Zero Hour Strikes! Zero Hour #2

Bass and Siskoid might not have forgiven what the previous issue did to the Justice Society as they enter Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #2. Believe it or not, things get worse for the JSA. Plus, Team Titans' last stand! Oh, and the boys talk about Shaq's Steel movie!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.12 Supplemental

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11 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Zero Hour #2

  1. You guys are right, this issue treats the JSA worse than last, and who thought that was even possible? I’m not sure any comic has left the editorial puppet strings so visible on the page. Alan and Jay’s out of character exit is almost laughably Poochie-like. If this were a TV show, body doubles would only be filmed from the back, since the real actor had already moved on.

    As for Steel (the movie), I must say I have never actually seen it. I’ve avoided it for over 20 years due to its reputation. My comment was based on the fact that general consensus labeled it a bomb and a bad film, and that damaged any chance the character had of growing at DC. I need to cave in and watch it for myself, with that “Made for TV” notion in mind…even if it wasn’t.

    Oh, and Steel WAS reimagined as having shifted allegiances to the Bat-Family in Kingdom Come, so Bass gets his wish in some way. He’s barely used, but he is there, in the background, and on those wonderful group shot covers.


  2. When you and Bass said you were doing this podcast I said to myself ‘I wonder why I don’t revisit Zero Hour more. Maybe this podcast will help me appreciate it more.’

    Then I remember, it was issues like this.

    I will say, of all the things about it, the Zero Month issue was the biggest win. But to get there meant stepping through this minefield!

  3. Yeah, there was no logical reason Alan Scott would quit. Also, his ring doesn’t even operate on the same principles that Kyle’s does (the greatest GL ever). It would have made more sense to kill off Scott than just have him hang it up like that.

    And where the Flash and GL going? How were they getting home? A crisis in time and they just hang it up? These guys punched Nazis! What a waste. And this is coming from a guy who was happy Earth-2 went away.

    I had forgotten how hollow this mini actually was. THanks for reminding me.

    Can’t wait for Bass to read Xenobrood. Hope he keeps up with it. Gunfire, too.

  4. Siskoid mentioned that STEEL felt like a television pilot and that was my feeling too when I finally saw it. It had a limited scope with a bigger budget. There were good ideas in there but it just didn’t stick the landing. The main thing I like about it is Annabeth Gish, who would have made an excellent Barbara Gordon. I remember reading an interview with Kenneth Johnson before the movie came out where he revealed that the stipulations for him doing the movie were that Steel wouldn’t wear a cape or fly, which made 21 year old Mike kind of angry and now 44 year old Mike just shrugs and wonders when the pandemic is going to end.

    You were tough but fair with the issue. I can’t argue with your points. I didn’t notice it back in 1994, but Jeff and I had similar issues back when we covered it on FCTC. Good job on keeping things together.

  5. Vanishing Point. 12 hours, 36 minutes ago.

    Dr. Fate’s cape and amulet are not iconic enough to take up the top 2/3rds of a panel in which their presence is meant to be iconic. We’re not talking about major motion picture stars like the Eye of Agamotto or Cloak of Levitation here. But now I know what happened to my Super Powers Dr. Fate cape. Is Argh!yle in there somewhere as well? I want to say that some sort of zombie Kents are present in Fate #0.

    Why wouldn’t Extant just a) kill all of the JSA and/or b) leave them floating in Vanishing Point indefinitely? At least give us the basic friggin’ courtesy of a hubristic rationale like “go warn your fellow interlopers not to waste their lives interfering with my plans… or they’ll share your fate!”

    As with Underworld Unleashed‘s fluorescent green, all the rainbow speed lines are evocative of this project, but only in the worst ways. Diabolu Frank of 1994 would have found it too Lisa Frank, and Me 2020 thinks the project is way too hetro to abuse all those rainbows.

    New York City. 12 hours, 34 minutes ago.

    After hours spent farting around in NYC, it’s weird that everything is allasudden mere minutes apart. I guess drawing ten figures crudely was less time-consuming than a closer establishing shot with actual detail.

    I tossed through The Last Days of the Justice Society of America years before this issue, and appreciated the respect afforded the old-timers in their first retirement. This feels like they’re being punished for having the gall to come out of that retirement. Like they’re being beaten for wandering away from the home. That said, I didn’t have a problem then or now with Alan and Jay’s reaction. After decades of hard won victories over the forces of evil, watching all of your friends fall so swiftly would steal the resolve of most anyone. Crisis are a young man’s game, anyway.

    New Earth. The 30th Century. 10 hours, 6 minutes ago.

    It is just so valuable, and so greatly appreciated, that I have been informed of the exact minute our heroes arrive a millennium in the future. I can’t speak for you fine gentlemen, but I must confess that give or take 90 seconds and I would have completely lost the plot of this thing. And thank the fates that they alerted us to New Earth time, which is distinct from the old Earth time from before the moon rained down on it. Earth’s compromised moonless orbit would have totally skewed our perception of time there! And if it we’re talking Rimbor time? Total collapse of my suspension of disbelief. Too much to ask of me as a reader.

    Team Fodder makes me wistful for Shadow Demons. I actually thunk the horrid thought “who’s that loser trying to go up against Geo-Force?” There’s a whole panel of Superman vs. Tormund Giantsbane for what?

    The Sanctuary of the Immortal Dr. Mist and his Leymen. 9 hours, 17 minutes ago.

    That timestamp is carrying a lot of water. Did anybody else read the dialogue as “My time of immorality is over”? Me too. The JSA had to get kacked over a handful of pages because we needed three panels of Primal Force set-up that didn’t even accurately set up Primal Force? And they killed the first black guy to get a monologue, which is not a great look.

    New York City. 9 hours, 12 minutes ago.

    You have to admit, Runs-Fast-Grandpa deciding to run fast until he can locate the Spectre is the best battle plan the heroes have come up with so far in this mini-series. I really don’t think that it would take three hours to inform loved ones of the health statuses of three separate patients of varying degrees of dead. At least this was set before the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or I’d have to Cinema Sins that whole scene.

    New York City. 8 hours, 22 minutes ago.

    Yes she’s a vivacious woman, but even in 1994, Angie Dickenson was much too old to be playing a pregnant woman. Or maybe it’s Martha Stewart? With a lot of groundwork at the fertility clinic? None of this would have happened if Power Girl had used a force field *that* night.

    Vanishing Point. 8 hours, 9 minutes ago, Earth time.

    Is there a solitary line of dialogue in this book that isn’t hackneyed exposition? I guess when the Ray was randomly being a dick to Metron, despite that being out of character? We’re halfway through the mini-series, and this entire time, the incessant thought: what is happening with the Linear Men? Such relief I’m feeling now.

    Earth’s Distant Past. 10 hours, 6 minutes ago.

    The suspense is KILLING ME!!! But WHEN in Earth’s Distant Past?!? I never thought Jurgens could top the nerve-wrecking inanity of Vanishing Point time, but he just blew me away with a very specific helping of time-meat in a damp crumbly shell (taco? taquito? tostada? taco bowl?) of exceptionally non-specific timeframe. “It’s 01:14:36 a.m. on Someday of Whenever.”

    “–Total Entropy!” Existential threat or succinct literary review? 0.0 on Pitchfork. No beat. Cannot dance to it. “I’m… always chasing rain… bows…”

    “Not Waverider” said no one, not even the guy who mourns for Pantha. Waverider is the Kole of Pariahs.

    New Earth. The 30th Century. 10 hours, 6 minutes ago.

    I sincerely hope Gaspar only lettered stuff like “New Earth. The 30th Century.” once and just photocopied it again and again.

    New York City. 8 hours, 8 minutes ago.

    Why would arresting entropy in the 30th Century impact on Team Titans in the 21st century? And then Extant’s past self after acquiring Waverider’s powers merges with his present self despite needing those powers back when he did in the JSA? Not that any of this makes sense, but I still have to point out that this terrible meal comes in such tiny portion sizes.

    New Earth. The 30th Century. 7 hours, 59 minutes ago.

    I saw Steel on video in the early ’00s. It was not engaging. I think I only half-watched while doing something else because it’s dull and cheap looking. It’s no Catwoman. I may try to rewatch before you guys do Steel #0, or I may have common sense instead. Despite Bass offering a perfect set-up, I will not use this opportunity to rant about the wasted potential of Nightwing, the greatest team leader in the DCU.

  6. That Nightwing moment was another example where the writing and dialog didn’t hit the mark. Donna could have said “We should do what Nightwing says because he has the best instincts” or “the most experience” or anything for great decision-making. But zeroing in on tactics? It’s awkward-sounding and makes the moment fall flat.

    I did get a kick out the cover featuring “young heroes”, or “the new generation of a legacy” (except for Anima, because why was she even here?), which also was a little preview of things to come. Not necessarily great things to come, but I’ll take it. I’m starting to get bummed thinking how many comics I bought from this era, and looking back, how many were “not great” and I don’t want to revisit. Sigh.

    But great show as always, guys!

  7. I love your coverage of this- but my memory of the disappointment of this issue makes it harder. A lot of first exposure too the ugliest side of fandom was exposed by this series. I switched comic book stores with a lot of drama when this came out. – Allen Scott and the multi-verse are my favorite things from DC, the ((Villain)) Fans were kinda already hostile. I loudly suggested Kyle as “cool new” guy, who could maybe take the “original ring” instead.
    I am glad to know it is actually bad and it’s not just my negative associations makings me think so.

  8. Hey Siskoid and Bass,

    I am really enjoying your coverage of Zero Hour! When I started my own podcast six years ago, the first thing I reviewed was ZH, as it was the event that made me a regular, month-to-month reader of comics.

    I understand the ill will that fans feel about this particular issue, however I also feel bad that Dan Jurgens tends to receive the brunt of the angry responses from the fandom. From my understanding, Mr. Jurgens advocated for a separate Earth for the JSA, one where they could live out their days in a perpetually 1950’s environment. I wonder if the bizarrely-depicted routing of the JSA reflects Mr. Jurgens’s sense of frustration and forced resignation.

    As to Jay and Alan’s uncharacteristic behaviour in this issue, I am going to aim for a No-Prize in explaining their actions. Jay had just learned that a man who he saw as a grandson had died, and he was unable to save his friends from being aged to death or infirmity. Given that he was also aged decades in just seconds, I can see him feeling overwhelmed and making a rash decision to just give up. As for Alan, stories told elsewhere showed Alan having difficulty being in a much-younger body; in GLC Quarterly, he went so far as to say the body and costume he found himself in were not his. Later issues would support the idea that Alan did not like looking only a little older than his adult children, and was quite uncomfortable about being much younger (physically) than his wife. Given that he escaped the fate of his peers and was not able to stop Extant, my feeling is that Alan was experiencing survivor’s guilt and, like Jay, made a rash decision in the moment.

    There is a retcon from Green Lantern: Rebirth which I believe can also be used to explain why the JSA was so easily taken down, as well as why Jay and Alan walked away in the middle of the Crisis in Time, but for the benefit of those who have not read ZH before, i don’t want to spoil what’s coming. I’ll save my idea for a response to your review of ZH # 1 and 0.

  9. I also hated to the members of the Justice Society quitting – it was beyond out of character and it was ridiculous that the modern heroes would accept it. Not even a pep talk? I know mind control is a terrible cliche, but a big, awesome mind control cloud descending retroactively to ‘explain’ all this would have been fine. This was the Greatest Gemeration.

    Dan Jurgens is active on Twitter and friendly – why not ask him onto the final show to talk about some of this stuff – with a big dollop of praise for the bits you enjoy

    It was interesting to hear Frank’s thoughts on Steel – does ‘gangbanging’ have just the one meaning in the US? It always makes me laugh when I hear it.

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