Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week One

52: Week One

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 10, 2006

Cover date: July 2006

Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Joe Bennett (breakdowns by Keith Giffen)
Inker: Ruy Jose

"Golden Lads & Lasses Must...."

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

The pieces of the universe as altered by Superboy-Prime's punches swirl towards a center and create an Earth, per Infinite Crisis.

Week one, day one:

Ralph Dibny, his house destroyed, finds a gun from an old case.

Renee Montoya, distraught over the failure of justice and the loss of her partner, indulges far too much in booze, lamenting her position. She's in the 52 pickup bar.

Steel (John Henry), in rubble, tries to help save lives in the aftermath in Paris.

Week one, day two, three, and four, much the same happens. Renee sinks deeper into her fugue, turning down offers to be taken home or stop drinking. Ralph assesses the losses, looking through the rubble of his house. Steel continues to try and save people.

Week one, day five:

Booster Gold, on tips from Skeets, stops Mammoth in spectacular style. True to his old form, Booster stomps the villain, then poses for photo opportunities, makes a product placement, and prepares for the next future event he can exploit.

Ralph, meanwhile, has a gun in his mouth. He's trying to commit suicide, and the only thing that stops him is a message from the cemetery. Apparently, someone has written something on Sue Dibny's tombstone.

Natasha (Steel 2) flies ahead of her uncle, John Henry, in armor. She insists that she's going to go to the Teen Titans, and John Henry commands her to stay and help pull people from the rubble of Metropolis. She mouths off and says she can do what she wants. John Henry presses a button, dismantling her armor and humbling her, telling her she can build her own if she wants to be in charge.

Black Adam, in his home country, addresses his people. A suicide bomber appears. Black Adam pulls the bomber high into the air, rips off his arm, and offers the man three more chances to say who sent him.

Week one, day six:

Dr. Sivana takes glee in mocking the memorial service about to take place. Someone grabs him and takes him away. Two someones, a green scaled and white furry skinned pair.

At the memorial, the heroes meet and recoup, talking of the losses. Booster, awaiting a key moment that ushers in a new (and greatest) heroic age, stands near the podium, waiting for the event that will lead to his place in the Justice League.

Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman fail to show.

Booster, enraged, flies off the handle. In the ensuing scuffle to hold him down, he elbows Clark Kent, giving him a bloody nose. Kent informs him with an apology that Superman will not be appearing.

The Question goes to the top of the Gotham City PD, rips the bat off the Batsignal, and replaces it with a question mark. He shines it into Montoya's room. Montoya recoils, but sees the question mark. The Question asks the air (Montoya) if she's ready.

5Story - 5: To be completely honest, I'm very skeptical that this will work. I have been since the idea was announced. It's a great idea in theory, but it hasn't been done, and practically, in over ten years. Since my favorite period of comics before this one, oddly enough, the period of time where the Superman titles were interlocking, weekly, and told an ongoing in-continuity story that coordinated between all of the creators.

The reason I was skeptical is because not only is this series taking second tier characters and trying to elevate them to the forefront (something that didn't work even recently for me with Morrison's Seven Soldiers), but it's trying to go back to what is now DC past and make an invigorating story.

Also, the Booster Gold and Blue Beetle Justice League, the one that spotlighted second tiers and essentially tried to push this same vibe, failed miserably in terms of the "big seven" formula that the book soon adopted (with Morrison) to much success in the 90s. I'm not saying they were bad stories... far from it. I'm just saying that it's the reason they were able to get away with offing Beetle. It was a period of time that's reviewed, even now, as a period of "off" time for the Justice League. Fondly, yes, but with a certain ardor of mockery. Even a fan of that whole era concedes that, typically.

So, flat off a Morrison side-project like this that failed for me, involving a Waid that's not exactly a continuity darling for me, and putting Rucka and Johns, my two favorite DC writers, with Morrison and Waid, who have, at least to me, WHOLLY differing philosophies and styles of story, I expected a cataclysmic battle of egos (not in the negative sense, in the "voice" sense, IE, the egos of whoever was writing a given part would show forward in that writer's style, not that Rucka would demand a rider), I expected a failure.

I'm pleased to say that I'm glad to be wrong, at least so far.

I'm pleased to say that I'm beloved of all of these side characters, and I think many of the people reading DC are.

Is this the early 90s Justice League again? I don't know, honestly. Now I'm ironically in the position of caring for the obscure side characters and wanting to see them elevated to the forefront even if it makes less sense (Which I could argue against. I think it does make sense with this group.)

Regardless, Steel is a powerful character. Montoya is a powerful character. The Question is a powerful character. Ralph Dibny, right now, is an INCREDIBLY powerful character. Booster Gold, well, he's a character, but I like him.

If you asked your mother who they are, she wouldn't know. That means that a lot of fans won't, either.

But this story, what they're presenting, what they're setting up, it's really, really awesome. Steel stepping back into the fray. Ralph dealing with not wanting to live without Sue. Montoya not walking off into the sunset. The Question on the case, likely of why the future and the past have changed. And heroes in response to the events of Infinite Crisis. It's like reading a continuation of the series, but now instead of every panel exploding with epic action AND character, it's just character. It will flesh out Infinite Crisis, I believe.

The pace of the titles is really cool. It spreads it out over a few pages, and speaking strictly as a writer, that was impressive. I plan on stealing that idea. It started in Birthright (which overdid it) and here, it gives a very cinematic feel to the narrative. Waid got it right this time through. Awesome.

Poor Skeets! That's all I have to say there.

Also, as a side note, I think I speak for a bunch of nerdlets like myself when I say, yes, thank you, it's "Look! Up in the sky!" not "Look up in the sky." I told you. Heh.

The only thing in this book I questioned myself and didn't like is Steel taking Natasha's armor. Not because I don't want him in the position of Steel (Really, I do. I don't like Nat so much, she strikes me as whiney and annoying). Not because I think it's not his armor to tell her how to use as he pleases (yunguns!). Nah. What gets me is that, as Steel says, they need people to help out in the rubble, and by pressing that one button, he effectively removes a source of aid for the ailing, petulant whiny tart or not.

Awesome story. I'm glad to be out the money, actually. Best read this week after Johns on Supes.

5Art - 5: Bold, vivid, strong depictions of all characters involved. I like the way Steel is portrayed. He hasn't been so on in a while.

The action sequence is good, but what I like is that this issue is a lot of character and static stuff, and the true test of an artist is whether or not they can keep it exciting when all you're doing is expository, and they did. Good stuff.

5Cover Art - 5: One of the better cover designs in the last year. A good format, very symbolic and representative of what's going on. The logo rules. It's not overly preoccupied with the flashiness, but the epic quality of the piece shines through. Good poses on the characters. Awesome cover all around.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2006

February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2006.