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The book opens with a backstory that tells us that the world has fallen under a dictatorship, run by a villain named Monarch, who used to be one of Earth's greatest heroes.
This troubles Matthew Ryder, who as a child was saved by one of those heroes. He doesn't know which one but it has caused him to have an illegal interest of the heroes in the past.
Not liking the way the world is shaping up, he finds a way to travel back in time to find out which hero becomes the moniter and stop him. The time travel experiment gives him the power to see time lines and alternate realities.
He promises to see the timeline of all the heroes of the 20th century and when he finds Monarch, to kill him.