Zero Hour: Crisis In Time #4
DC Comics (September, 1994)
WRITER/ARTIST: Dan Jurgens
FINISHED ART: Jerry Ordway
COLORIST: Gregory Wright
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Mike McAvennie
EDITOR: KC Carlson
Time is falling apart. Time Trapper attempts to stop the one behind it, but is destroyed. The beginning and ending of all time is being compacted and eradicated. In the future, Flash (Wally West) tries to stop it but dies. In the present, an earlier version of Batgirl, bullet-free and walking, attempts to capture the Joker, surprising Batman and Robin (Tim Drake), while a concerned Robin (Dick Grayson…this is going to get confusing, isn’t it?) watches from the shadows. Vandal Savage sees numerous versions of Hawkman before he disappears from history. Even Hunter, one of the Linear Men, is destroyed by the rifts in time. Based on something he said, Waverider returns to Vanishing Point and looks up the Crisis, as in the Crisis On Infinite Earths event. He also tells the sole remaining Flash, Jay Garrick, that Wally is dead. Unable to get Darkseid’s help (no shock there), Metron seeks out Batman and Superman, who uses Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner, although a younger version of Hal Jordan was also fighting the time rift in a different future) to send a message to Earth’s heroes to gather in order to find a way to stop this. And while all this goes on, Vanishing Point gets a visitor–the former Hawk, former Monarch, now calling himself Extant, who has seized control of the base outside of time!
What they got right: The idea of starting the numbering with #4 (the last issue will be #0) is a neat gimmick to the numbering, a countdown to the end of all time unless the heroes can stop it. While the chaotic storytelling as various versions of characters from various time periods would be annoying in a different story (and the 90s was good at explaining little for the first issue), this sets up the chaos of time’s unraveling well.
What they got wrong: There does feel like a prologue is missing. Back in Showcase #8 and #9 we do see how Monarch gained time travel powers and his new form in part, but unless you were reading the DC titles around this time it seems to happen rather fast.
Recommendation: It’s hard to tell from this first issue how good the event will be. A cautious recommendation but it depends on how the story goes. I forget if I have the end of this one or not.