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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Two

52: Week Two

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 17, 2006

Cover date: July 2006

Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Joe Bennett (breakdowns by Keith Giffen)
Inker: Jack Jadson
Cover: J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair

"Looking Back at Tomorrow"

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge

Week 2 Day 1

Ralph Dibny takes a photograph of his wife's gravestone and remembers the day he found her murdered and burned and sheds a tear. His recollection is interrupted by the groundskeeper who comments on the old-fashioned camera he's carrying. The young man confesses to be the brother of the boy named Marty whom Ralph had saved from a kidnapping attempt years ago at Dreamland Park as Elongated Man, along with Sue who consoled him. After examining the defaced gravestone (the damage known only to the keeper and Dibny), Ralph concludes this was a message meant for him.

Week 2 Day 2

At the home of Doctor Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, Booster Gold waits as the "21st century's foremost authority on android A.I." examines Skeets, who is suffering from a glitch in his system, evident in his error in assuming Superman would address a new JLA the week before. Magnus admits he's no expert on "tomorrowtech" and apologizes to Skeets as he reactivates him. The android is nonetheless honored to be examined by "the father of the artificial self." In return, Booster offers Magnus a ride to Bludhaven, where he is going to spend some time with the man who's the true foremost authority on android A.I., but no one will acknowledge due to his crimes i.e. attempting to start a dimensional war. At a maximum security prison, Magnus meets with Professor Morrow, contained in a plexiglass cell but still supplied with a personal library of scientific magazines which he regards as "historical texts" in comparison to the breakthroughs he's made in his field. Magnus brings up the fact that many superheroes had been killed recently, among them the Red Tornado. Morrow confesses he can't understand the Tornado's compulsion to sacrifice himself, nor why only one of his "brothers" the Red Inferno showed anything like the same self-awareness. Morrow considers Magnus the only one of his students who appreciates his genius, and chooses to warn him. In light of the "fuss surrounding Lex Luthor," and the mysterious raid on Dr. Sivana's lab, and the mysterious disappearances of Ira Quimby (aka I.Q.), Doctor Death, Tyme, and Cyclops, Morrow's come to the conclusion that someone is "rounding up" the mad scientists of the world. Morrow advises Magnus to watch his back and keep taking his anti-depressants.

Week 2, Day 3

In her Gotham City apartment, Renee Montoya and her recent lover are awaken by an intruder standing over her bed. It turns out to be The Question, who asks Renee who she is. Instinctively, Montoya grabs her gun and fires three rounds in him, and he promptly vanishes without a trace. While the other woman is hysterical at the sight of a faceless man, Renee finds a note on the floor. It's an address - 520 Kane St - and signed with a red question mark. Renee tells her bedmate to put her clothes on.

Week 2 Day 4

Over Metropolis, Flight 2824 radios to Metropolis Tower to report a complete instrument malfunction and to initiate emergency landing protocols. Relying again on Skeets' historical record of the plane's decent, Booster flies upward to meet the crisis. Unfortunately, Skeets is wrong again, this time about the plane coming in from the North when Gold is buzzed by the jet (engines on fire) from behind (the South). He quickly recovers and positions himself under the plane and sends an electrical jolt throughout the plane as it comes to a complete, safe landing at Metropolis airport. Avoiding the grateful crowd, Gold scolds the android for again divulging incorrect information, while a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald headline reads: "Hundreds Dead on Flight 2428".

Back in Gotham, Renee wipes the vomit from her mouth, leaning over the seat, contemplating the Question's "question" of who she is. As she reaches for the bottle, she notices the stained goodbye note from her girlfriend Daria, then glances the address again. Curiosity takes over and she heads to 520 Kane St, which turns out to be an abandoned building. The Question again appears, and Renee's reaction is the same. This time, however, Question disarms her and tosses her into the garbage. Montoya is still wondering why he's still standing, but then answers the question and says she's a drunk. Question responds by asking her if she thinks he's judging her on her words or her actions? He wants to hire her on a $200/day basis, with the first three weeks paid in advance and puts forth before vanishing in mist again "Don't judge the building by how it looks... judge it by how it's used and by who uses it..."

Week 2, Day 6

Before a Kryptonian altar - crystalline background, a huge gold-colored humanoid figure with a red "S" on his chest - a blonde-haired individual ends an online "sermon" before logging off. Removing her robe, she stands revealed as Wonder Girl at Titans Tower, clearly mourning still from the loss of Conner Kent aka Superboy. Ralph appears and says he heard Conner loved her too. He then gets down to business and believes the graffiti on Sue's tombstone was a message from her, which she refuses. Ralph compliments her on how well she's duplicated Kryptonian religion, and claims he knows a few things about the long dead world as well. For instance, the infamous "S" is the Kryptonian symbol for "hope." Finally, he shows Cassie (and the reader) the photo of his wife's gravestone, covered with a sprayed-on red "S" that is inverted. Translated from Kryptonian, it stands for "resurrection."

BACKUP STORY: History of the DCU - Part 1
Story and Layouts: Dan Jurgens
Inks: Art Thibert

On New Cronus, Donna Troy is conflicted due to the recent events in her life (her resurrection, the Crisis) and how she's unsure of who she really is. She interfaces with the late Harbinger's Orb and requests a summarized account of the multiverse's history, then stops herself, unsure of whether or not she wants to see those worlds end. She finally dredges up the courage and the Orb resumes. Noted events reflected on include the big bang; the Oan scientist Krona's accident that created the Anti-Matter Universe; the Guardians' mistake with the Manhunters and founding of the Green Lantern Corps; and Earth-One's evolution of life and emergence of heroes. Donna narrows the account and asks for information on Superman. The Orb begins an account of both Earth-One Superman and Earth-Two Superman...TBC

4Main Story - 4: Where issue #1 was a simple aftermath of the Crisis, with a guest cameo of Clark Kent at the end, #2 provides the seeds of a strong plot developing with the element of mystery on all three fronts. Who is collecting mad scientists? Why was Sue's gravestone spraypainted with the insignia for "resurrection" and what is its connection to Kryptonian religion? What is going on with Skeets' memory? I also notice that the writing team is attempting to bring second-stringers like Booster and Doc Magnus to the forefront of the DCU in light of the Big Three's absence. In that respect, it's an excellent opportunity for them to break away with how these characters were handled in the past and provide them with new creative directions and further development. I also like the depth of how much Connor's death affected Cassie; the lengths to which she has dealt with it and how the events of 52 will lead to the loner she is in the "One Year Later" storyline in Teen Titans promises to be fun to observe. As for the Morrow-Magnus conversation, I admit that the scene echoed the Foster-Hopkins dynamic in "Silence of the Lambs" both in the visual and spiritual sense. Seeing Ralph Dibny focus his abilities on being a detective and not a superhero reminds me of the "Born Again" storyline of the Daredevil series over in Marvel; the act of taking the superhero out of the costume as to allow the reader to see the true metal of the man emerge makes for a great plot. In short, #2 gives the series more of a direction and I can't wait to see how this plot will unfold.

4Art - 4: I was a fan of Joe Bennett's take on Spider-Man over at Marvel (in case you haven't guessed by now I collect those books as well), and how sexy he made the female characters in the first issue of Dark Horse's Buffy TVS. He didn't fail to disappoint in #2. The shot of Booster Gold oblivious to the plane behind him was great. His depiction of Montoya and that girl in bed was hot. Not too much to report here - just keep up the good work guys.

5Backup Story - 5: As an artist, Dan Jurgens is fantastic. His take on Superman and other characters have earned him a great reputation. I'm giving him a 5 for writing because it's always a treat to see an artist pull double duty for art and writing, especially if it's a new take on classic material. His handling of Donna's latest identity crisis is off to a promising start. Can't wait to see how he'll handle Superman's history - both of them...

5Art - 5: Not much to say here, only the Jurgens-Thibert collaboration compliments the beauty of Donna Troy.

3Cover Art - 3: As a cover, this is a disappointment. It tells very little about the plot inside and not even a Clark Kent cameo can bring something to the table. Good layouts, good composition, but no connection to the story at all.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2006

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