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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Crisis Time! - Superman: MOS #37 and Zero Hour #4

Crisis Time.....well, at least it's better than "Crisis Talk" or "Crisis Stuff". This segment is pretty much geared toward the big events or the many crises that DC (or Marvel, they have them too) will have from time to time. This month is going to look at the crossover event, Zero Hour. Today's issues are Superman: Man of Steel #37 and Zero Hour #4. Now, I originally owned the Superman tie-in long ago, but it pretty much got shredded. When I got into college, I was able to find the issue. Now, I never read this issue of Zero Hour. My time with the event started with #3.

The creative team for the Superman book is Louise Simonson and John Bogdanove (?). If you want more info on this creative team and this series in general, I'll point you to a little podcast call From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast. The cover is...pretty freakin' awesome. I think I know why I got this way back when. My only complaint is that we don't get to see the B: TAS version in the book and that sucks.

Zero Hour was written and drawn by Dan Jurgens with Jerry Ordway providing additional art and inking. Jurgens and Ordway are known for being on the Superman books during this era. Also, if there's anything to say about this series, it is this: the artwork is pretty awesome. The art as a whole is good. The cover is pretty good. It kinda spoils something, but I'll get to that later.

Well, here...we...go.

Superman: The Man of Steel - "Countdown to Zero"
The issue starts out as Metropolis is preparing for a concert. Clark and Lois are there and they get into an argument with everyone's favorite man to hate: Jeb Friedman. Seriously, Guy Gardner has nothing on this poo-poo head. Lois and Clark leave the idiot's presence and talk a bit. Suddenly, Clark sees a message in Morse Code. He changes into uniform to see what it is. He finds Batman. He tells Superman that something's wrong with time and space, and we find out that things are amiss because this "Batman" never broke his back and thinks Clark's going "Hippie."

Two things:
What's up with Bats' hand? It's like he's trying to point, but it's not happening.
Superman going hippie... DC, make it happen!

While we see other supporting characters prepare for the concert, Jeb gets threatened by the Mutant Gang from Batman: the Dark Knight Returns. Suddenly, that Batman shows up and beats the crap out of all of them. Unfortunately, he doesn't beat up Jeb. Superman and the other Batman show up and pretty much have the same conversation. Superman knows one guy who could find out this mystery of many Batmen: Emil Hamilton. They go to his place, but he's not there. Suddenly, the Batman of the 30's shows up...yeah, it's awkward, but it's so awesome. Also, the first Batman transforms into another Batman... with really long ears. Ugh.

Oh man...who's next? Peter Davison?!? Dave Tennant?!? Me??

They then go to the concert to find Emil and to make sure that the gang doesn't cause trouble. Unfortunately, the gang shows up and they are armed. The heroes jump into action and kick some mighty butt. Also, the lead performer is a vampire...okay (?). Anyway, they find Emil and take him back to the lab. He does some tests and finds out that something is going wrong with time. Eventually all of the Batmen disappear. Superman then gets another message, so he heads out to find the source. Elsewhere, Lois kisses Jeb on the cheek....Ew!
I just love the transition from "I AM OLD!" to "Hey there, chum!"

Superman finds Batman and it is our Batman. They're interrupted by Metron, a New God (I think, I'm not sure on that), and he tells them that the universe is in serious danger. During the issue, a Kryptonian ship has traveled to Earth and it's revealed to be the Els. The issue ends as they knock on the Kents' door looking for Kal-El.
Okay...that's pretty funny.

........................
That was a pretty cool issue. While I wouldn't throw it in the greatest stories of all time, it's still a cool story. The biggest draw is the art, which is well done by Bogdanove. We get a lot of renditions of various Batmen here. There's Frank Miller, Neal Adams, Dick Sprang, Bob Kane, and even Bruce Timm. If only Michael Keaton was here... oh well. Anyway, the story is pretty decent and it ties into the event well. We also get a chilling cliffhanger. All in all, this is probably the best of the tie-ins.

Now for the main event...

Zero Hour #4
(The whole series has captions that are counting down by the way)

32 hours ago - The issue starts out at the End of Time, where the Time Trapper is defeated by some unknown figure. Dang, you know this guy has to be a BMS. This figure then does something to the timestream and the countdown to Zero Hour begins!
Hmm...I wonder who can beat the Time Trapper. Yeah, I'm being sarcastic. The guy always get beat up by someone.

30 hours ago - On Apokalips, Metron comes to Darkseid and says that the universe is unraveling. Lord Ironside refuses to believe him because he is just so awesome. Mertron leaves to find heroes and allies to stop this disaster.

 29 hours ago- In Gotham City, Joker is being chased by Batman. Joker is caught, but it's revealed to be Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and not Batman! At this time, Barbara was already paralyzed and going by the name of Oracle. Suddenly, Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) show up and are flabbergasted. Even Joker is like "WTFH?" Joker uses this diversion to get away in a helicopter. The three then set out to find out why Barbara is walking. As they walk off, another Robin watches them from a rooftop. At first, I thought this might be Jason Todd, but it's actually a young Dick Grayson. He and Tim end up working together in Robin's tie-in to this event.

 28 hours, 49 minutes ago- We then move to Vanishing Point, a place that exists outside the timestream. THis is the home of the Linear Men (Matt Ryder, Lara-Lei, Hunter aka Cable-Wannabe, and Waverider). The team senses that time is being erased, so Waverider and Hunter head out to stop it.

28 hours, 42 minutes ago: 64th Century, New Earth - The Flash (Wally West) is here beating up Abra-Kadabra as time is wasting away. Waverider and Hunter show up and try to stop the time-eating. Waverider can't stop it, but he and the others think that Flash can stop it with his speed. Wally is unsure, but he does it anyway. Unfortunately, he's not able to and he fades away a lot like that other Flash. Even Hunter notes it. Defeated, Waverider and Hunter leave that century with Flash's costume to try again.

Wally!!! Noooooooooo!

24 hours, 42 minutes ago - We get the same Batman/Superman conversation in Metropolis from the previous issue and Metron interrupts them.

23 hours, 40 minutes ago:  5700 A.D., New Earth - The duo goes further back in time and they're shocked to find a young Hal Jordan trying to stop the rupture in time. Unfortunately, Hal can't stop it and dies as this era ceases to be. Hunter is also wiped out but not before uttering something about a "Crisis"...Hmm. Waverider then leaves wondering what Hunter meant by that word and he senses some anomaly in the timestream (I think I know what that is...but I'll save it for later).

21 hours, 38 minutes ago - We're in some alley where Hawkman is roughing up Vandal Savage. By the way, does anyone think that Tim Curry would make a fabulous Vandal? Anyway, things go weird as Vandal sees Hawkman split into many Hawkmen and Carter doesn't notice it. Elsewhere, some other random immortal feels the shifts in time. We then catch up with Kyle Rayner who just recently became Green Lantern. He's reeling from the loss of his girlfriend Alex. In the tie-in to this event, he faced her killer, Major Force, a couple of hours ago. Suddenly, Superman and Metron show up. They use Kyle's ring and the Mobius Chair to send a message to all heroes.
Okay Hawk Fans, take it all in...

Metron then leaves the two to go see the Spectre and recruit him. Unfortunately, the spirit of Vengeance won't help because he sees no evil in this "natural" disaster... Jerk.

18 hours, 35 minutes ago - Waverider has made it back to Vanishing Point. He's still fixated on the word "Crisis." He uses the chronoscope and finds out about the Crisis of Infinite Earths. He doesn't take it well.

Waverider: My God, this thing lasted a whole year? The artwork's gorgeous, but there's so...much...text!

18 hours, 25 minutes ago - On Earth, members of the Justice Society of America meet up. Some of them are wondering how GL Allan Scott got so freakin' young. I think it had something to do with...just wiki it, folks.  Vandal Savage continues to flip out over seeing DC Editorial's decisions and he suddenly disappears from existence. Waverider comes to them and he's still flabbergasted and holding Wally's costume. He tells Jay Garrick (the original Flash) about what happened to Wally and Jay feels likes he's lost a son.

18 hours, 19 minutes ago -  The issue ends as Extant (.....Who?) has made it to Vanishing Point and has knocked out Matt Ryder and Lara-Lei.

..............................................................

And that ends that long synopsis. Is this first issue any good? I believe so. It sets it up pretty well. We have a coming threat that is world-ending. We have an unknown villain is more powerful than the Time Trapper and that's not good. The heroes are being gathered to face this coming threat, and we have "lost" two heroes. I will say that Flash "dying" was a little predictable. This issue spans the whole DCU from the East to the West. My only complaint would be some of the dialogue. It's not bad, but it's not the greatest dialogue ever. As I said before, the art is pretty good. Well, that's all to say. Come back next week as I look at Superman #93 and Zero Hour #3.

NEXT TIME: KRYPTONIAN PARENTS, THE JSA FALLS, AND WHO THE HECK IS EXTANT?!?!

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