DC Comics has their own heroic version of the TVA and Citadel at the end of Loki’s time – and they’re better than the Marvel equivalents.
The time deviation authority of Loki exists in the DC Universe too – but the Distinguished Competition pulls Marvel ahead by making its timekeeping agency more heroic than the TVA. The 2021 Disney + show is best known for introducing viewers to many new places and concepts, including the TVA and the Citadel at End of Time (home to a variant of Kang the Conquerer). But starting in The Adventures of Superman # 475, The Linear Men are introduced to the readers with history and art by Dan Jürgens with colors by Glenn Whitmore.
In Loki, the TVA is an organization that monitors time, albeit through draconian measures. After a great Multiversal War, the TVA was founded by the Time Keepers who prioritized maintaining the “Sacred Timeline” by destroying any aberrant timelines created by unlawful time travel. Unfortunately, Loki discovers that the operation is nothing more than a grand facade; the Time Keepers are simple robots and the so-called Sacred Timeline is simply a timeline in which all potential enemies of the TVA are eliminated before they can pose a threat. All of this is orchestrated by He Who Remains, a variant of Kang that lives in the Citadel at the end of time. Through TVA, He Who Remains has eliminated countless other timelines – wiping out an incalculable amount of life.
In the DC Universe, however, the Citadel is very different. The fortress is known as the Vanishing Point – a station at the literal end of time, exactly one attosecond before all of space-time is consumed by entropy, the eventual (and inevitable) heat death of the universe. The station is manned by the Linear Men, one of whom is debuting in The adventures of Superman # 475 during the hunt for Booster Gold – the eternal time-traveling troublemaker – in 1991. It is later discovered that this particular Linear Man – Travis O’Connell – became a villain and the real Linear Men are more heroic.
The Linear Men were created by Matthew Ryder (who will eventually become Waverider) and Rip Hunter during an experiment gone wrong that knocked them both off the stream of time. In The legacy of Superman story Vanishing point, Waverider uses Vanishing Point’s computers to watch Superman die in Doomsday. Furious that a hero like Superman would die so young, Waverider travels back in time to prevent it from happening – but his alternate self Ryder follows him. “Part of me wants to save him too, Waverider. If anyone has ever deserved our help in cheating death, it is Superman. “ But Ryder names other people too – Albert Einstein, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Albert Schweitzer – who should also save them; where does it end Understanding the other’s point of view, Waverider reluctantly allows the story to continue and Superman to die.
While the members of the TVA “crop” timelines with the mindset of having a normal office job, the members of the Linear Men clearly show compassion for those they cannot save in order to keep the timeline going. The fact that Ryder has a conversation at all, instead of just verbally abusing his fellow human beings (Linear) shows that they understand that human lives are at stake. Loki shows the concept of Time Police at its worst, but DC shows it at its best.
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