Matthew Ryder (Waverider)

waveriderfilmNo new character apart from Jonah Hex this week on Legends of Tomorrow, but apparently I missed quite a major one…and since the very first episode, Pilot. While recruiting the heroes for his mission, Rip Hunter brings them to his time ship, called the Waverider…and that’s the character we’re speaking of. Just like the android Amazo was turned into a ship in Arrow, superhero Waverider has been reduced to a vessel in Legends of Tomorrow, and albeit he accompanies our heroes in every single episode, he’s not exactly present as he could. As you can imagine by now, in fact, Waverider is not originally a ship, but rather is (was) a human being, albeit superpowered. Let’s see together.

Matthew Ryder was born in one of the many possible timelines, in 2030, in a dystopian future in which the dictator Monarch had killed all of Earth‘s superheroes and had become the undisputed ruler of the world. As a child, Ryder was saved from a collapsing building by an unknown superhero, and this inspired him in the years of his youth. In college, his roomate was a young man named Bennett Dilly, whom he believed to be the same hero that had saved him a few years before: when also Dilly got killed in one of Monarch’s purges, Matt got more than determined to fight back and to stop Monarch. Most of the planet had lost the will to stand up to the tyrant, but there was still a small cell of resistance, and it was with them that Matthew Ryder, now a scientist, started to work to find out a way to defeat the unbeatable dictator. During his work with the other rebels, Ryder did an incredible discovery: Monarch himself was, once, a superhero, until something in his past changed him to the point of transforming him in the worst monster history had ever seen. Unfortunately, data about who Monarch was before becoming a villain had all been erased, and so even the traumatic events behind his creations had been forgotten; however, waveridercomics1the information at disposal were enough, as the resistance’s scientists, altoghter, infiltrated a governmental project to travel in time, to identify Monarch in the past and prevent him from breaking bad. Messing in the time stream, however, wasn’t exactly easy or without risks, and it needed a massive transformation in the “volunteers” who candidated themselves as time travelers: exposed to the process to become able of entering the timestream and travel through it, all the candidates died. Eventually, still inspired by that single hero who had saved him as a child, Matt Ryder himself volunteered for the process, and he was the first and only one to survive it. He became a being of quantum energy, able to travel through time as he pleased, not perceiving it as normal humans. Still wanting to be a superhero himself, Ryder named himself Waverider, escaped from Monarch’s laboratories, and started his mission…oblivious that his enemy was spying his moves.

Waverider arrived in 1991, when he started his search for the one who would have become Monarch. Using his powers, unseen, Waverider merged with many heroes, studying their possible future, hoping to find the tyrant before it was too late. Waverider, actually, ended up being the one triggering the events that created Monarch (and that’s why the tyrant had invested on the time travel research): while he was exploring the future of Captain Atom, the combined powers of the two heroes created a breach in the timestream, allowing Monatch to travel back in time. The tyrant attacked the heroic couple Hawk and Dove, and kidnapped the latter; when Hawk reached the villain, Monarch killed the girl right before the hero’s eyes. Enraged and without the calming effect of his partner, Hawk succumbed to his war-bringer nature, and beat Monarch to death…only to find out that under the tyrant’s mask there was his own face. Hawk started seeing things differently, and understood the necessity of a supreme order in the world: he was becoming the villain he had just killed. Waverider, understanding what he had done, finally revealed himself to the other heroes, and prompted them to unite against the rising menace: together with Captain Atom, the Justice League of America and the Teen Titans, he took on a rampaging Hawk, trying waveridercomics2to stop him before he became too powerful. During the ensuing battle, Waverider glimpsed a building that was about to collapse, right on a nearby kid: he saved the boy, only to realize he had just saved himself, thus answering the question he had been asking himself all his life, on who the mysterious hero who had saved him was. Finally, Hawk was defeated, and he never became Monarch: Waverider, however, knew that he hadn’t exactly changed the future he came from, he had just created a new timeline in which Monarch never rose to power. Now knowing that he could change things for better, he started traveling in time, trying to fix things and to make people avoid bad futures, until he was recruited by the Linear Men, a group that fought to preserve the timeline. Along with another version of himself (a Matt Ryder who had lived with his parents, and who worked for Lex Luthor instead of Monarch), Rip Hunter and Liri Lee, he neutrally observed the flow of time and intercepted time travelers to prevent them to modify it…even if he didn’t exactly believed in neutrality, and kept fighting for what he believed to be the right cause.

Matt Ryder is an intelligent and brave man, a scientist with a warrior’s attitude ready to do his part to fight a dictatorship that has bought with order and (relative) peace the conscience of the population. As Waverider, he’s able to travel at will through time, even jumping from a timeline to another; he can fly, become invisible and intangible, emit blasts of energy, and he’s able to see the past of everyone he enters in contact with, and to forsee his/her probable futures. Living outside time, he’s immune to aging and even to major cataclysmic events that transform entire realities. Despite being part of a neutral group like the Linear Men, Waverider keeps interfering with time, trying to prevent the worst events from ever happening (such as when he warned Superman of Doomsday‘s return): nothing, not even the sake of reality, can shake his certainty that future can and must be changed.



  1. […] around in Season 2. At the end of Legendary, in fact, just when the team is about to leave on the Waverider for a new adventure, another time traveler with another Waverider arrives to stop them, warning them […]

  2. […] since his shell is made with a unique alloy obtained from the corpse of the cosmic time traveler Waverider, he’s able to sustain time travel without any damage. Loyal and heroic in his own way, Skeets […]

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