Zero Hour Strikes! Green Lantern Zeroes

Bass and Siskoid take a look at the Green Lantern family of titles and their zero issues, including Green Lantern itself, Darkstars and Guy Gardner: Warrior, but also a Zero Hour epilogue with Green Lantern/Silver Surfer: Unholy Alliances, in which they further discuss whether Parallax could or should be redeemed.

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 28 below!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.28 Supplemental

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16 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Green Lantern Zeroes

  1. I’d given Green Lantern all the chances I felt it needed by #0, and only bought it begrudgingly out of a misplaced sense of obligation. Unlike with the other replacement heroes, Hal Jordan was thoroughly demonized, and Kyle Raynor was so hard sold that I never doubted DC’s intentions. It’s just that a few dozen middle aged Boomers with an enviable amount of disposable income could afford to buy full page ads in Wizard Magazine demanding Jordan’s restoration. I was ’bout that life in the flame wars of the o.g. DC message boards, but tangling with H.E.A.T. (Hal’s Emerald Advancement Team, website still hosted on Tripod) was usually more trouble than it was worth. Anyway, the same fools still hate-read the book, so leveraging that against constant teases of Hal’s return and the actual Kyle/renewed Green Lantern fandom kept it a top seller for DC.

    That, and the tie-ins. I bought #57 because it was a crossover with New Titans. I bought #60 because it was a crossover with Warrior. I bought #63-64 because everybody guest-starred in “Parallax View,” and maybe #65 if I was still supporting crossovers with New Titans by then. I bought #71 because I was into Alan Scott by then, and #73 for the Wonder Woman appearance. I bought #76-77 because it was a crossover with Green Arrow. I bought #81 because everybody guest-starred, and because I wanted t see Hal buried under an embossed holofoil tombstone. I bought #87 because it was probably the first promoted guest appearance by Martian Manhunter after I got into him at the start of JLA. I bought #92 & #96 because they were yet more crossovers with Green Arrow, trying to make something happen with Connor Hawke that never took. I bought #95 because it had guest art by Jim Starlin. I bought #98-106 because of a pair of Legion of Super-Heroes guest appearances and the extended “Emerald Knights” arc with tons of additional guests and yet another crossover with Green Arrow.
    I bought #1000000 for the Bryan Hitch art and crossover with Martian Manhunter . I bought #108 for another Wonder Woman appearance, and #110 for a Connor Hawke appearance now that his book’s cancellation meant no more forced crossovers. At least I mostly skipped the annuals. Mostly.

    Ron Marz was absolutely shameless about exploiting Kyle’s ties to the greater DC universe to goose sales at a time when I was absolutely shameless in my fannish devotion to the greater DC universe. It didn’t hurt that the art was consistently high quality for DC, with the likes of Darryl Banks, Paul Pelletier, Ron Lim, and my personal favorite, Jeff Johnson. The CrossGen Cult came for Marz, and the less committed nor commercial Judd Winnick took over. Marz was the writer I wished would take over a character I liked, because he was entirely agreeable and not too given to shock tactics. I wouldn’t buy anything on the strength of his writing, but if he did something I was already inclined to buy, I wouldn’t object. Winnick actively disengages me, and his hammy attempts at relevance felt more like tawdry sensationalism. Remember that terrible John Stewart one-off that wasted Dale Eaglesham art on a story ripping off an old episode of M*A*S*H and added a dead sister by car accident to his planet of guilt? I could more or less miss the book entirely by the end of that run, and it became clear once Ben Raab and Charlie Adlard came aboard that DC was intentionally killing the title for the Hal Jordan rebirth.

    We really took DC/Marvel crossovers for granted in the late ’90s, given the more than decade long moratorium, and how we now know that will almost certainly never happen again with big corporate IP. I just listened to an interview with Klaus Janson where he talked about John Romita Jr. still being so sore about the under-performance of his Batman/Punisher book (the actual good one). I never read the crossover with Silver Surfer, owing to my disinterest in both characters, and the missed opportunity to use Ron Lim as bridging artist. I like Bank$, but his Surfer is bad, and he seems a misfit on Marvel properties. Owing to Marz authorship on several of these things, he actually got to use the co-owned Access character in the proper GL title, firmly tying the universes together in-continuity. Seems important, feels unimportant.

    I pretty well covered Kyle previously. He’s amiable, was a fun rookie in JLA, and a missed opportunity for diversity inclusion. He’s the Ron Marz of Green Lanterns.

  2. But seriously, why was Darkstars? L.E.G.I.O.N. were at best the Pinkertons, at worst rent-a-space-cops. Green Lanterns were knights on a good day, interstellar patrolmen on average. Positioning multiple rival operations, why would you do basically the same thing instead of contrasting? The Controllers are dark mirrors to their fellow descendants of Maltus, so why aren’t the Darkstars corrupt, or fascists, or anything but less imaginative but flashier dressed Lanterns? Their greatest assets were being grittier, more grounded, more classically sci-fi, and offering ground level entry. So then they get a soft old-timey artist, and out-grimmed by Emerald Twilight, take on more Lantern tropes, and fill out their ranks with the burdensome continuity of Donna Troy and John Stewart? I would argue that a worse artist, like Marc Campos, would have at least kept up a quasi-Image sheen to justify the book’s existence. Once Mike Collins comes on, not only is the book far too Silver Age staid, but there’s even a passing resemblance to outgoing GL artist Mark Bright.

    I think I hung on through #25, the resolution of the Colos arc. I picked up #30 as a back issue for the Martian Manhunter appearance, and bought #37 new for the Warrior crossover. This thing made it to 1996? As I recall, they were swiftly ground up as cannon fodder to build an ultimately lame New God foe for Kyle Rayner. I think “mugla” was their “poozer,” or generic lightweight alien pejorative. *taps fingers– exhales* Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

  3. I read the annual but had stopped buying G.L. over a character death. Yes- it was over the famous refrigerator girl.
    I would pick up with Kyle ((& Wally)) once JLA started
    Sandman was over, the JSA kinda dead- My lack of issues or memory for this brief time suggests If not for Grant Morrison getting to write JLA I think I would have been done with DC here.

  4. Professional wrestling was heating up again in the ’90s, but I do think there was a gut level rejection of cynically turning Guy Gardner into The Ultimate Warrior, complete with topless steroidal physique covered in vaguely tribal body paint. In retrospect, was there a better angle to play Guy as a ’90s soloist than embracing the swaggering soapy bro-opera of wrasslin’? If anything, I don’t think they went hard enough into that angle, needing more rivalries and heel/face turns where we got conciliatory gestures and a more John Wayne masculinity. I didn’t mind all the Vuldarian stuff, since it was a visually interesting way for Guy to more or less replicate his power ring constructs by way of a Plastic Man physical pliability, plus it was more grounded and visceral for a character suited to that. Also, it kept Guy in the sci-fi sphere, instead of making him a more generic super-hero type, and played to his tough guy self image. I prefer Guy as a commentary on toxic masculinity and dangerous extremist mentalities, but pulling that off as a marquee character with the talent pool available was too tall an order. I liked that Beau Smith was addressing Guy’s mental and emotional issues, while still retaining his machismo, but it was Mitch Byrd’s art that made the book. A perfect blend of creators and character interpretation that lasted… one more issue, an extra length battle with his “nemesis,” Juiced Barney meets Freddy Krueger. Well okay, Byrd came back for several more issues in between fill-ins for a crossover with the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and a Superman guest spot, but eventually. this Byrd had flown.

    I don’t know what kind of pull Smith had from his background in the market, but he managed to rope in artists well above Warrior’s relative station. J.H. Williams III. Phil Jimenez. Mike Wieringo. Joyce Chin. The underrated Rick Mays. The brilliant but forgotten Flint Henry did a whole annual. Still, there was a sense of wheels spinning– biding time between Byrd issues, revisiting the alien lineage/body horror/Dementor stuff issue-after-issue. What finally broke the book entirely was the “Way of the Warrior” crossover with Hawkman and Justice League, which happened to link books and hopefully boost sales, not because there was a necessary story to be told. Smith was good at hyping Guy up, getting him opportunities to be noticed with the right people, building him up to be his own hero. That’s why it’s so odd to me that Darkstars lasted about the same length as Warrior without a fraction of the attention or effort. Warrior was trying so hard to happen, and barely got more traction. Marc Campos kept up the “flash,” but his awful hyperbolic storytelling destroyed what little emotional nuance Smith was able to articulate. It became an ugly blunt object of a book devoted to big dumb brawls, grievances, posturing, overt branding, and surface relations with interchangeable surly supporting players. Byrd came back for the final issue fridging of Arisia, an about-face on its time dealing with the fallout of the shock death of Ice. By then, it was just that kind of book.

  5. Kyle was and is my favorite GL, I’m currently collecting his entire run-in singles as a lot of his run hasn’t been put into trade! So, to quote Thanos, “I’ll do it myself!” Great job guys really enjoyed this one and eagerly awaiting the Jack Knight Episode! I find it funny that Kyle’s relationship with Marvel didn’t exactly end in his cross over book. In his own book he moves to Bleeker Street passes a weird building that looks suspiciously like the Sanctum Santorum, only to run into of all people Wong on the street. It is actually Marvel’s Wong too as noted in a surprisingly recent interview as they just wanted to sneak this joke in. Kyle has to deal with Faust who’s lurking a back-alley behind the Sanctum because of a high concentration of magical energy that the street seems to emanate. Kyle’s apartment actual is also just down the street from Stephan’s Sanctorum on the opposite side of the road. There is actually a small GL easter egg in Marvel’s Spider-man on the PS4/5. If you go down the street from the Sanctum, you’ll find a Coffee shop though not named Radu’s it’s of similar design to the comic and has a roof top nearly identical to the one in Kyles’s book. Some call it a coincidence as this is just how the game mapped this out, but us Kyle fans know this is probably an easter egg put in by the programmers.

  6. In retrospect with the current times, it seems unbelievable that DC didn’t renumber and relaunch after the zero issues. I’m glad they didn’t, because so many of their series were terrible at this stage and relaunches work best with good planning and a fresh approach. Doing this all at once across the board leads to New 52.

    Out of interest, have you been tracking how many of the zero issues you’ve enjoyed so far?

    My personal count is 6!

  7. I haven’t had a ladder with a grading formula of anything, but since you brought it up, lemme see…

    Oh. This is embarrassing. So I was copying and pasting a loose four tiered ranking from off the headers of the Supplemental sections of the blog based on near thirty year old memory. I was almost done when it hit me– I actually did do a contemporaneous ladder. I was working security at a sprawling auto dealership and spending a few hundred dollars a month (unadjusted) in 1994, so I had too much time on my hands. I also had a bunch of spreadsheet-style binder pages from some defunct company with 37 slots per page, enough to (sometimes) fit (most) of the books I bought in a given month. I’ve got, I would guesstimate, something like 40 pages of these period rankings in a well worn yellow paper binder under the heading… sigh… PSEUDO-FANBOY REVIEW. I even had a doodled mascot toward the end– an orange highlighter riff on the Spectre dubbed “Pseudo.” Specifically for Zero Month, I roughly hand-lettered and monochromatically colored the logos for each individual ranking, though I had to bump the Superman titles to the following month for space (and stiffed them on the logo treatment.) I even meticulously credited the entire creative team in tiny lettering, which is probably why I refuse to acknowledge below the line credits on podcasts today. If there’s any demand, I can send Siskoid a scan.

    The issues I gave a three star rating to, in order, were…
    1) The Demon
    2) Hawkman
    3) Wonder Woman
    4) Legion of Super-Heroes
    5) Xenobrood
    6) Flash

    The first 2.5 stars were Aquaman, Starman, R.E.B.E.L.S. ’94, and on through the top 20. The 1.5 stars at the bottom were Spectre, Outsiders, New Titans, and Gunfire. I should point out that I even did title-specific stars, like ☥☥Ω for Fate #0. The following month, The Adventures of Superman was the only #0 to get 2.5 stars and a ranking of 14, trailed by ** MOS and Jurgens Superman at 31-32, rounded out by Action Comics at 35th place out of 37. Only J.L.A. #93 and Division 13 #1 rated lower (*½).

  8. I started this volume of Green Lantern from #1, and bought all of the spin-off titles, among so many others. This was the heart of my peak collecting years, for what it’s worth. That said, I liked Kyle immediately and thought this was an interesting legacy direction, which you both discussed quite a bit. A brand new character in the identity would usually be a new series, unless it was planned to be undone in short order. But did I think that far ahead? Did I want Hal to be restored? Nope to both. So Hal suiting up in this issue seemed like a fake out right away. My thoughts mirrored the story. They hadn’t given Hal a true redemption arc yet, he hadn’t atoned for the people he killed, so he shouldn’t be a hero again. But is the story reflecting my sensibilities, or my sensibilities reflecting the story? Don’t know.

    Now, did I want Hal to get his redemption and return? I honestly didn’t care. With so many Green Lanterns, I was quite content with the idea of passing the torch, and probably thought it should be done more with GLs, just keep passing the ring around. But I guess I liked seeing the status quo shaken up.

    Guy turning into Warrior was ok, but honestly, a step backwards. I mean, Guy was extreme *before* the 90’s. Look at his old GL belt. Those boots. The gloves that almost have pockets on them. The racing stripe down his pant legs. And that jacket! For a costume that was ahead of its time, now he looks sadly generic. Plus he’s just angry and fierce, and lost his obnoxiousness. Poor Guy.

    Darkstars was a comic I read 2-3 issues of, and that’s all I can say.

    Thanks for another great episode, Strikers!

  9. I liked Hal OK as GL, and had bought all these issues of GL when they came out, and had been appalled when Hal went bad. I did not like it for sure. But I have to admit I wanted to see where it went and liked Kyle pretty much from the start. When this issue happened I don’t recall if I was spoiled but I did not buy that Hal had redeemed. I did like that the ring rejected Hal, and I got it that the message was Kyle was here to stay and I was on board.

    Kyle grew on me significantly over the years to be sure. And when Hal came back with the Parallax retcon, I missed Kyle! Now they are just all GLs, I guess, and frankly my favorite is John Stewart.

  10. I know you have addressed how Kyle is naive in this issue, but i think you have to ask yourself, “what would Peter Parker have done?” And whatever your answer is, it’s probably the same course of action Kyle takes. He was the PP of the DCU – only with a weirder mask.

    Warrior was great! Beau Smith always delivered a romp of a book, no matter the character.

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