Saturday, April 30, 2016

5YL Supplemental: Zero Hour

Zero Hour #3-1 (September 1994)
title: "Zero Hour"
writer: Dan Jurgens
penciller: Dan Jurgens
inker: Jerry Ordway
lettering: Gaspar Saladino
colorist: Gregory Wright
assistant editor: Mike McAvenie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway
reviewer: Siskoid

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy (three versions), Lightning Lad, Live Wire, Saturn Girl (both), Ultra Boy

Guests: 
The rest of the DC Universe

Opponents: 
Extant, Parallax

Recap: 
Time is falling apart. When anomalies started to crop up in the late 30th Century, the three founding members of the SW6 Legion (temporal clones of the Legion, created by the Time Trapper, but they don't know it) went back to the 20th Century to pinpoint the problem with their history. When they arrived, they immediately met up with the Emerald Dragon, AKA the adult Ultra Boy, also back in time looking for something (or someone, namely, the lost Phantom Girl). And just as immediately, they received a holographic call to arms from Superman, asking all heroes to help deal with a Crisis in Time. Back in the future, the timeline is collapsing, and most of the Legionnaires are vanishing as they are witness to the end of the universe from the Time Trapper (now revealed to be an aged Rokk Krynn)'s pocket dimension Earth (issue 3 takes place after/during Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #6.

Synopsis: 
The four Legionnaires learn about entropy eating away at the timeline at the gathering of heroes, and that anomalies are also plaguing other times. Waverider explains that the entropic forces must be attacked in the past and the future; the Legionnaires volunteer for the latter, of course.
When they arrive at the end of time, they meet the adult Rokk Krynn and the version of Rokk that has become the Time Trapper. The Trapper sends whatever other heroes were sent on the mission back to the 20th Century.

In the 30th's final moments, the few Legionnaires left brace themselves for the collapse of the timeline. The Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad from the 70s fade away in an embrace*, leaving the others to their fate. The Time Trapper leaves them knowing he has allowed the Legion to march nobly and with dignity into the unknown tomorrow, though he could not save them from entropy. He is cut in half by Parallax, one of the villains responsible for the universal crisis, out to kill every time traveler that could stop his plans.
Neither "batch" of 5YL Legionnaires would be seen again until Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds.

Commentary: 
What a disappointment. Legionnaires head to the past to fix the timeline and save their future, and end up being used as crowd fodder. A single line of dialog in issue 3. A few disjointed panels in 2. And what feels like panels that fit between LSH v4 #61's in 1. That last one is suspect to say the least. On the one hand, the 5YL Legion's last hurray should be in the last issue of their series. Sure. Yes. But given how large the cast is, they could spared a few real moments for the four characters "lost in time". What we get at times contradicts events from the real ending, which is a damn shame considering the Legion books and Zero Hour share an editorial team. Compare the page above with this one from LSH v4 #61:
That's not exactly the same finish for '70s Garth and Imra. The important thing for Zero Hour was that the Time Trapper be in it and fall victim to Parallax. The Legion being in it seems entirely secondary.

But considering that this was this was the end of a Legion era, it feels wrong not to give them a good send-off. Team Titan likewise got sent into that dark night, but I feel like Jurgens is more interested in them and gives them actual action beats. The Legion is basically there to say the 30th Century is represented in this story that's about all of history under threat. So when they volunteer for a mission to the future (their time anyway) - making their trip back in time almost completely pointless -  they don't do much there. There is no battle or challenge. They point at the wave of entropy, don't cooperate with heroes from other times, and next thing you know they're standing with the two older Rokk Krynns arranging for those other heroes - WHO NEVER SEEM TO SHARE THE SAME SPACE - to be sent back. I don't even know what's going on.

So shame on you, Zero Hour. You done my team wrong.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Zero Hour's numbering goes in reverse, from #5 to #0. Legion characters appear in #3, #2 and #1.
  • *The scene of Garth and Imra embracing and disappearing contradicts events from the final issue of Legion of Super-Heroes v4.
  • The three adult founders of the Legion are seen to die in #1, though none of them are the 2996 versions of the characters. Garth and Imra are wearing their '70s uniforms, and Rokk is the Time Trapper.

6 comments:

  1. Has any DC crossover ever done right by the Legion? The only ones that are even contenders are The Final Night and Final Crisis, I think.

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  2. Final Night is based on a Legion story so it's probably tops. I have a hard time counting Final Crisis because Legion of 3 Worlds has no real connection to FC, doesn't allow the Legion to meet characters not related to their world, and even came out months later.

    I can't really name any other big event that allowed them to participate in a meaningful way.

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  3. Wasn't there at least a little Legion involvement in Superman Beyond, though? He got the Miracle Machine stuff from somewhere, right?

    One could make an argument for Invasion, creating the initialed counterparts, introducing Valor, and establishing the Legion-associated alien races into present-day DC.

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  4. And many of its aliens were traditional Legion foes. Invasion is a sort of prequel to the intergalactic community of the LSH, but did not directly cross over into the book.

    Millennium basically ruined Laurel Kent.

    I didn't read Infinite Crisis, how was that? More crowd scenes?

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  5. I don't think there was any Legion in Infinite Crisis at all. The Teen Titans/Legion special was part of the build-up to it, but that's it I think.

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  6. You think the Legion had it bad in Zero Hour? I'd rather be them than the JSA. Ugh.

    Chris

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