Overview

52: Week Fifteen

Review

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52: Week Fifteen

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen, Shawn Moll, and Jon Bogdanove
  • Inks: Tom Nguyen
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: Outshined
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Aug 16, 2006

Booster Gold’s resentment of Supernova takes the hero down a dangerous path in the latest chapter of DC’s weekly opus.

(Note: It would be difficult to discuss this issue without spoilers so if you haven’t yet read it, turn back now.)

Booster Gold is a broken man. Publicly disgraced by his publicity-hungry antics and continually upstaged by Metropolis’ new hero, Supernova, Gold has reached a turning point. When a deadly beast from the bottom of the sea begins rampaging through midtown, Booster sees the opportunity for redemption. But the nuclear submarine dragged up by the creature brings a decidedly different fate. Meanwhile, Renee Montoya and The Question stage a daring escape of their Kahndaqi prison.

This issue has already raised quite a bit of controversy in the fan community and I have to admit, my reaction to it was mixed. On the surface, I found the story enjoyable, a tense, high-stakes action piece centering on a character with a tragic flaw but ultimately a good heart. Taken on its own, what happens to Booster here would be a powerful and affecting tale, a good addition to the overall arc of 52 and its theme of the price of heroism. Nothing happens in a vacuum however and two significant points come to mind after closing the issue.

For one, if this is indeed Booster’s final stand, it comes on the heels of quite a bit of tragedy for his old teammates in Justice League International. After the loss of many other members of that team and a noted darkening of tone for such lighthearted characters, Booster’s fate seems like overkill. DC insists they don’t have any specific agenda against these characters but fans of that era (and even casual readers of it, like myself) are starting to wonder. There is also a number of dangling plot threads centered around Booster that remain unexplored. Which brings us to point two…

Is this really the end of Booster Gold? With the mystery of Supernova’s identity hanging over us and an atmosphere of temporal anomalies and time being "broken," could the writers have some trick up their collective sleeves? Is this issue simply misdirection and setup for what is to come? These questions cannot be answered at this time and as such, getting a true feel for the merits of the story is problematic.

This issue’s art was contributed by Shawn Moll, who I previously felt turned in some of the weaker work of the 52 collaborators. Here, however, Moll appears to have stepped up his game and he renders Booster’s struggle with the appropriate level of pathos. There’s a slight Doug Mahnke influence in the characters’ facial structure and the more rounded look of the linework that gives the issue a slick, distinctive feel. This issue also features solid work from Mark Waid and illustrator Jon Bogdanove on "The Origin of Steel." These two page, blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em origins contribute little that is new or insightful but serve as good primers on the characters nonetheless.

So, despite the controversy, how does Week Fifteen rate? I will say this, it gripped me from the start and has me pondering what comes next, the true litmus test of comics storytelling.

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