Zero Hour Strikes! Friends of Hal Jordan

In one time track, Siskoid and Bass cover Green Arrow #90 and the end of an era. In another, they're up against Guy Gardner: Warrior #24 as Guy tries to headline the crossover event himself! Then the timelines merge back just in time for Letters Lost in Time (your feedback from our previous episode).

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 14 below!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.14 Supplemental

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13 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Friends of Hal Jordan

  1. Hal has no friends-
    This issue of Guy Gardner was possibly the first comic book I got heat from H.E.A.T. over- it’s definitely the first Guy comic they bullied me over. As my defense was “actually I’m an Allen Scott fan” said attacks were easily deflected- I was in fact set up as a “well actually” trap. “Got a love the 90’s internet- NOT!”

  2. Yeah, Hal has no friends. He doesn’t even have a personality.

    I followed the entire Ollie run of Green Arrow, and mark me as one of those sad to see him return to the proper DCU. The lead up to Connor Hawke (a truly great character in his own right) was rough riding. As to this issue, I loved it. Great, imaginative use of the event at hand.

    The Warrior issue was pretty good too! I’ve read very few Gardner comics, so thank you for introducing me to this one.

    Looking forward to next month’s installment.

  3. I’ve slapped Oliver Queen around so much on the internet for nearly a quarter of a century that I just can’t summon the stamina to reached back with that pimp hand yet again. Archery is cool– way cooler than guns– so when I was a kid, I gravitated toward the archers. I saw the Walt Disney Robin Hood cartoon theatrically, and they still ran old Errol Flynn stuff on UHF when I was a kid. I get it. The problem is that twenty-something fanboys took over the creation of comic books in the ’70s, and felt the need to turn their obnoxious tween musings into text. To them, shrinking was a lame power and bows & arrows were useless against demi-gods, so they made those types of heroes self-conscious when they weren’t sidelining them. Ray Palmer’s a brilliant and quietly arrogant badass, but they made him a whiny cuck Hank Pym waving a sandwich sword around to make up for his microscopic genitalia. Hey Birdbrain, hand in your mace for an Uzi and METAL wings, bro. Ollie Queen is a bossy loudmouth because it’s the only way he can feel empowered next to Superman. Sorry you pulled the bum personality when Denny O’Neill passed around the hat with pieces of crumpled paper that had Marvel character tropes hastily scribbled on them. You sure you don’t want an Uzi, too?

    So instead of trading in the boxing glove arrow for, I dunno, a Promethean tipped armor-piercer, they just gave up. Only DC could look at a hero who throws corny stylized boomerangs and think “one of the greatest and most essentially tools in the human experience cannot compete with this.” Green Arrow could have literally just flung arrowtips like throwing stars and it would have made more aerodynamic sense than Bat-shuriken, but whatever. Let’s do auteur theory, instead. Mike Grell was at best a second-tier 1970s fan favorite who took his fading heat to First Comics early in the the ’80s, but DC was able to position him as another Frank Miller for one last new wave mature readers this-totally-isn’t-just-low-enthusiasm-Cannon-fodder prestige format mini-series hurrah.

    As a kid without access to the direst market, those house ads for The Longbow Hunters really whet my appetite. With the help of the mall bookstore, I could get my hands on ’80s grim n’ gritty milestones like The Dark Knight Returns, Born Again and even The Cult, but Hunters eluded me for years. I did get odd issues of the spin-off ongoing, like the first annual with the soft “Fables” crossover. As single servings, they never satisfied, but I also assumed that I was just missing something from dipping in. Oddly enough, I had an easier time giving Black Canary a spin, since she was familiar from JLI and her solo mini-series was coming out when I finally had a pull box. A key issue for me was Green Arrow #75, which I pre-ordered because I was a “Titans Hunt” fan and it was one of the few appearances of Arsenal in his purple costume. It was an extra-length anniversary issue devoted to… Ollie’s relationship status? And it was about then that I realized that I wasn’t ever going to go back and read this series. I did eventually get a set of The Longbow Hunters, which was boring and not a little gross. That was about the time I realized that I preferred Mike Grell to just shut up and draw pretty.

    I wish somebody would write a book about the generational divides in comics. Roy Thomas was too old for the Baby Boom, but it’s interesting how fans like himself who couldn’t let go of Golden Age comics shaped everything that followed. They created the trap where DC tried to start fresh in the Silver Age, only to invent Earth-2 and be mired forever in its hoary history. The Boomers that grew up on the Silver Age material stayed with the medium for head comix and trippy ’70s material, which created this weird hybrid market that tried to make even children’s power fantasies cater to those tastes. Gen-X still wanted and got their own heroes, but run through this weird nostalgic prism where even “their” comics felt like someone else’s hand-me-downs. The last true generation of new western comics fans were late Gen-X and early Millennials in the Chromium Age, when everything was NEW and EXTREME and pretty universally BAD, but at least it was most theirs.

    I mention this because comics in the ’80s were daring and sophsticated by design, playing simultaneously to the now middle-aged Boomers, the edgy teenage Generation X, and formerly resistant intellectuals swayed that there was something to this Pop Art after all. Only in a period like this could a guy like Mike Grell be allowed to take a piece of corporate IP and internalize it so completely. A Green Arrow was so old hat, so devalued, that Grell could turn him into a creator proxy for a four-color Big Chill. He could literally make this kid’s super-hero an idealistic ’60s burnout confronting aging in the Reagan-Bush years. He could strip him of all his fantastic elements, turn him into basically a dramatic newspaper strip like Dateline: Danger, and play that out for his graying fellows until they finally aged out or died off. I think it speaks to the singular narcissism of Boomers that they had the run of comic books from their own 50s/60s childhood through my 70s/80s one and only started to cater to other tastes after a forty year stranglehold. I mean yeah, most ’90s comics were terrible, but so were most ’70s ones, but which decade is the “worst” in the popular consciousness?

    TL;DR Green Arrow was a boring book for old people until DC decided they wanted some of that speculator boom money just after it was bursting. They threw it into the Batman editorial group, who used it as Jim Aparo’s retirement home as he was going steadily blind. It was dominated by editors-moonlighting-as-writers and whichever Batman group scripter had time to collect a check that month. Mix in a guest-star-of-the-month, a heavy-handed “Imagey” inker, and package it under the amorphous heading of “Crossroads,” when what you really mean is “we don’t know what to do with this.” The silent issue was a perfect resolution, though. “This is a book about a dude whose skills are fading, facing going out like a punk at the hands of a nobody.” No Kingpin. No swallowing a shotgun blast. No Superman holding you and crying after a glorious sacrifice. Just a guy past his prime running on borrowed time.

  4. You have to feel bad for Guy Gardner.
    Misses out on being a GL because of proximity to Abin Sur. Becomes comatose. Hal makes it with his girlfriend. Then becomes one of the better new renditions to come out of Crisis. Headlines a huge book. Then gets stuck with Sinestro’s ring. And finally, this bizarre new power.

    Funny, it seems way more 90s EXXXTREME comic in nature (his whole body is a weapon) than a Power Ranger homage.

    But Supergirl sounds like she is featured enough in this issue that I need to hunt it down!

    As always, excellent coverage!

  5. the Green arrow must have been good. I did’nt hate it as I always do wordless comics. As for Guy I liked him having his own powers.
    I can see why they did’nt do it but if i’d been editor I might have let time paradox batgirl stay.
    As for H.EAT I never joined a group with a name (what was the first Heat?) but I was indeed a loud, rude Hal fan and that I AM TRULY SORRY,

  6. My first issue of Justice League International was #8, and “Moving Day” was obviously a perfect jumping on point. I got it at one of the satellite Third Planet locations, near the drive-thru liquor store, as one of their scratched & dinged discount copies. I got it right before we moved to Nevada, because I remember reading it while we were driving there, in my little coffin pallet in the covered bed, surrounded by all our worldly belongings. I thought it was the funniest thing I’d read since Ambush Bug, Guy Gardner was only on a few pages, and in his addled “nice Guy” mode, so he didn’t make an impression. I collected Millennium and some more JLI stuff, but Guy continued to not stand out beyond being the Green Lantern with the big boots and bad haircut. JLI wasn’t at most convenience stores where I was living, so I de facto dropped the book. I started picking it back up again when we got back to Texas, I think, with the final part of the extended Mr. Miracle arc. I was not impressed, but got a kick out of the Oberon solo story that tied into Invasion!, which I wasn’t reading.

    It was Justice League International #23 that sealed the deal. Guy was back to being a dick, and from his [* Expletive Deleted] moment to his “I’m a real sweetheart” smile, I found him the hilarious show stealer. He was the best part of the book while I collected it to #29, but the dour Blue Beetle arc and the switch in artists to Ty Templeton turned me off. I’d pick up the odd issue, but didn’t start collecting it again until “Breakdowns” after #50. In the meantime, I did catch him in a few Legends back issues. I dropped the title again with the Justice League Spectacular.

    Since I wasn’t fond of either Joe Staton’s or Dan Jurgens’ art, this was a dry spell. Thanks to the heat surrounding Green Lantern‘s “Emerald Twilight”, I started picking up that title with Kyle Rayner’s debut as lead in #51, as well as the tie-in “Emerald Fallout” beginning with its concluding chapter in Guy Gardner: Warrior #20. I mostly got it for the Wonder Woman appearance, and while most of her guest appearances were lame, Beau Smith really handled her with a lot of class and grace. They were beginning Guy’s redemption arc, and I was so bowled over by his interaction with other heroes (again, especially Wonder Woman) that I was intrigued to try more. Not only did I keep buying the book monthly going forward, but I also started pulling relatively accessible back issues out of quarter bins. I really did not enjoy the Jones/Staton material, and they clearly had no idea what to do with Guy as a soloist, but my enjoyment of Warrior kept me going. I eventually closed the loop with “Yesterday’s Sins,” A.K.A. “Guy Gardner: Year One,” a four issue arc by Chuck Dixon that was much more sympathetic to the idea of the character being a hero, and initiated the character arc that I had responded to. The last few issues were the toughest to find, as the transition to Warrior actually had some heat on it, thanks to the Parallax tie-ins.

    I was buying more comics than ever in 1994, relishing the resources to finally get pretty much anything I wanted with regard to monthlies, spending something like $40 a week to fill a void of unhappiness. The increased purchasing power was not necessarily an increase in enjoyment, and I was feeling somewhat adrift. The two-fisted action and uncommonly curvy ladies Beau Smith and Mitch Byrd were offering were some much needed succor, and over-committed to their brand. Byrd managed to get out about seven issues to that point, and he was the major draw, but he helped to instill a lot of affection for Guy Gardner in me before his departure from the book (and essentially comics altogether. I think he went into animation or something.) There was a Indiana Jones-flavored two-parter ahead of Zero Hour that alerted me that I was not too young for nostalgia. Then came Guy Gardner: Warrior #24, which was way too busy for its own good. I had too little familiarity with DC history to appreciate all the references, but I was still a big enough fan of Phil Jimenez’s art that his pages alone could have sold me. It was even fun to see the very ’90s Warrior given the Mike Parobeck treatment (but not the phoned-in Jackson “GICE.”)

    Within a couple years, I’d reached back to the okay Reborn prestige mini-series, and the Steve Englehart/Joe Staton run on Green Lantern. I’d argue that the “Countdown” arc during Crisis was one of the best GL stories ever, but the book got way too precious when it became The Green Lantern Corps after #200. I also put together a run of Giffen/DeMatteis JLI, and yeah, the one-punch period was a high water mark for mainstream comics.

    * When I was a kid, my overly alliterative read Jackson Juice, but I worked with a guy named Guice a decade back, and it was pronounced more like saying “Guy-Ice” so fast that it was only one syllable.

  7. I caught the first 20 issues of the Grell’s Green Arrow series, and regret not sticking with it. A victim of finances and changing interests. It’s definitely on the list for a digital read is the entire series becomes available.

    But Green Arrow #90 was a fascinating take on the time anomalies in ZH. I wonder if more of the anomalies manifested like this off-camera. Regardless, I enjoyed this story a lot, so thanks for giving me an excuse to read it.

    As for Guy Gardner #24, I was still on the JLI bandwagon in this post-Bwah-hah-hah era, getting Green Lantern’s series and this spinoff. And yeah, I kept with Guy’s change in status longer than I should have. Again, I can’t explain it. I dropped Grell’s Arrow, and kept shape-shifting Warrior. Fully admit I don’t always make good choices.

    But it was a nice change to see some proactive heroes in ZH, and the cameos from various eras was fun. Boy, seeing Parobeck’s pages is bittersweet, since his JSA series was excellent, and how badly ZH treated those heroes.

    Wait, we’re already to Zero Hour #1? Can’t wait!

  8. I’m one of those who isn’t a fan of silent issues, they ain’t comics – we need a story told in pictures AND words. And yes, the fact that they’re quick reads is a factor in my lack of enjoyment. This Green Arrow book isn’t that; it was slow going. I’ve been through it three times, having heard Siskoid’s synopsis, and I still can’t follow it, despite the excellent Ed Barreto being the illustrator – it doesn’t split properly or consistently, it seems to switch between whether we’re following one strand or both.

    Was this issue killing off the Grell Ollie, then? Was it saying he’d been on a parallel world all along?

  9. I’ve now heard the rest of the show, and that Warrior book sounds tremendous, even with Kari Limbo in there.

    You really sent me down a Green Arrow rabbit hole… I’d never read any issues from this run bar #100 – and yes, the Basically Grell Ollie did get that far. I was amazed at how dark and Comic Book Asian Conner Hawke was when introduced. They really fumbled that ball over time.

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