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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Thirty One

52: Week Thirty One

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 6, 2006

Cover date: December 6, 2006

"Human Resources"

Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Chris Batista (breakdowns by Keith Giffen)
Inker: Rodney Ramos, Dave Green, and Dave Meikis
Cover: J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair

"The Origin of Robin"
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge

Week 31, Day 1

Green Lanterns Tharmon Tox and Xax answer a distress call via Adam Blake's (Captain Comet) telethoughts five light years away to the planet Vardu, and at the same time investigating the disappearance of the Green Lantern of Vengar. According to the testimony of a local woman named Luribel, Comet was aiding the authorities to fend off a hostile alien force, during which a close friend of hers, Jodd, was killed. The report is sent to the Guardians of Oa, who determine the invaders used void-powered weaponry and can contaminate any life form it comes into contact with. They recall all Green Lanterns from occupied zones. At the same time, Comet, while tortured, mentally sends a full report on the invaders. Apparently they are the disciples of an alien known as Lady Styx, and they expand their ranks by taking possession of those they kill. Their armada of "Believer Cubes" completely destroy a planet's ecosystem upon making physical contact with the landscape. As the sharp instruments come closer to him, again he asks if anyone hears him.

Day 3

Metropolis - at Infinity Inc dormitory at Lexcorp Towers, Natasha Irons looks at the list of text messages her uncle John has left on her cel when Sierra (Jade) approaches her and tells her about the misgivings she's been having with both carrying the name after last Thanksgiving's altercation with Alan Scott's son and their teamate Hannibal (Everyman). Apparently she thinks the shapeshifter was in her room, disguised as an inanimate object. At that moment, Jake walks in and adds that the way Hannibal shapeshifts is that he has to ingest the subject in order to acquire his essence. Sierra is made sick by this news and makes a run for the bathroom. Natasha tells Jake off, but then the pair kiss. Natasha excuses herself and Jake changes into a grinning Everyman.

Elsewhere, Cassie (Wonder Girl) stands in front of the Superman and Superboy monuments when she's startled by the floating helmet of Dr. Fate and an intoxicated Ralph Dibny, claiming he went to Marsailles, France to begin a new search after the fire. Pulling out a yellow envelope (addressed to Donna Prince), she reveals that the head of the Cult of Connor, Devem, was in fact an escaped psych ward patient with a history of fraud, and she carries the information around with her in the hopes of tracking him down. Ralph says the cult did succeed for a moment in resurrecting his wife. Cassie agrees with the possibility of reincarnation on the grounds that she believes Supernova is in fact Superboy resurrected. Ralph abruptly takes his leave while Cassie notices the postage on the envelope read Marseilles, France.

On the roof of the Daily Planet, Dibny (who's sent Fate ahead of him) meets with Supernova and tells him to set Cassie straight and tell her that he's not Kon-El, having already deduced his secret identity. Supernova agrees to talk to her but not at the moment as long as Dibny keeps his true identity under his hat for now. He takes to the skies and wishes Ralph good luck.

Day 6

Back on Vardu, Lady Styx's followers have defeated Tox, while Xax's distress call is rejected by the Guardians due to the risk of contaminating any of the Lantern corps. Luribell assures Xax that Adam Blake will save them, but then a converted Jodd with sword in hand ambushes them both. He then slays her, repeating "Believe in her." Meanwhile, in orbit, Captain Comet is strapped to the hull of one of the armada's cruisers, horribly mutilated.

Day 7

Luribell, herself is converted, and Lady Styx ingests Tox and Xax's power rings. At the same time, the ship carrying Lobo, Adam Strange, Starfire, and Animal Man closes in on Vardu.


"The Origin of Robin"
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II

Upon recognizing a signature acrobatic move performed by the first Robin as part of the Flying Graysons' act he watched years before, young Tim Drake took it upon himself and deduced not only that Dick Grayson had been Robin, but also that Bruce Wayne was Batman. But by the time he put his theories to the test, Dick had left the role and became Nightwing, and Batman retired the position of Robin because he deemed it irreplacable. Tim sought to prove him wrong and assumed the identity on his own. Through perseverance, he convinced Batman to give him that chance and was put through strenuous mental and physical training that would challenge even the Dark Knight himself. Due to the recent loss of his father (added to the death of his mother years before), Tim was soon adopted by Bruce Wayne.

4Main Story - 4: I had to take a second reading of this issue to get an idea of what was going on. I never took the threat of Lady Styx serious because up till this point it was Lobo who introduced her and it seemed like a minor threat. I'm glad the writing team has expanded this danger to the entire galaxy. As for the Guardians of Oa abandoning Xax's cries of help, I both agree and disagree with the decision because although it's for the greater good, they are ultimately throwing one of their own to the wolves. The way Lady Styx expands her army is both eerie and fascinating. I kept using the term "converted" to describe the recruited corpses because it does seem to be some kind of perverse religious conversion when they repetitiously say "Believe in her." Back on Earth, the mystery surrounding Supernova's true identity deepens and more clues are revealed about his powers. Dibny noted a device connected to his abilities; does this mean his powers are in fact artificial in nature? And what does he mean when he said there's too much at stake to worry about Cassie's beliefs? The highlight of this issue was Captain Comet's complete deconstruction on a physical and mental level. The irony of his predicament is that his message is recieved but no one comes to his aid. Though confusing at certain parts, the writing is pretty cool as the storylines continue to develop and expand, such as Natasha's membership in Inifinty Inc.

3Art - 3: Normally I'm a fan of Chris Batista, but this issue seemed a little below his ability. I blame the breakdowns made by Keith Griffen. They could've used some better angles. Sometimes Griffen doesn't make the most of the artists' abilities on this book. Hopefully in the future this will be rectified. The best part of the book is how Batista designed the final look of Captain Comet with the sinew and muscle tissue exposed. It's a risquee move, but it does enhance the overall threat of Lady Styx.

4Backup Story - 4: Waid's rendition of Tim Drake's origin is accurate only to a certain extent. He leaves out the part about Tim being there on the night of the Graysons' murder, and how Batman was still unhinged from Jason Todd's death at the time he took up the red and yellow for the first time. Although he notes Tim had to earn his spot, and highlights Robin's time with Lady Shiva, Mark only skims the surface of the depths to Tim's character.

5Art - 5: Freddie E. Williams was a good choice to depict Robin since his artwork mirrors that of Mike Weiringo and the current Robin artist. However, the only mistake he makes is drawing Tim as the classic Robin when facing the Scarecrow. In that story, Batman is being tortured by the Scarecrow alongside Vicki Vale and Tim, fearing he'd lose and disgrace the uniform, instead attacks wearing a ski mask and weilding a staff when he confronts Jonathan Crane. And I think a rendition of the iconic image of Batman consoling Tim on the night of his father's death would've been better than Tim standing over his parents's grave. Other than that his take on the character is fine.

5Cover Art - 5: The distraught expression on Comet's face and the wartorn environment really captures the essence of the issue. Good job.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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