Who is the man of the hour? Rex, Rick, and Matthew Tyler: The father, the son, and the holy robot all have carried the mantle of Hourman. How did a chemist create a legacy hero that would last for millenia? Let’s find out!
Rex Tyler was a chemist who figured out how to make a drug called Miraclo that would grant the user superhuman physical abilities such as strength and speed, for one hour. Whether that meant he had a 24-hour cool-down or just had to pop another pill has changed over time. Either way, Rex realized that he could use these powers for good, and with a costume from an abandoned costume shop, advertised himself as The Man of the Hour. Soon he was out saving folks one hour at a time.
Rex was joining super groups left and right. Rex would be a part of the Justice Society, All-Star Squadron, and the Freedom Fighters. Rex would start to realize that Miraclo had a very big downside in that it was rather addictive to have superpowers. He’d become an addict and became obsessed with fighting crime since it gave him a reason to use Miraclo. Over time, Rex would develop a non-addictive version of Miraclo that would come in handy later on.
Like many golden ages heroes, Rex would get trapped in Limbo which would allow for them to have been from the 1940s but still relatively young in the 1990s. Eventually Rex, along with a lot of golden age heroes, would do battle with Extant during the events of Zero Hour and appear to all be killed. This would have more going on with it and we’ll get to that later, as it involves time travel and we are dealing with a family of heroes tied with time. Rex would be able to make it out of the battle alive, years later, and live with his wife Wendi.
If you hadn’t noticed by reading Rex’s entry, he seemed pretty busy with all his superheroics and such. Well it sure was noticed by his son, Rick, who was often overlooked by his father, and when he was noticed, pushed into science. Rick didn’t have the desire nor skills for science like his father, and often felt he was living in his shadow.
When a woman named Beth Chapel needed help, Rick used Miraclo to give her sight like that of Dr. Mid-Nite, vision in the dark. Rick would start using Mircalo to help fight crime with Infinity Inc. (the offspring and second generation of Justice Society heroes) alongside Chapel, who’d taken on the name Doctor Midnight. Rex was rightfully concerned since at this time, he hadn’t created a nonaddictive version of Miraclo yet, so he was not for his son following in those footsteps.
Rex would get trapped in Limbo, which would lead Rick to run away and get captured by a group of villains. Rick would kill the Wizard, or at least believe he had, and get out of their hands. Filled with even more grief and guilt, Rick almost revealed who he was to a reporter if it hadn’t been for the aide of Lyta, a fellow member of Infinity Inc. stopping the footage from occurring.
By the time Rex had returned from Limbo, Infinity Inc. had disbanded, and Rick had contracted all manner of illness from Miraclo use. Jesse Chambers (Johnny Quick, speedster who gains his powers by a 4th dimensional mathematical equation) taught them a method of using a mantra to gain their abilities.
When Rex would die at the hands of Extant and Beth would die by fighting Eclipso, Rick retired from crime fighting. Until he’d meet the new Hourman, Matthew Tyler, a robot from the future. Matthew would save him from his illnesses and grant him access to the Timepoint, a room where Rex could be visited just seconds before death. In this room Rick would have one more hour with his father before he’d go off to die fighting extant. He’d use the room sparingly for just a few minutes so he could talk to his father for guidance. Timepoints sure sound nice. As a final gift from Matthew, Rick was given the ability to randomly see an hour into the future so that he could solve new problems before they happened, or see the solution to a future problem (he once saw himself breaking a limb and realized what he had to do to solve a problem when he was coming close to that moment).
Now cured of illness, Rick came out of retirement and joined the Justice Society. Here he would start to get close with Jesse Chambers (Jesse Quick, daughter of Johnny), and try to help both his team and the family business of TylerCo, run by his cousin. While fighting in Egypt with the JSA, Rick would be severely injured, and the team had to take him to the Timepoint to freeze him in place to stop him from dying. The team was able to save Rick, but took up all of the remaining hour of the Timepoint. When it came time for Rex to step in to die, Matthew took his place, giving Rick his dad back. Rick would go on to stay a member of the JSA and marry Jesse Chambers, who had taken on her mother’s former crime fighting name of Liberty Belle.
In the 853 century, an android will be built using the DNA and memories of Rex Tyler, the Hourman. This Hourman would be given control of the Worlogog, a device that could control time, space, and other godlike abilities by the New God Metron. This god in the machine would go on to see that the Worlogog would play a major role in the 20th century, where it would be first found by Lex Luthor. We can all see why this is a bad thing, thus he went back in time to help stop this and all manner of chaos.
Hourman was able to stop Darkseid from taking over in a timeline where Superman destroys the Worlogog, and became a member of the futuristic Justice Legion A. He’d go on to use his powers over time and space to aide his team, and even give Superman Prime all of Krypton back just before its destruction; yes, he’s that powerful.
A villain named Solaris infected Hourman with a virus that would cause him to be trapped in the past the next time he went back in time, which would leave the Justice League trapped in the future while the Justice Leagion A was trapped in the past. The virus spread throughout the planet and was actually Solaris’s existence so that he could be recreated in modern times. Hourman was disgusted that he was the reason this happened.
When everything was made right, Hourman decided to stay behind to try and learn to be more human. Even though he has all the emotions and flaws of a human mind, his god-like powers kept him from understanding the human condition. He’d go on to join the Justice League, and eventually team up with Snapper Carr to better understand humanity.
While with Snapper, he’d realize his powers would keep him from truly understanding mankind, so he did away with most of them and gained the ability to only use his god-like power once a day, for a single hour, but maintain his physical superhuman powers regardless of the hour. Snapper would also go on to name Hourman, Matthew Tyler.
Upon learning that Amazo, the villainous android, was the Adam of androids, he began to question if all androids were meant to be inherently evil. He’d go on to meet Professor Ivo (one of Amazo’s creators) and question him about androids. Ivo would explain that he and T.O. Morrow created another robot, a female one named Tomorrow Woman, who refused her programming for evil and went on to be a hero before dying. Matthew used his powers to bring her back for one hour, in which she showed him that any person, human or android, can be good if that is the path they choose.
Matthew would join the JSA and meet Rick Tyler, who was originally antagonistic towards him. When the two were able to finally talk, they were able to make amends, and Matthew gave him gifts in healing him and the Timepoint. Remember, Matthew was given all of Rex’s memories, so he sort of sees Rick as his son, as well. So when the time came to save Rick’s life, Matthew gave the JSA access to the Timepoint to heal Rick. When it came time for Rex to fight to the death, Matthew took his place believing that since he wasn’t alive he could not be killed. Rex let him know that he was as alive as any of them, and promised to rebuild Matthew when they were able to recover his memory chip.
Now Rex Tyler has retired from crime fighting to live with his wife Wendi and rebuild Matthew Tyler, while his son Rick Tyler continues to fight crime with his wife, Jesse Chambers. The Tylers are the family of the hour.
Adventure Comics #48
Justice Society of America
Justice League of America #21