Legends Of Tomorrow: Who Is Rex Tyler?


Rex Tyler—a.k.a. Hourman and a member of the Justice Society of America—was introduced in the final scene of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’s Season One finale. We take a look at his comic book history and how that will play into Season Two of the series.

Season One of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has ended, but not without a few surprises to whet our appetites for Season Two. One of those big cliffhangers was the arrival of a man named Rex Tyler during the final scene—right before the Legends were about to depart. As if his impromptu appearance isn’t exciting enough, he notes that he’s a member of the Justice Society of America.

Who is this man? More importantly, because he explicitly says that he’s part of the Justice Society of America, will Season Two see the introduction of a bigger universe and even more heroes? We explore the comic history of this character and analyze how his arrival may affect the show.

Comic Book History

Created by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily, Rex Tyler was introduced in Adventure Comics #48 (March 1940). The character was a scientist who developed a special vitamin called Miraclo. In testing it on mice, he discovered that it gave them increased strength and stamina. He later took a dose and discovered that it gave him superhuman strength and speed for an hour.

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Rex kept the development of the vitamin a secret and decided to use his temporary abilities for altruistic purposes—prompting him to become a superhero. He would first advertise his services in the newspaper under an ad titled “The Man of The Hour.” Soon after, Rex donned a costume—found in an abandoned costume shop—and called himself “The Hour-Man” (later “Hourman” or “The Hourman”).

In November 1940, he became a founding member of the first superhero team—the Justice Society of America (JSA). In mid-1941, he would leave the JSA and become part of Uncle Sam’s Freedom Fighters. After that, he joined another team—the All-Star Squadron.

In the mid-1950s and early 1960s, Hourman made guest appearances in issues of Justice League of America. In the comics, the time passed for Hourman was the same as the real world, so among other superheroes, he was seen as a much older, seasoned colleague.

Later stories dealt with Hourman’s addiction to Miraclo which, at that time, allowed the character to arc and become more complex. During a battle with the time-traveling super-villain Extant, Hourman was killed via accelerating his age.

Rex was brought back when the third Hourman—an 853rd century android named Matthew Tyler—gave him and Rex’s son, Rick, an hour of visitation in a dimension called the Timepoint. When Rick is critically injured in a fight, he transfers himself to the Timepoint and sends Rex back in his place to act as Hourman. Matthew and the JSA would later go to the Timepoint to retrieve Rick.

Rex currently lives with his wife Wendi and still has his old Hourman costume as well as a bowl of Miraclo—stored in a secret compartment in a grandfather clock that could only be accessed when both hands are pointed at twelve.

Rex’s activation of his powers has also changed through the years. He’s used a nonaddictive form of Miraclo that he developed, but also used a black light to activate residual traces of the drug in his body. Theorizing that Rex’s Hourman abilities were actually rooted from a meta-gene, fellow All-Star Squadron member Johnny Quick taught Rex to recite the mantra “Man of the Hour” to access his powers.

Appearances Outside of Comics

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow marks the first live-incarnation of Rex Tyler and Hourman in general. However, he and the different incarnations of the hero has had appearances and mentions in various animated media:

  • Rick Tyler appeared as a member of the Justice League in Justice League Unlimited in the episode “Panic in the Sky.” Here, he was seen activating his abilities with an injection of Miraclo from a button that was located on his wrist gauntlet.
  • Rex Tyler appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold in the episode “The Golden Age of Justice.” Here, he led the Justice Society and activated his powers with an hourglass-shaped device.
  • Rex Tyler appeared in Robot Chicken in the episode “Tapping a Hero.” Here, he created a pill that treated erectile dysfunction with the hilarious promotional line of “you an hour man, just like me … if you become four-hour man, see a doctor.”
  • In November 2013, The CW had an Hourman series in development with the premise of a pharmaceuticals analyst who, since childhood, had visions of tragedies that occurred one hour in the future. To win back his ex-wife and son, he embraced this ability and tried to prevent these tragedies from happening.
  • In the feature-length animated film Justice League: The New Frontier, the opening credits showed Hourman running on the rooftops and being pursued by police because of a ban on vigilantes. A later scene in those credits showed him falling to his death. Superman, later in the film, mentioned that Hourman was dead. However, the comic of the same name—of which the film was based on—revealed that Hourman was alive and held by the government.

How Will Rex Tyler Affect Legends of Tomorrow Season Two?

When Rex arrived in 2016, he quickly warned the Legends that if they boarded the Waverider, they would die. He also mentioned that he was sent from the future by Mick Rory himself. Another key piece of information was that he specifically stated being a member of the Justice Society of America. Okay, where’s his team then?

It seems that he has either taken a sabbatical from the group, or they died with the Legends from the future that Rex came from. If it’s the latter, then Season Two may be spent trying to save Rex’s colleagues.

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The Justice Society of America is also a team which was formed during the Golden Age. Meaning, the Arrow-verse should’ve been aware of them from the start. The Green Arrow should not have been the first hero in the television universe. Could the time-traveling activities of Rip and his team on Legends of Tomorrow caused the required events that ultimately formed the JSA?

Well, Legends of Tomorrow‘s Season Two won’t be premiering until October 13, 2016, so we have almost five months to speculate and make up our own theories. One thing is definite though—the show is not shy about injecting some new blood and taking it’s characters in new directions.