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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,266



Ok I was hoping someone would clarify something for me. I've been reading Mark Waid's Flash run lately and they introduced a Walter West a Wally West counterpart from an alternate timeline.

I thought there were no alternate timelines between the Crisis on Infinite Earths and the 52 when the multiverse was brought back. Supposedly Crisis merged everything into one timeline.

So how did alternate timelines work in this period? What other books during that period were doing alternate timelines?




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Daveym 

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Walter West and the timeline he came from sprang from the zeitgeist of the period. Mark Waid was a major proponent of revisiting selected pieces of DC's past that were erased by the Crisis and in particular the scope offered by alternate earths and timelines. To that end he wrote the well regarded Kingdom Come and followed it with 'The Kingdom', a series that introduced a dangerous new villain called Gog who was on a crusade to cross through time and kill Superman endlessly. This clearly is a paradox, and so we are introduced to the concept of Hypertime, a time-travel method that allows for alternate timelines to co-exist and therefore technically these are alternate earths.
Grant Morrison had already done something not far removed very recently with his DC 1-MILLION storyline which spread across the DC titles, the Superman titles featured Dominus the same year as Waid's The Kingdom and Walter West, and you could trace it all back to 1994's Zero Hour, which teased with the possibility of such timelines out there but left the question open ended.







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Superman's Pal

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I think alternate timelines might have been the go-to replacement for parallel Earths after Crisis. And they started doing Elseworlds like Gotham By Gaslight or Red Rain which ended up being retconned into multiverse Earths during 52 (and/or New 52).

There was of course time travel involving the Legion and Booster Gold but not so much alternate timelines at first. "Time Masters" reintroduced Rip Hunter and his team.

After that you had Armageddon 2001. This introduced us to a time 10 years in the future when Monarch, who used to be one of the DC heroes, rules the world. Matthew Ryder uses a time machine to travel back to the present, merges with the timestream, and becomes Waverider. The story crosses over through the 1991 annuals and each time he confronts another hero. By touching them he can see their most likely future, to see if they become Monarch or not. Each hero's future shows a drastically different world than the other heroes, so there must be alternate timelines or at least alternate futures. Like he revisits Superman three different times and each time he sees a different future. He also touches Hawk and Dove and sees a future where they are fighting Monarch. Since the conclusion of the story shows that Hawk is Monarch, it doesn't make sense but I guess, hey, alternate timeline?

Also since they prevent the future of Monarch from coming to pass, the Matthew Ryder of the present timeline doesn't grow up to become Waverider. He is just genius scientist Matt Ryder who creates the Linear Men, who later invite Waverider to join them. So there are 2 Ryders on the team from alternate timelines. Rip Hunter also joins the team.

One of the futures seen in Armageddon 2001 is that of the Team Titans, successors to the Teen Titans. They are battling the evil Lord Chaos, but they are working for ... surprise surprise, Monarch. This is an alternate future that sticks until Zero Hour. The Team Titans come back in time and get their own comic and team with the present day Titans. It's shown during Zero Hour that they are actually all controlled by Extant (formerly Monarch) except for Terra and Mirage who weren't native to that future, they were secretly from the present day but planted in the future by the Time Trapper to spy on Monarch, I guess?

Stuff like the Hawkworld reboot was brought up in Zero Hour. It already had an in-story explanation, sort of. The silver age Hawks survived the Crisis and continued on as normal with a few appearances here and there, until Hawkworld (1990) rebooted them from day one. This is why their history with the Justice League was then retroactively attributed to the golden age Hawks who had decided to mentor the young JLA with their vast JSA experience. Except after Crisis they entered Valhalla which left a gap from 1986 to 1990 where they couldn't have been the Hawks we saw, so a placeholder was created named Fel Andar who was supposed to be a Thanagarian spy masquerading as Carter Hall Jr. to spy on the Justice League. My point being in Zero Hour they re-explained it as "problems with the timelines like too many Hawkmen" and merged them all into one with vague unexplained time energies. So while there had been an in-story explanation placing all the Hawks in one timeline on one Earth, I guess Zero Hour explained it as multiple timelines.

Zero Hour had a lot of wacky stuff happen. Like Kon-El Superboy meeting Pre-Crisis Superboy Kal-El. Or Superman meeting the Batman of Dark Knight Returns or Adam West or whatever. Then there was that wacky Green Arrow issue where the timeline branches and we see the same adventure play out two different ways, with Oliver surviving in one and dying in the other, and then the last page is the live Oliver standing over the dead one.

Zero Hour also explained the SW6 Legionnaires, originally thought to be youthful clones of the Legion, as actually being some kind of temporal duplicates created by the Time Trapper.

Zero Hour was supposed to eliminate confusion by explaining some leftover Crisis mistakes or reboots, and eliminate alternate timelines like the Team Titans.

Except like Daveym said, there was "The Kingdom" which introduced Hypertime. It was similar to Armageddon in trying to link an alternate future, in this case Kindgom Come, to the present day DCU as they had done with Monarch and the Team Titans. Hypertime simply stated that every story that DC had ever published was accessible somehow through Hypertime. It was overseen by the son of Superman and Wonder Woman. Superboy did a 5-issue arc called "Hyper-Tension" in which he travelled to alternate "hypertimelines" and confronted an evil version of himself called Black Zero.

And you guys already talked about Walter West.

I've probably made it more confusing, I'll stop now. There was only one universe but there was time travel, occasional alternate timelines and then of course Crisis mistakes and reboots and then Elseworlds which by now have been explained as various timelines or multiple Earths.



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