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Father Time of SHADE (7 Soldiers) (DC Comics)

Father Time


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
Now I’m on your track and I’m in your mind
And I’m on your back but don’t look behind
I’m your meanest thought I’m your darkest fear
But I’ll never get caught you can’t shake me shake me dear
I’m the invisible man I’m the invisible man
Incredible how you can see right through me
Watch me
I’m the invisible man I’m the invisible man
It’s criminal how I can see right through you.

Context

Father Time is a secondary character in Grant Morrison’s 2005 epic Seven Soldiers. He’s a sort of over-the-top, hyper-secret version of Nick Fury or Sarge Steel. His agency is called S.H.A.D.E..

The story was a bit like a puzzle, and our articles follow suit. They’re less mysterious than the comics, but we don’t explain every single thing in every single Seven Soldiers character profile. So reading several profiles is best to gain a more complete view.

Father Time returned in Infinite Crisis spinoffs, and… yeah. We don’t do reviews or usually voice opinions, but I remember these as some of the worst material I ever read. Plus, it was unclear and, unlike with Seven Soldiers, it wasn’t because the missing bits had been presented elsewhere. So I interpreted this turdfest as I could.

Thus, this writeup contains a huge S P O I L E R about the 2006 Uncle Sam series. For what little it’s worth.


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Background

  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: S.H.A.D.E..
  • Base Of Operations: The S.H.A.D.E. Nerve Center under United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, NYC, NY.
  • Height: Var. Weight: Var.
  • Eyes: Var. Hair: Var.


Powers and Abilities

Every year, the immortal known as Father Time goes into a coma. Then he emerges from it rejuvenated, and with a new set of superhuman powers.

Given the lack of coherence between his appearances, one suspects that his personality also changes from one year to the next. But he keeps his memories and seems to be consistently hyper and slightly demented.

2005

His powers during the year 2005 were not demonstrated. But I think that he could empower machines so they could sense communications from the future. S.H.A.D.E. could receive e-mails addressed to them from one billion years in the future (!). This seems so far beyond any Earth technology, even in the DCU, that I suspect Father Time enabled it.


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After 2005, S.H.A.D.E. suddenly had access to astoundingly sophisticated and powerful androids. While S.H.A.D.E. had regained considerable budgets and pulls, those androids were at least Lex Luthor-level. These would be easier to explain if S.H.A.D.E. had access the schematics from the future copied via Father Time’s power.

I also had the vague intuition he could stop time to defend himself if necessary.

2006

In his non-Morrisson appearance, things were considerably more straightforward. He had super-strength and corresponding invulnerability and speed.

His budget and resources had been considerably heightened. He once stated that he had “a thousand more people like you on ice in a warehouse” when breaking up an altercation between Major Force and the new Phantom Lady.

He did keep throwing endless piles of insipid, incompetent superhuman nobodies into the meat grinder. Clearly, he had no problem with pointlessly wasting them. So the statement above might actually be true.


History

Father Time was first seen as the head of S.H.A.D.E. in 2005. But he mentioned that he was alive when “real knights wore suits of armor into battle.”

In 1950, he recruited a Nazi torturer and medical experimenter called the Face. Time found him in a “secret concentration camp” that had been missed by Allied forces. The Face apparently became a CIA interrogator .

Agent of S.H.A.D.E., part 1

S.H.A.D.E. (Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive) is a subsecret American agency founded by President Lyndon Johnson . It is all about using superhuman agents (or, to be blunt, jackals and cleaners) in highly classified black bag jobs, both foreign and domestic. When Frankenstein ran into them in 2005, their glory had faded from their heyday.

Though they seemed competent and highly experienced, their budgets had greatly shrunk, and they had become so secret and so paranoid as to become irrelevant. Or at least, as irrelevant as an organization of inhuman killers backed by super-heavy, competent firepower and directed by a maniac can get.

What happened to S.H.A.D.E during the Janus Directive episode , which deeply shook the US intelligence community, is unknown. It is probable that they were so secret even Kobra missed them. And/or so paranoid that they had anticipated that scenario and were much harder to destabilise than other agencies.

For S.H.A.D.E., the ends definitely justify the means, no matter what sort of carnage ensues. They seem to prefer to create their own superhuman weapons, which means very high risk, high return experiments they *know* are likely to become horrific disasters. The have a culture of pride about their ruthlessness and calculated recklessness.

Even support personnel seem to share a culture of morbid amusement, black humour and crass indifference when civilians, agents, technicians, etc. get caught in the semi-regular catastrophes.

Agent of S.H.A.D.E., part 2

Likewise, they will kill at the drop of a hat, and with apparent impunity. When Neh-Buh-Loh cleaved off Frankenstein’s arm, their immediate solution was to assassinate a prominent bodybuilder, saw off his arm and use it to re-arm Frankenstein.

S.H.A.D.E. resources tend to be heavy, destructive and to have been mostly acquired in the 1960s and 1970s. They have low-yield atomic bombs, and have used them to ’clean up‘ theaters of operation on domestic soil. They fly at least one Chinook  converted into a super-heavy gunship (with M-134  emplacements that seemed similar to those on some Spectre gunships ).

Like many influential organisations in Morrison -written DCU books, can hack the global bulk teleport system to their advantage.

All of their superhuman agents, and possibly the human ones, have surgical implants giving them a S.H.A.D.E. intranet uplink, with special access to their extensive and quite up-to-date databases.

A non-canon hypothesis about Task Force X, part 1

It is entirely possible that S.H.A.D.E. was closely related to the civilian half of Task Force X. This agency, codenamed Argent, was founded in 1952 by Truman . But it stopped reporting and went deeply underground in 1960.

Argent had been founded to fight the costumed super-villains threatening America. Thanks to McCarthysm, the country had just forced the JSA and various other mystery men to retire. The new agency was generally successful. Its military counterpart, the Suicide Squadron, was dealing with heavier threats such as giant monsters.

Argent was headed by the legendary master of the O.S.S., Control. Control had lost the political struggle to head the C.I.A. but retained the trust of Truman. During the 1950s, he saw how the world was changing. Therefore, he made Argent disappear so he could turn it into an international agency defending America through a broad variety of means.

The extreme secrecy (Argent only recruited children of its members, or people who had married an agent) led to its gradual decline. Control died in 1983, a fact his granddaughter kept hidden from the others. Argent was taken down by Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad some months later.

A non-canon hypothesis about Task Force X, part 2

A simple hypothesis would be that Father Time became an agent of Argent in 1952, and started pushing for using more superhumans. During the 1960 upheaval he would have double-crossed the aging Control, taking control of most of the considerable Argent resources.

In this hypothesis, he reestablished some ties with the government after Control’s death was discovered, though he did not enjoy any sizeable support until the 2005 Harrowing. This avoids unnecessarily multiplicating entities. Though of course American intelligence does love multiple, conflicting and redundant agencies.

The Harrowing

S.H.A.D.E.’s star resumed shining during the Harrowing of the XXIst Century. The organization recruited Frankenstein. The famous monster agreed to join S.H.A.D.E. out of expediency and in small part because of one of their key agents, the Bride.

S.H.A.D.E. thus learned much about the Harrowing, including the true nature of the Sheeda. Thanks to Frankenstein they managed three devastating strikes against the enemy :

  1. The destruction of Neh-Buh-Loh.
  2. The demolition of the vast majority of the invasion fleet while they were still Sheeda-side.
  3. Dragging Gloriana Tenebræ to a spot where the Spell of Seven could be completed by the Seven Soldiers.

Back in the saddle

This string of extraordinary successes meant far larger budgets. And several competing agencies lost pull by not looking as good as S.H.A.D.E. did during the war in Manhattan.

Father Time announces that SHADE is back in business

S.H.A.D.E. seemed to again be top dog when it came to coordinating special superhuman agents. In late 2005, as the so-called “World War 3” events  erupted, Father Time personally headed a small S.H.A.D.E. strike force. They attempted to take Black Adam out. Pointless graphic carnage ensued and Time’s face was ripped off.

However, this occurred a short time before the end of the year, as he was due to moult. Thus, it was only a minor setback.

Battle for Blüdhaven, part 1

Meanwhile the situation in the ruins of Blüdhaven became a pathetic, senseless mess of pointless slaughter between government agencies and the Society. S.H.A.D.E. was ordered to take charge. Things did not improve much. And after moulting, Time seemed to have become a raging Fascist.

The situation kept getting more chaotic, explosive and strewn with dismembered random bodies. Time once found himself fighting 15 Atomic Knights to prevent them from capturing the body of the comatose Captain Atom. The Knights managed to encase Time in a metallic matrix long enough to abscond with Atom.

Then, uh, I’m not sure. Lots of explosions and cardboard characters getting slaughtered and not much making sense.

Battle for Blüdhaven, part 2

Apparently, Father Time was using the largely Chemo-contaminated population of Blüdhaven as a superhuman-producing camp. This meant getting cheap agents in sufficient numbers to take control of the world. But Captain Atom became Monarch and razed the entire city.

Also, the President decided he liked Civil War over at Marvel . Thus, he decided to launch his own version of the Superhuman Registration Act, enlisting metahumans as soldiers.

Then Uncle Sam reappeared. But Father Tim replaced a popular Senator and Presidential Candidate, Henry Knight, with an alien shapeshifter robot called Gonzo. As Knight, Gonzo was about to be elected POTUS. Look, I’m not making this up.

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam had some of Time’s agents defect to his side, and made them into the new Freedom Fighters. Of course, they all had codenames and powers based on the Freedom Fighters. Logically enough, they killed bunches of American soldiers. Then Father Time had exploding androids disguise themselves as pro-Uncle Sam activists and explode in the street, turning the public against Sam.

Then he graphically tortured and killed some of his agents. Also there were women with big breasts, oh and a bunch of people got killed. Then the Freedom Fighters tried to take down the fake Senator (now President Elect) by intercepting Air Force One. S.H.A.D.E. unleashed a very powerful Miss America android which was destroyed by the real Miss America who came back for no reason.

Father Time tortured Captain America. I mean Uncle Sam. Then the Freedom Fighters, including an absurdly powerful Miss America, beat up Father Time who was narrowly evacuated by the Bride. Father Time started moulting since that was the end of the year. Gonzo sent something that looked like a poor man’s Celestial against the Freedom Butchers. Fighters.

Also, people got messily killed, and there also were tits. Eventually the Freedom Fighters and Uncle Sam attack the White House. We the people join them, folks get killed and Gonzo is destroyed.

Whatever.

The art by Daniel Acuña was interesting, though.

However…

However, those, errr, events were revealed after Gonzo’s destruction to have been a particularly ruthless and intricate plan from Father Time. It was meant to engineer a crisis of such proportions (including releasing disastrous new heroes based on the Freedom Fighters of old) as to manipulate Uncle Sam and force him to appear again.

The goal was to provide the US with a powerful defender before actual, non-engineered-from-the-inside-by-a-spymaster events would plague the country. Thus, holding the destroyed head of Gonzo, Father Time chuckled to himself and watched the revitalized Uncle Sam walk away.

Meh.

Further appearances

More recent appearances depicted Father Time heading S.H.A.D.E during the Infinite Crisis. He was again a dark-skinned man dressed more or less like he was during the Harrowing. He seemed to have a calmer and more considerate version of his 2005 personality.

His powers in that version included super-strength. Father Time seemed to be a younger man than before. His head was not shaved bald and his eyes would glow red when he exerted himself.

Father Time and S.H.A.D.E. found the Dial H For Hero device. They started analysing it, but it was stolen in an incomprehensible manner. Finding themselves at a dead end, they requested that the original Green Lantern (Alan Scott) contact a Golden Age  villain, Johnny Mimic, who could reconstitute any crime.

During the case Mimic was killed a,d the Dial was apparently destroyed. Green Lantern forced Time’s hand so he would provide a hefty pension to Mimic’s widow.

During the Infinite Crisis, Father Time was coordinating his actions with Taleb Beni Khalid, the Black King of intelligence agency Checkmate. Apparently, Father Time and Beni Khalid shared plans to establish something called a Global Peacekeeping Agency. This agency may or may not resemble the one of the World That Is Coming.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

In 2005, Father Time was a competent, ruthless, smart spy-master. He seemed completely amoral and proud of it, like much of his organization, and unconcerned with collateral damage. Father Time seemed hyper, even maniacal, but was highly focused and did an excellent job managing crises and juggling priorities.

He was a complete bastard and enthusiastic about it, but actually achieved some positive results. He did not really care about taking down menaces, but was very aware that looking like they were saving people was important for S.H.A.D.E.’s budget and influence.

When telepath Johnny Mimic sensed Father Time’s mind, he described him as being “worse than anyone knows”. He implied that Time was even more dangerous than the menaces he supposedly fought.

2006+

In 2006, he was a raging Fascist caricature, hating the “weak” civilians, obsessed by power and national destiny and treating everybody like crap. I think it was intended to be a political caricature, but it was ham-fisted enough to make the Awesome Android’s painting look like Michelangelo ’s (no relation). At one point he gave a caricatural neocon  discourse.

I don’t know. It all was very bloody, and a total waste, and quite embarrassing whatever your political opinions are.

More recent appearance had him back to being a harsh, startlingly ruthless spymaster for whom unstated ends justify horrible means. He favoured violence and intimidation whenever expedient.


Quotes

Father Time (2005 incarnation)


“We could execute you right here and now, ugly. We have the necessary knowhow and the authority to do so. But before it gets to that, how about I bring you up to speed, big fella ?”

“Meet the Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive : a one-time elite espionage operation, the brainchild of President Lyndon Johnson, God rest his soul, some time around high noon. In the Cold War, that is. Here’s the pitch : Superman meets James Bond. Big time for a little while. These days, we clean up the crap no one else will touch, on a budget that wouldn’t buy you breakfast at a fancy hotel.”

“You hear that ? Artificial weather ! The whole world’s in crisis. And you, my friend, are just one more famous monster out of time, waiting for the axe to fall in a world where there’s nowhere left to run. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a way you can save your sorry ass. So before you tear loose and try to club me senseless with that fist… before you collapse under the ensuing hail of hydrochloric acid darts… you might like to consider my generous offer of a job. Frankenstein.”

“Uncle Sam lost a superhuman in there. That’s three billion dollars’ worth of brain/machine interface… Your mission is to get him out before his own men drop a bomb on that big mess they made. You dig ?”

“We tried to make a weapon out of water. The water fought back. Scratch one more big dumb idea.” (pause, smiles sardonically) “Heh. So we used you. Welcome to the 21st century. Sure you don’t wanna ride with us, Frankenstein ? Something tells me you’ll fit right in.”

“Turn us around ! Congress just voted in emergency session to reopen the S.H.A.D.E. Nerve Center under United Nations Plaza. That beckoning sound is the big time !”

“S.H.A.D.E. psychics are screaming about a potential extinction event, and it looks like the only superheroes left in town are the ugly ones. We’re hacking a Chinese signal so you can hitch a ride on the Teleport Freight Grid all the way to a receiver our boys just set up in Arizona. Coordinates 33 North 110 West — Miracle Mesa. The satellite should be rising in the East in about 15 seconds. I don’t care what it takes. I don’t care what it costs. Stop them, Frankenstein.”

Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: “Father Time, sir ! The President’s on the red line: can we nuke Manhattan from space ?”
Father Time: “Tell the crazy bastard we have the situation under control, and hope he believes us.” (switches comm channel) “BRIDE !”

“Communications just deciphered a reverse e-mail from agent Frankenstein, sent backwards through time. He says the Sheeda are the pinnacle of natural selection, you getting this ? The last living species clinging to life on a dying Earth ! Consuming their own history to survive ! They’re not fairies, not aliens. They’re us… one billion years from today ! The Sheeda are what man will finally become !”

Father Time (2006 incarnation)
“Who is in charge, here ? […] You’ll address me as Father Time. You and your team are now under my supervision.”

“The President wants to see results. That’s why I am here. I get results.”

(About the Blüdhaven refugees) “I wish we could throw a little mustard gas down there and be done with it. Look at them… maggots squirming in the mud. We need the boot of a war god to stamp down upon the weak sycophants that are eating away at this country.”

Major Victory: “I’ll need reinforcements to track them down.”
Father Time: “You’ll have them. Thanks to the riot at the wall, you’ve been absorbed in to the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive.”
Major Victory: “The what ?”
Father Time: “Exactly.”

“You’ll be kicking the crap out of criminals and terrorists and your government will love you for it. You have power and that will get you further in life. Now shut up and follow me.”

Father Time: “I want you to stamp out these cockroaches and secure the city.”
Major Force: “Can we kill the uncooperative ?”
Father Time: “Slowly and with great vigor, Major Force. Just bring back a few hostages for interrogation […] These are *enemy combatants*.”

“We’ve spent millions of tax dollars on you people. Technically, you are property of the United States government. Therefore, I can snap off a piece of you whenever I want.” (CRACK) (tears off the little finger of one of his agents who failed a mission)

“You’re a broken record, Sam. We want the same things. America needs to be at the top of the food chain. America is becoming Sodom and Gomorrah in ways no one imagined possible. I’m going to restore this nation to greatness by any means necessary.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Father Time (2005)

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 07 Occupation: Intelligence czar
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 012
Init: 015 HP: 040

Powers:
Invulnerability: 18. See “Powers & Abilities” below

Skills:
Charisma: 06, Vehicles*: 04, Weaponry*: 04

Advantages:
Credentials (US Intelligence, Medium ; S.H.A.D.E., High), Immortal, Iron Nerves, Expertise (superhumans).

Connections:
Omni-Connection.

Drawbacks:
MPI.

Equipment:
He kept playing with a pocket watch, and had access to the whole resources of S.H.A.D.E.. He uses his highly sophisticated and encrypted cell phone a lot.


Father Time (2006)

Dex: 08 Str: 15 Bod: 12 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 06 Occupation: Intelligence czar
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 018
Init: 015 HP: 040

Powers:
Invulnerability: 18, Jumping: 03, Mind probe: 05

Skills:
Charisma: 06, Vehicles*: 08, Weaponry*: 08

Advantages:
Credentials (US Intelligence, High ; S.H.A.D.E., High ; US Armed Forces, High), Immortal, Iron Nerves, Expertise (superhumans).

Connections:
Omni-Connection.

Drawbacks:
SIA toward Power, Minor Rage.

Equipment:
Sophisticated, heavily encrypted cell phone.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe.

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