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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Six

52: Week Six

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 14, 2006

Cover date: August 2006

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

"China Syndrome"

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge

Week 6, Day One:

WMET-TV Live reports a bomb threat at the hands of an armored villain called Manthrax thwarted by Booster Gold. However, in a secluded tunnel afterwards, "Manthrax" turns out to be an actor Booster hired in another ploy to help improve his public image. After writing "Bill" a hefty cheque, he takes the helmet with him and instructs him to return the rest of the armor in the same storage locker he picked it up from...and to invest in Promethum Razors stock.

In China, meanwhile, Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan are locked in combat over the Great Wall of China with members of a Chinese superhero group known as the Great Ten. According to them, the GL's are violating Chinese airspace and are instructed to retreat. In truth, Stewart and Jordan are after an extraterrestrial criminal known as Evil Star, wanted on charges of illegal weapons trade. The one called August General In Iron sends a radio communication to the group's home base, presumably stationed in the Great Wall. While subordinates complain about the need to wait for the Great Ten to recieve their green light to start recruiting superhuman power for the preservation of China, the member called Mother of Champions is in labor with "the next army of Supermen."

August General in Iron reports that permission for release was denied, and coalition support is on its way, in the form of Immortal-Man-In-Darkness. He is a metahuman who appears to be one with his assault vehicle, whose tendrils attempt to ensnare Jordan, who retaliates by trying to slice the ship up with his power ring. However, the ship simply reshapes itself around its host while Hal is tackled by an armored member of the Great Ten to the ground, then greeted by Thundermind. Reciting a Buddhist prayer, Thundermind then tortures the Green Lantern with mind blasts for information. Though Hal confesses to their mission, it makes little difference to Thundermind, who Jordan then subdues just as Evil Star's cruiser soars overhead.

At the same time, at the Bludhaven Security Village, Professor Morrow recieves another visit by Doctor Magus. Morrow is angry because, due to his converting a guard's iPod to a disintegrator ray, all of his research has been confescated. Magus reminds him that it is his disregard for human life in his scientific pursuits that denies him his sought after respect. Changing the subject, Magus acknowledges that Morrow's theory about someone rounding up "mad scientists" was right, for 15 have vanished since the Crisis). However, he won't delve into it further due to the fact that, since Lex Luthor has started handing out superpowers to whoever wants them, things have been less than calm. Simultaneously, unbeknownst to either man, an unknown individual in an undisclosed location eavesdrops on their conversation. To his subordinate, he orders "Tell these monsters to study their targets well..."

Back in China, John brings down Evil Star and encases him in a small cage of Oan energy, while Hal initiates ring code ten-twelve, which causes a widespread burst from his ring to incinerate any falling debris from the demolished cruiser. The Great Ten members pick up their second wind and advance again on the Lanterns. Jordan volunteers to hold them off while Stewart gets Evil Star out of there, but is then blindsided by the arrived Black Adam. Honoring the inclusion of the Chinese government to the coalition shared by Kahndaq, North Korea, and Myanmar, Adam stands in defense of the country and orders both GL's to retreat. However, armored flying Russian officials break up the skirmish and grant the Lanterns safe passage to Russian airspace. John demands Adam to explain what exactly he is doing, in light of recent actions (ie ripping a man apart on live television). Adam merely discloses the coalition is still growing, and soon may include Russia as well. But, as John points out, because Adam is acting as a representative of the coalition, following them into Russian jurisdiction will be considered an act of war. The Great Ten are also denied pursuit. Both they and Black Adam relent and withdraw.

Week 6, Day 2

In Arizona, at a heavily armored underground bunker, Booster and Skeets visit "the father of time travel" Dr. Rip Hunter, but get no response by the knock on the door. The door is protected by an "atomic time lock," whose internal circuitry Skeets recognizes as a precursor to his own and manages to hack their way in. However, because of a failsafe within the lock, Skeets is forced to remain outside while Booster goes down the stairs. In Hunter's lab, Gold discovers numerous clocks; a shattered globe (a time machine?); a globe with "World War III - Why? How?" written on it; two chalkboards layered with mathematical equations under the heading "Time is Broken"; and finally grafitti on the wallls which read "all his fault." When Booster asks who is to blame, he gets his answer as he turns to find photos of him on the wall under the heading "his fault."


History of the DCU - Part 5

Story: Dan Jurgens
Art: Dan Jurgens (layouts), Andy Lanning (finishes)

Harbinger's Orb follows its description of the Crisis on Infinite Earths to Donna Troy with the changes to Earth-One. It starts with analyzing the new Justice League of America formed by Maxwell Lord, in particular how Batman continued to withdraw from the group.

Donna considers that a harsh oversight, but Orb tries to correct her by going over his personal file. It reflects on the fact that capturing his parents' murderer Joe Chill gave Batman a sense of closure. In fact, even in pre-Crisis history, a brief glimpse of compassion showed through his dark demeanour with his taking on first Dick Grayson, then Jason Todd, as the first Robins. However, it points out that the Jason's "death" at the hands of the Joker, and Barbara Gordon's paralysis also at the clown's hands, snuffed out that light, leaving both Dick (now Nightwing) and Barbara (now Orcale) with the burden of holding Batman's darkness at bay, along with the third Robin, Tim Drake.

Orb then switches gears and starts talking about optimistic times such as the Guardian-Zamaron alliance against the Manhunters, and emergence of The Teen Titans, The Ray, Black Condor, and Wavebird. But again, it follows it up with tragedies such as the "death" of Superman, Bane breaking Batman's spine, and the evil Cyborg-Superman's actions that led to the fall of Hal Jordan as a hero and emergence as the villain Parallax. From that point, the Orb then goes on to discuss Zero Hour...


5Main Story - 5: Ladies and gentlemen, it is official; we have a mystery unfolding. FINALLY we see a point to Booster Gold's role in this story besides being a glory-seeking, egotistical fraud. The "Manthrax" episode clearly showed what lengths he's willing to go to get the public to trust him as their new savior. Could there be a connection between the glitches in Skeets' records and the conspiracy theories Rip Hunter has apparently been working on. But how is he involved? Is he one of the targets of this mass-disappearance of mad scientists? I'm also interested in seeing where Black Adam's coalition is leading. This has been a character that has had numerous treatments over the years as both a villain and antihero. He's DC's version of The Punisher, or rather the reverse since he came before Marvel. As to which side of the fence he's on now, I guess we'll have to wait and see. Oh, and FINALLY we see two mainstream players still active in the DC-verse in the form of the Green Lanterns. John and Hal's working relationship is handled magnificently. The Great Ten, however, is the only element that doesn't fly father than just two-dimensional characters. They're fill-ins until Black Adam shows up and provides the GL's with a truly insurmountable challenge. As for the identity of the mastermind eavesdropping on Morrow and Magus, your guess is as good as mine, but I can tell you right now that it is NOT Lex Luthor. In light of the current "One Year Later" storyline, you can tell his focus is not on kidnapping scientists. The fact that neither the character's face nor gender is indicated adds to the mystery and makes for great story. All in all, we're definitely in for quite a show.

5Art - 5: Joe Bennett's versions of the GL's, Black Adam, and generally dramatic scenes are masterstrokes in every sense of the word. However, he could take care as to not make Adam resemble a steroid-popping Leonard Nimoy or a certain Atlantena King from another comic book company. Nuff said.

5Backup Story - 5: This part of the walk down memory lane can easily be called "Batman, this is your life." As I mentioned in a past review, it's great seeing Jurgens summarize twenty years of stories, reflecting on plots like "The Killing Joke," "The Death of Jason Todd," and "Knightfall." Also, establishing the connection between the events during the "Reign of the Supermen" influenced the emergence of Hal Jordan as Parallax shows how much attention to the source material Jurgens paid.

5Art - 5: Much like his writing, his takes on pivotal scenes like Bane snapping Batman's spine over his knee, and the Man of Steel lying dead on the streets of Metropolis, manage to still connect to the original spirit of the works of those artists involved during those stories the first time around. His design of Donna Troy is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Keep up the good work, Danny boy!

4Cover Art - 4: Focusing on the ruckus over the Great Wall of China, this cover was meant to dissuade people from the emerging conspiracies revolving around Morrow, Booster, and Black Adam (save for his appearance on the cover). Still, it's cool to see Green Lantern in the forefront with a classic pose. I think it also stands to note that not all heroes had vanished, as mentioned earlier.

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

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