Zero Hour Strikes! Zero Hour #0

This is it! Zero Hour Crisis in Time #0! Technically the end of the crossover event! Who will live? (Most people.) Who will die? (Most people.) Will the DC Universe ever be the same again? (Depends who you ask.) There may not be a reality anymore, but Bass and Siskoid are going to do their best to discuss the death and rebirth of the DCU in detail!

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 19 below!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.19 Supplemental

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30 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Zero Hour #0

  1. could this be from Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison? The epic story where seven heroes have to save the world without ever meeting…

  2. Before I forget and before I put some more thoughts together about this zero issue, I think Siskoid is thinking of Zatanna using a bunch of heroes and Perry White to deus ex machina Metropolis back together again. Right after Zero Hour, Metropolis goes from trashed to whole again and a few months later they revealed it was Zatanna, a group of heroes, and the previously mentioned Perry to magic the city into being not destroyed. Metropolis was slightly changed and that was the city that existed for the next few years.

    I don’t know if this was what Siskoid was thinking, but it’s what sprang to mind.

        1. That’s the story that makes No Man’s Land completely irrelevant and ridiculous in the DCU, for me. The heroes literally reset a city once. Why can’t they do it again?

          I know others love that storyline, but the basic premise in the DC Universe is just as ridiculous as Batman’s “urban legend” thing, which began post-Zero Hour.


          1. Because Batman won’t ask for help until after he’s punched Nightwing in the face!

  3. Great show, chaps. I never realized at my first read which a disjointed, slapdash mess this main series was.

    Just so you know, the “first [Earth] woman killed by man’s aggression” was actually depicted in the first issue of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman series co-plotted by Greg Potter and George Perez way back in 1987. The soul of the pregnant cavewoman, and her unborn daughter, were the first souls taken by the Earth goddess Gaea, who collected the souls of various women who were killed before their time (by a man) over the next several centuries. These souls would eventually be reborn as the Amazon race, with the cavewoman’s soul becoming Hippolyta, and the unborn daughter’s soul later giving life to the clay form of Wonder Woman.

    In Wonder Woman (1987) #1, the caveman killed his mate in a fit of rage because he was cast out by his tribe after losing his left hand to a saber-toothed tiger. Though you couldn’t tell that from the nasty scene in the post-Zero Hour timeline since the caveman depicted has both hands, with the should-be-missing left hand wielding the murder weapon.

    In either case, the scene is indeed very disturbing. More so by the fact that George Perez stated in interviews that the caveman was technically Wonder Woman’s biological father (the first time Wonder Woman actually had a father in DC Comics lore).

        1. And the placement in the timeline told me that the post-Crisis origin of the Amazons was still intact post-Zero Hour, which made sense to me since it was still relatively new.

          I would have thought to rest of the history of the Amazons and Wonder Woman would stay the same as well. But no.

  4. Thought just before I listen,

    Hal became Parallax as I finally got a good LCS for discussion. However it happened in this badly written style and HEAT was born.
    I actually found Conics+ by issue 1 of ZH- according to the sticker on my bags. The guy who ran it liked Hal as a fallen hero so I had support in my on line anti-HEAT actions. However I have this issue associated with the change of store. The DCU this created is the one that I love most of all. That store was where comics became public not hidden.
    This series is rough- but it left good memories.

    My “head cannon l” to this day, is that Zero Hour happens because “Dream /Sandman” is gone. The new world of stories is “Daniel as Sandman”.
    That leads in to “Wonder Woman grandmother of Stories” theory. Something I LOVE to ramble about.

    So I have a lot to thank this bad story for- but it’s still not good –

  5. Hear me out – what if Hal Jordan is the perfect person to wield the most powerful weapon in the universe. Bland, limited imagination, and a lack of inspiration might keep the weapon in check! Do you want a Kyle Rayner, a man with a wild and brilliant point-of-view, an artist, in charge? Do you want a military genius who can construct and deconstruct items on a whim like John Stewart with that ring? Or a person with unbridled determination like Guy Gardner in charge of something?

    No. You want oatmeal with a ring. Of course the guy can’t restart a universe. he’s a doofus.

    Great episode, guys!

    Loved the bit on the accents. I wrote Siskoid about this privately, but I have a radar for Texas accents, so I know where you’re coming from.

    And yes, Bass, comics should be treated like comics. How many times has Bart Simpson celebrated his 10th birthday? A few. Does it matter? no. Homer has gone from someone who grew up in the 70s to someone who had his teen years in the 90s! Does it change the show? not a bit. Who cares, I say! who cares!

  6. In 1994, I was wrapped up way too much to notice how…artificial this all seems. In fact, that has never really hit me until listening to this podcast. I do recall wondering why they just didn’t let Hal reboot everything…since that’s essentially what needed to happen. And heck, I wanted the Mutliverse back. And apparently so did DC, in the long run, because how many times have we gotten it back since? The Kingdom gave us Hypertime, which is a multiverse in everything but a name. Infinite Crisis gave us a multiverse back for sure and certain, even if they didn’t exactly know what to do without for another few years.. Final Crisis, The New 52, Rebirth, Doomsday Clock and the most recent Metal series either reiterated the multiverse, or gave us a brand new one.

    So here, the one time DC had the chance to pull that trigger in perhaps the most story-appropriate way possible, they swerved, only to regret it later. Editorially, anyway. And as you pointed out, it’s all about editorial.

    I did love that fold-out timeline though!


    1. While I’m on-board with the heroes not just letting Hal reboot everything on his own, I’ve always felt the writers needed to do a better job of telling us *why* just letting Hal do it his way was wrong. As it was, it was a lot of “it’s just wrong,” as if we’re already supposed to understand why.

      While “If you don’t know, I can’t explain it to you” may be a reasonable real-world response (in some cases, at least) to intractable people, it definitely doesn’t work for comic book heroes.

  7. The End of Today… Such a striking cover in its time. Really stood out on the stands, and the silver ink was deployed so tastefully. Definitely sparked the blank sketch cover movement. Smaller, cheaper pieces that you can put in a bag & board? The appeal to fanboys is obvious. I wonder how long it takes for people to notice how scarce a pristine, unmarked copy of nearly thirty year old key book with an all white cover routinely marred by convention sketches has become?

    Did Dan Jurgens pull a John Byrne in charging a full page rate for drawing key lime Jordan jism in zero-g?

    I had to stop for a minute to sort out the perspective on that splash page. At first I thought it was like the Zero Hour promo image with Extant as a giant treating doll-sized heroes as playthings. Since Triumph is right by Parallax’s head, I then thought that he was standing way back behind Jordan. Maybe those were Oan powered fart bubbles? For half a second I thought Hal had shrunk the heroes, but I blame that on all the Atom comics I’ve been reading lately. Turns out Hal is hovering above a suspiciously small number of lower class heroes who are all looking at him from behind and in uniform direction. I know that when I’m being threatened by a mass murdering maniac levitating off the ground, I like to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with also a mass murdering maniac, but on the ground with me, as we both fix our eyes on the megalomaniac’s cape in the non-breeze. Admittedly, there isn’t much else to look at in John Oliver’s void, which Zero Hour also retconned because I’m certain that he blew up said void in the final episode of 2020. Mr. Nutterbutter will receive a strongly worded letter on this continuity gaffe.

    Also, don’t have the guy in red, gray, and black armor stand next to the guy in a red and black interpretive dance onesie. That’s rookie shit. Also, I wrote a lengthy commentary about the previous issue not too long ago and I’ve already completely forgotten how any of these people got to this place and for what purpose.

    Now that he’s a demigod, does Hal Jordan remember Triumph?

    How do we know Hal Jordan didn’t alter the universe and simply incepted his friends into thinking otherwise? Aside from Hal being to stupid to think of that?

    I’m pretty sure that Sue Dibny would have been sodomized in the Jordanverse. Maybe that’s specific evidence to that theory?

    Parallax absorbed all of the Crisis energies, erased almost all of space-time, and then… played Dr. Evil in limbo with Alpha Centurion until he could be defeated?

    In what way did Extant add value to Parallax’s plan? Didn’t Monarch already rule the one real Earth in 2001? There’s no scenario where Parallax should require the good will of Guy Gardner for his plan to succeed, by why not suck off Extant’s energy, as he’d done to Waverider, and leave Hank Hall a weathered corpse, as he did the JSA?

    You could argue that the demonizing of Hal’s plot to bring back the multiverse was a metatextual attack on H.E.A.T./irate Pre-Crisis fans wanting to tear down a universe Dan Jurgens helped build, but you’ll never convince me that Dan Jurgens knows what metatext is. Also, does anyone under 40 who never posted to a message board know what H.E.A.T. was?

    I picked up an issue of Comic Scene magazine recently with an article on the event that spent pages explaining that Jurgens wanted to do an event that would patch up the holes left by Crisis, and a few months later Legion editor K.C. Carlson came sniffing around for Legion inclusion in a crossover for the sales bump. Every indication was that this mini-series was plotted on a whiteboard or via a wall of Post-In notes supplied by group editors.

    Parallax is a nigh-omnipotent being who has already destroyed virtually all of creation. We’ll beat him by rasslin’. They should have just posed him the riddle of the ship of Theseus, to which he’d reply that he was never great at algebra. Then he’d quote one of the Calvin & Hobbes “math atheist” strips and giggle like Scott Adams.

    Say what you will, but DC’s armor game was on point in 1994. Parallax had a sweet design, and Warrior? The Image boys wish they could have pulled off armored chaps. Lil Nas X wants some for his next video.

    This battle is the energy blast equivalent of Max Landis’ punch face argument against Doomsday in The Death of Superman. Also. give me $70 million dollars and I could film a better version of that story in its entirety than Zack Snyder, and do it inside 3 hours.

    In the end, the Spectre was a plot complication, not the resolution. Least effective most powerful person.

    Reminder that Parallax’s power ring couldn’t contain a batarang or an arrow. He was tapped and bluffing, clearly. It’s like the cliche about male drivers never wanting to stop and ask directions, except he’d destroyed everything before running out of gas without reaching a viable restart. And worst of all, stuck in limbo with few options, Batgirl was way too old for him.

    The tiniest little tippy-toe tip of an arrowhead pierces the breastplate of Parallax’s armor, there’s no body, and Ollie’s been doing this too long to be this gullible.

    The selection of heroes is nonsensical, and I didn’t even realize that Donna Troy was there until the headshots. Good thing we had a Darkstar mazer at the ready. Essential to triggering a new big bang, out of 20th century energies, that’ll perfectly replicate the circumstances of the original.

    I have to admit that Extant sounds like Hank Hall, which is a perfect explanation for why Extant never caught on.

    I still can’t believe Power Girl gave birth after age 50, based on her appearance in this mini-series. At one point, people thought that was Hal’s baby. Instead, it was an Atlantean immaculate birth thing. Except Kara turned out to be Kryptonian. Did Larry Niven ever get to Kryptonian vaginas rendering men eunuchs through Kegel spasms and whether their eggs were impervious to mere human semen? Hey, I’m doing a gender-flipped CIS-Het version of a homophobic Eddie Murphy bit from 1983. Am I progressive or appropriative?

    Don’t tell Ollie that he barely had anything to do with Hal for nearly a hundred issues of his solo series. It was one summer road trip. Move on, my man. If your last name’s Queen, your first should be Drama.

    Female Time Trapper is a reach. Everyone had a ponytail in 1994.

    I agree that Siskoid is almost certainly referencing the weird, late coda to “The Fall of Metropolis” in Adventures of Superman #522 with regard to Zatanna handwaving the problem away. As I recall, the Superman creators had just kinda stopped referencing the state of Metropolis months earlier, and the story backfilled Zee, Perry White, and random heroes correcting the matter with magic and memories.

    That fold out was my religion for a few years there. I used to synopsize the comics I read on 3×5 index cards that included that story’s place on this timeline. Hence the “key issue” reference earlier.

    It wasn’t referenced too often, but the “first woman killed by man’s aggression” bit was the first scene in the first issue of Perez’s Wonder Woman run. I figured that even the most casual and disinterested DC reader from that period would remember that. Just another example of how little regard Wonder Woman’s actual solo comics are held in.

    Even with Ian Karkull accounted for, the JSA’s being moored to the World War II era was always going to doom the DC timeline. The expanse of their existence and the gulf until the arrival of Superman was unlikely before adding another three decades since this came out. Before the decade was out, they were already trying to stick the Justice experience into the 1970s desert and stuff. It was a rich potential playground for Martian Manhunter that barely got explored. Looking back, it’s extremely off that they had J’Onn predate Captain Comet, given that his lifespan only works for a mutant anyway. Did Rebirth do away with the New 52’s five year timeline?

    All those 50s/60s created properties debuting a few years ahead of the Silver Age incarnations of 30s/40s properties was never going to be sustainable. DC refused to just, say, stick the Challengers in the 1950s and let them have died off before Superman was born to fill the JSA/JLA absence. They could have all been little Steve Rogers/Barry Allens of bygone heroism.

    I never forgave DC keeping Batman Years One-Three as such canon that Robin couldn’t debut until after every Teen Titan but Wonder Girl. Hawk & Dove not more senior than Robin, jerks. Likewise, the Titans not forming until the equivalent of the mid-to-late ’70s DC publishing slate.

    So little happens in years 6-7, but “three years ago” starts maybe seven years prior to then-current publishing. Technically, the JLI period was ongoing, so its sixish years of publishing took up three years but the 27 years before that fit in just twice the space? Tim Drake’s barely five year existence still gave him a year on the job at this point? The modern creators had too much consideration for space and the previous half-century was given too little. Every year should be as packed as “Today.”

    I can’t remember when I first saw that Zero Hour promotional video. Maybe bootlegs at a convention? Not the YouTube era, I hope?

    The entire Zero Hour podcast to date has been me waiting for Zero Month to start. The best is yet to come, so of course we start out with the tired ass Batman content. Looking forward to May, then.

    The next podcast from Siskoid and Cobra is obviously Flashpoint Strikes. Obviously.

    1. So are we thinking Extant was a pun for Ex-Hank?

      Sorry about the Wonder Woman thing, though I read a smattering of Wonder Woman issues in this era, I thought George Perez’s writing was very boring indeed. I don’t know if that makes me a heathen or what. That may or may not be a Greek/Pagan joke.

    2. I actually saw the blank cover for #0 coming ever since #2, with the chronal wave in the background getting bigger and bigger.

      I wonder how many blank DC Cover boards were sold on eBay claiming to be the original cover art.

  8. At this point, DC portrayed Hal as, at best, a callous, murdering sociopath. I think that’s why herodom assembled did not want him to design the new multiverse. The deity of your choice or sheer random chance both looked like better options. I agreed with them when I read this, and I still do. The fact that he planned to bring everybody back made him no less twisted. It isn’t okay to break someone’s arm just because it will heal.

    Also, what does “Everybody lives” mean anyway? EVERYbody everybody, like on Maltus? Everybody he likes? Everybody he personally murdered? (“Uhhh…sorry ’bout that. Hope it was a good afterlife.”) Every character he thought was killed off for cheap and transitory drama, without consideration of the long term value of the character?

    I was also totally with Ollie at the end. Hal had long since used up all his hard travelin’ hero buddy points. Batgirl was the straw that came long after the camel’s back was broken. I was glad they retconned this to say that it was the influence of Parallax that made him this evil. His personality arc was cardboard action hero to pensive, brooding hero to dumb dudebro, depending on who was writing, but nothing adequately explained his heel turn — not even the loss of Coast City. I was never a member of HEAT, but I benefitted from their work.

    Bass, you described Ollie as “very smart.” I’m willing to learn here. Based on what, exactly?

    My grousing aside, I loved the timeline, and I enjoyed this episode — yet again, despite the material. That’s pretty close to magic, even if Zatanna didn’t actually appear.

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