Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zero Hour #1

Dan Jurgens Story and Art
Jerry Ordway Finished Art
Gaspar Letters
Gregory Wright Colors
Mike McAvennie Asst. Editor
KC Carlson Editor

There's no Impulse on this cover, but that's alright. I was really surprised to see him on the last two, and asking for a third would have been pushing it. Here, we have the all-consuming entropy destroying the last remaining heroes. On the surface, this might seem like a random group, but each of these heroes was specifically chosen for their power set or emotional impact on the story.

And speaking of the story, this issue begins with the villain Extant just as confused as the reader is. He had engineered the destruction of all existence, and was seemingly thwarted by Metron. But then the rifts reappeared, more powerful than ever. Just as Extant is wondering about this, he is attacked by the real villain of this story.

Note the green energy. Anyway, the entropy consumes the 30th century, and since Bart was born in the year 2993, he ceases to exist. He begins to glow, and then tragically fade away as he calls out, "Help meeeee—" But no one can help him. Even the great Batman can only stand by and cry out "Impulse!" This is notable, as it is the first time someone besides Bart has actually referred to him as Impulse. Prior to this, everyone had just called him Bart or Kid. Unfortunately, sometime later, there would be some confusion to this, and some people would believe that it was Batman who came up with the Impulse name.

So poor little Bart was killed off just a couple of months after he was created. But he was hardly the only casualty here. The rifts grow more numerous and appear to be accelerating. It's not long before basically everybody dies, including Batman and Jay Garrick. A few random things happen, most notably the second Atom, Ray Palmer, regressing in age to an 18-year-old. But finally everything gets sorted out when the true villain appears before Waverider and the random group of surviving heroes. And this villain is Parallax, aka Hal Jordan, formerly one of the Green Lanterns.

Back when Superman was coming back to life, one of the evil impostors destroyed Hal's hometown of Coast City. Hal kind of went mad with grief, and long story short, he became the all-powerful Parallax. And he has decided to use this power to destroy the universe and build a new one from scratch. And this issue ends with him doing just that. He announces that it's Zero Hour, and the page goes completely white.

Well, that looks like the end of everything. But wait, there's one more issue — a zero issue for Zero Hour! I guess we better check it out just in case. Maybe somebody will be able to save all of existence ...

Like all the Zero Hour issues, this one has a September 1994 cover date, but this one actually has a couple of new ads. The first is called Virtual Bart, but it has nothing to do with Bart Allen being raised in a virtual reality world. Instead, it's a Simpsons game about Bart Simpson being trapped in a virtual reality world.

Next are Bic Wavelengths pens. These are cheap, colorful pens with fun designs and colors that change with body heat. I used my fair share of these pens in school, and they always seemed to fall apart rather quickly and the color-changing aspect always wore off quickly or never really worked at all. They still were pretty cool, though.

The world's finest heroes together at last! The Batman Adventures guest-starring Superman.

Hawkman. An alien by birth. An Earthman by choice. A champion by destiny.

So that is it for the penultimate issue of Zero Hour, which was another fun ride. Yes, it was a little weird here and there with the oddly specific changes to certain characters (like Atom), but it still was a great issue. And you really can't do anything bigger than destroying all of space and time. That is as epic as it gets.

Next time: Zero Hour #0

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