Zero Hour: Crisis In Time by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway (graphic novel review).

In the introduction to the graphic novel of ‘Zero Hour: Crisis In Time’, artist/writer Dan Jurgens points out the problems of discovering that while giving Oliver Queen his 45th birthday in the ‘Green Arrow’ comic-book, the effect that would have on all the other characters in the DC Universe, who must surely be of a similar age. More so, since after ‘The Crisis On Infinite Earths’ and the Justice Society Of America were now on the only Earth were still young despite the fact that they had to be in their 80s.

I would add to that this would also apply to the original Flash aka Jay Garrett’s wife, Joan, as well. As I’ve covered the problems of ageing in comic-book universes in an article and only came across this 1994 mini-series recently, I was curious to see how this problem was sorted out.

Other than the introduction from Showcase ’94 # 8-9, the rest is from the five-part mini-series itself and with extras showing interior art in the making and covers.

With the story itself, it is Waverider and Hunter in the future who discover something is tampering with the timeline and come to the 21st century to sort it out. Things have already changed. Batgirl is back and there are multiple numbers of Hawkman converging on each other. Members of the Legion Of Super-Heroes are already here, too. It’s inevitable that the Time Trapper raises his head and removes his cowl for an interesting surprise although I’ve begun to realise that he might be more than one person anyway. Not helped by the fact that Hank Hall aka Hawk and now as the more powerful The Extant is ageing people to death. There is a lot of death going on.

Ultimately, without giving away too many spoilers, it becomes a battle between The Extant and Parallax, the ultimate form of Green Lantern Hal Jordan before he ends the DC Universe and brings it back in a form of a reboot. I ended up wondering what happened next and looking up Wikipedia, there were many Zero issue cross-overs even before it got to that stage which surely deserves to have a collective couple volumes to itself as well, more so as many of the characters prove to be ineffective. From the looks of things, there are some selective volumes although I doubt if they’ll change the overall direction.

I often thought the original ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’ trying to sort out the multiple Earths was going to create more problems and came away from ‘Zero Hour’ with the thought that those who caught on after that mini-series is going to see a similar problem in seeing all the continuity that they might have liked be wiped with a stroke even more damaging.

In many respects, the more recent ‘52’ appears to resolve these issues into alternative realities, so presumably ‘Zero Hour’ must be considered one of those realities now. That’s the problem when you have comic book characters outliving their creators and fans by several decades, you have to take their relative ages as a given and freezes when they reach adulthood.

I doubt if the ageing of comic-book characters will ever be resolved successfully. Soon as you introduce children who grow up into the mix, all the adult characters must age 20 years unless you introduce time travel or other dimensions where they grow up.

GF Willmetts

March 2019

(pub: DC Comics, 2018. 200 page graphic novel hardback. Price: I pulled my copy for about £10.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4012-7851-9)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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