A Dream of Metropolis

Category: Memorable Moments
Last article published: 10 June 2015
This is the 35th post under this label

Earlier this year on the Zero Hour Strikes Podcast, I mentioned how I was sure a certain moment occurred in Zero Hour that actually did not. Listeners were quick to point me in the right direction, and I was both right AND wrong about a very memorable moment. The magical rebuilding of Metropolis DID happen in the wake of Zero Hour, but was told in a "revealed at last!" fashion many months later.

The way I remembered it: With the universe destroyed, Zatanna casts a spell that lets the assembled heroes "remember" the universe back into being (which would have explained the anomalies, especially in the Legion's time, which contemporary heroes would have known jack-squat about).

How it actually happened: The universe just Big Banged again (lame) and by the next month's Zero issues, Metropolis, recently destroyed by Luthor, was rebuilt. Retcon? No, because everyone still talked about Luthor's misdeed, so a story needed to be told. Karl Kesel, Stuart Immonen and José Marzan to the rescue (in the comic, Perry White recounts it in an editorial).

The universe is back but Metropolis is still in disarray. Since all the heroes came together for the crossover event, they help Superman in some rebuilding efforts, but it's not like they can really rebuild a whole city. And after at least building some shelters and keeping the peace, most of the heroes start talking about going home (as they should). Enter: Zatanna.
A psychic call brought her to Metropolis and she has just the spell (she's gotten a lot more powerful since the JLA days), but she needs detailed plans of the city. Turns out, Superman's super-senses and total recall make him a perfect volunteer from the audience (love it). The Martian Manhunter can supply the telepathic link (wait, is Metropolis going to be saved by Justice League Detroit?!). But whoa there, Superman's perception is SO utopian, he's afraid it will distort the city to the point where people won't feel at home there. (If there's something we found out in Zero Hour, it's that the heroes of the DCU reject any kind of shortcut to BETTER LIVING.) So they get pragmatic Perry White into the mind link - he's the SOUL of the city. For this to work, the spell must be cast from the city's heart, and that's...
The Daily Planet globe. Aww. I guess the other heroes were just witnesses. Anyway, light shoots out of the ground and the city rises. Hell, even the LexCorp building is back.
Everything is. Everything but the globe on top of the Daily Planet building. And that's because Perry didn't want a new one, he wanted the old one salvaged by Superman.
Beautiful. Now imagine this as Zero Hour's resolution, how much more memorable. I'm not sorry at all for having combined the stories. It's probably why I thought Zero Hour was better than it actually was.

(We need not talk about how the psychic call to Zatanna was made by Lord Satanus because the destruction of the city prevented him from carrying out his scheme to take it over, but this could also have been Zero Houred, with a third villain conspiring to have the universe back from Extant's and Parallax's clutches.)


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