Rex Tyler, Hourman's Chemicals Teased
For the next hint at a JSA hero, fans will need to look a little bit deeper. It's not in an article, either, but an advertisement printed in The Bulletin. The product being sold is a drug called Travodart, apparently intended to calm "unstable nerves in an unstable world." And at first glance, fans of the original Watchmen series are sure to spot the homage in the ad's artwork. The 'photograph' may depict a man and woman kissing on a tropical beach, massive sun setting in the distance... but it's a dead ringer for Dave Gibbons's vision of Night Owl and Silk Spectre kissing before a nuclear mushroom cloud burns them into dust.
The name of the drug may have some as-yet-uncovered meaning, but it's the manufacturer we would point readers toward. "Bannermain Chemical Co." isn't instantly recognizable, but it's the fictional company that creates the chemical Miraclo. The chemical that, once ingested by Rex Tyler, transformed him into the hero Hourman. The ad's fine print also seems to be doing some of the backstory, listing symptoms that resemble the withdrawal Tyler suffered through when he grew addicted to Miraclo.
And with the superhuman 'upgrades' to Rex's body lasting only one hour at a time, the warning that "muscle spasms" shouldn't continue a minute longer makes the reference clear. At this very moment, the chemist Rex Tyler may be inching closer to the chemical infusion that makes him a founding member of the Justice Society.
Not If The JSA Returns, But When
The wait for the JSA's return continues, but these clues must be a sign of something Geoff Johns has planned. That's yet another nod towards a mystery that began in the first artwork for DC Universe: Rebirth. The art depicted three hourglasses floating through space: one containing the Post-Crisis Justice League, one being smashed as the New 52/Rebirth heroes emerged into the spotlight... and a distant third. That hourglass, spotted at the time by fans of DC's Golden Age, contained the original JSA heroes; Jay Garrick, Doctor Fate, Alan Scott, Doctor Mid-Nite, and more. They were still locked away... but the fact that they were shown existing in the fabric of DC Comics history was a shock in itself.
Those versions of the characters had been written out of existence since the 2011 launch of the New 52. Some had been replaced with younger, re-imagined heroes in the Earth-2 series. But the legacy and history had been lost, despite Geoff Johns highlighting those very things as the reason why Rebirth was so desperately needed. And with the Earth-2 series being ended by DC, and the classic, original versions now apparently in need of rescuing... the suspicions began to mount.
DC didn't shy away from the speculation, confirming that the JSA heroes were included in the artwork for a reason. In the months since, more and more of the pre-New 52 canon has returned for Superman, Batman, and countless others. So the question is obvious: when is it going to be the Golden Age's turn?
For now, it's just one more reason to dissect Doomsday Clock like the rest of us.
Doomsday Clock #2 is available now.