Waverider, one of DC’s time-traveling heroes and a member of the Linear Men, has a rich history spanning decades. Be it Matthew Ryder or Michael Carter, the need for a guardian of time began in the Armageddon 2001 (1991) crossover event, extending into the New 52 era and Convergence (2015) storyline.
Waverider had a nemesis in the form of Monarch but has crossed paths with other villains such as Doomsday and the lesser-known Abraxis. Wherever he appears, in whatever timeline, he is instantly recognizable by his fiery hair and gold aura. His abilities make him an extremely valuable ally and an important character, so whenever there’s a crisis involving multiple timelines and dimensions, you best hope he’s out there somewhere.
10 Waverider’s Origin
In the Armageddon 2oo1 (1991) crossover taking place in 2030, the tyrannical villain Monarch had wiped out all heroes and metahumans, despite that Monarch themself was once a hero.
Matthew Ryder, saved by a hero as a child, sought that Monarch never came to power. He would volunteer for a time-travel experiment set up by the villain of which most other test subjects didn’t survive. But Matt did, resulting in his transformation into the powerful, fiery-haired protector of the timestream. Matthew, now Waverider, ventured back to 1991 and began his quest to hunt down Monarch’s origin. When Waverider came into contact with Captain Atom, he accidently brought Monarch to the then-present-day, and it turned out the villain was monitoring his every move all along.
9 The Nature Of His Powers
When Matthew Ryder became Waverider, he was granted a slew of powerful abilities. These included time traveling at will and accessing the timestream he merged with.
Waverider can also see other people’s futures and enter them by touching the person, he used this power in his efforts to hunt down Monarch’s true identity. Some other notable abilities he possessed were flying and traveling at great speed, projecting energy, becoming invisible and intangible. By willpower alone he can also reform his body in the timestream should it be torn apart.
8 Dawn Granger Used His Own Powers Against Him
In Hawk and Dove Annual #2 (1991), Waverider meets his match in the timestream. Dawn Granger, (Dove from Hawk and Dove), is able to resist Waverider as he tries to look ahead into her future. Dawn even manages to use the time-traveling hero’s powers against him through her status as a champion of order.
Dawn made Waverider relive his past as Matthew Ryder, where he stood before a statue of Monarch and would dream of a world where the villain never came to power. This is a unique moment where both Waverider’s abilities and willpower are tested. All the while, he’s forced to hold together his physical form in the timestream before order’s champion, countless versions of Dawn Granger from across time.
7 Waverider’s Animated (And Other) Cameos
Waverider appears for a few split seconds at a time over a few episodes in DC’s animated series Justice League Unlimited. He can be seen glaring at Atom Smasher during Superman’s speech in season 1 episode 1, ‘Initiation‘, and again during another speech in season 2 episode 12 ‘Divided We Fall‘.
Waverider has no lines nor is he mentioned by name, but the release of an action figure confirmed that the yellow-suited and haired hero seen is in fact him. Also, in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Rip Hunter captained a ship named Waverider, used by the Legends and probably named after the comics hero of the same name, considering the character’s history with time travel.
6 Ryder Was A Member Of The Linear Men
The Linear Men policed the Timestream from the ominous Vanishing Point near the end of the Universe and outside of space and time.
Members of the Linear Men included the likes of Rip Hunter, Liri Lee, Waverider as well as an alternate version of Matthew Ryder from a timeline without Monarch. Ryder, who discovered the Vanishing Point, was the team’s founder. The Linear Men stuck together for a while but would go on to face conflict amongst them on how to best handle time and the deaths of other superheroes.
5 He Teamed Up With Others To Take Down Abraxis
In the Armageddon 2001 follow up, Armageddon: Inferno (1992), Waverider is a key player in the battle against the extradimensional threat Abraxis.
Abraxis was a soul usurping giant who, after sensing Waverider’s powers and the existence of multiple dimensions, sought to control New Earth with the help of his 12 Daemen. These Daemen would build bodies for Abraxis’s soul to inhabit across Earth’s timeline. However, Waverider spotted this happening and rallied various heroes to stop the villain and the Daemen. Such heroes included the Justice Society of America after they were freed from an endless battle by Ryder and the character known as The Spectre.
4 Waverider Helped Defeat Doomsday
During Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey (1994), Waverider sought to aid Superman in his quest to again defeat Doomsday, despite that this would likely go against the Linear Men’s code.
However, this didn’t stop Waverider from getting involved. Ryder would show Kent Doomsday’s origins as a being capable of evolving to overcome opponents posing a threat to his life. Ryder would also help Kent in transporting Doomsday to the end of time. This was only partly successful in defeating Doomsday however, as the villain was later recovered.
3 The Second Waverider
The Linear Men had two Matthew Ryders’ in their ranks. The first was the powerless scientist from the timeline where Monarch didn’t rise to power; the second was the original time-traveling Waverider who helped defeat Monarch. The original Waverider was invited to join the team by his powerless self, who would actually become the Linear Men’s leader.
After the original Waverider’s death/absorption in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #2 (1994), the powerless Matt Ryder became Waverider at the request of Metron. Metron claimed that the time travel needed to defeat Extant, Parallax, and save the universe was achievable only by Waverider, so Matthew took up the mantle.
2 Waverider Was Tortured By Skeets
In 52 Week #27 (2006), Time Commander appears to Waverider, who is hiding in a clock shop, and accuses him of lying about granting Chronos and Time Commander reprieve from Rip Hunter if they joined forces with Waverider. Time Commander is then killed by an evil Skeets, Booster Gold’s robotic sidekick, who turns their attention to Matthew.
Skeets sought to know when/where Rip Hunter was in the timeline. When Waverider tells Skeets he does not know of Rip’s location or his true identity, the security bot hints that his metal exterior is crafted from Waverider’s future dead body, the robot then proceeds to torture and possibly kill Waverider.
1 Booster Gold Became Waverider
The mantle of Waverider was actually taken up by a third hero, fellow time traveler – Michael Carter, also known as Booster Gold – during the Convergence crossover event. In Convergence: Booster Gold #2 (2015). Pre-Flashpoint Booster is rapidly aging due to excessive time-traveling.
This older Booster is then taken by the New 52 version of himself and the older Booster’s son, Rip Hunter, to Vanishing Point. The older Booster is then put in a chamber where it is hoped he will be cured of his rapid aging, but instead, he fuses with energy and is reborn as Waverider. This new, third iteration of the character with the original’s abilities would make another appearance later on in Convergence #8 (2015).
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