Time travel is a tricky thing. Anyone who has ever had to deal with it in any sort of fictional capacity has to stop and figure out how the stuff works. And no matter what, someone is going to ask questions. Here’s one: can you get lost while doing it?
The answer there, for Justice League founder Triumph, is a big fat “yes”.
Never heard of him? Don’t recall him fighting Starro in that famous first issue? Have him mixed up with a cheap rubber puppet that tells jokes while smoking cigars?
Well, it turns out everyone forgot about Triumph.
Triumph, real name Will MacIntyre, really did found the Justice League in one story.
Between the Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Infinite Crisis, the official founding members of the Justice League were Black Canary, J’onn J’onzz, Aquaman, the Flash, and the Green Lantern. Switch Black Canary for Wonder Woman, and remember Superman and Batman were always too busy to assist much on early cases, and you have the same basic group coming to the rescue. Continuity gives us all such headaches.
Whether or not the Amazing Amazon was present or not, the team came together to battle an alien invasion, found they worked together very well, and decided to keep meeting up to save the world when needed.
Well, see, there was another, earlier alien invasion, only that time the aliens were messing with the time stream instead of coming from outer space. One man saw the danger coming: Will MacIntyre. Gifted with the awesome ability to manipulate the electro-magnetic spectrum, he called himself Triumph and recruited some heroes to stop the aliens. Said heroes were Black Canary, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter…oh, and Superman. Triumph was actually kind of a jackass, and while the others were either more interested in saving lives or just not following his plans exactly, Triumph did defeat the aliens by taking the attack directly to them. Using his powers, he was able to seal the breeches. Unfortunately, he got trapped on the other side. Double unfortunately, due to the nature of the attack, everyone promptly forgot about the aliens. The various heroes of the Justice League forgot they had teamed up, forgot about Triumph, and went their separate ways. Not long after that, the original founding mission occurred and most of those heroes (minus Superman) teamed up again and founded the League.
Triumph might have been lost forever, but then Zero Hour happened, time got fuzzy, and Triumph came out, only to find the League had more or less broken up. Oh, and no one knew who he was. Including J’onn J’onzz. Probably a good thing there, since just prior to saving the day the last time, Triumph clocked J’onn on the back of the head and knocked him out because he’s That Guy.
So, Triumph’s triumph was forgotten. He didn’t like that. It was only fair since he was one of those guys who rubs everyone the wrong way. He joined the Justice League Task Force for a period, but that didn’t last. That was a team led by J’onn that was supposed to be made up of younger heroes learning the ropes. I can’t imagine why Triumph, who kept reminding people he founded the Justice League, would hate that.
But being forgotten was sort of his thing, for better or worse. Triumph was next seen during Grant Morrison’s epic JLA run, and the character was tired of being long forgotten. It was a messy story arc as it was, with the League meeting up with the Justice Society, and Captain Marvel was hanging around, and there were attacks by 5th dimensional genie types, and into all this strolled Triumph, now thinking like he was a villain. He used his powers to do mind control whammies on his old Task Force teammates Gypsy and The Ray and took over the League’s Watchtower headquarters on the moon while everyone was busy. He was mostly mad about being forgotten.
Then he had a fight with Superman, who flat out told him if he wanted back in, he only had to ask.
But remember, this was the Justice Society meeting. And who’s in the JSA? The Spectre. And this was in a time period when the Spectre lacked a human soul to keep it relatively gentle. Triumph was somehow involved in the whole case, the Spectre had been imprisoned by magic for most of it, and Spec was looking for someone to blame.
So, Spectre turned Triumph into a block of Triumph-shaped ice. The only thing that kept Spec from smashing it outright was the intervention of other heroes. Unfortunately, they had no way to thaw Triumph out for the time being and set him aside until they could.
But see, no one remembers Triumph. Grant Morrison didn’t, and he wrote that last story I mentioned. In his last arc, a bomb went off and blew the Watchtower to bits. Guess who Morrison forgot was still in there?
Yeah, we may not be seeing him much in the future.