Hourman #3 (1999)

Hourman #3 (June, 1999)
Writer – Tom Peyer
Penciller – Rags Morales
Inker – David Meikis
Colorist – John Kalisz
Separations – Heroic Age
Letterer – Kurt Hathaway
Editor – Tony Bedard
Cover Price: $2.50

“Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.  Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen.  It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or… the next issue of Hourman.”

We open with Hourman attempting to recover “the Timepoint” from JLA baddie Epoch.  Now the Timepoint is a toughie to explain without me flailing my hands all over the place… but, I’ll try.  Like it’s name suggests, it’s like a “point in time”… I think.  I believe it’s both Epoch’s base of operations… as well as a prison of sorts he keeps.  Anyhoo, it looks like Tyler’s going to get away with it… until Epoch goes back to the past to trigger something that will stop Hourman from succeeding here.  It’s time-stuff, we’ll just go with it.

In reality, Tyler is bellied up to the coffee bar with Snapper and Bethany.  He’s unsure how to offer, because… get this… he’s afraid he’ll do it wrong!  Wow, talk about a hero after my own disturbed tendencies.  I definitely feel that.

He finally orders a double espresso.  The trio head over to a table… Tyler again apologizes for baby-izing Bethany a couple issues back.  She’s totally cool with it, however… as she’s turning it into a New-Agey venture, “Freeing your Toddler Brain”!  Dammit, where has this book been my entire life!  I love this.

Tyler takes his first sip of espresso… and, boy howdy… everything goes nuts.  Really like the way this was depicted.  Even in distorto-vision, Snapper still can’t help but to *snap*.  Love it.

Snapper offers to finish off Hourman’s espresso… which Tyler appreciates.  He expresses a desire to repay Snap and Bethany’s generosity… and Bethany gives him an idea.  She suggests he show them “his world”.  And so, he does!

All aboard the Timeship… Hourman flips his “egg-timer” and triggers the start of another Power-Hour.  He asks Bethany to randomly pick a destination, which takes them “outside” of time… where they come across a rather curious time(stream)-traveller.

It’s Rick Jones Snapper Carr!  Well, a Snapper Carr… haven’t you ever heard of Hypertime?!  This is a Snapper Carr who looks to have his life totally together… which gives us a line that is as funny as it is sad.  Our Snap says looking at Hypertime-Snap makes him feel like Bizarro looking at Superman.  Very funny… also, very sad!

After dropping Hypertime-Snapper into a war between the Amazons and Gorilla City, the trio (or just Hourman, really) are attacked by Epoch!  He winds up dropping them in… Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.  It’s got that effect where our characters are the only things in color… which is really cool.  They are approached by a couple… who are clearly still in shock from the assassination of President Kennedy.

Then… aliens!  They watch as those aliens from the cliffhanger last issue walk the streets.  Then… that same couple expresses the same shock they did a few seconds ago.  Uh-oh, looks like we’re in a time loop!  Worse yet, half of Tyler’s Power-Hour has already elapsed.

Hourman takes off to try and find a way out, leaving Snap and Beth where it’s “safe”.  Of course, they soon find themselves staring into the wrong end of a laser pistol.  They meet a sorta off-brand Adam Strange looking fella, who introduces himself as a “Catastronaut” which, I gotta say… is a pretty cool name.  He’s also been trapped here.

There’s a brief struggle… the “shocked couple” get blasted before Bethany wallops the ‘naut with some of her “phys-ed training”.  She’s mentioned a few majors/degrees already… I wonder if this might become a “thing”.

Then, time loops… again, and again.

We join Hourman as he… does time stuff that I can’t really wrap my head around.  Well, actually… he attempts to do time stuff I can’t really wrap my head around.  Unfortunately, he finds that the Timepoint has been sealed off… and, his “egg-timer” goes a bit wonky before finally dropping the last few grains of sand.

He comes crashing down back in 1963 Dallas to let the gang know that his Power-Hour is up.  Snapper’s all “that’s cool, we’ll just wait an hour til it comes back”… not understanding that, since they’re in a time loop…

Sixty-minutes will never pass!  Meaning, this is now… their home?!

So… just where in the hell has this book been my entire life?  Absolutely adore this!  Awesome blend of comedy and action… and it even has that, often hard to define… “heart” to boot!

The time stuff… is a little confusing, at least to me.  In fairness, time stuff is always a little confusing to me, so that’s not a knock on the issue.  Still, don’t wanna come off like I’m praising this one blindly.

There’s a lot going on here.  I suppose we can start with the Timepoint.  I feel like placing the Time-Loop at a point in time where people are at their weakest… or at least their most fragile/dumbstruck emotionally, is clever… and it’s pulled off (and rendered) incredibly well.  The black-and-white “effect” was definitely appreciated.  I was trying to remember the name of that movie that did something similar without Googling… it’s “Pleasant…something”… I know that much.

Something that really made me pause was Tyler being afraid to mess up ordering at the coffee bar.  It sounds silly… but, there’s something scarily relatable there.  I know, personally, I’ve chosen to do nothing… rather than try something, and fail.  I’ve probably done that more times than I care to admit (though, I suppose I just did).  Really well done.

Loved Bethany taking her time as a tot, and using it to create some sorta New Age seminar.  It definitely feels like something people would do.  I’m not all that tapped-in on the crystals or anything, but I could totally see similar seminars going on right this second!  I mean, there have been re-birthing seminars and stuff… so, why not this?

And, though I might be reading into things… I’m really digging the idea of Bethany as a career-college student.  Seems she’s mentioned a few different majors… and a lotta years of study.  I think that’s a fun concept to explore… especially as so many of us Gen-Xers never really become sure what we wanna be when/if we “grow up”.  It might be getting played for laughs… but it’s quite relatable.

Snapper… man, I get the feeling like I’m not supposed to like him (because of his Silver-Age dunce-iness), but I can’t help it!  Thought it was equally humorous and heartbreaking when he saw the “totally together” Snapper Carr hitchhiker.  He sees his own potential staring him in the face… meanwhile, he’s still slacking in Happy Harbor!

It goes without saying that I highly recommend tracking this run down.  It might be a bit premature… but, this could end up being near the top of my list of favorite runs before it’s all said and done.

Now… whatta we gotta do… to whom… to get this collected and/or made available digitally?!  This is definitely a glaring omission in DC’s digital library!

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