Hourman #2 (May, 1999)
“Romancing the Tombstone”
Writer – Tom Peyer
Penciller – Rags Morales
Inker – David Meikis
Colorist – John Kalisz
Separator – Heroic Age
Letterer – Kurt Hathaway
Editor – Tony Bedard
Cover Price: $2.50
I was thinking the other day how I “just” covered the first issue of this series. Then, upon actually checking the site, realized that it’s been over 100 days since we looked at it. I guess if there’s one book it’s okay to be wonky about time about… it’s Hourman! We can just blame it on T-Vision or something.
Anyhoo… we left off with “Tyler” chucking his omnipotence… and
Rick’s Snapper’s gal pal Bethany being reduced to a baby. Annnnnd, go!
We open at night with a little tot walking down a strangely busy Happy Harbor street… maybe it’s early morning… either way, I don’t picture Happy Harbor to be all this “bustling”. If you read the previous issue, you’ll know that this little gal is actually a de-aged friend (we’ll call her “friend” for now) of Snapper Carr named Bethany. An officer calls the find into the Chief… who, upon hearing this baby was found near Snapper’s residence, insists the officer go rattle Carr’s cage. Seems we’ve got some bad blood here.
Meanwhile, at Snapper’s place… he and Hourman are sleeping it off. We get a “catch us up” flashback which shows us how Hourman “chucked” his omnipotence last issue. Snapper gets up to throw on a pot of coffee, and mentions how it’s a shame that Bethany didn’t show the previous night… as he thought she and “Tyler” would hit it off. Hourman leaves to “soul-search” just as the police arrive to question Carr about the random toddler found playing in traffic.
Gary the Cop informs Carr of what’s gone down… and tells him he’s wanted for questioning down at the station. It’s clear this isn’t the first time Snapper’s had to deal with a cranky Police Chief, so he’s not all that shaken. He does insist they stop for breakfast before heading in though.
We shift scenes to the JLA Watchtower, where Hourman informs J’onn that he’d “chucked” his omnipotence… which (likely due to the vernacular), J’onn immediately connects to Snapper Carr. That’s not the main reason for the visit, however… Hourman is looking to meet with longtime JLA-baddie, Professor Ivo.
J’onn directs him to Belle Reve… where Tyler can chat up the baddie. He wants to know why the first of his kind (Androids… as in, Amazo) was made soulless and evil. Ivo says he’ll answer… only if he can ask a question first. Ya see, Ivo drank a serum which made him immortal… but, he’s kinda over that and would really just rather die. He asks Hourman when he will finally die.
As Hourman “turns on” his powers, which by the way, is really cool… he just flips the hourglass on his chest… Ivo tells him that all Androids aren’t evil, citing the recent Ivo/Morrow creation Tomorrow Woman. Satisfied with the answer, Hourman presents Ivo a vision of his tombstone. We readers don’t get to see his “check out” date… only his reaction. This was very well done!
Back in Happy Harbor, the Chief finds Snapper (who I still keep wanting to call “Rick”, as in Rick Jones), Officer Gary, and the baby. She doesn’t seem interested in the baby, however… she just wants to know what Carr did with her daughter… Bethany! She wrangles him in for questioning… totally disregarding the tiny tot.
We rejoin Hourman as he arrives at the League’s Tomorrow Woman memorial. He uses his Time-Vision-Powers (I think?) to bring her back to life for the remainder of his Power-Hour.
At the Police Station, Snap’s being questioned… and it’s made pretty clear that he and the Police Chief have some sort of “history”. He says they “both” know why she’s putting him through this… and you will too, if you read till the end! She then… get this, books him… for murder! They sure don’t mess around in Happy Harbor!
Back at the cemetery, Hourman and Tomorrow Woman chat. He asks how she overcame her programming… to which she replies, “by doing”. She proves this by flying to Happy Harbor and, together with Hourman, putting a stop to a store robbery.
As this goes down, Snapper is being booked… and is taking the charges rather seriously.
Hourman and Tomorrow Woman show up at the station just after Snapper’s snappin’ digits get all inky and inquire as to what’s going down. He shares that he’s there for “killing Bethany”, and really starts playing along. It’s actually pretty funny… but, I wouldn’t recommend acting this way in real life.
Anyhoo, Chief Audrey starts rattling on… at which time Tomorrow Woman is all “uh, that’s your daughter” while pointing at the baby.
After a bit of incredulousness, we get a tear-soaked mother and child reunion. Hourman knows that this is all his fault… and Tomorrow Woman comforts him, just telling him to be more careful with his powers… and not to use people as props.
Hourman uses the last nine-seconds of his Power-Hour to return Bethany to her post-pubescent glory… and when the timer hits zero, Tomorrow Woman vanishes.
It’s now that the truth comes out… Bethany is Snapper Carr’s… ex-wife. Which means, Chief Audrey is Snapper’s ex-mother-in-law. Now it all (kinda) makes sense!
After a brief scene of Hourman mourning the loss of Tomorrow Woman, we get a… strange look at Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. We all know what happened on our Earth on this day… but, what in the world are we looking at here???
Man-o-man, whatta fun book!
Now, I know that Snapper Carr is one of those “funny, ha-ha” characters, but I’m really digging him in this “Rick Jonesy” context. The reveal that he’d been not only married, but divorced was pretty neat… and the ongoing struggle with his kooky (and power-mad) ex-mother-in-law lends to a lot of fun future adventures. Also, gotta tell ya… I love that he still talks with this odd “jive”… like instead of “go for breakfast” he says “grab a stack at the Yak” *snap snap*. Love it!
The Hourman sections were… well, a little less fun, but right now he’s all about self-exploration… gotta expect that to be a little drier than Snapper’s antics. I do appreciate the use of Tomorrow Woman… as she really is the polar opposite of most Androids the League has had to deal with… and her ability to overcome her orders speaks to the amount of freewill an Android (in the DC Universe) might enjoy.
The art here is also a lot of fun. It really suits the series, and I’m digging it. Looking at the cover, I wouldn’t have minded Scott McDaniel doing some interiors on this book either! He seems well-suited as well.
The cliffhanger… is pretty cliffhangery. I know the Kennedy assassination has been mined in fiction to the point of near-parody, but for some reason… it just keeps bringing us back. There’s just something about 11/22/1963 that captures our imagination… and refuses to let us go. I’m definitely interested in seeing how this plays out.
It’s series like this that I never expected to cover when I started this blog. I… well, I never really “planned” anything… but I assumed that I’d just be revisiting stories I’d already read. “Discovering” books like this really gives me another reason to be thankful I started this ridiculous endeavor. We’re coming up close to our 900th Daily Discussion… maybe I’ll compile a “Top Ten” list to show off my favorite “discoveries” since we started this strange little journey.
Overall, if I didn’t make it clear… I definitely feel like this is a book worth checking out. I think a lotta folks can have a lotta fun with this one. Not (yet) available digitally… this one’s gonna be a hunt, but I promise it’s a hunt that’ll be worth your while.
(Not yet the) Letters Page: