Book Review – Time Masters: Vanishing Point

  • Title: Time Masters: Vanishing Point
  • Author: Dan Jurgens
  • Artists: Norm Rapmund
  • Line: Immediately post-Final Crisis
  • Characters: Rip Hunter, Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Booster Gold
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 7/05/2016

I enjoyed Time Masters Vanishing Point but it was neither really how it’s described on the back nor is it much of a tie-in to Flashpoint (the tie-in is limited to one page). In Time Masters Vanishing Point, Rip Hunter recruits a group of heroes (Superman; Green Lantern – Hal Jordan; and Booster Gold) to find Bruce Wayne who has been thrown back in time by Darkseid’s Omega Beams (see DC’s Final Crisis). Batman wasn’t killed in Final Crisis but sent back in time. For that reason I expected Vanishing Point to explain what was going on in Time and the Batman – to be the other half of that story. It’s not, because Rip Hunter and company get distracted during their travels through time and are unable to accomplish their stated mission to rescue Bruce Wayne. Everyone remembers what they are supposed to be doing – but their time travel is about as unpredictable as the TARDIS and they end-up all over the place rather than finding Bruce. I expected a “chase through time” – what I got was actually an innovative time-travel story with characters occasionally saying, pretty much, “But I have another mission I have to get back to”, so to speak.

This novel also includes a lot of background for Rip Hunter, including being raised by time-travelling parents who constantly move him not just from place to place but from time to time. And we learn a lot more about Booster Gold. Booster, in turns out, has hidden depths – he’s not who you think he is. The novel also features a number of characters with ties to Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, or both, including Michelle Carter (Goldstar), Supernova, and Brainiac 5 (briefly). Time Master villains also show up including: Despero, Degaton, and two of the Linear Men (one of whom is a woman).

However, despite all the various characters who appear briefly, and sometimes disappear just as quickly (eg Reverse Flash) – the novel isn’t confusing. Everyone is introduced by name at first appearance, which helps a lot (if nothing else one can always consult Google or Wikipedia to learn more), and it’s clear who is a hero and who is a villain. Also, the plot, which could easily become confusing with so many characters coming and going is actually pretty clear and easy to understand, even with the time travel and the frequent flashbacks (and occasional flash forwards) that flesh out the characters and explain their motivations.

This novel is very much Rip Hunter’s story – who he was, even as a child; who he is – as an adult and Time Master; and who he will be. It’s also a story about Booster Gold. It doesn’t fill in the other side of Time and the Batman unfortunately – we never really see Batman, despite his rescue being the McGuffin of the story.

There is a brief one-page reference to Flashpoint but that’s all – this story is not part of World of Flashpoint. I did enjoy it immensely and I wonder if there are any other graphic novels featuring these characters. Recommended to DC Comics fans, fans of time travel stories and science fiction, and also to anyone who saw CW’s Legends of Tomorrow and wants to learn more about Rip Hunter and the Time Masters.

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Book Review- Doctor Who: Nothing O’Clock

  • Title: Nothing O’Clock
  • Series: Doctor Who Novelette Collection
  • Author: Neil Gaiman
  • Characters: Eleventh Doctor, Amy
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/08/2016

Doctor Who Nothing O’Clock is one of the short booklets found in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary 12 Doctors 12 Stories collection. This story features the Eleventh Doctor as played by Matt Smith on the revived series and Amy Pond. It’s also written by Neil Gaiman, an accomplished writer of fantasy novels, graphic novels, screen plays, and television – including two episodes of Doctor Who. Gaiman’s story is quite possibly the scarest of the bunch.

The opening chapter describes a prison, built by the Time Lords, for a terrifying monster known only as the Kin. The prison was meant to last forever, but when the Time Lords disappeared, the Kin were able to break out.

On Earth, a young child tells her father someone has come to buy their house. The father, who seems preoccupied with bills, doesn’t believe it – but a person in a mask offers three times what the house is worth. The man takes the money and moves his family into an hotel. He finds that the hotel is filled with other people who have sold their homes under similar circumstances – and no one can find any property to buy. Eventually the hotel is sold out from under them. Even the local police are perplexed about what to do – because the building housing their station has been sold.

The Doctor and Amy land in her time to find Rory, and not only is Rory not there, the Earth is silent. Amy hears a message that the Kin now own the planet, it was purchased legally, and the Shadow Proclamation found nothing wrong with the transaction. Also, the people died out, the message concludes.

The Doctor and Amy rush back in time to prevent this outcome. They encounter the kin, and the Doctor warns Amy to never ask the Kin what time it is – that question being a verbal trap that allows the Kin to control people to their own ends. Amy, however, is tricked and whisked away from the Doctor.

The Doctor becomes angry and lets the Kin think they’ve tricked him into letting them into his TARDIS – however, he’s pulled a trick of his own.

This was a wonderful and spooky story, with a terrifying villain. I highly, highly recommend this story.