10 Plot Twists from DC's Original ZERO MONTH

<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>This week sees the midway point for DC Comics' New 52 Zero Month, four weeks of issues designed as entry points for the New 52 line that give some insight into what happened before everything we saw in last year's much-ballyhooed universe-wide relaunch. <p>But this is the second time around for a month of zero issues for DC; the first time it happened was back in 1994, following the crossover event <em>Zero Hour</em>. That first Zero Month promised "The Beginning of Tomorrow," with new starts for a number of series but how did those beginnings turn out? Here are 10 of the best <em>original</em> Zero Month twists. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>


After suffering through a confused (and confusing) history for almost a decade after <em>Crisis on Infinite Earths</em>, Hawkman emerged from <em>Zero Hour</em> a new man literally. <p>Now a being who merged together the mystical "Hawk Entity," Thanagarian cop Katar Hol, and the Golden Age Hawkman Carter Hall (as well, oddly, as his wife, Shiera Hall), the new Hawkman had new powers and a somewhat new, grittier, attitude as well as an impressive amount of chest hair as visual cue that everything was different this time around. Well, it <em>was</em> the '90s.


While it's traditional for old orders to change(th) when it comes to super-teams and big events, <em>New Titans</em> took that idea to familiar lengths in the wake of <em>Zero Hour</em>, dumping the entire line-up of the book prior to the crossover with just one exception (Changeling/Beast Boy), and giving the new team a new purpose, as well. <p>Writer Marv Wolfman's new team of government operatives may have been an attempt to create an <a href=http://marvel.com/digital_comics/issue/1327/uncanny_x-men_1963_94>All-New, All-Different</a> appeal for DC's Strangest Teens of All, but sadly it didn't quite catch on as well as it did for Marvel's X-Men.


Everything also started over for DC's premiere super-team, as the lineup shifted significantly from the Giffen/DeMatteis era for the first time since the mid-80s, and big-name characters like Wonder Woman, Flash and Hawkman returned to the title. <p>Of course, they were joined by Nuklon, Obsidian and Crimson Fox, amongst others, so it's not as if this was exactly the return to greatness fans had been waiting for (that would <a href=http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/JLA_Vol_1_1>come a few years later</a>), but the change-up not only meant the end of the Justice League International, but also the launch, a few months later, of <em>Extreme Justice</em>. So, while this wasn't exactly the greatest time for the World's Greatest Super-Heroes, at least it wasn't dull.


Of course, if the Justice League and New Titans thought that they were going through big changes, the futuristic teen super-heroes of the 30th Century could happily scoff at how easy they had it. <p>Instead of line-up changes or new jobs, the Legion found its entire continuity wiped out as a result of <em>Zero Hour</em>, and the titles (there were both <em>Legion of Super-Heroes</em> and <em>Legionnaires</em> by this point) restarted with an all-new version of the team's origin and a younger, more uncertain team starring in the adventures. This "Reboot" Legion would keep going all the way up until 2004, and would later make a reappearance in 2008's <em>Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds</em> mini-series.


With all of these dramatic changes going on for all of DC's super-teams, how could Aquaman at this point, just three issues into his relaunched series with writer Peter David at the helm match the amount of drama and upheaval? <p>Oh, that's right: Replace his hand with a hook. To be fair, he'd actually lost the hand earlier in the series, when it had been eaten by rabid piranhas (Alanis Morrissette would be proud of that particular irony), but #0 was the debut of the replacement hook that gave the aquatic hero a new pirate charm and made it particularly difficult for him to drive and talk on the phone at the same time until someone invented hands-free headsets.


A hook hand wasn't enough for Guy Gardner. In a new universe where there was only one Green Lantern (Hal Jordan having seemingly been killed in <em>Green Lantern #0</em>, although it obviously didn't take), Gardner may have been at a loose end if it wasn't for the fact that he was suddenly retconned into being of alien heritage, a new discovery that gave his shape changing powers and made him into a genetically perfect warrior. <p>Unlikely? Entirely but with all of history up for grabs in the wake of the reality-shaking <em>Zero Hour</em>, it definitely wasn't impossible, and that was the point.


While everyone else was facing new beginnings, Wally West was traveling through time, discovering the truth about his own past he was his own inspiration all along! and uncovering a worrying fact about his future: He was about to die, and there was nothing he could do about it. <p><em>The Flash #0</em> started the classic "Terminal Velocity" storyline that brought Bart Allen firmly into the Flash legacy as Impulse, temporarily made Jesse Quick into the new Flash, and introduced the Speed Force as the thing that explained just why Wally, Barry and Jay could run as quickly as they could. And it all began with the end of <em>Zero Hour</em>.


Wally West may have discovered a hidden truth about his past, but Bruce Wayne lost one about his as <em>Zero Hour</em> rewrote DC Comics history: Joe Chill was unseated as the man who killed the Waynes, replaced by an anonymous thief who had never been captured by the Dark Knight. <p>It was just one of multiple subtle but important changes in Batman's status quo, along with his newly official status as urban myth and limited dependence on others (Bruce was now officially the man who built the Batmobiles, for example, replacing decades of earlier continuity), that set the tone for the character's next decade or so of adventures until Grant Morrison took over the franchise and made things weird again, post-<em>Infinite Crisis</em>.


It was a small thing that didn't seem that important at the time, but laid the groundwork for the future of the series. <em>Green Arrow #0</em> saw Oliver Queen try to rediscover some inner peace following an attempt to kill his best friend at the end of <em>Zero Hour</em>, retreating to an ashram where he met Connor Hawke for the first time... a man who would later be revealed not only to be Queen's son, but also his successor in the role of Green Arrow following Queen's (temporary) death. <p>Did creators Kelley Puckett and Jim Aparo know what lay in store for Hawke in this first appearance, or did all of that come later? Either way, this is an impressively low-key debut for a character who'd soon take over the title for himself.


And in the very first issue of James Robinson and Tony Harris' classic <em>Starman</em> series, Starman is killed. David Knight had taken on the mantle of the cosmic hero during <em>Zero Hour</em>, and died at the opening of <em>Starman #0</em>, subverting expectations and starting the series as Robinson, Harris and other artists would go on, playing against type and offering something more complex and quietly revolutionary than most superhero books of the era. <p>It may not have rebooted continuity, replaced limbs with objects or turned characters into aliens, but <em>Starman #0</em> is almost undoubtedly the one issue from DC's original Zero Month that people will look back on as the greatest of them all.

10 Plot Twists from DC's Original ZERO MONTH

Date: 12 September 2012 Time: 08:53 PM ET