Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #3 (1994)

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #3 (September, 1994)
“Crisis in Time, Part Two”
Story and Art – Dan Jurgens
Finished Art – Jerry Ordway
Letterer – Gaspar
Colorist – Gregory Wright
Assistant Editor – Mike McAvennie
Editor – KC Carlson
Cover Price: $1.50

Engaging in a bit of what I call “method blogging”.  Considering how what we’re discussing is so tied into “time”, I’ve been doing a bit of “time traveling” myself.  Watching old videos from ye ol’ 1994, in attempt to really get myself in “place”.  Even came across this gem in particular…

Feeling hyped yet?  I know I am.  Anyhoo… onward and upward (or would that be downward?).  Welcome to Day Two (or Three… if we’re counting backwards) of…

We pick up one hour and twelve minutes from last issue where Jay Garrick is reacting to Wally’s empty suit.  He’s upset that he and his contemporaries still live on while the young keep dying… well, Jay… be careful whatcha wish for, pal.  The rest of the Society consider Waverider’s warning, and at Dr. Fate’s suggestion they decide to head for Vanishing Point.  This conversation apparently lasts three minutes.  Upon warping out, three members of the group wind up elsewhere.

One minute later we join Superman and Metron as they head from Smallville to New York City.  They discuss an occurrence from Superman’s own books in which his Kryptonian parents from an alternate timeline have arrived on Earth.  As they travel they run into Impulse fighting dinosaurs.  It’s gotta be said, Impulse is kind of a jerk at this point… and also appears to be several years older than he would be portrayed in the years that follow… we’ll just blame it on time anomalies.  Is that joke still funny?  Is it even a joke?  If no for both, I guess we can blame that too on time anomalies.

Forty-one minutes later we catch up with the Time Trapper somewhere outside the timestream.  He has Rokk Krinn, Cosmic Boy held behind a door.  He picks this opportunity to unmask revealing himself to be… Rokk Krinn?  By the way, get used to this gimmick… got another one of these on the way.

One hour and forty-three minutes later we check in with the heroes arrival in New York City.  Special note, Power Girl is very pregnant at this point in time.  This was a storyline running through Justice League International (vol.2), which I’ll be damned if I can remember the particulars of.  All we need to know is that it is “mystical in nature”.  Also, L-Ron is inhabiting the body of Despero, so this isn’t a babyface turn for the purple people beater.  Oh, and Guy Gardner is somewhere between his Lantern and Warrior personas.  Got all that?  Yeah, me neither.  Anyhoo, the heroes choose Superman to lead them, and that sounds about right to me.

We next go back in time two hours and twenty-four minutes to check in with our friends in the Justice Society as they arrive at Vanishing Point.  Upon arrival, they run directly into the interloping Extant.

At that very same time, Waverider and the Hawks drop into the timestream, where… stuff happens.  Oh dear, but the stuff happens.  There’s a bunch of Hawkfolk as well as a Hawk-Entity… there’s a brief skirmish, which ends with the apparent melding of all the disparate Hawks into a singular composite Hawkman.  Fair enough.

Three hours and two minutes later, we see Vril Dox of L.E.G.I.O.N. (that’s Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network, by the way).  He does little more than confirm that, yeah… there be some wacky stuff going on timewise.  One minute later, some Fourth Worlders notice the same thing.  Another minute later, and we return to the heroes in New York City… they consider for a moment what’s real and what’s not… it’s a nice scene, where the anomalous characters know they feel real, but in light of everything that’s gone on, nobody’s sure what is!  This is also where Guy Gardner meets Kyle Rayner.

The new Hawkman arrives on the scene with Waverider.  It is here where Waverider shares the fact that the Crisis on Infinite Earths was “a thing”.  He posits that, and I believe this was Dan Jurgens’ main thrust for this story, though I could be mistaken… that the Crisis never truly ended.  Any glitches in time were a result of “chronal shockwaves” stemming from that milestone event.  Sounds good to me!

Waverider ain’t done yet… he has yet more “good news” to share… the Flash and Green Lantern have perished.  B-bu-but, Kyle’s right here!  No, not that one, we’re talking that younger (not yet evil) Hal Jordan from last issue.  This makes Guy Gardner perk up a bit… he suddenly sees the potential opportunities in time being a bit more flexible at present… they could, in theory, save Coast City… and thereby stop Hal from going all Yellow Fear Bug Parallaxy!  Well, hold that thought, Guy.  Also, gotta mention that we get a shot of an uncomfortable looking Aquaman.  Ya see, Zero Hour hit just as he lost his hand… he hasn’t yet gotten the harpoon/spear, and so he’s nursing a bloody stump right now.

One hour and nine minutes later we return to Vanishing Point where Extant is more or less having his way with the Justice Society members.  He goes as far as to undo the rejuvenation spell that is keeping them young… it’s a pretty heartbreaking scene as the youth drains from these heroes, making them upwards of eighty years old all at once.

Five minutes later Waverider realizes something’s afoot at Vanishing Point, and takes his leave.  He arrives to find the few aged JSAers with fight still in ’em trying to do battle with Extant.  Alan Scott still appears young, which vexes the baddie…

Three minutes later, New York City’s skyline is lit up light Lady Quark’s outfit.  The heroes are powerless, and are forced to watch as timelines converge.

We wrap up four minutes later at Vanishing Point.  Alan Scott’s Lantern ring has been depowered by Extant, however his salvo did buy Waverider enough time to place the JSA into a stasis.  Finally, Extant and Waverider face off… with the latter calling the former “an ex two-bit hero”, referring of course to his time as the red half of Hawk and Dove.  Extant is tickled by this, and proceeds to unmask… revealing that he is… Waverider!  Da hell?

Well, some stuff just happened didn’t it?

First we’ll discuss the issue.  Howdoya like dem unmaskings?  Not many people will get this reference, but it feels like something Vince Russo would’ve booked around the turn of the century.  It seems kind of cheap, but I suppose it will serve the story.  Perhaps had I a deeper attachment for either Cosmic Boy or Waverider I’d feel differently, but whattaya gonna do, right?

The Justice Society members being re-aged was a well-done (if unwelcome) scene.  I subscribe to the idea that one of the true strengths (and draws) of the DC Universe is that there is a generational legacy.  When the New-52 hit, and nobody was allowed to be over 30, not only did it make me, for the first time, older than these heroes (which, lemme tell ya, sucked)… it also destroyed the heart and soul of the universe.  I feel like these elder statesfolk of the DCU should never go away.  I don’t think I cared too terribly back in the 90’s, but now that is a very firm opinion.

Hawkman being made into a singular version… I really don’t have much of a problem with that, though I can see why people might.  I suppose I would be annoyed if in the transition from New-52 to Rebirth if they just merged the two Supermen.  This is a quick-fix, to be sure… kind of akin to putting a band-aid on a broken bone.

The art is still wonderful, and I always enjoy these “petri dish” issues, where we get to look at a wide-swath of the universe at a given time.  The two-page spread here is a nice look at 1994-DC, warts and all.

Now, let’s reflect a bit on some of those old comic shop scuttlebutt fears.  We have a dead Wally West… just as we’re joined by an all-new all-90’s speedster.  I think a lot of folks thought Bart Allen may have been brought in as a replacement for Mr. West.  That was our first thought when we realized there was a new quick-kid on the block.  Of course, we know how this turned out… more of a red herring than anything else, and in that regard… it works rather well.  It wouldn’t be until a couple of Crisiseseses after this that Bart would take over.

We also have Guy Gardner considering the possibility of somehow changing the past to save Coast City, and therefore also, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.  An interesting wrinkle, and definitely something that was seriously discussed at the local shop.  I mean, after all, after Superman and Batman’s hyooge story arcs, everything more or less went back to normal… why wouldn’t the same hold true for Hal?  Well, ahem, I guess we can hold that thought for a bit, right?

Another two deaths here, bringing our total up to four.  This time around we lose the (Golden-Age) Atom and Hourman.  No real comments on that… they had to display that Extant wasn’t a dude to be messed with… and the Justice Society was heading into limbo for awhile anyway.

Overall… definitely don’t start with this issue, but I still feel as though Zero Hour should be experienced.  Really enjoy dipping my toes into this strange and wonderful time in DC history.  Hell, I might even try rereading the 2015 Convergence tie-in minis which were set during this era… well, maybe not.

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