DC Comics (September, 1994)
I’m not going to use the formatting I have been. WordPress dropped it as automatic and it just causes issues when I copy/paste it to Patreon for early posting.
WRITER/LAYOUTS: Dan Jurgens
INKER: Josef Rubinstein
COLORIST: Glenn Whitmore
LETTERER: John Costanza
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Chris Duffy
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Frank Pittarese
EDITOR: Mike Carlin
Zero Hour continues to play havoc with time in the DC Universe. After helping Supergirl repel an alien invasion from the far future, Superman gets a phone call from his mom telling him to hurry over to the Kent farm. Despite having called for a gathering of heroes to warn them about the current crisis in time, Superman goes to check on his parents and finds his parents…from Krypton! Despite all evidence Krypton went boom Jor-El and Lara are here to bring Kal-El back to Krypton. We learn after they managed to save their world, the Kryptonians took on a less cold way of life (which John Byrne introduced in the post-Crisis reboot) and had their first natural childbirth, bringing about Kal’s brother, Zan-El. Now Zan leads the planet through their new “golden age” of humanity but the Els want Kal back. However, Clark is a man of Earth but hopes to visit Krypton once the current crisis is over…except that they are of course another time anomaly and they eventually go away, either blown up by the time storm or sent back to their reality. Kal-El has little time to morn because after Clark Kent comforts his parents Superman still has a job to do.
What they got right: I think the whole “Zero Hour” event is so the writers can play games with the characters’ histories, a life that might have been and such. And you do get a sense of Superman’s divisions here. First he’s torn by his duty to the universe as Superman versus his responsibilities to his parents as Clark Kent, and then between Earth and Krypton. The art is also pretty good and how Krypton would have gone on had they found a way to relieve the pressure that would have blown the planet to smithereens was nice to see. I never liked Byrne’s take on Krypton so it’s nice to see a reality where that all changes.
What they got wrong: They had to fight with the events of the main comic to get Superman away from New York, where he and Metron called the heroes together, and this adventure. And I have to admit that it’s one of the weaker time warps we’ve seen. At some point it feels like any writer there long enough has to write an alternate universe where Krypton survived and life was changed. We’ll see it again before too long and it’s a story that’s just been done so often I’m not sure there’s a new way to approach it.
Recommendation: While the alternate Kryptonian history is pretty neat it’s tough for me to really recommend this story to anyone who isn’t a completist for either Superman or the Zero Hour tie-ins. I’m just not impressed with this story. Maybe because it HAS been done so often.