Zero Hour Strikes! Teasers and Prologues

This is it! Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 1! Bass and Siskoid cover all the teasers and prologues, in particular, Zero Hour material from Showcase ’94! Join in the timey-wimey fun (and head-scratching) as Monarch and Extant are discussed, and time itself comes under threat!

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 1 below!

Or subscribe to The Zero Hour Strikes! Podcast on iTunes.

Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.1 Supplemental

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27 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Teasers and Prologues

  1. Great opener, fellas! The whole Captain Atom/Hawk/Monarch/Extant thing was a headache-inducing nightmare, but I feel at least Jurgens (who drew the Armageddon 2001 bookends) tried to make some lemonade out of those rotten lemons. Extant was a much better look, for sure.

    I had honestly forgotten about these Showcase stories, even though I read them. I was fully engaged in the DCU at the time, and the teaser ads really got me excited, especially the ever approaching logo in the oncoming storm.

    I think JSA fans could argue Mike Carlin WAS indeed the biggest villain of Zero Hour, and perhaps their greatest foe of all time, but you guys will get to that soon enough.

    Chris

        1. He hated the JSA at the time, and cancelled their comic despite solid sales. It has been reported he said he didn’t want DC publishing comics with senior citizens. He was apparently adamant about the JSA being decimated in Zero Hour, and the old characters being fully retired or dead by the end of the series. Thankfully, it didn’t stick.

          I love Carlin as Superman editor of the time, but I’ll never forgive him for his attitude toward the JSA.

          Chris

      1. Really? I know the JSA tales blog did four issues before it suddenly stopped. Haven’t run across anyone who has done the full series. Maybe Extrant blipped it out out of existence. C’mon Hal baby, bring it back with all the unnamed Coast City corps… er… corpses!

  2. I was going to email this your way but I don’t know what the email address for the show is, so a comment will have to do.

    Re: Team Titans

    So I’m one of two people who was a hardcore Team Titans fan back in the day (the other was my friend Harris because we used to write letters to the editor together) and I feel like I need to explain/defend a book that was definitely flawed but I loved and still enjoy.

    The reveal of Monarch as the Team Titans’ leader came completely out of nowhere and was not a reveal of him being the “big bad” of the series. Back in New Titans #7 when the team debuted, we saw that the Teamers had a mysterious leader who we only saw in silhouette on a compute screen. In the first issue of the TT series, we get a little of his backstory–he was a Titan who had used his powers to shield himself from the agents of Lord Chaos (Donna Troy’s son who had taken over the country/world), but was found and put into a concentration camp. He leads a rebellion in the camp and then becomes the leader of the resistance. In 2001, he sends dozens of Titans teams back to 1991 to kill Donna Troy before Lord Chaos can be born (so yes, he’s John Connor).

    The original idea for the identity of the Titans’ leader was that he was supposed to be a future version of Danny Chase (at least according to an interview I read with then-Titans editor Jon Peterson), and IIRC, he wasn’t supposed to be a villain. That identity then switched to Monarch when the book was being cancelled and the editors/DC editorial decided that since Monarch was a former Teen Titan (Hawk), having him be the leader would make sense. Fans (both of us) had been trying to guess the identity of the leader for months and to see that it was Monarch was completely out of left field for quite a few of us (I think that there was one letter writer who actually predicted it).

    Our bumbling time crooks actually made an appearance in Team Titans #13, seven months before this issue. It’s a one-and-done story that takes place in a mall. The Teamers are there for some shopping/R&R and to talk to an antiques dealer about why she has had one of their communicators for the past several decades. She also happens to have the Time Commander’s hourglass. They show up. Hijinks ensue. They get arrested. It’s one of the first issues written by Jeff Jensen and Phil Jimenez with gorgeous art by Jimenez and if I ever get the chance to meet either of them at a con, I’m getting it signed.

    Okay, that’s enough out of me, except to say that I have been really looking forward to this series and can’t wait to hear more. I was 17 and very into what DC was doing in 1994, so from the moment I saw that original house ad with the Doomsday Clock in red, I was so ready for Zero Hour.

    All the best,

    Tom

    1. I’ll track down that Team Titans issue!

      So yeah, another case of Monarch inserting himself in someone’s place in history. Very interesting! And I dare say, revealing the mystery hero as a mystery villain only manipulating the heroes still makes him a big bad, just one you didn’t know you had. IS THERE NO LIMIT TO MONARCH’S CONTINUITY SINS???

      1. Thank you! I was going off the top of my head.

        I used to wish that DC would bring them back in some way, even if it was for a one-off story. But not so much now considering they’d probably get maimed.

  3. Great first episode, guys! The main Zero Hour series is a mess at times, so I’m looking forward to you either explaining it or celebrating its wackiness. The crossovers are so good, though! Honestly, it’s a bit like Secret Wars 2 (though ZH is infinitely better), where the quality of the crossovers make it all worth it.

    Looking forward to another great show from my favorite Canadians (after Northstar, Shaman, Heather Hudson, Ryan Reynolds…you know what, never mind!)

    Sean

      1. I will say that for the majority of the Zero Hour series, the characters seem to just be fighting the background of the panel and not in a “wall of white rushing toward us” COIE kind of way. The crossovers are what makes this as fun as it is.

  4. Zero Hour is probably the most important crossover event in terms of my history as a comic book fan. This was the summer I went from being the guy that bought the Superman titles and occasionally something else that looked cool to being a guy that started following the DC Universe as a whole and, over the course of the decade, buying more and more titles. So, it’s hard to be objective, though I do recognize where things weren’t as good as they could be.

    Despite buying Zero Hour as it came out (insert long and boring story about me doing a six week study skills course at college and how I would go home on the weekends and pick up the newest issues here) I did not read these Showcase ’94 issues when they were first published. It wasn’t until buying the trade paperback of Zero Hour later in the year that I got to see the prologue. I’m still not entirely sure I missed something, but then again the article in Wizard about Zero Hour set everything up nicely, so I didn’t feel lost when the event started. I love Waverider and the Linear Men, so these stories were good value.

    As someone that dug through a lot of the promotional material and hype articles about Zero Hour and Zero Month for the coverage Jeff and I did on FCTC I appreciate that you will be covering some of that in the future.

    Great job as always, fellas. So excited that the show has begun! (slaps rough of my cab) This is gonna be good!

  5. Finally!

    Zero Hour was a key event for me as a comics fan. I’d dipped in and out of DC titles over the years, but never committed to them broadly or long term. As I mentioned repeatedly during the run of First Strike!, by 1989, I was all but absent from DC reading. I’d pick up a single issue here and there, but I wasn’t following anything at DC regularly. 1990 remained fairly barren for DC purchases, but “Titans Hunt” and “Breakdowns” did draw me back into Justice League International and New Titans in 1991. More routine access to the direct market and increased purchasing power meant by 1992 I was following the entire Titans line and The Sandman, but by 1993 my interest in both was on the wane. Exactly a year before Zero Hour, “Reign of the Supermen” and “Knightfall” were winding down without securing my continued interest for afterward. I was picking up the Bloodlines annuals and a few odds and sods that had hooked me, but DC was still just another of the many publishers I was sampling.

    I glanced over books released the month before Zero Hour at Mike’s Amazing World of Comics. I was in the peak period of buying monthly comics even as the industry was experiencing its final summer of post-bust delusions of recovery. The Chaos Effect was my last bid at getting into Valiant as a line, or even as individual titles, since Shadowman was entering its last year of production. At Malibu, I was picking up the Rafferty Ultraverse cross-over issues, and supporting the Bravura line in its last gasps. Defiant, First, Comico, Innovation, and Continuity were already gone. I was done with Image, and Dark Horse Comics’ not-so-Greatest World. The sole Marvel title that I still supported was The Incredible Hulk.

    For most of my time reading to that point, the X-Men titles had been my home, with everything else being an extra. Sure, I strayed for long periods (looking at you, Australian Outback,) but I always had the X as my true north. A year after X-Genesis, with Chris Claremont and the soul of the books departed, so too was the certainty of my direction. At the height of the boom, I was spending upwards of $40 a week on the one joy I had in my life at that time, to diminishing returns. For every Hate, there were dozens of things I hated. Unlike many of my fellows in fandom, I’ve never “quit” comics; probably because I never cared about sports or cars and no girl seemed intent on finding me. As ever, it had been my fantasy escape from a dreary existence. But like an addict, the more I abused, the shorter and lesser the high.

    While I wasn’t over the moon with DC, I was buying more of their titles more often than any other publisher, and found them the most satisfactory. Marvel focused on the characters and Image the artists, leaving DC with the poor, devalued writers and the favorite properties of a generation or two prior to my own. It was a big commitment, but since Zero Month promised an entire slate of entry-level experiences, I decided to sample one issue each out of the entire mainstream DC line.

    I feel like I probably picked up Showcase ’94 #9, but the stories it contained were so divorced from my interests then and now that I can’t say for certain, and will not bother to (re)read them to determine for sure. However, the podcast discussion did pique my interest in the Monarch 2-parter. I had bought Armageddon 2001 #2 after having read several enjoyable annuals across that quasi-Elseworlds, but got nothing from it. I knew who Captain Atom was, but had at best a vague awareness of Hawk & Dove. Archie Goodman was by all accounts a great guy, but not a first choice for super-hero comics, especially an event. I’m not as enamored with Dan Jurgens as most DC fans, despite respecting his fundamentals in the same way as a Paul Ryan or an Alex Saviuk. The only time I would have read these Monarch appearances would have been at a time when my knowledge of DC continuity was pedestrian, and I ‘m made curious how they would inform my re-visitation of this material from a much stronger knowledge base.

    I never realized that Extant was supposed to be a combination entity of Hawk and Dove, though neither were impressive enough to form a “major” super-villain, especially a technology-based one. Given that Hank Hall’s density was a talking point against Armageddon 2001’s resolution, and that Jurgens had three years to come up with an explanation, I’m still finding it wanting. Speaking of density, as of this writing, I only just now realized that I’ve been confusing the definition of “extant” with “adjunct” for decades. It was nonsensical either way, but nothing underwhelms while simultaneously being a textbook example of Chromium Age dictionary abuse like summing up a character’s entire being by stating “they exist!” It’s somehow even worse than my long held missassumption that he was “the supplementary villain until the late mini-series reveal” with an essential “x” somewhere in the name (see also, the real villain’s reach of a nom-de-cap.)

    I didn’t mind the over-accessorized Dr. Doom dildo design of Monarch, and while black & red is the laziest “badass” color scheme in all of comics (complete with full-silhouette inks,) it’s a good look that evokes the Hawk history. In short, it’s a shame that both designs and titles were wasted on Hank Hall. Having Extant battle Bloodwynd would be a colorist’s staycation wish.

    Picking up from Tom Panarese’s comments, and given the long gestation period for Zero Hour Strikes… I hate to break it to the guys (and just plain break the guys)… but Team Titans is a major oversight in approaching this project from the very onset. Probably the greatest lasting impact of Zero Hour after the Legion reboot was the erasure of Team Titans, a fulcrum of the Titans titles for three years prior. Thanks to the predictive nature of the Armageddon 2001 annuals, the “firm” appearances of the Monarch future are the bookends… and the entire two year run of Team Titans, along with their appearances in New Titans, especially Annual #7. #19-24 lead directly into Zero Hour and the wrapping of the series, but also marks the point when an already questionable book became nigh-unreadable. Seriously, some of the worst comics I’ve ever experienced, to such an extent that I finally gave up reading Phil Jimenez’s Wonder Woman run, because its tics was triggering traumatic flashbacks to his work with Jeff Jensen here. Maybe you can address all that material in the eventual Team Titans coverage, and maybe you’ll survive the attempt, but then again, maybe not. I am become Waverider, cast backward through time from your future, warning you to begin addressing Team Titans early and progressively… or else, DIIIIIILLLLDOOOO!!!!! Er, doom. I meant doom.

    I hate Mike Carlin at DC Comics. No asterisk. That said, not enough JSAers died in Zero Hour. “The guy who advocated for the death of Jay Garrick” feels on-brand for me.

    Can’t believe I’m the first person here to suggest “Saved by Zero” by The Fixx as the outro music, so presumably it already came up on another social media outlet. I’ve listened to podcasts for worse reasons than the expectation that jangly guitar riff would close them out.

  6. Loved the first episode- thanks for mentioning my insane fan theory/ Head cannon.
    So as ZeroHour was being published DC did an an animated style set of Happy Meal toys- Superman cartoon tie in- therefore there is a toy of the Zero Hour merged version of Hawkman done in the animation style of the 90’s cartoon-

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