Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Review: Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus by Dan Jurgens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As an oversized hardcover comic collection with over 1000 pages, this is the kitten squisher to end all kitten squishers. Seriously, if you need some kittens squished, this would be the book you’d want to use for the job. 

It’s taken me months to get through this thing, not just because of how long it is, but because it’s so big that I had to be in the right mood to sit at the kitchen table because it's not like you could read it while laying on the couch.

A funny thing about this one, it’s a DC crossover event that was originally published in 1994. I’m much more of a Marvel fan than DC (Except for my boy Batman.), I think crossover events are generally stunts to boost sales that have seriously hurt storytelling, and this came out at a time when mainstream comics had gotten so bad that fans quit reading which nearly caused the entire industry to implode. And yet I asked for this as a gift last Christmas.

Why? I’m not really sure myself. I’ve been watching a lot of the TV shows and cartoons they do these days so that has my DC interest up. Plus, Zero Hour was right about the time I bailed on reading comics back in the ‘90s so it’s kind of a time capsule to go back to. It just kinda sounded like an interesting artifact to re-examine.

So how was it? Weeelllll….. As I said before, this was kind of a bad time for superhero comics, and there is an incredible amount of material about characters that never caught on who I”m pretty sure have been left to the discount bin in comic books stores. So there isn’t nearly enough of the major characters like Batman and Superman that you’d think. Plus, this was yet another huge part of DC’s obsession with repeatedly trying to revamp their continuity and create a timeline that ‘made sense’ which is something they insist on doing once a decade that looks more and more like a fool’s errand every time they try.The plot revolves around a big timey-wimey crisis that is ending all of the DC realities, and it’s pretty much just nonsense even by comic book standards.

The most interesting aspect is that because it’s about worlds colliding, we get a lot of different versions of characters over the years at times, like Superman running into a whole bunch of different Batmen or Catwoman getting a glimpse of her various incarnations. One of the best side stories involves the Tim Drake version of Robin meeting and working with the much younger Dick Grayson as Robin to catch a thief.

My favorite was an absolute gem of a Green Arrow issue in which the entire story is done without captions or dialogue and shows via clever structure of the panels two parallel stories in which GA pursues the same criminal, but it ends two different ways. I could have used a lot more like that one in this.

Overall, it’s a big mishmash of ‘90s DC characters doing a lot of different stuff so it’s not without it’s charms, but anybody who didn’t know anything about the characters’ histories would most likely be loss. It’s also going to be a fairly big investment so not recommended for casual fans unless you find it cheap.

Still, I had some fun with it, and it did take me back to the days when Superman had come back from the dead and Batman had recovered from a broken spine. Not a bad trip down memory lane overall.

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