November 8, 2008

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Quick Hits: Zero Hour Crisis in Time

Written by Dan Jurgens
Illustrated by Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Frank Fosco, and Ken Branch
DC Comics

I'm in the middle of redoing my trade collection, and I was looking at a few things that I could live without. Strangely, this one jumped out at me.

As with most of DC's crossovers, this one was supposed to fix everything wrong with DC since Crisis, and promptly made a mess of things even worse than it used to. While there was some cool things, like an issue of Superman the Man of Steel where he was surrounded by Batmen, most of what was teased, such as "The Return of Batgirl" ended up as so much tease on the cutting floor as the universe reset itself in ways that, well, just were not different enough for anyone to care. Those changes that were "permanent", such as the aging of the Justice Society (and subsequent retirement), quickly were altered or forgotten.

I am not a big fan of time travel or DC's decision that there can only be one time line. Therefore, the only thing I can say on a positive note is that Jurgens really did try to make this as dramatic as possible and give Hal Jorden an ending to his perpetually villain status (for now). People do die (but none of whom stay dead for lonng, which is not Jurgen's fault), and he did try to fix some of the timing problems brought on by how monthly books are written. But at the same time, things that could have been fixed were left alone--the stupidity of a Superman death and Batman coming back after a broken back stand out in my mind as two glaring examples. In other cases, characters like the JSA get really strained continuity.

There's also the writing. Jurgens is not the best at writing great comics and lines like Kara's "This is the ultimate victory--life!" are rather frequent. The last issue is particuarlly bad in this regard, with Hal, Ollie, and the Spectre all speaking in melodrama. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy his work. It's just that he's not the man I'd ask to re-write the history of the DC Universe. It's just not fair.

All in all, Zero Hour was a good idea gone bad and it seems Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis may be going down the same path. But we'll let it have ten years or so to try first. In the meantime, I'll let this one belong to the ages--or at least Half Price Books.