Before you listen to the death throes of timelines being wiped out of existance, check out part one of our Zero Hour discussion. Then once you do and you’re all caught up, join Allan and Josh as we talk about the end of Zero Hour!
And with that, the show notes are below!
Zero Hour #1
Unsure of what happened here. We see Steel, Batgirl, Supergirl, and Guy Gardner flying away from an entropy fissure in the current time at Coast City. Steel says everything blinked out and they have to get back to New York. But…at least two of them were just there? I dunno.
As they head back, more entropy rifts open in front of them and a discharge from one of them blasts them backwards. The rift starts pulling them in, and while Batgirl, Supergirl, and Guy Gardner have cover, Steel is pulled in and is consumed by the entropy. The three leave in hopes to stop Extant and make sure his sacrifice wasn’t in vain.
We see Extant wondering where these entropy fissures came from, and then he is blasted by green energy by someone saying it wasn’t his doing and to remember who is really in charge. He knows Extant tried taking advantage of what was going on and control it, but this mystery figure knows what the real problem is and is going to correct it.
Back in the 30th century, we see the end of the Legion of Super Heroes as the Time Trapper bids them farewell. Not entirely sure what is happening here. Entropy takes the Legion, but Time Trapper mentions that he protected them from the entropy fury and allowed them to pass into the unknown tomorrow. That’s when the mysterious figure shows up again surprised that Time Trapper survived his attacks earlier in the event along with entropy. This time, he will make sure he’s destroyed. After that, all the time travelers will be gone that posed a threat to him.
Back in the current time. Power Girl trying to give birth with the help of Wonder Woman as midwife. Impulse fades out now that his timeline is gone, and soon the same happens with Booster. Then the entropy rifts open around them.
We see Jay Garrick rushing to the halls of the JSA Headquarters with entropy eating everything behind him. He busts into the hall and calls to the Spectre for help. Now that the Spectre knows a mortal is behind this devastation, he will take action. And with that Jay Garrick also fades away now that his time is gone.
With entropy taking everything in the current day, the heroes are running out of options. Ray and Captain Atom put up a field to protect them while Metron, Superman, Donna Troy, Green Lantern, and The Atom travel to Vanishing Point. They save the Linear Men who were in stasis and realize they need a means to travel time freely. Metron sends Superman and Green Lantern to grab the time probe Vril Dox sent out to use it’s components to rig something up.
We see the hospital again as Alan Scott, Starman, and his children are at the bedside of Wildcat. We see the passing of the torch, or in this case Cosmic Rod, as David takes the mantle of the Starman as entropy consumes them.
Extant arrives at the chamber of the Leymen and kills them all.
Back in New York, the heroes are trying to save citizens as fissures of entropy pop up all over. In fact, one opens up within Batman and now Batman is gone. Extant blasts Guy Gardner and then the rest of the heroes including Batgirl, Green Arrow, Nightwing and more take the fight to Extant. But it’s the return of Waverider who hits Extant. I’m not sure if it’s ever said, but perhaps the Matthew Ryder Metron saved was turned into this version of Waverider?
Ray Palmer tries to leap through the mask of Extant to mess with his equilibrium, but now that Extant is nothing but chronal energy, Palmer is hit with extreme pain. Extant tries using this to turn Palmer into nothingness by reversing his life, but Waverider is able to halt it leaving Ray as a teenager.
As Superman joins the fray, he is blindsided by the mystery man who knocks him out in one punch. It’s Hal Jordan – Parallax. He brings the remaining heroes into the Zero Hour. Where he will rebuild the universe to be “correct”. Maybe one universe won’t even be enough. Everything fades to white as the issue ends.
Zero Hour #0
Hal Jordan explains himself. How he never needed anything, and the one time he did, it was denied to him. As Green Lantern, he didn’t have enough power to fix Coast City after it’s destruction. Now as Parallax, he has the power to fix EVERYTHING. He feels their views were too small. He has the power to change everything for the better, but the heroes don’t like this. Some don’t at least. The ones not from this timeline feel this gives them a chance to keep living, and Parallax reinforces that. He can give them their worlds back too.
He explains how after he fought Guy Gardner (Guy Gardner Warrior #21), Coast City wasn’t enough. He was able to focus his energies to fade into the timestream, and there, he noticed cracks in the timestream caused by the fight with the Anti-Monitor in the original Crisis. He absorbed some of these energies and went to the end of time where entropy waits. He tightened the loop between the beginning and end of time which caused the entropy to start destroying everything in between.
Guy brings up the Green Lantern that died in the future, but Hal remarks that he saved that version of him prior to being destroyed and put him back where he originally came from.
At Vanishing Point, Waverider has gathered some heroes he deems important to fix everything, though some of them doubt their importance. They decide they need to do something, and that’s recreate the universe on their terms, not his.
Hal is toying with creating this new reality. He brings up saving the GL Corps. Having multiple Earths including one where the JSA can stay young, Batgirl has a Gotham, Alpha Centurion has a Metropolis, and more.
Waverider and the heroes intervene and blast Parallax from behind. The fight begins and Hal defends himself. Extant chimes in saying Alpha Centurion and Batgirl should help Parallax if they want a world to live in.
Guy Gardner takes the fight to Extant as Parallax takes on the other heroes. That is until him and Extant are shackled by The Spectre. The fight continues as they all try to talk each other down into doing what they each feel is the right thing. Waverider comes up with the plan for heroes like Captain Atom, Ray, Green Lantern, and Donna Troy to absorb the plasma energy universe around them that Parallax created.
Oliver is able to talk some sense into Batgirl. It’s not Hal’s choice to make what should stay and what should go. He’s not a God, and he’s ashamed that absolute power can corrupt even Hal.
Green Lantern joins in the fight to help Spectre against Parallax. Parallax is now weakened after fighting with Spectre, and GL has a chance.
Waverider concludes his plan. The absorbed energies will then be shot through Waverider. He’ll then funnel it and channel into Damage who will absorb the entirety of the energy. Parallax sees what’s happening and plans to stop him until Batgirl hits him in the head with a batarang.
Parallax breaks free from Green Lantern, and as Damage powers up, Parallax prepares to kill him. But as he fires, Batgirl leaps in the way and takes the killing blow. Oliver can’t believe it and decides he can’t sit back any longer.
Green Lantern jumps in from behind sensing Parallax’s power is almost gone as Oliver pulls out an arrow and hones in on Parallax. They both acknowledge each other and Oliver fires his arrow just as Green Lantern grabs Parallax. The arrow hits Parallax square in the chest as Spectre finishes everything off by pumping more power into Damage. And when he can’t hold it in any more, Damage lets it out. He creates a new Big Bang.
From there we see a new universe born. Everything is in fast forward. Billions of years pass in an instant as Liri Lee of the Linear Men watches on from Vanishing Point. Waverider and the other heroes are watching everything come together. They are existing currently within the anomalies that started it all. The only ones not there are Parallax and Green Lantern, both of whom were too distant when Waverider tried to grab them during the split seconds after the Big Bang occurred.
We see dinosaurs roam the Earth and Batgirl fade from the arms of Oliver. Alpha Centurion disappears as well as alternate timelines are being erased. We see Atlantis and Tritonis become cities underwater and the temple of one of Earths Mightiest Heroes in Shazam. More and more years pass and Waverider has to insert each hero into the perfect moment in time to avoid a loop being created and reliving the same event repeatedly ad nauseum.
They come to the point at the end of Zero Hour #1 right before everything disappears. This is where they will re-enter the time stream, but Extant cuts out early. Not sure what happens to him. Some time travel lingo about pulling in the final moments of Green Lantern and Parallax and inserting them here as well and preventing Hal from wiping out the last moments of time. Something fails and they are all pulled out into the current time.
Guy Gardner is now missing his armor and has his Warrior Vuldarian look. All the heroes that perished are back including Batman. Waverider tries to explain to the heroes that weren’t there about what Parallax did and how they recreated reality instead of him by letting it happen naturally. It fell in place like it did prior, but they were able to stop Parallax and Extant prior to them wiping out everything, which left Waverider and the other heroes as the only anomalies in time. When they were able to re-enter the timestream, that effectively fused it all together and closed the loop which saved the timeline. Those who died in the fissures will be alive and only remember a flashing light, while others who died outside of the timestream will remain dead like Green Lantern (but not really).
Power Girl shows them not everything was doom and gloom. She was able to give birth to her baby boy.
Oliver still isn’t happy. He walks off and breaks his bow as all he can do is remember Hal and what they used to be.
Meanwhile Waverider and the Linear Men watch on to discover any new mysteries that may arise, and we see the end of time again with the Time Trapper. As it zooms in, we see a lock of hair flow out from the hood indicating that the new Time Trapper is a woman.
Green Lantern #0
The epilogue of Zero Hour that focuses on what happened with Green Lantern and Parallax. Their fight continues, and Parallax seems to have regained some sort of power. They arrive on Oa where Hal notes what Waverider ended up doing to save everyone. Hal linked with Waverider in a way to form a vortex pulling him to Oa, but it brought GL along too. So now they battle along the ruins of Oa, dead Guardians around and all.
Hal tries to pull up some energy from the planet but is unable to because he doesn’t have a conduit of any sort – no ring or battery. Green Lantern is able to get some hits in leaving Hal in the dust. Hal looks over and sees Kilowogs skull and tries to come to terms with what he has done and how nobody should have gotten in his way. If he’s not able to fix everything like he was trying to do, save the people he let down in Coast City, he won’t ever be a hero again, just a villain.
Kyle and Hal try to have a heart to heart here. Kyle somewhat understands what Hal is going through. He thought it would be fun being a superhero, but it cost him Alex. He knows some of the burden Hal has. He explains how he ended up getting the ring after Hal’s onslaught on Oa and a little of what happened prior to being pulled into the Zero Hour event.
Hal brings up how being Green Lantern again could make his life better again, but he would be different this time. Kyle hesitantly takes off his ring and gives it back to Hal which makes him the classic Green Lantern again. Kyle says he got it through dumb luck, but Hal was chosen. This is how it should be.
That is until Hal decides to siphon the energy from the planet using the ring. Once he’s done that, he can go back to fixing things again. Kyle tries to talk him down, but Hal seems adamant about this being the right course of action. He thinks he can restore everything again, but Kyle is trying to tell him – you can’t pretend it didn’t happen. Hal is furious as Kyle tries to convince Hal to give him back the ring and pushes him back with a large green hand.
Kyle grabs Kilowogs skull and throws it at Hal but Hal destroys it before blasting the ground underneath Kyles feet as he tries to run. The hole leads to the crypt of former dead Green Lanterns and Kyle hides before Hal follows him down. Kyle is able to push a glass case with a GL in it on top of Hal long enough for him to grab the ring back. Now it’s back to Green Lantern vs Parallax. But Parallax has regained his power again.
They start battling it out again and Hal seems to have the upper hand. Then Hal brings up Alex and a construct of her. How he can even bring her back, going so far as to have the construct talk to Kyle about how Hal is right.
Kyle takes a moment with this construct before making it disappear. Hal wonders why Kyle gave up potential happiness and it’s because he understands we don’t always get what we want. Kyle decides to tap into the planet’s source of energy and try to overload it. He thinks if he can destroy Oa, Hal won’t have that power to ever tap into. Hal tries to stop him, but it doesn’t work. Oa explodes in a brilliant light of green.
Emerging from it is only one man. A man who has a reputation to uphold. A legacy to keep up, but on his own terms. Kyle Rayner darts off from the explosion and tries to find his way home.
Part of crossovers for these companies were using it as a way to not only boost sales, but launch new books or end series. With Zero Hour, they tried to relaunch their books in general. An easy way to do that – give all books an “issue zero”. This book is supposed to be THE issue to truly define the character. Who they are, why do they do what they do, set up a future story, whatever. Reintroduce the character essentially.
Jurgens felt that jumping into comics can be a little intimidating. Too often, books were always doing longform stories, and who wants to jump into issue 5 of an 8 issue arc? So with Zero Hour, and one of his original proposals, was to get new fans into the DCU. He sent out a memo to writers and editors saying that the zero issue for their respective book should be a perfect jumping on point for new readers. He says “This should be the one story you do where you couldn’t erase the character’s name at the top of the page and substitute a different one”.
Here’s a few things that happened during the tie-ins:
Green Lantern #55 – Finishes up the storyline where Major Force kills Kyle’s girlfriend Alex, but the part here worth mentioning is that he meets Alan Scott for the first time and is given the rundown on who the Green Lantern Corps are. Most notably to the Zero Hour event though – he’s informed about Hal Jordan and what he did and that Kyle will more than likely have to join the fight against him in the future.
Batman #511 – right out of Zero Hour #4, Batman and Robin meet up with an uninjured Batgirl from an alternate timeline where Joker murdered her father and abducted her during a Killing Joke like scenario. Lots of weird stuff (Gothams converging, Batgirl relationship with Batman, etc) and Batman goes to Metropolis.
Superman: Man of Steel #37 – Batman meets up with Superman in Metropolis. He notes that something is happening causing people from the past show up, but at the same time, seems to be unaware of not only why Superman has long hair but his back being broken. Throughout the issue, Superman goes around with Batman and meets up with multiple Batmen such as the Dark Knight Returns Batman and Classic ‘39 Batman.
Superman #93 – The Kents are visited by another group of parents – Jor-El and Lara. Superman joins the party and finds out a different timeline where Krypton didn’t explode, and now his parents are there with the timelines converging to bring him home. He’s torn. Does he stay with the parents who raised him, or go back home with the parents that saved his life?
Robin #10 – Tim Drake meets up with a younger Dick Grayson (as Robin) and they work a case together. Dick, even as an amateur, makes Tim feel inadequate in areas such as moves and confidence.
Hawkman #13 – Hawkman hears the news of time distortions happening, one of which involves another Hawkman. Fearing the Hawkgod is responsible, he flies off to fight it. The Golden Age Hawks pulled out by Waverider jump in to aid where they merge.
Justice League of America #92, Justice League Task Force #16, and Justice League International #68 – During the Justice Leagues first case, a hero named Triumph is transported into the future where his existence has been written out. These three stories are him trying to get answers as to what happened, butting heads with other heroes, and stopping the alien invasion that came through time with him.
Booster Gold #0 – This was an issue 14 years later, so its kind of a cheat. During the Johns/Jurgens run, Booster is travelling through the timestream with a number of Blue Beetles. As they do so, they run into Extant and Parallax chatting (set just after the JSA were taken care of by Extant) and fight. As they try to escape, Extant reroutes them to the 25th century – the day Booster threw the football game that eventually spiraled into him becoming Booster.
- One of the criticisms with this book was regarding the Justice Society of America. Although the books were doing well sales-wise, the book still saw cancellation. However, according to Jurgens, it was a decision made prior to him starting Zero Hour. To him, this was because DC saw their existence as problematic with their timeline and DC was concerned about the image. So they took the book away until they could figure out a way to make them “work”.
- Although there were clear problems with renumbering each series and starting back at #1, such as just confusing readers with the same concurrent numbering system (New 52 anyone?), Jurgens did want the books across the board to be #1 post Zero Hour. But it wasn’t his call, and the books stayed on course. He feels the zero issues were a good alternative.
- As with most events, companies want that big moment where heroes die. For Zero Hour, Ray Palmer, the Atom, was being poised to die by higher ups in the company. However, Dan Jurgens didn’t really like that idea of killing Ray and worked with them to try and find a way to keep him alive. What they decided to do instead was to have him de-aged. Jurgens would later follow up with him in his Teen Titans run a couple of years later.
- Zero Hour did the brilliant idea of counting down their issue numbers from 4 to 0. That was not Dan Jurgens who came up with it, but he thinks it was a decision by marketing.
- Despite Parallax being THE villain in the story, Ron Marz didn’t know Parallax was going to be in Zero Hour until well into the story’s conception. Apparently someone mentioned it to him in casual conversation and it took him by surprise. His editor thought he had told him, but must have forgotten. After that, he found out the details of Zero Hour so he could quickly work up Green Lantern #0.
- Unlike most event books, this one didn’t span several months. The Zero Hour event was released on a weekly basis in September 1994.
- One of the other things Jurgens wanted to address was the use of time travel. After COIE, DC wanted time travel to be harder limiting it to only three ways with each possibility only being conceivable once per character. Jurgens felt this was restrictive, especially since he loves time travel stories (helloooo Booster Gold and Linear Men?), so he wanted to do away with those limitations, but still make it somewhat difficult so not every jabroni can do it.
- Zero Hour was obviously going to change up the timeline, so they decided to make it clear by the end of it. They decided to release a timeline that outlined everything. K.C. Carlson and Dan Jurgens were piecing the timeline together with others like Bob Greenberger throughout the creation of Zero Hour.
- There were certain ideas that Dan Jurgens wanted to try and implement in Zero Hour but just couldn’t because of other creatives at play. One for instance was that Jurgens wanted Zero Hour to end with two Earths again (Earth 1 and Earth 2). This would result in the mainline DC Universe, but then have the Justice Society back on Earth 2 within the timeline of 1945 through 1965. For whatever reason, that wasn’t what DC Comics wanted to do with the characters.
https://youtu.be/WO3Xm6lCwtI – DC Comics “Zero Hour” 1994 Promotional Video
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Intro and Outro Music: “RetroFuture Clean” by Kevin MacLeod
RetroFuture Clean Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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