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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Crisis Time! - Action Comics #703 and Zero Hour #1

This installment of Crisis Time is brought to you by the one and only: Bruce Lee.

"Boards... don't hit back."

Hmm... I see what he meant there.

Well, we're still in the crisis event known as Zero Hour. So far, it's been a rough ride. Will it get any rougher? I guess I'll be finding out today. Today's issues are Action Comics #704 and Zero Hour #1. I know I didn't read this Superman issue back then. I don't know if I owned Zero Hour #1, but I know I had to have read it because I remember someone getting punched at the end of the issue.

We still have the same creative team for the ZH issue. Wow, remember when an event book used to have only one (or in this case two) penciller? COIE, which I have finally gotten in trade format, has only one penciller. Infinite Crisis had probably six pencillers in those seven issues and Final Crisis had about four  to six pencillers. Oh well... Anyway, the creative team for the Superman issue is a Michelinie/Guice/Rodier production. With all of the intro out of the way, it's time to look at this Superman issue.

Action Comics #703 - Chronocide!
The issue starts out with Metropolis under attack from an early version of Starro the Conquerer. The military does what it can until Superman shows up in all of his awesomeness and takes care of the large starfish. Afterwards, he heads to the Daily Planet and gets back into his civilian clothes. He meets up with his fiancee, Lois, and tells her of what's been going on. Suddenly, Perry White disappears right in front of the staff's eyes. It turns out a lot of older people are ceasing to exist. Suddenly, Clark remembers his parents, so he suits back up and heads to Smallville.

He's almost to the farm when reality shifts on him again and he wrecks some farm equipment. He then runs into young versions of his parents. They threaten Superman with a gun because they think he's a thug. They then inadvertedly  unveil the Kryptonite that came from Clark's ship and this weakens him. We then find out that Clark is dead in this reality. When the Kents found the crash site, all they found was a dead baby... Yeah. It turns out that the ship was taken by a man named Emmett Vale. The Kents then leave Superman at the farm and go to Vale's house to get proof that he did this.

Okay, that's just messed up.

Superman is still reeling from the effects of Kryptonite, but he know that he to break out. In his world, Vale stole Clark's ship, so he knows that the man is dangerous and the Kents are in trouble. Through some smart thinking, he's able to cover up the Kryptonite and head to Vale's house. At Vale's house, the Kents are in trouble. Vale is apparently a nutjob and has created a machine that can breach dimensions. He's also a xenophobe for leaving Baby Kal to die. Suddenly, Superman busts in and takes care of Vale's thugs easily. Vale activates the portal which opens up a gateway to Superman's world. He sees his parents and thinks he can bring them here to this universe to be safe.
Unfortunately, Vale has another thing up his sleeve: giant robots. Superman has a little trouble dealing with them, but he is helped out by this reality's version of Pa. Young John apoligizes to Superman for thinking he was with Vale. Suddenly, Vale grabs Young Martha and threatens to shoot her. Luckily, Martha can handle herself. She hits Vale and gets away from him. Superman then comes in with the KO to the xenophobic white dude.
All right Martha! Also, did Superman really have to punch him? Flicking Vale with his finger would have easily sufficed. Besides, it's funny!

With these Kents safe, Superman is about to get is parents from his world. Suddenly, he is pulled into the timestream by Liri Lee (not Lara-Li). She tells them that there is nothing he can do for anyone because the rupture starts to eat the other reality. She's come to bring him to the true cause of the rupture. Superman heads off with her. The issue ends with Lois giving some last words as she and Metropolis fades in nothingness.
.......................................................................

Now this was a better tie-in than the last one. I really don't have many issues with this one. I like that we get to see what's going on in Metropolis during all of this chaos. I actually felt a little sad for everyone at the end. They all cease to exist and there's nothing Superman can do to really stop it. A part of me wonders if this universe is the same universe that Clark went to last issue. We could be seeing why Clark didn't exist in that universe. I doubt that's the case, but it's something to ponder on. It was action-packed and the art didn't completely suck. It's not great art, but it is at least better than the art from the Adventures of Superman tie-in.

My only complaint is that  it doesn't tie in to the event that well. There is a big continuity gaffe at the end of the issue. Basically, Superman is gathered by Liri Lee at the end. In my next issue, Liri is still knocked out when a group of heroes (including Superman) head to Vanishing Point. I guess you can blame it on time being messed up or something. While that threw me off a little bit, the issue is still a pretty decent read. Now, it's time to see the true villain of the story...

Zero Hour #1
2 hours, 12 minutes ago - The issue starts out as Steel, Supergirl (Matrix, by the way) Guy Gardener (in his Warrior mode) and Batgirl (from another reality) are trying to escape multiple fissures that are eating up everything in Los Angeles. They wonder if Extant is just toying with them now. Guy is reeling over the loss of someone named Kari (is that Ice? I'm not sure). They try to stay away from the fissures but Steel gets caught in one and is removed from existence...it's always the brothas, ain't it?

Elsewhere, Extant is shocked by the fissures that are opening in time. He knows they are not his doing. Suddenly, the unknown figure blasts Extant and tells him that he has messed his plans up. The figure tells Extant that the fissures are being caused by some obstruction in the continuum... Did you get that, class? The figure teleports away to take care of the obstruction.

1 hour, 58 minutes ago - We then move to the Pocket Earth (Hmm... the one from "The Supergirl Saga?") in the 30th century. In this barren land are... you know what? This part is really confusing. I don't know why the Time Trapper (Old Rokk), two Rokk Krinns, two Saturn Girls, and two Lightning Lads are here. I guess their tie-in sheds more light on it, but it just feels weird here. Basically, for the 30th century to survive, these guys have to make the ultimate sacrifice. After they fade away, the unknown figure shows up and finishes off the Time Trapper.
Yeah, I really don't understand the significance of these two pages. Also, what is young Saturn Girl doing in that right panel? Streching? Calling the Spirits of the Ether? It just looks weird.

Ouch. Now you know the Time Trapper is dead.

53 minutes ago - In New York City, Power Girl is going into labor. Wonder Woman shoos everyone out because she's a woman and she's awesome. As the the rest of the heroes try to plan, Impulse and Booster Gold fade out of existence. Suddenly, the fissures start to pop up.

40 minutes ago - Jay Garrick has ran all the way to Gotham City to find the Spectre at JSA headquarters. Jay finds him and pleads that he joins the fight in saving the universe. The Spectre tells Jay that he now knows that someone has orchestrated this whole event and that he will avenge his former friends. Jay then fades out of existence.
That's right! The Spectre is actually gonna do something unlike his time in Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis!

29 minutes ago - Guy, Supergirl, and Batgirl have made it o New York. Everyone is off doing their thing. Batman is helping with protecting civilians, Captain Atom and Ray are are creating an energy shield, and Aquaman is being depressed. He went through a lot in this era, did he? Anyway, Metron takes a small group of heroes to Vanishing Point using the Mother Box.

24 minutes ago - In Vanishing Point, Metron and the heroes (Superman, GL, Atom, and Donna Troy) find the Linear Men and bring them out of stasis. This is the plot hole from the Action Comics issue. Liri Lee was still knocked out. Oh well, it happens sometimes. Anyway, Metron needs to have free access to the timestream. To do that, they need to bring back Waverider... and now I'm confused again because they talk like they're gonna make Matt Ryder the new Waverider. After all, the original Waverider was a Matt Ryder from another reality.

14 minutes ago - We then shift back to the hospital in New York City. Allan Scott and Starman (Ted Knight) are watching over their friends. Ted's sons, David and Jack, show up to see how their dad is doing. He tells them that they mean the world to him. Realizing he can't be Starman anymore, he bestows his Cosmic Rod to David, the oldest. Jack wishes his brother luck and is glad he won't be donning any tights.... Or so he thinks. All I can say is this: Read James Robinson's Starman series! It is good... Very Goooood!!! After that advertisement, hospital fades into nothing.

I would say something bad about David, but I won't. Just read Starman #0.

13 minutes ago - Extant shows up in the chamber of the Leymen and kills them. Ouch.

7 minutes, 34 seconds ago - In New York, Batman, Nightwing, Robin, and Guy are trying to keep civilians away from the fissures. Suddenly Extant shows up. He does nothing, but he does tell Batman that the fissures can open up anywhere. At that moment, a fissure opens up around Batman and kills him. Extant then attacks Guy. Nightwing orders the heroes to pounce on the terribly-dressed villain. Suddenly, Waverider shows back up. I can't even explain that. The dang book doesn't!

Atom tries to get the jump on Extant by shrinking, but Extant grabs him and uses his chronal energy to de-age him. Waverider is able to stop the de-aging, but Atom is stuck at 18 years old. Superman tries to get the jump on Extant and he is suddenly knocked out by the unknown figure of the story.

Wow, his suit looks a little too busy. Also, where's the grey hair?

60 seconds ago - All of the heroes are aghast at Hal Jordan being the cause of this event. Hal tells them that he is going by the name of Parallax now. He tells them that he is doing all of this to bring back Coast City and set the universe right. As the rest the universe fades into nothingness, Parallax ends the issue by making himself the true guardian of this new universe.

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

Well, what can I say about his issue? I liked it. It has its good and its bad. First, here is the bad. There are a lot of things that really don't make sense. The scene involving the Legion of Superheroes is an example. It doesn't even really fit here. The only thing about it that's relavent from it is the Time Trapper's death. Waverider's seemingly resurrection is another example. They make it seem like Matt Ryder was transformed into the new Waverider, but they don't explain how this was supposed to happen. While the artwork is still good, the coloring does get a little wonky. I guess you could blame that on the fact that Time is broken....and no, I'm not talking about Morris Day and the Time.

Other than that, I did enjoy this issue. I liked all of the urgency that came with it. Seeing the heroes try to fight against this unstoppable force was cool. I liked the scenes with the Spectre and Starman. I'm serious in saying to go out and read the Starman series that spun out of this event. Then there's the main villain, Parallax. This was my first look at the man known as Hal Jordan. I gotta admit this: he's not that bad of a villain. He's got a goal that is threatening and he's certainly better than that Extant guy. It's not everyday we have a former superhero trying to wipe out all of reality. I know that an evil Hal is unliked by most, but I still somehow like it. That moment of Hal knocking out Superman is something that stuck with with me for a long time.

Well there is one more issue to go: Zero Hour #0 and a surprise.

NEXT TIME: .......... WEIRDNESS ENSUES. IT'S TIME TRAVEL, DANG IT!

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