Overview

52: Week Fifty-One

Review

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52: Week Fifty-One

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, & Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen, Joe Bennett, & Ivan Reis
  • Inks: Jack Jadson, Belardino Brabo, & Oclair Albert
  • Colors: David Baron & Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: Homecoming
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Apr 21, 2007

Lost heroes return, mysteries are solved, and things begin to come full circle in the penultimate chapter of the weekly saga.

Tapping into the power of a Sun-Eater, Animal Man at last returns to Earth for a joyful reunion with his family…but the Lady Styx may not be done with him yet. Adam Strange too is reunited with loved ones and, with his sight restored by Sardath, sees that Rann is once again under siege by bizarre science monsters (i.e. business as usual). In the wake of the devastating World War III, heroes once again converge in remembrance at the Superboy memorial. Meanwhile, Professor Morrow learns the secret of the mysterious "52" seen by the Red Tornado, as well as just why that loveable scamp, Skeets, has been on a murderous rampage.

Things are at last winding down for DC’s sprawling (and occasionally meandering) weekly epic. This penultimate installment offers a few explanations for puzzling mysteries that have been with us for many weeks and continues the process of tying up each focus character’s plotlines. This makes it a fairly enjoyable read, both heartwarming and enlightening. Addressed are the origin of the Emerald Eye, Skeets’ personality shift, the whereabouts of Starfire and Mr. Mind, and of course, the 52 (not fully explicated at this point but something of a non-secret in this internet age). As ever though, it is the scenes of the Baker family, with their collision of the surreal and the ordinary, that are some of the most entertaining in the series. Here’s hoping they get their happy ending.

Joe Bennett, consistently one of the strongest contributors to the art, returns once more for this second-to-last chapter. He does an impressive job with an overflowing cast and the roller coaster of emotions experienced by many of them. And surprisingly, rather than being short and pointless, this week’s backup origin actually clears up continuity in a graceful manner, revealing that both Wonder Woman and Black Canary were founding members of the Justice League. This decision gives both of DC’s leading ladies a place in the sun and the team has rarely looked as majestic as in Ivan Reis’ rendition.

On a more personal note, this is my last 52 review (my colleague, Dave Baxter, will be handling the conclusion). Looking back, my reaction to the series has been mixed. On the one hand, DC’s ability to keep a weekly story on schedule for an entire year is quite admirable. They’ve managed to renew interest in some of their lesser known characters, capitalizing on their potential, giving many moments to shine, and fully embracing the wonder of the shared universe. The story has also taken some very disappointing turns however—the loss of Isis to the "Women in Refrigerators" cliché, the (ahem) questionable death of Vic Sage, and most notably, Black Adam’s transition from compelling anti-hero to one-note, out-of-character psycho (the series’ biggest misstep in my opinion, one which has all but killed my interest in the character).

Still, while I may not be fully satisfied with it, 52 has been an intriguing experiment the likes of which the comics industry has never seen. With one more issue to go, we shall see where the writers leave us.

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