Overview

52: Week Seventeen

Review

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52: Week Seventeen

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen and Chris Batista
  • Inks: Ruy Jose and Jack Jadson
  • Colors: David Baron and The Hories
  • Story Title: Last of the Czarnians
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Aug 30, 2006

The lost space heroes have a run-in with one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy as Lobo makes his return.

Lex Luthor’s tailor-made super-team begins to show signs of tension in the ranks as we get a glimpse of the conflicting personalities therein. Heroism seems to be the last thing on these youngsters’ minds as they bicker about codenames, photo ops, visits from Playmates, and the latest metahuman "fix." Is Natasha Irons in over her head? Meanwhile, in deep space, the lost trio of Adam Strange, Starfire, and Animal Man are still being followed by Devilance, the irrepressible God of the Pursuit. All seems lost until the arrival of a certain "Main Man," the deadly bounty hunter Lobo. But have they traded one dire threat for another?

Before I continue this review, a caveat: I hate Lobo. I find the character obnoxious and unfunny and am consistently boggled by why such a murderous psycho often ends up working with the heroes (the guy slaughtered his planet yet somehow wound up in Young Justice. Young Justice, for goodness sake!). To be fair, my reaction to this issue is no doubt colored by my distaste for this particular character. Lobo’s appearance is brief, though it does provide a few decent visual gags as he and Starfire discuss terms in the vacuum of space. If you’re like me, you’ll be pleased to see that the character does not overstay his welcome. If you are a Lobo fan however, you may end up disappointed by his rather minimal use here, his first major appearance in a few years. Either way, this is no doubt setup for something bigger to come and like many aspects of 52, it merely serves to whet the appetite and keep us in suspense.

This issue offers a nod to Grant Morrison’s trippy meta-fictional run on Animal Man which many longtime fans will appreciate. It also continues the Natasha Irons/Lex Luthor plotline, which I am finding to be one of the weaker in the series. The tension among Lex’s recruits feels somewhat forced and it’s still puzzling to see Nat herself working for a former enemy.

Chris Batista returns for the artistic duties and contributes solid superhero styling. The images are crisp and detailed without being overly busy and both script and art provide homages to Star Wars-style space opera. Batista’s only flaw is in the occasional overly familiar facial structure. Both Adam Strange and Animal Man are depicted with a remarkably similar grizzled blond handsomeness, which in turn resembles Ralph Dibny’s look in earlier issues. A little more differentiation among our hard-luck heroes would be nice. The issue also features "The Origin of Lobo" by Waid and Giffen, which serves its purpose with all the ludicrously over-the-top violence that Lobo fans love.

Week Seventeen is not the strongest chapter of 52 and its charm is largely based on one’s reaction to its centerpiece character. It does however provide the space heroes with more of a spotlight, giving attention to an aspect of the series that has thus far gotten short shrift.

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