Thursday, January 18, 2007

Comic Review: 52

As I work on getting my Bulleteer picture polished up I thought I would take some time to throw in a comic review for my pick of the week: 52 #37

For those of you who haven't been following, following Identity Crisis (a discussion for another time), the DC Universe, along with all of its titles, jumped ahead one year. 52 is the story of what happened within this year, a year without "The Big Three," focusing on lesser known characters, mainly Booster Gold, The Question, Steel, Renee Montoya, Black Adam, Animal Man, and Ralph Dibny (the former Elongated Man). To get into everything that has happened in the first 37 issues would take a while, but to keep it simple, here is a breakdown of the main story lines:

-The Question trains Renee Montoya as he prepares for his eminent death from cancer (don't smoke kids), meeting the new Batwoman along the way

-Supernova and Rip Hunter attempt to fix Time as they are hunted by Skeets

Ralph Dibny and the Helmet of Fate search for a way to resurrect Sue Dibny

-As Luthor empowers (and then de-powers) normal citizens, Steel searches for a way to bring him down

-Animal Man, Starfire, and Adam Strange try to return from deep space

But "what about Booster" you ask? Look no further than issue # 37. I will keep the reveals a secret, but in short, Skeets attacks Rip and Supernova, who have been collecting weapons to destroy him within the City of Kandor. Meanwhile, Ollie Queen begins his political campaign and Animal Man is laid to rest. I quick mention of 52 and a origin for Firestorm round out the issue.

This issue answers some of the long lingering questions and at the same time, explains why such an important of the last moment was treated so insignificantly. Though the exposition in the beginning has been criticized, from a story point (it is a delay tactic) it makes sense. I have found that the majority of the issues in 52 are either hit or miss as far as important plot points, this one is definitely important and should not be missed.

52 is one of the more ambitious efforts of any comic company in recent memory. It is a weekly book, crafted by four of the industry's top writers (Waid, Rucka, Johns, and St. Morrison) with all layouts drafted by Keith Giffen. So I applaud DC for this effort alone. But the writers and artists have managed to slip in subtle hints along the way that will eventually reveal the mysteries revolving around the broken time, World War III, the mystery of Supernova, etc. I have been unable to notice many of the hints but look forward to going back through once I know the answer (you call it cheating, I call it... ). This brings an added dimension to the book, which to me is the sign of true genius. Though I still feel in the dark about a lot of the book, I look forward to reading it every week and will sad to see it go. It is a bit late to pick up all the issues if you haven't started, but conventional wisdom suggests there may be a trade on the horizon.

Lastly, the letter page contains a paragraph that, when decoded, reveals the secret of 52. If anyone figures out the code, leave a comment. Thanks for reading. Viva Comictoberfest!

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