Rex Tyler (Hourman)

hourmanfilmAlso Legends of Tomorrow arrived at the end of the first Season, and just before the credits the show introduced a new character…who’ll probably will be seen a lot 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 that they’ll die if they board the time ship. The messenger, portrayed by Patrick J. Adams, claims to be sent by Mick Rory, and introduces himself as Rex Tyler, from the Justice Society of America. Tyler is quite an iconic superhero, one of DC’s very first ones (he’s been created in 1940), and he was mentioned also in Smallville, albeit he was seen only in a painting. His presence is surely quite a setup for next season, but waiting for it, let’s take a look at the original guy.

Rex Tyler was born in New York City, from an unknown but well-off family. In high school he developed quite a taste for science, and when he arrived in college he specialised in Chemistry, despite becoming pretty skilled and versatile in Biology as well. At the end of his studies Rex became a researcher, and was hired by Bannerman Chemical, a company connected to several pharmaceutical firms. Rex in particular was assigned to the research on vitamins and hormones, aiming to syntesize those substances for a better use in the pharmaceutical industry…but a lab accident brought the young researcher to discover a new drug with untold effects: experimenting it on mice, Rex found out that the beasts became far stronger and faster than normal, and when he experimented it on himself, he observed the same effects on the human body as well, albeit the superhuman abilities only lasted for one hour, before leaving him in a mildly weakened state. Rex christened his drug Miraculous Vitamine, or Miraclo for short, but it took a few minutes for him to decide that the discovery had to be kept secret: the abilities that Miraclo hourmancomics1gave to its users could have been used for a variety of evil goals, and the only person Rex could entrust his drug with was himself. He quit his job with Bannerman, and moved to Appleton City, where he wanted to further study the effects of Miraclo…obviously testing it on himself. Believing that the astonishing abilities the drug granted should be used for good purposes only, Rex took a yellow-and-black costume from an abandoned costume shop and became a superhero, renaming himself Hourman (thus hinting at his greatest weakness, the duration of his superpowers…but nevermind). His first heroic mission arrived after he placed an ad on the local paper, announcing that “The Man of the Hour would have helped all who needed it. A woman answered the call, and Hourman helped her husband not to ruin his life with a bunch of criminals. In the meanwhile, he also stopped a bank robbery with his brand new abilities. The time for the Hourman had finally arrived.

Hourman spent nearly a year fighting crime in Appleton City, and became the common man’s favourite, a street superhero always ready to lend a helping hand. Due to his increasing fame, in 1940 Hourman was contacted by other heroes, and together with them he founded the first superhero team ever, the Justice Society of America, which included the most powerful men in the United States…even too powerful, from Hourman’s point of view. If some of his teammates, like The Atom or Sandman, were more or less on his same level, others were simply gods compared to him: the sorcerer Doctor Fate, the magic ring wielder Green Lantern, the super fast Flash, the immortal flying man Hawkman were on a completely different level, and Hourman started feeling outmatched in their company. In order to keep their pace, Rex Tyler modified the Miraclo formula and strenghtened it, making it so he could gain additional abilities from the drug…unfortunately, he also made it highly addictive. Addicted to Miraclo as well to the thrill of crimefighting, Hourman obviously kept his condition hidden from his teammates, until he fell hourmancomics2victim to the drug’s side effects, and his heart gave out due to the alarming quantities of Miraclo in his system. Only Fate’s magic managed to save Hourman’s life and to purify his body from the remnants of the drug, but following that he decided to quit the JSA, now ashamed to be in his friends’ company. The year after he was summoned by Uncle Sam to join his Freedom Fighters, and after that he continued to fight against the Axis during World War II in the All-Star Squadron, this time being careful never to exceed in the use of Miraclo beyond what was necessary…but even like this, it was quite too hard for him to control himself, and the physical and emotional stress was too much. In 1943 Rex left the Squadron, and starting from 1945 he dedicated himself to his own company, the Tyler Chemical Company (later TylerCo). Despite having a family of his own and a good activity, the call of heroic deeds (and of Miraclo…) was quite a strong one to resist to…

Rex Tyler is a brilliant and brave man, driven by his thirst for knowledge and his desire to help other people; always ready to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, he’s the hero of the common man, beloved and thanked by every single citizen of Appleton City. As Hourman, the drug Miraclo energizes his cells for a duration of an hour, granting him superhuman strength, agility, durability, speed and stamina, as well as the ability to see in complete darkness and to breath underwater; as a weapon, he only uses a special ring which can emitt a powerful tear gas to stun his foes; his aging has been slowed by the villain Extant, and despite being an old man, his appearance and energies are the ones of a middle-aged man, making it possible for him to continue his crusade against crime and to mentor younger heroes even in modern times. Always fighting with the crippling addiction to the same drug that allows him to be a hero, Hourman sacrificed much to be what he is…and he’s simply unable to stop sacrificing it all to keep being it.

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4 Comments

  1. […] Rex Tyler (Hourman) […]

  2. […] Rex Tyler (Hourman) […]

  3. […] not only Doctor Fate and the Spectre, but also other heroes helped: The Flash, Sandman, Hawkman, Hourman, Green Lantern and The Atom were there also, and proved that together they formed quite a […]

  4. […] by the feds, the Martian Manhunter assembled an undercover team to infiltrate the Brigade, but only Hourman managed to enter the enemy’s ranks. Heatmonger and the others, however, were no fools, and […]


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