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Zero Hour Revisited – Justice League International #68

90srevisited_zerohour

justice_league_international_0068Triumph

Writer: Priest
Penciller: Phil Jimenez
Inker: John Stokes
Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
Letterer: Kevin Cunningham
Assistant: Ruben Diaz
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

I really WANTED to like this issue, and the story, given Priest‘s the writer and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed other stuff he’s done. But particularly for this final chapter, I’m just left rather underwhelmed.

We basically pick up with the pieces from the first couple chapters of this Return of the Hero story, and a mashup of scenes ultimately results in defeat of the enemy, and the group(s) making up with Triumph, some subplots touched on for later, and finally the Zero Hour final-week fade-out to white.

I suppose this simply was a product of its time, to say nothing of having the FEEL of a random "filler" story thrown in to bridge whatever had come before and whatever was coming next, providing some filler story that could tie in to "time travel/time anomalies" and serve as the three Justice League titles’ entries in the Zero Hour event.

The story in and of itself isn’t horrible or anything, but just isn’t much to my taste; perhaps largely for being in the middle of a major "blind spot" for me with the League and the characters involved–this is not the Justice League that was "current" in 1992 tying into the Death of Superman, nor is it the Morrison-era League from when I branched out more in the later ’90s.

The art also isn’t bad, but it doesn’t blow me away, either. It fits the story, and has the "feel" of the era.

Perhaps there’s more depth to be found, but I’m reading from the perspective of "just read and enjoy the entirety of Zero Hour." From that angle, this is filler that fits better than a lot (it involves time anomalies) but doesn’t really seem to directly affect anything with the "core" Zero Hour story itself and so is ultimately passable. I would not recommend this issue by itself as a sole, single issue…but if you can find all three chapters of Return of the Hero! in the 25-cent/50-cent bins and you’re interested in a Priest-written Justice League story set firmly within its 1994 context, this’d be worthwhile enough.

All in all, I’m ready to move on, and have actually kinda burned myself out on these such that it’s getting to be a bit of a slog to get through all these tie-ins…especially as I’m itching to get to Zero Hour #0 itself.

Zero Hour Revisited – Outsiders #11

90srevisited_zerohour

outsiders_0011Final Blood II

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Penciller: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Robert Campanella
Colorist: Stuart Chalfetz
Letterer: Kevin Cunningham
Asst. Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

This incarnation of the Outsiders is one I’ve long been aware of, but really never read. It came to my attention back in the day thanks to the use of the Eradicator character–moving from the Superman books, I was at least "interested" in the title, though it was not one I ever got around to acquiring during its actual publication. If this isn’t my first issue reading, it’s at least the first I can consciously recall reading…and though I know OF several of the characters, recognize them at least in name if not by appearances elsewhere over the years…I just felt lost.

This issue basically sees the outsiders fighting vampires (or werewolves? But I think they’re supposed to be vampires), and arguing amongst themselves as the fighting and such happens. Even when the team would seem to have emerged victorious, there are breaks between characters, and outcomes from recent events I have not read that play into their relationships and the team dynamic, leaving the team quite splintered. Most disappointingly, the only actual tie that I noticed to Zero Hour (on the single "casual"/"reading for the experience as with every other issue of this project" read-through) is that two characters who appear in this issue also appear in Zero Hour.

That this issue carries that Zero Hour banner is very disappointing as such, and I’m not at all thrilled at the virtual "deception," as I did not enjoy the characters, the story, nor get anything "new" for Zero Hour. There was a throw-away line by Katana in Zero Hour #4 that I suppose references what happened here, but it was just that–trivial and throw-away.

I suppose the art works for the title, but I was so thoroughly out of the loop reading the issue that I hardly noticed it. When I hardly have a clue who’s who or what’s going on, I don’t much care how anyone looks. They could all be alternate timeline doppelgangers of one another for all I know.

All that said…while I appreciate that this issue probably made some sense in context of reading the earlier issues leading to this…I’m highly disappointed to have taken the time to read it as a Zero Hour tie-in when it doesn’t do a thing for the Event story.

Definitely an issue to pass on if reading stuff to get the "full" Zero Hour experience, I’d say!

Zero Hour Revisited – Flash #94

90srevisited_zerohour

flash_0094Reckless Youth chapter three: Just Do It!

Story: Mark Waid
Guest Pencils: Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Wayne Faucher and Jose Marzan Jr.
Letterer: Kevin Cunningham
Colorist: Gina Going
Assistant Editor: Ruben Diaz
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

Well, that explains a bit, on multiple fronts. Some early Wally/Bart interaction, as well as (now) confirming [1.] that yes, that was “the” Wally in Zero Hour #4 and [2.] How he wound up in the future with no real context provided.

We open on Bart, with Wally’s narration…Bart’s not familiar with his own power/abilities, and Wally’s job is to keep an eye on him. Iris Allen–Barry’s wife–is present, and plays coy on details of Wally’s future. Meanwhile, Linda’s got a guy named Argus involved in some current investigation (I think he’s the Bloodlines character introduced in the Flash 1993 Annual). Wally’s none too happy about being pressed into responsibility for Bart…and takes full advantage when Argus phones in a tip. Wally investigates,and finds himself about to get some really good intel on Kobra when Bart rushes in, spoiling things. Resigned, Wally joins the fight, but soon finds himself facing Kadabra…and then he’s pulled into the far-future, Kadabra’s own time…and while still trying to get his bearings, Waverider appears.

The credits list Pacheco as a guest penciller…which explains my relative (but only slight) surprise at this not being a Weiringo-drawn issue. Though some panels come off slightly more cartooney than I’d prefer, with an odd sort of simplicity to them, on the whole the issue is quite good-looking, and not bad to see. I can mostly follow stuff, though I’m mentally piecing together context, as this is listed as part 3 of a story, but I’m reading it because it’s a Zero Hour tie-in. We get plenty of linework to suggest Flash’s speed, but nothing special or surprising. I “get” that Flash is fast, but there’s no particular creative styling to suggest the speed in a way that the very layout of the page does it, and the art style in general isn’t something drastically different from other contemporary books. It’s “just” superhero art, works well, and fits the issue.

Story-wise, I’m a bit lost, with not knowing where the story began (if this is part 3, I can assume #92) nor how long it should go (six issues from this would be #100, though there’s the #0 yet between). Similarly, given the tight continuity, I spent most of the issue wondering how Wally’s here doing this stuff when in Zero Hour #4 he’s in the far future, apparently having just captured someone (Kadabra). That does get addressed at the end of this issue, and perhaps my expectations were thrown by the Batman issue: that one shared several pages’ worth of story with Zero Hour #4…this one basically a panel. I’d “assumed” we’d get something a bit more detailed in this issue on Wally’s actions trying to shut down the Time Rift…but apparently that was “uniquely” contained to the Event Book itself.

I’d half thought/assumed over the years that Bart–Impulse–first appeared in Zero Hour itself, that this story shoehorned the character into the Flash mythology…but it would seem that I was wrong…and that has me all the more interested in getting up to speed (no pun intended) with the Flash book. This was a first-time-through for me with this issue…I didn’t read it back in 1994, nor had I ever read it prior to this reading project…so it’s actually rather cool to get this taste of the Flash’s own story, knowing the exact point it’s taking place in relation to a bunch of other ’90s issues…namely, during July 1994, and the Zero Hour event.

As this issue is part of the earliest stage of the story, the Time Anomalies are just being discovered, the wibbly-wobbly-ness just started to get noticed, so the bulk of the issue really IS “just” a typical Flash story, just any issue of the Flash book.

I enjoyed it, and look forward to the #0 issue, and eventually/someday getting fully caught up contextually with Wally’s time as the Flash.

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