Rip's background story has gone through different versions. From his first appearances he was a contemporary born man and a scientific expert that developed a way to travel through time. His depiction has changed over time -- he has been now depicted as a traveler from the future who spends a fair amount of time in the present day, but now in addition to that acts as to ensure the continuity of the timeline. The character has reappeared in the New 52 though it is not evident as of yet exactly what changes have been made to his background, if any.
In the 1950's, in the late Golden Age, DC created the series, Showcase, to try out new characters to see if they would be popular enough to have any staying power. Some that passed through this series became almost instantly famous, such as Barry Allen, while others maintained a following but didn’t manage to impress fans as much. Rip was one of the latter kind of characters, after his appearance in Showcase #20.
Rip has changed in his character portrayal based on his background. In his earliest appearances, his portrayal was more in line with the serial type of adventure he was involved in, more adventure based than a true superhero. In the 1980's, the character became one much more focused on the future implications of present events which lead to a worldwide apocalyptic event and it was his obsessive goal to stop it. More recently as someone with ancestral origins from the 25th century, his portrayal is different still, more of a protective overseer.
Major Story Arcs
His earliest stories in the Golden Age and Silver Age were generally self-contained stories where he would visit different eras and deal with threats associated with them. For instance, in his first appearance, he must battle dinosaurs. Rip’s early stories contained a constant adversary, though not necessarily a villain, in the role of John Charles James. He had been competing with Rip and his colleague, Jeffrey Smith, for a research grant. As soon as Rip found a power element that would not melt, he was able to complete production of his Time Sphere and he would receive the grant. Grant traveled to the past in order to change it, but he inadvertently ensured their own success because he provided them the element they needed in the first place.
Rip and Jeffrey were soon joined in their efforts by recently graduated history major, Bonnie Baxter, and her brother, Corky. As with many other characters, his portrayal depended greatly on when he was in his own series versus as a guest in other series. However, when not, it was not uncommon to see him in cameo appearances as the expert on time travel.
In his Silver Age adventures, he formed an unlikely friendship and alliance with Cleopatra. After aiding the Egyptian Queen in her dealings with Julius Caesar, she regarded him as a friend and she came to his aid on other occasions when he scoured antiquity for aid. The team met a number of other historical figures from a wide range of historical eras, some as far back as ancient times, some as recent as the Second World War in Germany (at one point they met Adolf Hitler, who at the time of publication had not yet been dead for even twenty years).
In a journey to the beginning of the universe, the team unexpectedly found a temple, but upon beginning to investigate it, they were automatically sent back to their original time frame. Soon they joined Superman to journey to the past to stop a plot by Vandal Savage. This story was later retold with a pyramid in place of the temple, but soon after, Rip joined the Forgotten Heroes. This team stayed together until the Immortal Man was killed during Crisis on Infinite Earths.
After Crisis, the character was somewhat redesigned. Although he was still a genius and master inventor, time travel was, for a period in the DC universe, only possible if a new method of travel was used each time. During his travels, though, he discovered that at one point, the world had suffered a cataclysm and he was obsessed with stopping it. This became exceptionally frustrating for him as he was stuck in the present trying to discover another method of time travel.
For More Information: 52
During the year after Infinite Crisis, Rip works with Booster Gold to ensure the stability of the timeline and to stop it from being corrupted by Mr. Mind. This also resulted in them saving the entire Multiverse. Booster also pretended to be another hero called Supernova to save Metropolis without anyone knowing it was him. Later, his ancestor, Daniel Carter took on the role of Supernova and helped them against Mr. Mind.
Booster Gold is offered to join the Justice League of America, which is what he always wanted, but he gets recruited by Rip Hunter to fix temporal anomalies created from saving the Multiverse and Superboy-Prime punching history. They are also later joined by Supernova and Booster's sister, Goldstar. Rip and Booster go on missions to random time periods in the past which include trying to prevent Barbara Gordon from getting paralyzed and stopping Maxwell Lord from killing Ted Kord and starting the OMAC Project. Of course, they couldn't actually prevent those things from happening without causing major damage to the timeline. It is later revealed that Rip is Booster Gold's son but he keeps it a secret from Booster and everyone else. The time and place of his birth are kept a secret so that he cannot be tracked down as a child by any time travelling villains. It has not been revealed who his mother is.
Time Masters: Vanishing Point
Rip is seen a short time later as a member of the new Time Masters which include Booster Gold, Superman, and Green Lantern, who are tracing the steps of Batman through the timeline after his disappearance during Final Crisis. After eventually finding Batman, he and Booster returned to his lab where they found Goldstar waiting. It was soon revealed that there were new clues on his blackboard which led the path to other future events which would need to be stopped.
The New 52
Rip Hunter is mentioned in Justice League International Annual #1 by a future Booster Gold who visits his younger self to tell him that he needs to get to Steve Trevor and the Justice League of America so they can help him to stop Superman and Wonder Woman from doing something. He says that Rip will erase the conversation so that it never happened. He makes the future Booster disappear before he is able to let his younger self know what exactly he has to stop. He fades out while saying "I shouldn't have trusted him." The younger Booster assumed the thing that needed to be stopped was Superman and Wonder Woman becoming a couple, but before he could do anything about it, he fades away too.
In the new Vertigo series called Time Warp we see Rip Hunter Time Sphere taken back in time to Germany during World War II by a young adult who wanted to see time and space and change things around. Rip Hunter will play part in this series and helping a new team in this comic book remake of the series.
The Pre-Flashpoint version of Rip Hunter appears alongside the New 52 version of Booster Gold in Convergence. Rip tells Booster that he was looking for his version of Booster and tells him that he is his father. Booster assumes that Rip being his son is only an alternate universe thing even though it could be the same in both universes. It is revealed that the future Booster from his appearance in the JLI Annual, is actually an older Booster Gold from the Pre-Flashpoint universe. He is also aware that Rip is his son.
Powers and Abilities
Rip is a regular human though he is skilled in firearms and hand-to-hand combat. He also has in his possession a number of high tech items which he uses for his travels through time. In the early appearances of the Time Sphere it contained a device called the Encyclo-Matic which was a computer with extensive data files on the past. There were also devices to provide speech translation for all the people from the different time eras that they encountered. Above all it is Rip’s mind which is his greatest asset and he is one of the greatest inventors in the DC universe. For instance he has been shown to have an advanced enough understanding of science and technology that he could modify Goldstar's costume to make it protect her against the effects of time travel. In addition his knowledge of temporal physics is rarely matched in the multiverse.
Can lift up to 800 pounds
Rip Hunter appears in season 3 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He is voiced by Brian Bloom.
Rip Hunter is mentioned by the Reverse Flash in the finale of the first season. His Time Sphere is built by Cisco Ramon and Ronnie Raymond based on Thawne's memory of Rip's designs. The Flash eventually destroys the ship so that Reverse Flash can't go back to his future.
Rip Hunter is played by Arthur Darville. He is a member of the Time Masters and is from East London and the year 2166, where Vandal Savage has taken over the world. Savage kills Rip's wife and son, Jonas. He begs the Times Masters to help in stopping Savage but they refuse. He decides to take the Waverider and Gideon, the A.I. created by Barry Allen in the future, to recruit Hawkman, Hawkgirl, the Atom, White Canary, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and the new Firestorm combination of Jefferson "Jax" Jackson and Professor Martin Stein to travel through time to stop Savage. The Time Masters disapprove so they send Chronos, who is described as a time travelling bounty hunter, to stop him.