Zero Hour: Crisis In Time

I can’t help but wonder just how many “Crises” I’ll come across while I work my way through DC’s continuity.

As I saw this title awaiting me on “the shelf”, I felt a little flutter of fear.

Oh lord, here we go again.

Just when I was beginning to get a handle on the post-crisis continuity, were they seriously going to up and change everything on me again?

From a logistical standpoint, I suppose it’s a necessity to shake things up every once in a while.  With seemingly ageless characters, how do you keep the stories feeling fresh and realistic?

The answer, it would seem, is to shake up the status quo and rewrite the entire timeline of history.

No big deal or anything.

This time around, the entire timeline is being systematically wiped out by a very familiar face.

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Driven mad my the loss of Coast City and fresh off his utter destruction of the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan has taken it upon himself to completely destroy the whole known universe, so that he may rebuild a world where Coast City survived, and right the wrongs he witnessed throughout his life.

The implications of such an event are mind-bending, with timelines intersecting and characters from the past and future interacting with those in the present day.

As would be expected, there are a handful of new characters thrown into the mix, along with a host of old-timers whose appearances undoubtedly brought waves of nostalgia for older readers.

Our heroes must try to defeat Hal Jordan/Parallax, and while they’re ultimately successful, it is not before their entire known universe is destroyed.

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Our heroes rebuild the universe from scratch, starting with The Big Bang and moving up through the Flashpoint, the moment that all time ends.

While the status quo is returned for many, there are a few major changes.

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Wally West is seemingly dead, along with Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner (the new Green Lantern), and a handful of Golden-Age heroes.  Whether their deaths are permanent is unclear, but either way they made for numerous emotional scenes.

More important to the overall story is the timeline shift this particular Crisis caused.  According to the handy-dandy post-Zero Hour timeline included at the end of the trade, Superman has only been operating as the Man of Steel for ten years, with Batman only in action for eight.  The rewritten history drastically alters past events; while many of these characters having technically existed for decades, in this new timeline they are all relatively new.

I can understand the purpose of such events.  Not only does it provide a great jumping on point for new readers, but it lends credibility to just how Clark Kent could be soaring through the sky so many years after his initial appearance,  or how Bruce Wayne isn’t yet an elderly old man. Still, these constant revisions to DC’s history can become fairly confusing, as I now have to learn once again what new facts are part of each character’s canon.

The story itself was engaging, but I would have greatly preferred that the superheroes stopped Hal Jordan without the universe having to be rebuilt.  I found myself focusing less on the story and more on what changes would be occurring within the DC universe because of the story.

While I know there will likely be more “Crises” in the future, I can’t help but feel frustrated at the number of revisions to these characters’ histories.  Nevertheless, I suppose it’s a necessary evil, as its the only way to continue stories that have endured for decades.

I just wish it was all a little cleaner and less convoluted.

-Jess

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2 thoughts on “Zero Hour: Crisis In Time

  1. Wonderful write-up!

    The final issue (and perhaps the trade… I’d have to dig it out) came with something of a blessing and a curse… an actual TIMELINE. When I read this as a kid, I thought the timeline was awesome! Now I knew where everything fell into place. Looking back, the timeline should have been kept nebulous at best, as it seemed to be the makings of a logistical (from a storytelling perspective) nightmare!

    I remember being so confused during this whole story, while at the same time entertained by it. It was one of those stories where you just knew you were reading “history” in the making.

    You’re in for a bit of a reprieve as it pertains to the Crisiseseses, you’ve got about a decade till the next… however, they happen in quick succession after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, that timeline was included in this trade at the end of the last issue. It was super helpful since it basically outlined everything that was altered (which mercifully wasn’t all that much from what I could tell).
      I keep glancing ahead and seeing all of the “Crisis” titles and freaking myself out. How many times can they rewrite history?! I think eventually I’ll just give up trying to understand everything and refer to different points in the continuity as something like, “That time Superman had a mullet,” or “That Time there were three Batmans and Gordon was having a mental breakdown over it” etc. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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