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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Fifteen

52: Week Fifteen

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 16, 2006

Cover date: August 16, 2006

Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Shawn Moll (breakdowns by Keith Giffen)
Inker: Tom Nguyen
Cover: J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair

"Outshined"

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge



Day 1

METROPOLIS - In his apartment at the East Hope Hotel, Booster Gold sprays yellow over his Ferris Aircraft Inc. crest on his suit in light of the company severing their sponsorship deal with him.

Day 3

Amidst past due bills on the table, Booster draws a goatee and tongue on a Newstime magazine cover featuring a picture of Supernova, "The New Champion of Metropolis."

Day 4

Booster pours liquid over his laptop's keyboard while the screen features Daily Planet articles "Going for Gold: Supernova Outshines Former Hero," and "Tarnished Booster: Approval Ratings Show 'No Confidence.'"

Day 5

Booster has skeets look thorugh his files for a pending crisis to get his career back on track. After suggesting a few rejected items, Skeets selects a submarine crashing in Midtown. In truth, it is being carried through Midtown by a strange giant monster.

SHIRUTA, KAHNDAQ -Two prison guards bring out a roughed-up Renee Montoya for a fourth "interrogation," all part of their trying to pry a confession out of her and Charlie (The Question) for the murders of five men in the Temple District, a crime in truth the work of Intergang and Mr. Abbott. As they walk past Charlie's cell, Renee notices him missing and, thinking she's lost another partner, panics. As the guards prepare to beat the fight out of her, Charlie's room fills with binary gas which camoflages his fist connecting with the one called Nazeeh. Renee, though handcuffed, manages to take advantage of the bald guard's surprise with a knee to the groin and a blow to the back of the head. Taking his nightstick and keys, she releases the Question, who is beaten far worse than she and needs to rely on her to walk. He promises her that they're in this together.

METROPOLIS - Staring out a Daily Planet window at the massive creature, Clark Kent remarks "This looks like a job for Supernova." He tells his friend, Sanjay, to do a background check on that creature by cross referencing Atlantis and Aquaman. This identifies the creature as a Ballostro, "a mythic procrustacean beast rumored to attach itself to seacraft in search of land prey." But as Sanja makes a crack about the monster no longer being a rumor, Clark's already racing down the hall, rushing past the storage room while remarking how much he misses using it.

Outside, Ballostro's tendrils wreak havoc on the elevated Midtown train when Booster arrives to combat the creature. Unfortunately, Ballostro swats him away, sending him towards the Superman statue. Accidentally severing the head and narrowly missing it crushing him, Booster recovers and commandeer's a woman's vehicle to use as something to throw at it. Even that attack fails, leading Gold to consider an electrical attack by employing the live rail on the elevated track. Clark, on the ground, realizes what Booster's planning and warns him to stop, but he's too far away. As predicted, the fluctuation causes a blackout in the Midtown area. Panic (and recriminations towards Booster) fills the air until Supernova arrives to provide the only light in the area - his crest. Focusing on the creature, Supernova zooms in and blasts Ballostro once, causing it to vanish. He returns to help Booster to his feet, but also makes a smug remark about how Booster shouldn't listen to the critics now after enduring two weeks of it already.

That is the last straw for Booster, who tackles him to the ground and starts pounding into him all the rage and jealousy he feels towards Supernova. As the brawl ensues, Supernova calls Booster a walking billboard for trying to buy the people's respect rather than earn it. However, the fight is broken up by Skeets, who points out the sub's leaking radiation from the damage Ballostro did to its nuclear engines by piercing its hull, and a core explosion is imminent. Supernova opts to handle it, but Gold sucker punches him and orders Skeets to reprogram his suit to process the leaking radiation and divert it to the suit's force field generating and antigravity capabilities. To everyone's surprise (including Clark's), Booster manages to lift the submarine high above Midtown, but is so drunk with (in his own mind) getting the upper hand on Supernova that he fails to acknowledge Skeets' warnings about the toll this exertion is having on the suit. Without warning, the submarine explodes in a brilliant flash of light. Skeets is stunned because again he has no record of such event occurring in his historical files. Supernova sees a falling body in the air and speeds up to catch him. However, after bringing him down to ground level, soon joined by Clark, both are saddened to see Booster Gold's body has been charred to the bone while the suit itself remains intact.

"The Origin of Steel"
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Jon Bogdanove

The origin targets the significant events of John Henry Irons' life (his creation of weapons pilfered later by his corrupt employers, being saved by Superman, the forging of his armor), combined with the recent development involving his becoming a metahuman.

5Main Story - 5: Finally, the fancy wrapping's been taken off of Booster Gold's story. In this, the writing team exploits all of the character's personality flaws. He's jealous, he's egotistical, he's all about the glory and prestige. And in this issue, when the adoration has been ripped from him, we see the true Booster Gold and it is not a pretty sight. However, Supernova was out of line with the wisecrack, so Metropolis better not see him as its new Superman. It's funny, but the idea of Booster trying to prove himself and ultimately suffering the consequences of his actions has been the theme of his story thus far in 52, and now here we have not his credibility, but rather Booster himself that pays the price for his hubris and inability to recognize his own limits. The battle sequence is a little comical, especially with Clark trying to warn Booster with no luck. It shows Clark still wants to be involved in the hero biz if not in a hands-on capacity. His feeling nostalgic as he passes the storage room shows the hero part of him hasn't left him although his powers have. The "job for Supernova" line is probably for appearances but it makes Clark seem almost like how Lois did when he first began his superhero career. But thankfully the dynamic is different. The idea of a professional relationship between he and Supernova almostechoes that of a master and student, given how involved Clark allows himself to become in the aftermath of the fight. Ialready know there's more to the death of Booster Gold than meets the eye if he is indeed tied into this conspiracy being investigated by Doc Magnus and Professor Morrow, so here's hoping the truth is worth the wait.

As for the Kahndaq prison scene, the team did a good job in having Renee go off the handle when she thought Charlie had been killed. That shows the depth to which her recent loss still holds her. There is a good chemistry developing between these two unlikely allies. Have to say I'm interested as to how their investigation will go and where it will end up.

4Art - 4: I dunno, but the art seems to lack without Joe Bennett's pencil work. I think I would've preferred seeing his art on this story because no one thus far in this book has been able to convey emotion through facial expression like he can. But that's not to say I'm knocking Moll's pencil work; I'm just saying that although the writing was top notch, he could've plotted the death scene a little better visually, make the sub a little more massive. I don't know I just think the scene, though good, could've been better.

4Backup Story - 4: I admit I like how Mark's able to avoid the clutter of storylines that didn't work and just focus on key events in the heroes' lives for their backgrounds. However, in the case of John Henry Irons, Waid slipped by jumping the gun in terms of the latest development in Steel's life. Yes, it's been documented in 52 that it was Lex Luthor's tampering of his genetic structure that turned his skin to liquid metal, but the book hadn't reached the part in the plot yet regarding how he could turn it off at will. The liquid metal skin is something I'd also like to reflect on as DC's way of keeping up with the competition. I've always thought the armored version of Superman was the company's answer to Marvel Comics' Iron Man, and now that he is truly a man of steel when he wants to be, he's more along the lines of X-Men's Colossus. However, that is not to slam anyone; Irons works great as a character, but it's how his story's been handled in recent years I have a problem with, and I'm still undecided as to how this latest change will take.

5Art - 5: Now THIS was an excellent decision on the editor's part. No better way to reintroduce a character than have a member of the original team that created him. Bogdanove's artwork is just as strong as it was when Steel first appeared in 1992. The only weakpoint is the classic shot of Superman saving John on the construction site. Other than that, good job!

5Cover Art - 5: Even though this spoiled the suprise ending of the book, the way the cover shot was set up is good. The refelction of Supernova in Booster's goggles symbolizes how Gold has now been ousted as a fraud and Metropolis has embraced a more Superman-like figure. The inclusion of the Clark Kent byline isalso agood move, again touching on theassociation Kent shares with Supernova.


Mild Mannered Reviews

2006

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