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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Thirty Seven

52: Week Thirty Seven

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 17, 2007

Cover date: January 17, 2007

"Secret Identities"

Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Pat Olliffe
Inker: Drew Geraci

"The Origin of Firestorm"
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Jamal Igle

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Week 37, Day 1:

In Kandor, Supernova and Rip Hunter stare in alarm as Skeets gloats over them, threatening to destroy Kandor.

Rip takes the Supernova suit, and reassembles it, while Supernova, out of costume, pops out to take care of Skeets.

It's Booster, alive.

He fights Skeets, explaining how, in Rip's lab, Rip was actually there, and told him what Skeets would do. He gave Booster the Supernova costume and then took him back in time twelve weeks, taking his future dead self and putting it in the explosion to fool everyone.

Over that time, in Kandor, the two worked to find a way to stop Skeets.

Hunter emerges with the Phantom Zone projector, and attempts to pull Skeets in. Skeets instead eats the Phantom Zone, and follows Booster and Rip as they disappear into what seems to be teleportation (or perhaps the Phantom Zone).

Green Arrow talks with Black Canary about Green Lantern helping secure Star City.

The space travelers hold a funeral for Animal Man. Leaving him for fear of his being contaminated by Styx, they fade into the distance. Animal Man awakens, only to find two aliens standing before him, one of whom says, "And so it begins."

"The Origin of Firestorm"
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Jamal Igle

4Main Plot - 2/Main Story - 5: That requires an explanation, I know. As far as a revelation goes, as a pure plot story goes, this thing is fun, top to bottom. Kind of like Birthright. When I read the bulk of this story, I said to myself, "I smell a WAID!"

Be vewwy vewwy quiet.

I know the writers hate it when people try and guess who's writing what, because this is a team effort, but sometimes it seems very probable, and it's part of the fun, that speculation.

I think Waid wrote the end of the Supernova story because it has typical elements of what I know Waid for. A fun story that doesn't necessarily consider the ramifications of what he's asserting. Like Birthright. Like the culmination of the Cult of Conner, which I shot holes through when I reviewed it despite being emotionally poignant.

It's funny, because Waid is a continuity guru. He knows everything about comics, few contest that. But when it comes to rewriting continuity or pressing forward, he can't seem to keep his law of story straight.

Same problem with this story here, and I'll tell you how. That's why the story itself, not the plot, gets below average.

First off (and unrelated), the cover hacked me off. Usually I don't care if I hear a big spoiler beforehand, or if I guess it. I knew Darth Maul and Qui Gon died before I saw Episode I. I know most of the explicit plot points of every Smallville I review and still enjoy what I would have enjoyed anyway. For me, a good story is generally all about the execution.

That said, if it peeved me to wait thirty-six issues and then have Supernova suddenly spoiled on the cover not two pages before we read who he is, then I KNOW it will make people who hate spoilers livid. It's a bad move, and it's not the first time a major, fun spoiler has been put on the cover (remember the return of Lobo?).

Please, stop doing this.

Continuity-wise, this issue has either some errors or the revelations of some ret-cons. We don't know, because editors refuse to tell us.

No, we won't just live with it, so delete that letter before you write it to me. Continuity is an issue.

First off, Superman's Fortress is leveled, but then, what about Kelex? What about security? What about an alarm that would alert Supergirl if something was breached? (Reviewer's note: Right here was originally a rant wondering how the Fortress was destroyed. Steve informed me about the Blackrock fight in Superman #223, which I'd forgotten. Does this mean my memory is faulty in old age? I doubt it, if I can remember stupid niggling continuity details. Instead, perhaps the story is to blame for not being memorable? You decide. The world may never know.)

When did Kandor become about twenty skyscrapers? It was a giant city as early as three years ago, and it was a whole society as of 1997. It's shrinking?

Superman's Fortress again has a giant key outside. So, apparently, we're back to Silver Age? Or did he make a key in an issue I missed sometime before 1991?

If they retcon things without explanation, it drags you out of the story if you've been reading for more than a year or two. That SUCKS. Because honestly, to win over a few new readers you're ignoring the people upon whose financial backs the ability to draft this continuity was built.

How did Booster get Luthor's glove?

Uh, when did Superman get a Phantom Zone projector? He can go into the Phantom Zone, or be dragged in, more commonly, but part of the problem is that he can't harness it. Another part is the fact that our Superman, the modern Superman, WOULDN'T. He doesn't condemn people to the Phantom Zone no matter what their threat is, as it's a living hell, otherwise WHOOP! Goodbye Doomsday, Darkseid, and half of the worst rogues.

Also, if Skeets ate the Phantom Zone, where does Zod come from in One Year Later?

How does one eat a Phantom Zone? And why would that only begin to sate your appetite? And if one can eat a dimension aimed at you and sucking you in, why can't one stop Booster Gold when he's monologuing?

Adam Strange can't remember much of what happened out by the hands? Does that mean, like in the original Crisis, that what happened before Infinite Crisis is being forgotten by the heroes and that we don't have any of the old continuity save as it newly appears?

Editors? Paging ANY bloody editor at all? We need a coherent universe, here?

See? Waid. Looks cool, but doesn't really fit logically. Like Birthright.

There's also time, which I hate having to analyze. If you're gonna mess with time, you should really think it out, otherwise I have to do three thousand pages of complaining, and I hate doing that. But here I go.

First off, Skeets would not be perplexed that Booster is not dead, for several reasons. Firstly being, Skeets was around Supernova, and would have noticed (being a computer and an advanced one) that they're the same size, age, genetic makeup, etc.

Also, being a chronologically adapted computer, he would likely have realized that there was a strange chronal signature on Supernova, and that he was from twelve weeks in the future.

Fine, counter that by saying that Supernova's suit masked him. Skeets, when seeing Michael's body, would have been able to check his chronological age, and realize it wasn't the same body as before, right? He's made from pieces of Waverider and essentially tried to kill Michael, but wouldn't make sure the job was done?

What's stopping Skeets from going back twelve weeks and killing Supernova?

What's stopping Skeets from going back and stopping himself from allowing Michael into Rip's hideout?

Why is Skeets concerning himself with these two if he can eat dimensions?

If Booster went back in time, why not try to destroy Skeets then, or assemble a bunch of people to destroy Skeets? Why not go to the future and get weaponry that can defeat Skeets (assuming the future is static and not in flux, which it kind of must be, which I'll get into)? Why not tap Supergirl, Green Lantern, Oa, the New Gods, etc?

Soloing it to build up weapons is hard to buy, even if it's good drama. Since it only took the time of one conversation about why he was Supernova to build a Phantom Zone projector, it's hard to believe he hasn't assembled a better strike force by now, especially given that Clark or Supergirl would be in regular communication with the Fortress, likely, or its ruins.

The future is likely INTACT and not in flux, because otherwise Rip would not have any way of knowing he was destined to fight Skeets, which he did. He also has a line of dialogue that indicates that he not only knew the Phantom Zone projector wouldn't work, but what Skeets will do next (which is apparently worse than consuming an entire dimension).

So WHY would he use the portal on Skeets, unless the future was in flux?

Why would Rip even go with a plan he knew was destined to fail? And if he started indicating he knew it was destined to fail, why would Booster not be hacked?

And if the future is not in flux, why would Booster not go to it to destroy Skeets, or see how he's defeated?


Rip and Booster teleport into what seems to be the Phantom Zone. How do they do this if Skeets eats it? And if it's not the Phantom Zone, if it's through time, how do they escape an entity that eats dimensions? How can such an entity not negate a teleporter?

It's a good plot. It's a bum story. I enjoyed it, but when I looked at it twice, it crumpled.

5Art - 5: Still strong, top to bottom, especially for a weekly comic. I love the pace, the storytelling, Giffen has a great breakdown, and the art is pretty darned consistent without too much variance for a project of this magnitude. No real complaints at all, and some great, emotional moments.

3Back-Up Story - 3: I'm still confused about Firestorm and his role in the DCU. I tried to read his comic a few times and couldn't get into it, and he seems kind of convoluted. Even the origin can't avoid the difficulty of that. I still don't know how his powers work, what his motivation is beyond being distinctive, and who he's affiliated with or why, or anything about his supporting cast.

4Back-Up Art - 4: Pretty standard fare, but well done.

3Cover Art - 5/Spoiler - 1: Again, two ratings. One for the picture, which is incredibly well done and dramatic, and one for the spoiler, which ticks even me off.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2007

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