a matter-manipulating android assassin called Molecular Master and dispatched him to kill the Legion of Super-Heroes and steal the Miracle Machine from their headquarters. Although Molecular Master defeated most of the Legionnaires, he was not prepared to deal with the Legion's latest recruit ERG-1, who would soon adopt the more memorable handle of Wildfire. Although Molecular Master was unsuccessful in his mission and destroyed as a consequence, the Legion did not learn that the Time Trapper was his creator and master until years later.
In an undocumented encounter, the Green Lantern Corps of the 30th Century saw fit to neutralize the Time Trapper's threat and engaged him in a climactic battle; however, the Trapper used the willpower-energies of their power rings to weed out all 30th century timelines except for that of Earth-AD, retroactively erasing the Legion of Super-Heroes and their entire universe from existence entirely. One refugee from the Legion's timeline, the future Green Lantern of Sector 2814 Xenofobe, traveled back to the 20th Century of Earth-One and used a disguise as a crackpot super-villain named "Father Time" to lure Superman into investigating the changes in the 30th century from what he had remembered. This brought Superman into conflict with his probable future descendant Jaxon the Mighty over possession of his costume and generated enough power output from their exchange of blows that Xenofobe's power ring could channel it to undo the Time Trapper's devastation.
Deducing that Superboy, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Chameleon Boy, and Sun Boy were common denominators to every possible future timeline where he would fail to conquer the universe, and also predicting that those five Legionnaires' existence would invariably result in his own demise, the Time Trapper plucked them out of linear time and drew them 4 days into the future of their 30th-century "present" and light years away to his secret lair. There, the Trapper explained his intentions and stopped the flow of time, allowing him to combat the five Legionnaires separately yet simultaneously in five discrete alternate timeline-branches. Deriving inhuman strength and near-invulnerability from the distortion of time, the Time Trapper nearly extinguished the five Legionnaires' lives, until Saturn Girl telepathically contacted Superboy and informed the Boy of Steel that the key to the Trapper's power was the hourglass on his person. Superboy shattered the hourglass, causing the Legionnaires to snap back to the exact moment in time that the Trapper plucked them out of, but the recoil of suddenly resuming the flow of time on the Time Trapper's end seemingly flung him into the corona of a red sun.
The Time Trapper survived and altered the appointed course of the timeline by causing the United Nations to dissolve in Superman's era, followed shortly by the outbreak of nuclear war. This changed the 30th century into a much bleaker and more disunited era, with the Earth divided among a few hyper-militaristic superstates in perpetual war with one another and with other worlds inhabited by sapient beings. As a consequence, the United Planets never came into existence, though the Legion still existed but as a more secretive, guarded peacekeeping organization. During one of his forays into the timestream, Superboy realized that the future had changed from what he had remembered and convinced several other Legionnaires to accompany him on a mission to the late 20th century, which Brainiac 5 had detected was the origin of a massive time-flux. Superboy and the Legionnaires trailed a man in a trenchcoat who turned out to be the Time Trapper in disguise. The Trapper confessed his responsibility for the time-flux before taking the Legionnaires out with a red-sun radiation weapon and vanishing to his citadel at the End of Time. Regrouping with the rest of the team in the 30th century, Superboy and the Legionnaires followed the Trapper and stormed his fortress, whereupon the Trapper revealed himself as a renegade Controller who suggested that his race should use its prodigious psychic and technological power to dominate the very fabric of time. The Time Trapper further revealed that the renegade Controller who had once attacked Sol with a Sun-Eater, indirectly causing the death of Ferro Lad, and who later attempted to gaslight Superboy with a simulation of Ferro Lad's ghost in a stratagem to take over the Kryptonian's body, was one of his followers, but that the other renegade had stopped at advocating the use of the Controllers' power for corporeal conquests. The Time Trapper conjured his people's greatest invention, the reality-bending Miracle Machine, and tried to use it to rewrite the entire history of the universe in his image. However, the Legionnaires concentrated their pooled willpower against the Time Trapper's advanced alien mentality and eventually overpowered its hold over the Miracle Machine, forcing it to undo the Trapper's temporal distortions and banish the Trapper himself to the other-dimensional plane of his fellow Controllers, where his own kind could mete out their justice on the deviant.
Using the remnants of his power, the Time Trapper managed to bypass the realm of the Controllers for other dimensional planes where he gathered his energies anew and plotted his revenge on the Legion. The Trapper realized that the Legion would be at its most vulnerable if its core membership roster were divided across several eras and bided his time for an opportunity to isolate a significant group of Legionnaires in another time-period. The Time Trapper made his move when Superboy's mind was shown to have been overwritten with a copy of the then-presumed-deceased Ultra Boy, presenting the occasion for a team of Legionnaires consisting of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Phantom Girl, Dawnstar, Blok, and Superboy himself to travel back in time to Smallville, Kansas, in the 20th century for answers. The Trapper erected the Iron Curtain of Time upon the Legionnaires' arrival, preventing them from using time-travel methods to return to their native era, and revealed himself to gloat at his enemies' misfortune. The Legionnaires were already being hounded by the U.S. military for the mentally altered Superboy's recent action of disrupting an A-bomb test. Their position was made worse by the Trapper's decision to send a new Molecular Master android to eliminate the Legionnaires. Although the Legion defeated Molecular Master, the android's destruction caused a massive explosion that knocked most of the group unconscious. Phantom Girl alone remained conscious to spirit Superboy, Dawnstar, and herself away to the alternate dimensional plane of her homeworld Bgztl, which because Bgztl lay outside the linear time-space continuum deceived the Trapper into writing those three Legionnaires off as dead. Instead, those three found Ultra Boy in a stasis within the Interdimensional Limbo, rescued him, and then allied with honorary Legionnaire Insect Queen to save the rest of the Legionnaires from military captivity back in the 20th century. Using the Bgztl dimension as a stop-gap for time-travel while circumventing the Iron Curtain of Time, the group of Legionnaires which departed from Smallville made their way to the End of Time, where they burst into the Time Trapper's citadel, even as the Trapper prepared his assault on the main group of Legionnaires which had never departed the 30th century. Phantom Girl deflected the turret of a laser-cannon that the Trapper trained on the Legion, causing the blast-emission from the barrel to seemingly disintegrate the Time Trapper to nothingness. Lightning Lad knew better than to write the Trapper off as dead though, figuring that he had safeguards for his own restoration from the state of "oblivion."
In an undocumented incident, the Time Trapper was caught and sentenced to the prison-planetoid Takron-Galtos for his extensive record of terroristic crimes. During this period of incarceration, his cell was attacked by a Servant of Darkness cloned from the New God Orion, in order to steal his power for consumption by the Servant's master Darkseid. The Legionnaires Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Mon-El, and Shadow Lass responded to the attack on Takron-Galtos and arrived in time to find a terrified and exhausted Time Trapper amid the debris, reduced to babbling incoherently about the darkness stealing his strength away.
Eventually this Time Trapper was revealed to be a proxy of the real Time Trapper, who existed at the End of Time. The real Time Trapper eventually punished the Controller for his failure by aging him to dust.
After the Crisis (which the Trapper revealed had endangered all reality, even his own), the Trapper took a slice of time one millions years in the past to create a Pocket Universe that resembled the early part of the Earth-One reality as part of an elaborate scheme to destroy the Legion which ended in the death of that reality's Superboy.
Enraged by the Trapper killing Superboy and his manipulation, several members traveled to the End of Time itself to kill him. The battle ended with the Infinite Man pushing the Trapper to the beginning of time apparently destroying him. However, it was later revealed the Trapper had survived and was in the mind of Mon-El. Mon-El discovered this and destroyed the Trapper. However, this resulted in Mordru conquering the 30th century. In an effort to unseat Mordru from power Glorith (now one of Mordru's wives) tried to recreate one of the Trapper's actions discovering too late the method was fatal to the user.
The resulting 30th century allowed the Trapper to be alive again but his efforts to reestablish control attracted the attention of Glorith who traveled to the Pocket Universe and killed the Trapper by consuming his power effectively becoming the new Time Trapper. However, Glorith's efforts to manipulate the timeline resulted in Valor (the replacement for both Superboy and Mon-El in the 20th century) being killed resulting in the original Time Trapper being restored to existence. The Trapper punishes Glorith by having her relive her last battle with the Legion over and over as he drains her power.
The Trapper, needing Valor to inspire the creation the Legion so that Mordru would not come to power created a copy in the 30th century that was sent back to the 20th century to take the place of the now dead original Valor. This along with the creation of temporal copies of the Legion (who were passed off as clones) resulted in the timeline being so destabilized that mammoth alterations could be made with the most trivial of efforts.
This in turn resulted in Mordru and Glorith acquiring the power to manipulate reality to their whim further destabilizing the timeline. Mordru and Glorith knowing that Rokk Krinn was of critical importance (but not why) capture him but he escapes to the Infinite Library where all chronal knowledge of the universe is stored. Making his way to the only now available exit from the Library (at the End of Time) Rokk Krinn confronts the Trapper who reveals that he is a future version of Rokk Krinn and that some of his actions were the result of him temporally going insane as the history he belonged to had been wiped out and his efforts to restore it had only made things worse even resulting in him being altered into something even he didn't recognize.
The Trapper convinces the Legion that the only way to salvage anything from the coming Zero Hour is for the temporal clones to merge with their present counterparts and after that is destroyed by Parallax Hal at the End of Time.
Post-Zero Hour the Trapper still exists with all the memories of the previous Time Trappers though his identity shifts which Brainiac 5 theorizes is because the Time Trapper has really been a "sentient alternate timeline rebelling against ours. His own history changes, I'd guess even his identity could alter, as the true timeline marches on."
Powers and Abilities
- Chronokinesis: The Time Trapper exhibited control over the flow of time. He was able to age anyone he chose (even to bones or ashes). He was capable of creating an "Iron Curtain of Time," a barrier which prevented time travel. The Trapper was also able to create a temporal force barrier which he used to seal a time traveling Superman off from the 20th century. He was able to take a slice of time from the Post-Crisis DCU one millions years in the past and craft its Earth and Krypton into reality similar to the recently destroyed Earth-One universe forming a Pocket Universe. It was later revealed that the Time Trapper had "pruned" his copy universe to the point that only Krypton and Earth had any life on them; meaning that he had eliminated from his copy the Guardians of the Universe, the New Gods, and other forces.
- Super Friends #17 reveals the villain Time Master from Wonder Woman #101 is also the Time Trapper. Superman identifies him as a Controller ("a superior being from another universe"), but this revelation doesn't change the character's first appearance under the name "Time Trapper".
- Edmond Hamilton wrote a short story called "In the World's Dusk", which appeared in the science fiction magazine Weird Tales in 1936. In it Galos Gann, the last living human being, a withered figure, cloaked entirely in robes, sits brooding in a towering hall in the desert wastelands of the Earth in the distant future trying to bring back humanity. Despite the similarities it is unknown if there is any connection between Galos Gann and the Time Trapper.
- Time Trapper is affectionately known as the Living Embodiment of Entropy.
- In Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 3) #50, the Time Trapper and his domain are described thus: "All things have ended here, even those that never began. Dreams have crumbled to dust, and lives faded out of memory. In all the universe, it seems there only remaining energy enough to swirl the fragments of the past and abandon hope of the future... They called this the End of Time and pray it will not come in their lifetimes. They have called him by a 1000 names. He is Night, Death, Apocalypse, Eternity, Entropy, Time. To all that live, all that moves, all that hope that tomorrow will dawn, he is the enemy. This is his kingdom and its day has come."
- Legion of Super-Heroes Recommended Reading
- Adventure Comics (Volume 1)
- Adventure Comics (Volume 2)
- The Legion (Volume 1)
- Legion Lost (Volume 2)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 3)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 5)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 6)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 7)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 8)
- Legionnaires (Volume 1)
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 1)
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 1)
- 71 Appearances of Time Trapper (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 13 Images featuring Time Trapper (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 9 Quotations by or about Time Trapper (Pre-Zero Hour)
- Character Gallery: Time Trapper (Pre-Zero Hour)
- Adventure Comics #317
- Adventure Comics #318
- Adventure Comics #321
- Adventure Comics #338
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #224
- Action Comics #385
- Action Comics #386
- Action Comics #387
- Superboy #201
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #281
- Superman #295
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #223
- Adventure Comics #353
- Adventure Comics #357
- All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #280
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #282
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #291
- Legionnaires 3 #1
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4) #53
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4) #60
- Valor #23
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5
- Action Comics #385
|Legion of Super-Heroes Villain(s)|
This character or group of characters is or was primarily an enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 31st Century, and may have existed in any of the various Legion continuities, including but not limited to the Original Legion, Reboot Legion, and the Prime Legion. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Legion of Super-Heroes villains" category.