Zero Hour was the first company-wide crossover event I read, and the scope was suitably epic.
The superheroes of the DC Universe need to band together to save time itself, which is rapidly unraveling, creating all sorts of mysterious (and entertaining) anomalies. A young Batgirl in her prime appears in Gotham. People randomly disappear as their timelines are wiped out. The elder statesmen of the Justice Society of America stage a heroic last stand.
And at the center of it all is a classic DC superhero gone rogue. (Spoilers ahead, since I can’t really discuss this one without revealing the big bad.)
The most amazing part for me, when I read this at the age of 11, was the reveal of the villain. In the final pages of the penultimate issue, a green glowing fist clocks Superman, knocking him out cold, and then we see Hal Jordan, the definitive Green Lantern since the 1959, standing over him, taking credit for orchestrating this whole crisis in time.
It blew my young mind—the idea of a hero of this stature being the bad guy. And Green Lantern, now calling himself Parallax, is utterly convinced he’s in the right, which is an important ingredient in any great villain. He’s fixing time and removing all the mistakes. Basically, he’s playing God to bring about a utopian vision. And that never goes well.
It’s no work of literature, but it thrilled me back in the day. It lacks a central protagonist, but lots of great characters have their moments, especially Green Arrow in the final faceoff against his old friend. The Flash also gets a big heroic moment early in the series.
By the way, the numbering for this miniseries goes backward. So the first issue is #4, second is #3, and so on. It’s a countdown to the end of time. Happy New Year’s Eve.
Writer/Penciler: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Jerry Ordway
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 9 and up