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What Does Iron Lad, Mr. Fantastic, Rip Hunter, and Hourman Have In Common?


Chronal Power #3: Time Travel

If there is one power that always fast forwards the clock and finds its way into the superhero universe, it's Time Travel, a power so uncanny that it's use will typically cause creative designers and writing teams to pull their hair out (if they have any left, of course). Oddly enough, it's also the most prevalent temporal power due to the extremely useful ways it can fix things that go wrong.

Most people are surprised when they find out how pervasive Time Travel is in the superhero world. And then when they think about it, it's obvious. Did Charles Xavier get killed in a villainous act? Is the world about to collapse because their is no Flash? Did the Justice League never exist? If there's ever a problem that seems so convoluted and complicated that the answer is near impossible...go back in time.

Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic actually has stretching powers gained by Cosmic Rays, but since then, he's been worked on and developed technology that constantly sends the Fantastic Four into different times and dimensions (but you can thank Dr. Doom for much of it). In 2013, as part of Marvel NOW! the group will be doing just that to save their own lives.

Iron Lad is a young teenager (actually Nathanial Richards) who is visited by his future, villainous self called Kang the Conqueror. Deciding to alter course from evil, he adopts his own brand of Iron Man stylized gear and travels time often with The Young Avengers. (He first appeared in Young Avengers #1 2005.)

Although there is one other iteration of Hourman, the version relevant to this countdown is actually a sentient android from the 853rd century. (The previous Hourman, Rex Tyler, had not temporal powers.) A colony of intelligent nanite machines, it could access an "Hour of Power", where it could move through time and access most of the chronal powers.

Rip Hunter, first appearing in  Showcase #20 (1950), is one of the oldest superhero time-travelers around. His expertise and genius is his power, developing the tools and technology to make moving through the timeline his specialty. An icon of DC Comics, he can be used as one of their typical tools for repairing an "irreparable" plot.

The Linear Men (which Rip Hunter also took part in) is another group of time-traveling companions bent on a mission of fixing chronal distortions and temporal paradoxes. Commissioned by DC Comics, they first appeared in Adventures of Superman #476 (1991) with members such as Travis O'Connell, Liri Lee, Rayak The Ravager, and Matthew Ryder.

Chronologically correct and temporally precise, this is The Top 10 Temporal Super Powers, a Countdown of Time-Wielding Abilities and Characters provided by The Superheroes List provided every Wednesday for the 2013 New Year. (And no, Father Time is not a superhero.) Want to read more? It's about TIME! Read the List!

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