Sunday, February 11, 2007

52.27 - 52.39

The last Wednesday in January brought the third quarter of DC's weekly series 52 to a close. The creative team covered a lot of ground in those 13 weeks and I'll try to talk about it in terms of the individual storylines.

Our heroes in space finally had a confrontation with Lady Styx, who was carving a path of destruction through the universe (with the Green Lantern Corps unable to stop her). In the end, Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man had to rely on Lobo to get the job done. Not only that but Animal Man seemingly lost his life. I say seemingly because he appeared to get better with the reappearance from the yellow-skinned aliens last seen in Animal Man's series in the early 90s (written by Grant Morrison, one of the four architects of 52). I'm really looking forward to seeing where this aspect of the story goes.

This run of issues featured another (prolonged) death of hero - The Question. We first learn that he's sick in #27 and he doesn't actually die until #38. In the meantime he helps Renee Montoya save Batgirl from Intergang; Montoya in turn tries to bring him back to Nanda Parbat and save his life. She has a hard time watching him suffer but seems to have reconnected with Kathy Kane. Speculation has been that Renee will be the new Question. I would find that an interesting development and would read that series, should one be in the offing.

Nanda Parbat also features in the travels of Ralph Dibny, who is still accompanied by the Helmet of Fate and searching for a way to resurrect his dead wife. He confronts her killer, Jean Loring (now Eclipso), steals something from the Flash Museum, meets up with members of The Great Ten, talks to Rama Kushna, and makes a trade in Atlantis. Still not sure what it all means.

The heroes Lex Luthor created, Infinity Inc., continued to play a big role in the series. They had a confrontation with the remnants of the Justice Society and saw the collapse of all the others in the Everyman project (because Luthor turned off their powers). John Henry Irons (Steel) finally convinced his niece Natasha that something was wrong and she began to investigate from the inside, turning up several problems - not the least of which is that Luthor gave himself super-powers.

The Black Marvel Family continued their quest to change their image in the world, though that was ruined by a run-in with the Suicide Squad.

We finally learned what Egg Fu and mad scientists are up to - creating the Four Horseman to unleash destruction on the world in the name of Intergang. And we learned that Will Magnus went off his meds and worked on recreating the Metal Men. Oh, and we also heard more about the missing 52 seconds from Doctor Tyme, claiming he misplace them.

Plenty of updates from around the DCU as well - Bruce Wayne says he's done being Batman; Nightwing meets Batgirl for the first time and then gives her a Christmas present; Green Arrow enlists some help for his mayoral campaign; Red Tornado continues to float at the edges of the story and also continues to speak only the cryptic "52"; and more.

Which brings us to the last big piece of the puzzle - Skeets and Supernova. In one issue we see Skeets attack Waverider and he tells us that his metal body comes from the dead body of Waverider (ewww). We also see Supernova working with Rip Hunter in the bottled city of Kandor in the Fortress of Solitude to try and find ways of defeating Skeets. It doesn't work, though Rip there is an escape. Supernova is revealed to be a hero who died earlier in the series, Booster Gold.

It's a lot to take in, obviously. The plus is that while individual issues may not always be a home run, the series as a whole continues to deliver. There is still plenty to resolve in the final 13 issues and one story will sprawl into its own four issue mini-series, World War Three (which will be released in its entirety the same week as #50). I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

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