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Hypertime and Multiverse in DC Comics

Old 05-01-01, 04:37 PM
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I've made this thread here because it doesn't belong in the main DVD Talk forum. Someone brought up about "Hypertime" and "Multiverse" in the "Are you getting the Superman DVD set?" thread. Here are my perceived ideas of "Hypertime" and "Multiverse" along with the original message from the forum member who talked about them. Please add or modify what I say here so I and other people can understand it more. Thanks.

Originally posted by Eric F
More on the weirdness in DC Comics, there's been a reversion now back to Pre-Crisis conditions with something called "Hypertime" and "Multiverse". All the alternate worlds/timelines that were wiped out by the "Crisis" are now back again. Blech.
I don't know if I said this, but I stopped collecting comic books in the early 90s, pretty close to when Spawn came out if I remember. Anyway, I do keep up with comics by reading reviews and editorials about them and although I don't buy the books anymore, I do feel pretty knowledgable about what is going on.

I have never heard of the "Multiverse", but I am guessing it is used to explain how the JSA is around and all that, correct? Or does this have to do with "The Kingdom" which I thought was a totally separate tale from the DC universe?

Anyway, the real reason I'm writing this is for "Hypertime". After Crisis, DC still left some plot holes that they were supposed to totally close. Years later they made the mini-series "Zero Hour" to try to correct these mistakes. Evidentally it failed miserably along with killing off one of DC's most popular characters. This character has since returned, but in a totally new role. "Zero Hour" left more plot holes open than Crisis did from my understanding.

In comes the importance of the Flash. In order for old and new Flashes to be able to be in the current timeline (both past and future Flashes have appeared in our timeline) and to explain the "Speed Force" where the Flashes can move back and forward in time, DC instituted a platform-wide technique called "Hypertime".

Hyptertime is very difficult to explain as it is fairly liberal in it's use. Basically anyone could "phase" in and out of parallel time universes (or in the case of the Flashes, go forward and back in time). Superman could be fighting one bad guy in SUPERMAN while he is fighting a totally different bad guy at the same time in ACTION COMICS. It was a way to explain non-continuity between books that covered the same hero or heroes.

What we were left with was multiple parallel timelines that connected with each other instead of multiple earths with different versions of the same hero on some planets like it was Pre-Crisis. I do not know if Hypertime is still used today, but it must be used in Flash because old and new Flashes still come into our timeline.

I could be way off in my interpretation of Hypertime and my conceived interpretation of Multiverse. I can only go on the reviews and editorials done about them. Please fix any mistakes I may have.

[Edited by AgtFox on 05-01-01 at 01:41 PM]
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Old 05-01-01, 06:34 PM
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I don't know much about this myself, I also stopped collecting in the mid-90's, but I still buy TPB's and Graphic Novels, so I'm relatively up to date as to what's going on in the DCU. (at least within the last year or two).

I think the term "Multiverse" was used to describe the situation pre-Crisis (that's what Supes calls it in Crisis). You have to check out World's Funniest for about the best summation of this whole mess. And mess it is. I really don't like what DC's done in the past couple of years. I eventually just got down to 4 titles, Hitman, Starman, Books of Magic and Aquaman, and I just threw in the towel. The reason I got out was because they started doing so many crossovers I just couldn't keep up.

I thought Flash post-Crisis was one of DC's best series, at least it was for a while. This whole nonsense is enough to keep me away from DC Comics permanently. If they do something they need to stick with it. If they're going to have crossovers interfering with my favorite stories I'm just not going to bother.
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Old 05-02-01, 02:15 AM
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Possible spoilers below if you haven't read Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Final Night, Day of Judgment, Kingdom Come, or The Kingdom.

The Multiverse is from Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths days. There were so many alternate universes with Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-X, and so on. It became incredibly confusing and convulted, with people crossing from universe to universe with the greatest of ease. DC decided to do house cleaning, so Marv Wolfman wrote Crisis on Infinite Earths which, in the end, wiped out the multiverse, and in its place remained just one earth, one universe, and one history.

Zero Hour was supposed to be a chance for each book's creative team to go and rectify any continuity they wanted to. It had some effects, but nothing profound, other than making Hal Jordan the villainous Parallax. This, of course, lead to Final Night, when Hal sacrificed himself, which, in turn, lead to him becoming the new Spectre in Day of Judgment.

Hypertime came from The Kingdom storyline by Mark Waid. In The Kingdom, the Big Three (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman) of today team up with the Big Three from the possible future timeline from Kingdom Come. They fight to stop Gog from destroying Superman and the child of Superman and Wonder Woman. During the course of this, they uncover Hypertime, which, as I understand it, is an infinite number of timelines and realities. Every time there is a choice to be made there are different realities that can be created. Hypertime doesn't really restore the Multiverse, per se. Not in the way that it existed pre-Crisis. It's just an infinite number of possible realities. With his molecular vibrational abilities, The Flash has the easiest time traveling from universe to universe.

Personally, with no disrespect meant for Mark Waid who I think is an excellent writer, I think Hypertime is a stupid concept, and I suspect a lot of other DC writers think so too. Since its introduction in late 1998, Hypertime hasn't really been utilized much as a plot device. There was a story arc in Superboy that dealt with Hypertime. And the Dark Flash story arc, starting in Flash #150, traveled into Hypertime too. But otherwise, I'm not aware of any other stories that have dealt with it. All for the better, IMO.
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Old 05-02-01, 10:19 AM
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OK...so the Kingdom and Kingdom Come are actually part of the DC continuity and not a separate one-shots then? I own both of the GN's and I can understand where Hypertime was created from that.

I do have one question though, in my estimation Hypertime was created specifically for the Flash book to explain how Jay Gordon and the future Flashes (including the long dead Barry Allen) can come into Wally West's Flash timeline, correct? Considering the Flash was helmed at that time by Waid this is not too much of a stretch in logic. You are right that Hypertime has not been used much, but it has given the writers the chance to be more liberal with stories in regards to the past and future.

Thanks much for the explanation Todd.
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Old 05-02-01, 12:26 PM
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Day of Judgement? I missed that one, was it a "one shot"? News to me about Hal Jordon. Jim Corrigan was killed off earlier wasn't he? The Spectre is the Angel of Death after all, and why they put Hal Jordan in that role seems stupid.

As for Hypertime, well, it has been used, at least the parallel worlds aspect of it has. JLA:Earth 2 is a prime example. In that one they bring back the Crime Syndicate of America, who is an oldtime favorite for those longtime DC fans. An ok book, but not great. It's used in World's Funniest too, and that's about the best use of it I've seen.

AgtFox: As far as I understand any book that is/was "Elseworlds" can now be considered (because of Hypertime) part of the current DC continuity. That's exactly what "The Kingdom" did. Lame.
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Old 05-02-01, 01:43 PM
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Eric,

"Day of Judgement" was a (November 2000?) weekly mini-series leading up to the new Spectre being chosen. Basically, all the heroes went to Heaven and Hell to stop a villain and the new Spectre was chosen when they went to Hell (this is what I generally get from reviews). The new Spectre is in fact Hal Jordan (which is who I was alluding to in the original post). Right afterward the JLA did not believe that Jordan was the Spectre because he looked like a different person to each one of them, but the one Angel guy in the JLA did some magic and made Hal Jordan visible to everyone for a short time. As far as I know, Jordan is still around as the Spectre.

DC finally righted a wrong (Jordan dying), although probably not in the way most people wanted (i.e. back as the Green Lantern). This is DC for you though...they have squandered their big bangs quite a bit since Crisis.
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Old 05-03-01, 05:41 AM
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Well, at the time Kingdom Come was published, it was considered a "possible near-future," but not part of DC continuity. But then The Kingdom came along, and used current DC continuity and brought in the Kingdom Come characters, along with introducing Hypertime. So in that way, it all became a real part of the DCU.

Waid basically took the great characters and situations of Kingdom Come (which was actually conceived by Alex Ross. Waid just fleshed out the script), and bastardized everything in a lame storyline which left us with Hypertime. You're right, he was writing The Flash at the time, but I don't think his motivations for creating Hypertime had to do with bringing Jay Garrick and Barry Allen into Wally West's universe at all. I forget how Jay got there. Maybe it was post-Crisis. I'm pretty sure he was there before Zero Hour. And Barry and Wally have always been together. Crisis and Zero Hour didn't really affect Barry and Wally much. Pre-Crisis, Barry was The Flash and Wally was Kid Flash. Then, when Barry sacrificed himself in Crisis, Wally took up the mantle of The Flash, and he's been the Flash ever since.

I think because Waid had been doing such great things with The Flash, and JLA: Year One, and guest-writing a couple issues of JLA, that when DC decided they needed a new "event" to shake things up, Waid was their man. They probably said "Come up with something really BIG," and unfortunately, Hypertime is what we got.

And yes, there is a new Spectre series, and Hal is still The Spectre.
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Old 05-03-01, 12:01 PM
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I'm glad I'm keeping away from collecting then. DC claims to be going for a more mature audience, but their best titles have been relegated to the Vertigo label, and even those aren't that great anymore. The only Vertigo title I really liked was Books of Magic, and the storylines were spread out so much we were into issue 30+ and threads from issue 1 were still ongoing.

Jay Garrick was part of the Flash post-Crisis. He was Wally's mentor, he made a reappearance after they brought the JSA back from limbo. Blech, then they started doing all that weird "Underworld" stuff with the 1st GL, and it just got worse from there.

The best stuff seems to hit TPB now, so I just wait for those to hit Half.com and I grab them. I actually managed to pick up a brand new hardcover of "Fear Itself" for $4.50. Cover price for that mediocre book was $24 if you can believe it.
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