Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Classics - Rip Hunter Time Master #6

   One of the real delights of the new TV show Legends of Tomorrow is the inclusion of Rip Hunter Time Master, one of my first "favorite" comics.

   In the late '50s and early '60s, DC had several comics that featured regular people (which is to say, no super-powers allowed) starring in extraordinary adventures.

   Perhaps it was their way of hedging their bets, just in case the super-hero revival didn't catch on.

   So you could follow the Challengers of the Unknown, the Blackhawks, the Sea Devils, Cave Carson and Rip Hunter.

   Most followed the typical formula - a fearless, brilliant leader, a muscular sidekick, a plucky female, and the kid brother. Sound familiar?

   While the comics didn't feature super-heroes, it wasn't unusual for alien invaders, monsters or magic menaces to turn up.

   My favorite issues of Rip Hunter actually stayed away from such things, and instead stuck to historic events and solving mysteries. In the series, Rip is the inventor of a Time Sphere, which he uses to travel through time, visiting distant lands.

   This issue is history based as a mysterious prediction from the past promises present-day destruction, as a meteor strike will destroy an inhabited island - but which one?

  Rip, along with friends / co-workers Bonnie and Jeff, travel back to the year 798 where they visit Baghdad - and encounter an Iron Giant. Then they discover an earlier link - in the year 79 near Naples.

   Along the way they encounter battles and a devastating natural disaster. The information they gather leads them to the secret (however improbable) to saving the threatened island.

   There are, of course, huge plots holes riddling the story - why couldn't they just go into the future, find out the secret behind the disaster, and then go back in time far enough to allow an evacuation?

   But it's best not to focus on such things, as they get in the way of the fun of discovery.

   But I guarantee, if I could go back to 1962 and tell young Chuck, as he read this comic, that one day Rip Hunter would be on a TV show, I feel certain the response would be "No way!"

   (I've seen it and I'm still not sure I believe it.)

Grade: A


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