Who the Clix? Tim Hunter
Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Appearances in Heroclix: Justice League Trinity War
First Appearance: The Books of Magic #1 (January 1990)
Team Affiliations: Justice League Dark
Powers/Abilities: Powerful sorcerer
Created By: John Bolton - Neil Gaiman
Artwork and character is copyright/trademark DC; used under Fair Use
Tim Hunter was a conduit for the raw magic known as the Merlin since birth. In order to increase the power of Tim as well as his legend, the Merlin arranged for multiple contradictory stories about Tim's birth to exist while being simultaneously true. Among these origins are him being the illegitimate son of Tamlin the Falconer and Titania, Queen of Faerie; the son of Tamlin and a beautiful human girl named Mary. He came to be raised in the Mundane World by William and Mary Hunter, though he later discovered that Mary wore a glamour stone and hid an as yet unrevealed true self.
Tim was incredibly powerful as an infant, bringing imaginary friends to life and creating thousands of alternate worlds with thousands of alternate Tims. Through this process he unknowingly divested himself of his emotions and forged them into these alternate versions, leaving himself disconnected from the world around him for most of his childhood and teenage years. It is why he was unable to mourn properly when he lost his mother in a car accident and his father lost his arm in that same accident.
As Tim grows older, he begins to attract the attention of powerful mystic groups. One group, the Cult of the Cold Flame, wants to seduce Tim into becoming a force of evil magical power. They are thwarted, however, by a group of mystics that are jokingly referred to as the “Trenchcoat Brigade” that offer Tim the chance to learn about magic with their help. Tim agrees to be taught and then decide whether to embrace magic or renounce it.
The Phantom Stranger takes Tim through the past and has him speak with several powerful magic wielders of the past. They are: an Atlantean sorcerer, a young Merlin, Jason Blood (prior to being bound to the demon Etrigan), Zatara and Sargon the Sorcerer. John Constantine then shows Tim the current world of magic by having him meet with Madame Xanadu, the Spectre, Baron Winters and Jason Blood (now cursed with the demon, Etrigan). Constantine and the rest of the Trenchcoat Brigade go off to fight the Cult of the Cold Flame in Calcutta while leaving Tim in the care of Zatanna. Zatanna, for an unknown reason, decides to take Tim to a club full of dark magic users and reveals his true name to the club owner. The denizens attack the pair until the arrival of John Constantine.
With Tim seemingly safe, the tour of magic continues with Doctor Occult taking him to realms beyond the Mundane World, including the Dreaming and Faerie. It is during his time in Faerie that Queen Titania tries to ensnare the young boy and trap him with her, which he instinctively manages to avoid. Mister E takes over, showing Tim a number of possible futures. One future includes the magical war that Tim is destined to take part in, though Mister E seems to try and avoid this by killing Tim at the end of time. He is saved, however, by Death of the Endless. She sends Tim back home before doing her final job and “turning the lights out on the universe.” Once home, Tim is offered the choice: embrace magic or don't. He chooses not to and immediately regrets the choice. However, the trick was on him as the choice had already been made when he agreed to learn the nature of magic.
Tim's true study of magic takes many twists and turns. Soon after this tour, he seems to have lost all connection with magic until he is thrust into the realm of Faerie and faces the might of the Manticore while also learning some important facts about his parentage. He goes on to help a succubus free from her master as well as free his neighbor and love interest Molly from Hell; an event that fills the ghastly realm with red roses. Tim goes on to be further haunted by his future when Molly learns that he sells his soul in one such future and entertains himself by abusing multiple copies of her. It is this knowledge that causes Tim to run away from home and receive mystical tattoos that keeps him emotionally distant and punishes his anger.
Tim seeks out and eventually finds Zatanna, in order to learn magic from her. He is reunited with Molly again during his journey but, unfortunately, his cold demeanor and focus on magic drive her away again. As a result, Tim falls into a depressed state before removing his tattoos and becoming more connected to the world around him. Deciding that he doesn't need magic after all, he releases it into the world. This incites a war between angels and demons, who are being manipulated by Shivering Jemmy of the Shallow Brigade, over who will control this freed wild power. Even without his magic Tim is able to save the day by giving Jemmy what she wanted and therefore gain her assistance in ending the fighting.
It is ultimately a costly lesson from his friend Leah that puts Tim back in touch with his incredible magical power. This return of power is short-lived, however, when Tim meets a new teacher at his school named Thomas Currie. Currie is a creation of one of the alternate Tims that has learned all about the alternate worlds created by young Hunter. He tells Tim of the “Other” a dark version of Tim that wishes to kill him and take his place as the true Hunter. Thomas siphons off Tim's power and hides it away, hoping that he will have time to teach Tim how to master it. This is not to be, however, as the Other arrives and kills Currie as well as Tim's family. It is only the realization of a plan by Currie where Tim creates one more Tim to fight and die for him, to fool the Other, that allows Tim to escape with his life.
Tim then goes on to wander the many worlds by using the holes bunched by the Other as he traveled from world to world and killed the other Tims. He spends many years at the Inn Between the Worlds working disguised as a girl named Mary with the aid of his mother's glamour stone. It is only the arrival of a band of hunters called the Wild Hunt that forces Tim to reveal himself and defeat their leader to save his life. With leadership of the Wild Hunt his thanks to the combat, Tim returns to the Earth to reclaim his magic power and heal the damage done by creating the gates to the other worlds. Once there, he gives his leadership up through non-mortal combat and is forced to seek out help.
It is then that he is forced to deal with the demon Barbatos and fulfill the destiny that Molly had seen so many years before. He is forced to sell the memory of creating the Other, which makes the Other's existence without Tim impossible. All of Tim's alternate forms are reunited as one for the first time since he was born but this is no happy ending. Tim's soul is immediately sold to Barbatos that uses Tim's power to his own ends while leaving the remains of the mortal soul in a cardboard box, torturing alternate versions of Molly. Barbatos eventually orders this Tim, now an adult, to travel back in time to make sure that the cycle is completed and Tim grows up to sell his soul to Barbatos. This plan backfires, however, when the younger Tim's anger explodes and kills his older self, leading to Barbatos' defeat and imprisonment in the Dreaming.
Forty years later, Barbatos is released and allowed to return to Hell where he discovered the truth behind his victory. Tim had hidden his soul inside the memory that Barbatos took and once it was inside the demon, it slowly took control of Barbatos' body and changed it to look like Tim's at the age of fourteen. With this realization, Tim was reborn and Barbatos was annihilated. And now, with his full power at his disposal, Tim could set out to learn about his origins, true names, and train at the great White School for many years.