Zero Hour Strikes! Green Lantern and the Flash

In Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 4, Bass and Siskoid look at some legacy heroes. Kyle Rayner has just become Green Lantern, and Wally West is trying to get Bart Allen home. How does Zero Hero come into it? Find out by reading Green Lantern #55, by Ron Marz and a slew of artists, and Flash #94, by Mark Waid and Carlos Pacheco, with our time-tossed hosts! Listen close as 2019 counts down to zero.

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 4 below!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.4 Supplemental

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16 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Green Lantern and the Flash

  1. Hey guys, I’m loving this series so far! Just dropping a line this time around to show my love for Kyle. This is probably my favorite crisis as I’ve said before due to Kyle coming into the public eye and the Introduction of Jack Knight! I costume both of them for my cosplay charity group even though people just say green lantern currently I have Kyle’s initial costume and his Blackest Night/new guardians costume crab mask and all! Anyways, enough about costumes onto this cast which I loved! Kyle coming right off a personal crisis into a cosmic crisis is just the typical Parker/Rayner luck. Wally i still need to get his trades, but I’m avidly reading his journey via the DC Universe app and just past by the John Wolf arc and still speeding along. Great job as always and I’m eagerly awaiting Jack’s arrival!

  2. Once again, a delight to listen to you guys. Now, for my take on comics I’ve never read: Superman and Metron somehow know about Kyle Rayner, some guy who has no training, no experience, a most powerful magical artifact that he barely knows how to use, and they want him on their cosmic time-righting team? Right after we’ve seen Alan Scott, a hero with more experience than almost any other super-hero, and has a powerful magical artifact that is now incorporated into his body. Superman and Metron don’t exhibit a great deal of intelligence there. That’s one of those things that make these big “events” feel so top-down, editorially driven, rather than a story that feels more organic. “Here’s our new character. Make sure he appears in all these comics!”

  3. I was reading and enjoying both of these series at this time, and what a natural pairing to do for the show, not for where they are at this point, but for what they become. Granted, Wally and Kyle don’t have the longevity of friendship that we associate with Hal and Barry or Jay and Alan, but when they did team up, it was usually written extremely well.

    Was it just me, or was it terribly insensitive of Alan to confront Kyle about the Lantern history right now? His girlfriend was just killed! Like an hour ago! How can Kyle even pay attention? Maybe the story itself had to be rushed to let Kyle fit into Zero Hour. But the more I think about it, the less I like Alan basically not caring about this young man’s emotional state, considering he has the “most powerful weapon in the universe.” Seems like a time to be comforting.

    I love Daryl Banks’ artwork on this. He really demonstrated that Kyle uses the ring very differently from the previous Lanterns, especially with that electric chair. Zowie!

    Waid’s run on Flash was so good, and the creation of Impulse was a masterstroke. And as we’ll see, he takes off in a big way starting right here. I wonder, should Bart be counted as launched from Zero Hour as well, even though his solo title doesn’t start for a while? Because he is prominent in a non-Flash issue #0.

    “Kadabra looks like one of the Full House Gang.” Mm-mm Everywhere you look, Everywhere you go, There’s a heart, A hand to hold on to….. Sorry, couldn’t resist. But at least I didn’t say “Hypertime! Doo-do-do-doo!”

    Keep on striking, Bass and Siskoid!

  4. This is an incredible issue of Green Lantern to jump into if you aren’t overly familiar with everything that has been going on. It always annoyed me that the LASCU swoops in and takes over instead of Kyle getting to finish the fight (but considering how Kyle and Major Force got to end things years down the road, maybe it was an act of mercy).

    Also, this crossover issue probably gave away the big twist on the Zero Hour villain. Funny, considering how pissy DC got over the Monarch debacle just 3 years earlier.

    For those curious Alan Scott becomes Sentinel post-Zero Hour in the story “Ghosts” from Showcase ’95 #1, written by R.A. Jones. I point this out because A) Mr. Jones is practically a neighbor of mine (he lives in Tulsa) and B) he said that the main reason for the name change was that he pitched DC an Alan Scott mini-series that would have spun out of the Showcase appearance. Unfortunately DC passed on the idea and 25 years later Jones says he no longer remembers what his plans were.

  5. Fun show fellas. I was too honked off on what DC did to Hal to get into Kyle. I didn’t really hold it against him in crossovers and later in JLA, but the way DC handled getting rid of Hal was just awful. Johns has gone overboard with this retcons in the following years, but GL: Rebirth was a brilliant hand wave to all that nonsense.

    I do love me some Alan Scott, however. He’s my favorite GL (along with John Stewart), so it’s always nice to see him, whether he’s young, middle-aged, old, young again, etc.

    This was a Golden Age for the Flash. I liked Pacheco, but everyone was chasing Wieringo, and I wish he’d stayed on the book. His run (heh) was far shorter than most folks remember. He barely introduced Bart before hitting the road. Speaking of which, Bart’s first cover appearance made it look like he was going to be called “Kid Flash”. “Impulse” was quite a swerve, and one I had to learn to get over for a few months.


  6. I’ll keep this one short. Or shorter. Anyway…

    Kyle will always hold a special place in my heart because I was there nearly from the beginning. I collected the 1990 GL series for a few issues before it fell off my radar, so I missed out on Emerlad Twilight entirely. However, I managed to find issues 51 and 52 still on the stands of my then current comic shop (Comicquest). The cover to 51 looked neat, so I picked up those two issues and stuck with Kyle for his entire run with only a brief hiatus during the latter part of Winick’s run. I enjoyed this issue back in 1994 and when I re-read it for FCTC’s Zero Hour coverage.

    Wally was a different story, but the issue y’all covered was what hooked me on the character. Not because of the issue itself, but Zero Hour was when I started collecting the larger DC Universe. I had read some of the Messner-Loebs issues back when the Flash series was announced and liked them, but between Zero Hour and having more money I shouldn’t have been spending on comics this was when I really fell for the character. The Post ZH issues of Flash were amazing and I’m looking forward to your coverage of the zero issue.

  7. Between Invasion! and Zero Hour, I mostly gave The Flash a wide berth. I heard about Wally befriending Barry’s old cornball rogues and thought that was cute. A dude I was friendly with in school passed me a copy of Flash #68, where Abra Kadabra wore the “Full House Gang” suit, and it was inscrutable to a Marvel Zombie like me. I tried 2/3rds of a Gorilla Grodd/Vixen guest appearance stint at some point after 1994 as back issues, and flipped through but never read a multi-parter set in Gorilla City with various DC animal heroes. Between “Born To Run” and “The Return of Barry Allen,” the book picked up a bit of buzz, but I never bothered to read them. Being a true ’90s fanboy, I decided to give it a try with the foil-enhanced covered #80. That was the issue that they tweaked Wally’s version of the Flash costume to be a little sharper, which I approved of. I preferred Alan Davis’ covers to this new kid doing the interiors with these under-rendered rubbery balloon bodies and odd pencil shadings. I was still at the peak of my Titans (Hunt) fandom, so stayed on for a three-parter featuring Nightwing and Starfire that didn’t jibe with their home book (though it was more likely that they would still be bound by a marriage license despite the actual nuptials being interrupted by the bride’s impregnation through demonic lesbian rape.) This Wieringo kid’s pencils tightened up a bit over the arc, but it was still way too cartoony for my taste. I got one more issue off the rack, a fill-in by Barry Kitson, but I just couldn’t see the appeal. I think I was mostly motivated to keep up a streak because the New Blood Argus was going to be in the issue after next, but I was so disinterested I suffered the gap. Argus’ debut was not one of my favorite Bloodlines annuals at the time, but I liked him better under other artists, and Wieringo looked way better in direct comparison with Rob Hayes, who did the Argus sections.

    I skipped several more issues, helped by an appearance by Santa Claus, a concept I avoided almost pathologically as a kid (he even helped shake me off Peter David’s Spectacular Spider-Man run.) Flash was figuring prominently in Zero Hour promotions, and people were still talking up the book in my absence, so I gave it another shot with the debut of Bart Allen in #92. “The Bartman” was too fresh a memory for me to excuse the use of the name, so I skipped another issue but was back for the Zero Hour tie-in. A much preferred Carlos Pacheco’s guest art to the regular guy, but I still didn’t feel like I missed much.

    Here’s the first dirty little secret of Mark Waid’s Flash run: it’s as overpraised as triangle-period Superman. At a time when all of comics were getting increasingly EXTREME!, it was quasi-retro Silver Age revivalism. When all the hot artists were at Image and all the hot writers were doing mature readers Vertigo stuff, it was tapping into “good old days” traditional storytelling with a solid, reliable creative team. Well, except the part where Wieringo seemed to need a fill-in every third issue and was only on the book for about a year plus (less good than Davis) covers. These were Clydesdales turned stallions by nostalgia and a thirst for Bronze Age basics for baby boomers and older, milder Gen-Xers.

    The second secret: as inferred earlier, despite its influence on Grant Morrison to herald DC’s post-modern “Silver Age” revival, Waid’s run was doggedly Bronze Age. It’s all Kobra and Magenta and self-conscious pandering to the sensibilities of grungy readers. The emphasis on legacy with Max and Jay and the Trigger Twins and XS was rooted in Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, not Arnold Drake and John Broome (though Bob Haney surely was felt at times.) Yeah, there was the occasional high concept issue like the frozen time one in #91, but this was definitely more in line with Cary Bates than distant from it.

    Number three is that Waid was clearly embarrassed by the Flash. When he wasn’t sidelining the Rogues, he was undermining or killing them. Waid came up with a bunch of Chromium Age villains that mostly didn’t stick, and played up the melodrama without often offering a significant pay-off. Geoff Johns’ run is superior to Waid’s both objectively on the plotting, scripting, and characterization fronts, but also by virtue of actually embracing Flash-specific concepts.

    Fourth, finally, and related to the last point: Waid didn’t get to write Superman, so he just wrote the Flash as Superman. He’s this manned-up, straight-laced flyover state type with an intrepid reporter girlfriend. He’s impossibly overpowered and doesn’t have the science fantasy underpinnings to support that like the Man of Tomorrow does, but they still find excuses for him to not defeat every villain and turn Earth into a utopia. There’s Flashgirl and Flashboy and in more of a nod to Captain Marvel, Uncle Flash, or to Green Lantern, The Flash From The Year 2090, or whatever. Let’s just be real about it: Waid is to Flash as Mark Gruenwald was to Captain America. For the most part, folks talk about the Professor Zoom arc and the period Wieringo was still on the book in some capacity. So a couple years of memorable books, at best, followed by a five years drift from mediocrity to outright embarrassment. It may have been intimidating for Johns to follow a well regarded and successful eight year period, but everyone was ready for Waid to go by the end.

  8. When Kyle was introduced. I was really into it right away. I didn’t agree with the vilification of Hal. But I was really about to drop the book until ET happened. (The Olivia Reynolds/Ergono storyline was a snooze fest as well as the Carol Ferris/Hal Jordan will they/won’t they schtick.)
    The other side of it was the generational relatable hero aspect.
    Hal was originally cut in the role of Chuck Yeager in the early 60’s. That’s the kind of guy kids wanted to grow up to be. In the early 90s Emerald Dawn they tried to update him to a Top Gun type hero. (Dad was dead, family name was questionable among pilots) But the storylines in the main series really fell off after Guy and John got their own books.
    When Kyle was introduced, he was a comic book artist, a slacker in his twenties and as fellow slacker who had aspirations toward a career in comics, I found him much more relatable than a guy who was really…”My Dad’s Green Lantern”

    Wally hadn’t yet truly been made aware of the Speed Force. That would come through the issues after Zero Hour. Prior to that, Max Mercury was a Zen enthusiast who has only just been turning up to give Wally cryptic advice (a’la Phantom Stranger). Abra Kadabra’s Future costume was last seen in his two part arc in Flash 67-68.

  9. Thanks to Gil Kane’s exquisite costume design, early exposure to an O’Neil/Adams GL/GA issue, Super Friends, and the exceptional Super Powers toy, I wanted to like the Hal Jordan Green Lantern more than I ever did. The cracks began when the more exposure I had to the property, the more interesting I found every other Lantern was than Hal. Then there was my trial run collecting Action Comics Weakly, where Jordan was outshone by the likes of Blackhawk. The 1990 volume started during my post-Invasion! “nah to DC” period. By the time I was giving them a second look, Pat Broderick was on his way out, and they were mistaking interest in a single team/book anthology approach to GL as a green light to spin out three additional series, Again, to the degree I was interested in any of it, the core title had the least appeal. The third year especially seemed to be a writer indulging a love for the Silver Age at the exact wrong time commercially, especially with the already journeyman penciller being rendered especially milquetoast by inks from the Vinnie Colletta of the Bronze Age, Romeo Tanghal. In a post-Image landscape, Green Lantern looked comparatively like those terrible late Bronze Age Swan/Schaffenberger/Saviuk/Barreto Superman comics nobody even talks about anymore.

    That said, I took Emerald Twilight was a callous and cruel character assassination and a cavalier treatment of his fans. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I finally read a bunch of ’70s and early ’80s Hal stories, that Jordan really did come across as an aggressively irrational and egocentric schmuck who I could definitely see flipping out and killing his friends. I accepted and then embraced Jordon’s murderous heel turn, and in fact cannot let go of it no matter how much Geoff Johns tries to poorly explain it all away. I find Jordan so toxic that I think ill of the Justice League for taking him back, and haven’t significantly supported their core title since JLA was cancelled, in part because of his presence. In my head canon, Martian Manhunter started avoiding them as a conscientious objector.

    My initial grievance over Jordan’s treatment colored by reception to Kyle Rayner as a sort of himbo; the younger dumber model. As I began to look at Jordan’s checkered history more critically, I reconsidered my perception of Rayner and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t so far off. Rayner wasn’t as douchey as Jordan, but he was still the hipster “artist” that only does profitable commercial work and still gets to date the girl you had your eye on. However much progress as I’ve made since 1994, even then I was proto-woke enough to recognize that an iconic heroic mantle up for grabs did not need to be handed to another interchangeable single white male, whose main distinction was that he was a more contemporary ideal of masculinity than Jordan’s funk of macho musk, martinis, and Aqua Velva. At least Hal had brown hair, as pathetic a standard of “minority” representation as that was. Even the name “Kyle Rayner” sounded like it came out of a screenwriter rather than a parent, just less Sky King and more Melrose Place. Kyle Kim would have been Stan Lee alliteration for a more forward-looking casting, Remember when Judd Winnick tried to get us to buy into a strand of Mexican ancestry too little too late?

    Misgivings aside, I did buy Green Lantern #51-55, though not because I particularly enjoyed them. My read on Kyle was very much ’70s Peter Parker, when all the sharp edges had been rubbed off and he was just Mr. Regular Dude. People make fun of the hyper-competent super-heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where even the ex-con burglar who steals his special suit started out as a newsworthy electrical engineer turned anti-corporate Robin Hood. Obviously, this was a byproduct of Marvel’s having licensed all their most popular reluctant heroes-by-happenstance on the cheap during their bankruptcy. Darryl Banks may have designed Rayner a much better costume, but he may as well have been Richard Ryder, who was already ripped-off at DC with Ronnie Raymond. Kyle was and remained a common character type, up to providing the term now in popular use for killing a female love interest as a cynical sympathy/motivation ploy.

    After a shrug-able debut, I hung on for two more issues for Mongul appearances tying into Reign of the Supermen, skipped the key murder issue #54 (though went back for it relatively early on,) and was there for #55 because… reasons? Zero Hour? The Alan Scott appearance? A toss revealing exceptional Craig Hamilton art summarizing issues I’d miss. I guess I could deduce a synopsis of those issues if you put a gun to my head, but I hardly committed them to memory after a single reading a quarter century ago. I wasn’t terribly familiar with Scott at that point, but he sure seemed more interesting than the star of the main book. No wonder I eventually put together a run of his appearances in Green Lantern Quarterly and crafted mental fanfic of all the stuff I’d want to do with that character…

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