Tag Archives: Parallax

Today’s Super Comics — Zero Hour #4-0 (1994)

zero-hour-4Zero 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

Today’s Super Comics — Green Lantern #101-106 & Green Arrow #136 (1998)

green_lantern_vol_3_101Nearly fifteen years before X-Men brought its Silver Age versions into the much darker present, Green Lantern did the same. But not for an ongoing series, just a mere seven issues.

Following the events of the anniversary issue team-up in Green Lantern #100, a young Hal Jordan finds himself stranded ten years into his future, which was DC’s present. He learns his home city has been destroyed, he’s destined to become a villain and eventually die, and some fellow JLA teammates are dead. Kind of a lot to take in.

It’s a fascinating situation to put a superhero in. And it’s far more compelling to bring a character from the past to the present, rather than from the present to a possible future. The past and present are already established and fleshed out over years’ worth of stories, whereas we’re less familiar with a newly introduced future scenario that might never come to pass anyway.

The real treat, though, particularly when I read it in 1998, was seeing Hal Jordan back in action as a heroic Green Lantern at a time when he was out of the picture. I would’ve been okay with him sticking around longer. This storyline could have lasted a full year without feeling forced, and it would have given us more time to see Hal reconnect more with old friends and deal with more modern threats (this was shortly before the trend of decompressed storytelling in comics).

We at least get a nice little team-up with the then-current Green Arrow (Connor Hawke, as Oliver Queen was also dead then), as well as a battle between young Hal and older, well-intentioned villainous Hal (calling himself Parallax).

Though I would have enjoyed more, these seven issues remain a fun time on their own.

Writer: Ron Marz (Green Arrow issue: Chuck Dixon)

Pencilers: Jeff Johnson, Scott Eaton, Paul Pelletier (GA issue: Dougie Braithwaite)

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 10 and up