Sunday, May 3, 2020

Zero Hour, Part 2

Let's get started on the second half of Zero Hour: Crisis In Time. Despite our heroes stopping the rift from encapsulating the 20th Century, a mysterious figures goes back in time to reopen the rift and continue the work that they started.

After Zero Hour #2 ends, the following story is Green Arrow #90 which is a very good story where, while chasing a low-level street thug, Green Arrow's timeline diverges and minute but important changes occur leading to two very different outcomes for Green Arrow. One where he is shot but is needed by Batman, and another where he is shot--repeatedly--and dies in the street. Except's for Batman's "We need you" there is no dialogue in this book. Kevin Dooley and Eduardo Barreto make a really interesting story.
Green Arrow #90, by Kevin Dooley and Eduardo Barreto
Not all the heroes are up for saving the universe though. Some heroes, most notably Guy Gardner and Batgirl, want to use this opportunity to rewrite history. Gardner wants to bring back Hal Jordan, who became a villain after his hometown of Coast City was destroyed during the Reign of the Supermen, and Batgirl just wants to exist. Instead of just the one rift, there are multiple rifts which perplexes Extant because he did not do that. Extant is then reminded who is in charge. With multiple fissures, more heroes are erased from the timestream including Batman. We are then brought up to speed on who is the true mastermind behind this crisis in time. Parallax. Hal Jordan. Green Lantern.
Zero Hour #1, by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway
Coast City, California, Hal Jordan's hometown, was destroyed by the Cyborg Superman and Mongul during the Reign of the Supermen in Superman #80. Jordan then decided to use his power ring to rebuild Coast City. Unfortunately the ring constructs are only temporary so they fade away. Jordan then decides that he needs more power and goes on a killing spree taking his fellow Green Lantern's power rings. After desolating the Green Lantern Corps and killing powerful villain Sinestro, Jordan absorbs all the power of the central power battery and became Parallax. Through Zero Hour, Jordan was going to create a new universe, or many new universes, however many it takes to make everybody happy. As we get further into the end of time, the pages fade to white.
Legion of Super-Heroes #61, by Mark Waid, Tom McGraw, Stuart Immonen, and Ron Boyd
As the end arrives, Robin meets a young Dick Grayson, Catwoman befriends a sabretooth tiger and caveman, and, in a short story, various villains attempt to help, and we learn that a new hero named Damage just might be the solution to all of this.
Damage #6, by Tom Joyner, Bill Marimon, and Don Hillsman
Parallax has brought Guy Gardner, Batgirl, Alpha-Centurion, and a hero named Triumph (more on him later) to the new start of the universe since they are the ones who want Parallax to start over the universe while Waverider has brought a handful of heroes--Superman, Green Lantern, Captain Atom, Hawkman, The Ray, The Atom, Donna Troy, Green Arrow, and Damage to Vanishing Point. All the other heroes have been erased. This then pits hero against hero--those who want the universe back the way it was and those who just want to exist. While Parallax is distracted by the Spectre, Waverider has Superman, Donna Troy, Captain Atom, and the Ray concentrate their powers on him who then channels it into Damage. Parallax notices this and tries to stop them. Batgirl distracts Parallax while Green Lantern holds him back. Green Arrow then launches an arrow at his former friend. Damage can no longer hold all the energy and, essentially, brings about a new big bang, restarting the universe.
Zero Hour #0, by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway
Time restarts and efforts are made to put everything back in order. After Zero Hour, titles used this time to retell their character's origins or introduce a new facet of the character. Included in the omnibus is Green Lantern #0, where Green Lantern and Parallax continue their fight on the dead planet Oa, where the Green Lantern Corps used to be based. After a lapse in judgement, Green Lantern returns the ring to Parallax who immediately begins to harvest more power so he can restart time again. Green Lantern overpowers him while he is distracted and takes the ring back, overloading the planet and destroying it, taking Parallax with it.
Green Lantern #0, by Ron Marz, Daryl Banks, Romeo Tanghal
But like all comic book stories, parts of Zero Hour would be changed, removed, or expanded upon. A lot of people would say that Zero Hour didn't actually do anything to change the problems created by Crisis On Infinite Earths and to a point, that is correct. It really wasn't meant to. It was to give correct a few issues but overall, the DC Universe would remain the same. The zero issues introduced new concepts, villains, storylines, teams, and even series to the DC lineup. Most would be quickly forgotten like Manhunter (13 issues, 1994-1995), Fate (23 issues, 1994-1996), and Primal Force (15 issues, 1994-1995) but one would go on to great acclaim, Starman (81 issues, 1994-2001).
Starman #0, by Tony Harris
Interior by James Robinson, Tony Harris, Wade Von Grawbadger
EPILOGUE
The superhero Triumph was introduced in Justice League America #92. In the issue, Triumph was a founding member of the Justice League with Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, The Flash, Black Canary, and Green Lantern. It was their very first mission and they were facing off against plasma-aliens mining Earth for fuel. It took months for Triumph to research the aliens, understand what they were doing, and which heroes he would need. Despite some mistakes from the newbie superheroes, Triumph's plan works until Aquaman and Flash go up to the ship in Earth's orbit. Aquaman is nearly knocked out while trying to start a dialogue with the aliens so Flash tries to save him which then gets him injured. Soon, only Triumph is left to fight the aliens after everyone else--even Superman--abandons the mission. Triumph uses his power of electromagnitivity to stop the ship. Unfortunately, it damages the ship's time/space throwing Triumph and the aliens into limbo and essentially erased Triumph from history.
Justice League America #92, by Christopher Priest, Luke Ross, Dennis
Cramer, Matt Banning, Wayne Faucher, Jose Marzan, Jr.
Due to the time rifts, Triumph is now back and so are the aliens so Triumph wants to get the old Justice League back together but, much to his dismay, now consists of third-tier heroes. After a brief fight between Triumph and the Justice League, they are attacked by Arion. When Martian Manhunter shows up, he reveals that he's never met anyone named Triumph and with the help of Fire, knocked unconscious into the bay. While Triumph is floating, the aliens begin to pull him under. With the Justice League looking on, Triumph defeats the aliens and earns the trust of the League and Martian Manhunter. Triumph suggests they all talk about where the Justice League goes from here but he and Martian Manhunter are soon blinked out of existence.
Justice League International #68, by Christopher Priest, Phil Jimenez, John Stokes
Triumph would survive Zero Hour though and become a member of Justice League Task Force. Part of the deal with Triumph was that he was an arrogant know-it-all. He could become insufferable at times which frustrated his more experienced teammates. He was fired from JLTF and was offered his lost decade back in exchange for his soul by Neron. A mix-up causes Triumph to accidentally lose his soul and he learns that everything remains the same with or without him existing. He became a villain for a short while and was frozen in ice by Spectre. Triumph was kept, frozen, in the JLA Watchtower until its destruction resulted in Triumph's death.

Art for the promotional booklet Zero Hour by Tom Grummett and Doug Hazelwood
The Zero Hour posts are dedicated to my father-in-law, Paul Goebel (1952-2019)

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