Tempus is a recurring villain in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
He was a dangerous sociopath from the future whose sole purpose was rule the world and destroy Superman making him one of the Man of Steel's most ruthless and deadliest foes that he had ever faced.
Tempus was also of the few villains to survive knowing Superman's true identity.
He was portrayed by Lane Davies.
Tempus was selfish, vain, power-hungry and sadistic with an extremely evil perspective on crime. Also with his vast knowledge of the future, it made him one of the most dangerous villains in any century. He just wanted to be the ruler of everything and let nothing and no one stand in his way, especially Superman whom he despised out of jealousy and for making his own future so boring. In Mr. Wells' own words he was: "A fiend beyond comprehension."
Tempus was born in a utopian Metropolis set possibly hundreds of years in the future that was founded on the principals of Superman and Lois Lane. In his own words it was "A world of peace, a world with no greed or crime, a world so boring you could blow your brains out but there are no guns. No works, no one argues, there are 9000 channels and nothing on."
Tempus grew bored and fed up with the peaceful and unexciting Utopia, so when he was visited by a time travelling science fiction writer, he decided to make some changes.
Tempus volunteered to time travel with Mr. Wells whom he nicknamed "Herb" to Metropolis in the 1990s to prove that his time machine worked and when his companion left to ask Lois and Clark for help, he wondered the streets of the city, marvelling at how different it looked and enjoyed mugging a nearby pedestrian. He then stole some weaponry from a gun store and then went to meet Wells who was talking to Lois about his time machine that was powered by 24 carat gold she found very hard to believe. He introduced himself to Lois and told him that he was going to kill Superman by travelling to Smallville in 1966 when he first arrived on Earth as a baby. Holding Wells at gunpoint, he made him set the controls to take him to the set period, not noticing the gentleman setting the time for 1866 and had left plans behind for Lois and Clark to build another time machine.
When they arrived Tempus was annoyed with Wells' apparent mistake, but decided to find some more gold to power the time machine. After a meeting with Jesse James and his brother Frank and robbing a bank to provide them with gold to power the time machine, Tempus and Wells went back to load it. Lois was there waiting for them and told them that she had grabbed the side of the time machine before it vanished, even though she and Clark had build another time machine to follow them.
Tempus decided to strand Lois in 1866, commenting on his love for irony. Lois reprimanded him for going to Smallville in 1966 to kill Superman. Tempus then told her the truth about Clark and Superman being one and the same with the help of Wells' glasses, much to her surprise and horror; "Hello! Duh! Clark Kent is Superman!"
Tempus told her that even though she is held in great respect in the future with books, statues, an interactive game and even a breakfast cereal, he saw her as the most galactically stupid woman who ever lived for never knowing the truth. After finishing loading the gold, he and Wells travelled to the time period he had requested.
They found the baby Superman in the capsule he was sent in and carried him away to a place called Rocky Cove in the woods. Tempus tied Wells up in the time machine and placed many shards of Kryptonite around the baby's basket to erase Superman from the future. Mr Wells reprimanded Tempus for his cruelty and said that even killing Superman would never destroy the utopian future. Tempus shook this off saying he was even more boring than the novels he wrote.
However Lois and Clark tracked him down. Clark was weak and beginning to fade away so Lois went on ahead. Lois stepped on a twig and arming himself with one of his guns set off to investigate. Lois beat him with a stick and with the help of Clark who froze Tempus' weapon, he was disarmed and then beaten down.
Lois went over to the baby Superman, threw away the surrounding Kryptonite and released Wells. Clark returned to normal and eventually leapt on Tempus, hoisting him up into the air.
Tempus was then tied up to the machine by the freed Mr. Wells and Clark as Superman took his younger self to the area where his parents Jonathan and Martha Kent had found him on that very night.
Having had enough of Tempus' behaviour, Mr. Wells decided to send him somewhere where he would cause no more trouble. Before the time machine vanished, Tempus asked Superman one last thing; "Why tights? Why a cape? You're a grown man, don't you feel ridiculous?" to which Superman then replied angrily; "My mother made it for me."
A defeated Tempus then travelled with Wells one last time. Wells stranded him in their previous destination of Smallville in 1866. He was placed in a mental asylum where he would do no more harm. He had stones thrown at him and called names by passing pedestrians. His shouts that he was from the future and he had to get out to build another time machine were ignored. He continued shouting for help but to no avail. (Tempus Fugitive)
During his imprisonment, he wrote a diary of what had happened including Superman's true identity and many years later it ended up in the hands of a scheming business man named Jason Mayzik. He used it as blackmail against Superman to get what he wanted, but he was thwarted and Tempus' diary was destroyed. (And the Answer Is...)
Tempus somehow managed to escape from the asylum and built a new time machine. He found an alternate version of Metropolis which was without Superman, much crime and corruption was taking place, Jimmy Olsen was the owner of the Daily Planet, Perry White was running for mayor, and Lois being lost in an assignment in the Congo long before Superman existed. Tempus chose that particular universe to rule with an iron fist. He took over a television station at Carlon Avenue as his main headquarters so that he would turn the citizens into vegetables and make them vote for him as well as opening several shops selling fire arms to them, even children.
He used his time machine to go to the present day Metropolis and robbed some jewelry from a jewelry store. He bumped into the present day Lois Lane and took her at gunpoint to the parallel universe as well as finding his old friend H.G. Wells who had aged a few years older.
Tempus was aware that Lois and Wells would be looking for this universe's Clark Kent and sent one of his men to spy on their progress. Apparently Clark's parents died when he was only a child, so no one was around to help him discover his superpowers or design his costume. The only person who knew his secret was his old friend from Smallville, Lana Lang who was now engaged to him and she told him that they would never lead normal lives if the world found out about Clark's super powers.
Tempus then arranged for Lois and Wells to be kidnapped. Afterwards he positioned Lois on the ledge of a massive skyscraper, tied up and blindfolded in an attempt to lure Clark into rescuing her. He watched it on a screen next to a tied up Wells who was shocked and disgusted by his pleasure in torturing Lois.
As planned, Clark came to the rescue and Tempus had one of his spies record the whole thing and then watched Lois changing Clark into Superman which was what he had planned all along as he would make Superman the enemy in this dimension while he became the hero which was why his posters and slogans kept on saying "Be prepared for the enemy". Tempus then called Lois in a disguised voice saying that his competition Perry White would die unless she gets to the television station straight away.
He then speaks to one of his associates Major Dommo who gave him a dangerous explosive called the C7 that he was planning to use to make Superman appear to be dangerous. He slipped the bomb into the front of Wells' jacket and has him locked in a room just behind the stage of the mayoral debate.
At the debate Perry asked Tempus who this enemy was. Tempus replied that he hadn't had enough evidence to prove his theory until now and told him and the rest of the audience that the enemy was a leader of an alien invasion. Some laughed, others thought he was crazy, but Tempus assured them that the alien was coming.
Suddenly Superman appeared with Lois and tore at Tempus' poster revealing a hidden door of the room where Wells was being held at gunpoint by Major Dommo with bomb still inside his jacket. Wells warns Superman about the bomb and Tempus and Dommo used this to discredit the Man of Steel even more.
Going back to his pedestal, Tempus pulled out a chunk of green Kryptonite to weaken Superman after he retrieved the bomb from Wells. He threw the bomb to one side and asked Superman in front of the audience if he really was leading an invasion against them. Lois denied it, saying Tempus was lying, but the crafty villain showed the audience the footage his spy recorded of Clark saving Lois, revealing that Superman had been hiding this secret from them all this time. He even fingered Jimmy, Perry and Lois as accomplices, saying that he was the one who would lay down his life and protect them.
Suddenly Wells picked up the bomb that was now detonated from the impact of when Tempus threw the bomb aside and told Tempus it was now ticking. Tempus then went back on his word of laying down his life to save the people by pushing his way through the terrified crowd to save himself instead, leaving Dommo and his men behind and ignoring Wells' pleas that he couldn't abandon innocent people. Lois meanwhile disposes of the Kryptonite while the impatient Tempus fired a gun in the air, telling all the people to move before they were all shot. Having had enough of Tempus' selfish behavior, Wells, in spite of his hatred of violence, struck him to the ground.
The bomb was then disposed of when Superman swallowed it just as it was about to detonate and the citizens were very grateful and held the Man of Steel in high regard even though they knew his true identity.
Tempus was then taken back to the original Metropolis by Wells and handed over to the police to be arrested for the previous jewel robbery. As he was pushed into the back of the police car, he saw that Lois had been returned there as well and was walking with her own Clark. With a snarl, he vowed revenge, saying that they would never keep him imprisoned for long. (Tempus, Anyone?)
Tempus may have been in prison, but he managed to place a curse on the newlywed Lois and Clark so tragedy would strike if they consummated their marriage.
However H.G. Wells arrived to warn the couple and they travelled back in time to the 12th Century where Clark no longer had his super powers and was a Robin Hood-like outlaw known as the Fox the alter-ego of a knight called Sir Charles, Lois was a costumed version of Maid Marian and Tempus was Baron Tempos, ruler of the kingdom who wanted to marry Lois. Tempus wanted his most noble knight to fight the Fox, but Clark revealed to him his true identity and fought him instead. The Baron proved too strong and Lois fearing for Clark's safety agreed to marry him if he let Clark go. Tempos agreed as long as Clark left and never came back.
When Clark, Lois and Wells arrived back in present day, they found things different with Tempus being king of Metropolis and engaged to Lois. Wells told them that because Clark had surrendered, history had been altered with people losing their faith in the cause for good so they had to go back and defeat Tempus this time except in a different time period.
They travelled back in time to the Western 19th Century where Tempus was now a dangerous outlaw named Tempus Tex, Clark still did not have his super powers and was a gun slinging hero called the Lone Rider and Lois was Lulu who was being forced to marry Tempus so he could get his hands on her fortune threatening to hang Clark if she refused. Lois agreed and Tempus gave the same terms his medieval alter-ego had given and shot the noose Clark was hanging from, freeing him.
But Lois escaped and rode away with Clark. Tempus called his band of outlaws to track them down and caught up with them but failed to recognize Clark this time who was disguised as a radio telegram operator who was told by Lois had saved her from the Lone Rider. Tempus then took Lois away again. Back in town, he threatened to kill her parents who were tied to a barrel of dynamite. Clark and Wells followed noticing that Tempus had a man named George with a camera even though cameras were not invented yet. Even more astonishing of all there was a chord attached leading outside the town connected to some phone lines.
They followed them and found Lulu's parents who astonishingly resembled Jonathan and Martha Kent who were in fact Lulu's adopted parents. When Clark returned and after giving Lois the sign that her parents were saved, she openly refused to marry Tempus. He then gave the signal for George to take the picture with his camera which was really a detonator for the dynamite.
The dynamite went off, but to his horror, Clark appeared with Lulu's parents still alive. Clark aimed one of his six shooters at Tempus, telling him he had failed. Tempus pulled out his own six shooter and grabbed Lois using her as a human shield, but Lois elbowed him in the chest making him let go of her, whilst Clark disarmed him. Tempus tried to escape but Clark caught him and knocked him out with a punch. He then sent him to be arrested by the Sheriff who resembled Jimmy Olsen. With Tempus defeated, the curse was broken and Wells returned Lois and Clark back to the present where they were finally able to consummate their marriage. (Soul Mates)
Later on in the series, Tempus was revealed to be imprisoned at an institute called the Metropolis Home for the Criminally Insane. He told his past to a nearby prisoner and insisted that a peace keeper from the future would come to pick him up and send him back to face trial for all the crimes he had committed in various time zones. The prisoner asked how he knew all this going to happen. Tempus replied that he was from the utopian future so he knew what was going to happen and made his point clear by he striking the prisoner on the head indicating that he knew that doing that would happen as well.
Sure enough, a time window appeared in Tempus' cell and a time keeper named Andrus stepped out of it preparing to take Tempus away. He left in his place a replicate so people wouldn't ask awkward questions. As they enter, Tempus struck Andrus down and took control of the time window and stranded the peace keeper in the future.
Later he appeared in a nearby rubbish alley, that a homeless man was just passing through. He emerged from the time window holding a poster which he placed over President Garner's re-election poster. It read: "Doe for President". He then walked past the astonished homeless man who had seen everything.
Tempus was planning to use this new alias to become the new President of the United States so he could achieve everything he wanted: world conquest and as a bonus, the destruction of his hated enemy Superman. He then used the time window to travel to the 26th Century to steal a 25th Century device from a museum there called the Subliminator, a powerful device that could send subliminal messages in the mind of citizens worldwide making them mindless zombies for him to control.
He took it to a power station to have it installed and connected the transmission to the Metropolis phone system. A guard named Malcolm saw what he was doing and after explaining his plan, Tempus used the subliminator's small microphone to plant a message into the guard's mind as he picked up the phone to call security to jump out of the window.
The guard obeyed and Superman came to save him, but the message Tempus sent was also instructions to make the guard forget about what happened.
Tempus then set about making the citizens of Metropolis vote for him. He spoke another subliminal message saying that John Doe was "a darn nice guy." He finally revealed himself to the public at a news broadcast and Lois and Clark were astonished to see their arch-enemy once again.
They go back to the institute where Tempus was locked up and saw the replicate. The prisoner who Tempus spoke to before, shouted about what he saw, but no one believed him.
Tempus' votes were getting higher and Lois and Clark paid the criminal a visit in his hotel room. During the interview, Clark revealed that he knew who he really was: "a nihilistic sociopath who would do anything to quench his bitter thirst for power" and Tempus replied that he would tell everyone Clark's secret if he interfered.
Andrus appeared in the hotel room preparing to arrest Tempus again. Tempus tried to escape using the time window again, but Andrus explained that the peace keepers erased the code for the window that Tempus stole so it was now useless. Tempus scoffed that Andrus used another window to get there so he would steal that too. However Andrus had made sure the window was implanted with his own code so only he could operate it and if Tempus so much as touched it, it would explode and send him away to eternity.
Ignoring Andrus' pleas to put right the wrong he had done, as to him it sounded like being put in prison again, he called for a photographer to take a picture of himself and Andrus to make the peace keeper out to be his assistant. He then had security lock him up. He then took Andrus' time window and placed it in a nearby drawer.
Tempus then shot the same homeless man who had seen him before and was shouting out the truth about him. He then wins the election by a landslide as most of the voters were still brainwashed by Tempus' subliminator making Lois and Clark the only ones at President Garner's campaign. Even though he lost, Garner who was brainwashed also still saw John Doe as "a darn nice guy".
After winning the election, Tempus teamed up with Garner and all the other supporters and held a news conference. He sent a message out to the Man of Steel saying that he hopes he will be able to fit in the the new law and order of Metropolis and if he couldn't, he would find something else for him.
Tempus had even brainwashed the police to turn a blind eye when any criminal activity was taking place, much to Superman's astonishment and the city officials were also pressing charges against him and refusing to allow him to do his duties anymore. Lois and Clark found about the shot homeless man and deduced what the prisoner had said at the institute was true so they went to see him. He.tries to tell them what he saw, but they had trouble believing him as he believed himself to be Superman.
Tempus then went through the arrangements of making the new flag; a picture of a fist punching it's way through the world. Andrus was unimpressed especially by his picture being on the front page of the Daily Planet with the headline "John Doe wins by landslide. Tempus asks him for the code to the time window but he refuses. Tempus also showed him another headline saying "Superman Grounded" which horrified Andrus even more, indicating that if Superman was stopped, Utopia would never exist, but told him that good men were not so easily defeated.
Tempus agreed and decided to really push Superman's buttons by sending a subliminal message to Lois to drive her car off a high cliff. After being at the institute again and finding out more about the peacekeeper from the prisoner, Clark spotted Lois driving her car through the streets and heading towards the cliffs. As Superman, he stopped her just in time, but had to fly away so the authorities wouldn't arrest him.
As Tempus expected, an angry Superman arrived at his hotel room grabbing the tyrant roughly by the throat. Superman told him that he had gone too far this time and vowed that he would bring him down by any means necessary, even by impeachment. Tempus told him that he should co-operate with his new administration or "someone's wife would throw herself of a cliff". Superman then gave him a stern warning to stay away from Lois or else he would regret it.
Having had enough of Superman interfering in his plans, he went to the drawer and pulled out the time window, preceding with his plan to get rid of the Man of Steel once and for all. He gave the time window back to Andrus and told him that he agreed to go back peacefully back to Utopia. Andrus then asked Superman to help him take Tempus back to be judged accordingly.
Meanwhile Tempus managed to go back to the institute and steal the duplicate right out under one of the guard's noses as he was brainwashed too and took him back to the hotel room.
When Andrus and Superman arrived at the hotel room where the Man of Steel then grabbed and took the supposed Tempus through the time window. However they realised too late that they had sent the replicate through it. The real Tempus then arrived with Lois suddenly appearing after being told that Tempus had been at the institute. Superman was still inside the time window and remembering Andrus' warning about anyone else touching it, Tempus deliberately placed his hand on it, causing it to malfunction.
Lois tried to pull Superman out, but Tempus pulled her away. The time window then lurched backwards and exploded, sending Superman into eternity. With an evil laugh of triumph, Tempus left the room while a heartbroken Lois was left behind with Andrus who suddenly faded away because as Superman was now lost in eternity, everything in the utopian future including himself now ceased to exist. (Meet John Doe)
With Superman gone, Tempus continued to use his position of President elect for evil. Already the new flags of the fist were up and centered around another one with Tempus' face on it saying "In Doe we trust." He even placed a law making it illegal not to use a telephone and hired a convict named Dragon to be his secretary with the job of killing anyone who would disagree with him.
He then arranged an interview with Lois who gave him a hard slap on the face, furious at what he had done to Clark. She then told him that if she was able to block his brainwashing, others would too and stop him. Tempus scoffed saying that she and only the departed Clark knew the truth and nothing would stop his plans. Lois replied that Clark would return. Tempus said that it would never have a happy ending like a family television show and that he had already won.
He then said that he would allow Lois to live to further torture her as she would eventually break as now being the only one left who knew the truth and the grief of losing her husband. Lois, having had enough, turned to leave but warned Tempus that no amount of darkness would stop any light from coming through and stopping him, but Tempus rudely said that Lois now made a very attractive widow and laughed as Lois left the hotel room and slammed the door behind her.
Having realised that his old friend H.G. Wells would come to find him after discovering the sudden change in the utopian future, decided to wait for him. Wells had indeed been to the future and saw that it had turned into "a world of chaos and mayhem" and the statue of Superman and Lois that was placed there honouring them for their good work had vanished. Tempus found Wells in an alley about to leave in his time machine. They exchanged conversation with Tempus gloating that Wells would never be able to call on Superman for help this time. He then took him hostage at gunpoint.
However unknown to Tempus, Wells had brought back the Superman from the alternate universe to help stop him. Tempus found this out when during a press conference, he was about to shoot two men who didn't own a phone and saw him saving them. Tempus relocated to an abandoned fallout shelter that was lined with lead so alternate Superman wouldn't find them. He then took Wells, Dragon, Garner and his secret service men with him. Tempus was furious at what Wells had done and ordered him to take the alternate Superman back or else be killed.
In the same way as Andrus had done with the time window, Wells had reprogrammed the time machine so that only he could operate it which enraged Tempus even more. He decided to come up with an even more deadlier plan to spread his subliminal messaging and kept Wells as his prisoner and used as a plaything by Dragon who threw knives at him.
He went back to the area where he had installed the subliminator and connected the transmissions to go through ordinary electrical wiring calling the receiver "Tempus Think". He went back to the shelter and gave a demonstration by speaking a message into his microphone then telling Wells to turn on a nearby light switch. To Wells' astonishment, he then said the exact same pointless message that Tempus had sent only moments before. Wells insisted that others wouldn't succumb to his device so easily, but Tempus thought of only two people that did but that number was going to shrink.
Wells attempted to escape by knocking out Dragon and rushed over to the time machine, but Tempus followed him and jumped in just before the machine disappeared. It appeared in the living room of Lois and Clark's house, whilst Lois came down the stairs ready to meet Wells and was held at gunpoint by Tempus who took them both back to the shelter.
Tempus thought that with alternate Superman's affection for Lois, he would be containable.
Lois then told him that alternate Superman had found out where his brainwashing was coming from and was at that moment finding the source and aiming to destroy it. Tempus then got the country's nuclear launch codes from Garner who was still under the influence of his brainwashing. If Superman was going to turn the public against Tempus, then they would launch attacks against every capital on Earth.
Horrified, Lois told them that the other countries would retaliate and the endless attacks would destroy the entire world, but Tempus didn't care. He said if the world no longer wanted him, then he no longer wanted it. He would then make Wells take him back to the alternate universe where he would leave the alternate Superman stranded on the lifeless planet.
Tempus had his computer and pc set up when an alarm from his microphone sounded. Alternate Superman had indeed found his subliminator and destroyed it. Furious, Tempus threw the now useless microphone to the floor and pulled out the launch codes saying that he wasn't defeated yet. Lois tried to get Garner to have his secret service men arrest Tempus, but found him still brainwashed. Tempus told Lois that the effects would not wear off for a while and it was now too late. He then set to work typing in the codes.
Lois urged Tempus not to do this terrible thing and that he still had the chance to escape, but Tempus refused, knowing he would just wind up in prison again plus he wanted the pleasure of killing millions of people. However he was foiled once again by alternate Superman who arrived at the shelter just in time and interrupted the missile countdown by smashing the pc.
Suddenly after alternate Superman triumphantly lifted Tempus up by his jacket lapels and told him that he was now impeached as John Doe, the subliminal effects suddenly wore off and Garner arranged for his men to take Tempus and Dragon away, while he himself went up for re-election.
At a news conference, alternate Superman revealed to the public how Tempus had been fooling them as John Doe and brainwashed them, saying that he would now be returned to prison where he would do no further damage. To get revenge, Tempus spitefully told the public Superman's true identity. Alternate Superman looked at the now astounded crowd uncomfortably while Tempus gave a sadistic smirk and said "In Chess, this is where I say Check!" This charade however doesn't last long because to his horror and disbelief, the other Clark appeared holding Lois' hand with Wells right beside them. Dragon had betrayed him by giving Lois and Wells Tempus' broken watch that had stopped when the time window exploded. Tempus had given Dragon the watch along with his suits to change just after he hired him. Wells then used the precise time on the watch to travel with Lois to eternity and rescue Clark.
Clark and Lois told the press that Tempus was still mentally ill, delusional and the comment he made was false. A triumphant alternate Superman then told the now humiliated Tempus "This is where I would say Check Mate!" He then told the authorities to take him away with Tempus desperately still telling the now unconvinced jeering public that what he said was true. He then made Clark and Lois' comment of him being crazy even more stronger when he told them that one of the Supermen were from another dimension. He was then taken back to the institute, presumably imprisoned for life.
Afterwards it is most likely that as a result of Superman being found and returned to Metropolis that Andrus came back into existence and the utopian future was restored to a peaceful world once again. (Lois and Clarks)
- And the Answer Is... (Flashback)
- Apart from Lex Luthor, Tempus was the longest recurring villain in the series and became a very popular fan favourite.
- "Tempus" is the Latin word for time.