52: Week Six


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52: Week Six


  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen and Joe Bennett
  • Inks: Ruy Jose
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: China Syndrome
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Jun 14, 2006

China’s new super-team debuts with a battle, Booster Gold makes inquiries into time, and Doc Magnus has another visit with T.O. Morrow.

As arguably one of the most ambitious maxi-series attempted, DC’s 52 rolls into its sixth week with some new clues, some new characters, and more mystery. Ultimately, though, how does the issue stand up to what has gone before?

Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart, trying to apprehend the villain Evil Star, find themselves under fire from China’s new super-team the Great Ten. The new Freedom of Power treaty quickly causes Black Adam and the Rocket Reds to become involved in a somewhat surprising way. Meanwhile, Doc Magnus continues his visits with T.O. Morrow and confirms that certain evil scientists have gone missing. Due to evil misbehavior though, Morrow’s research on the disappearances was taken away and he is now under camera surveillance…there may be more than prison guards on the other side of the camera, however. Finally, we see Booster Gold boosting his reputation and continuing his search for Rip Hunter. Skeets succeeds in locating Hunter’s lab and getting Booster inside and, while Booster does not find Hunter, he does find some disturbing information.

This issue of 52 was in some ways the strongest and in some ways the weakest of the series to date. In many sequences the dialogue fell flat and was even overly cumbersome. This hindered the story and prevented it from really catching on. On the other hand, however, this issue finally started to fill in some of those missing One Year Later blanks and tie into other series. For example, readers now have a better understanding of the Freedom of Power act that first appeared in Green Lantern #11. This additionally begins to explain why JLA and JSA are being relaunched as Justice League of America and Justice Society of America later this summer. The inclusion of the "America" in both titles had raised a number of questions among fans and this issue of 52 begins answering them.

The writing quartet also pushes forward two of the ongoing mysteries that had been set out from the beginning and certainly the scenes in Hunter’s lab will be hotly debated among fans turned amateur sleuths. This is perhaps the one aspect of 52 that has proven the most surprising. No matter what else this series may accomplish, it has engaged readers in a series of mysteries, providing them with clues and tools to work with as the series progresses to solve the cases before them. This is comic book interaction on its most basic level.

Artist Joe Bennett continues his run, working from Keith Giffen’s breakdown pencils. I have long been a fan of Bennett’s work and find his action sequences to always be dynamic, clean, and easy to follow. His depiction of the battle between the Green Lanterns and the Great Ten is another fine example. His sequences between Morrow and Magnus, however, felt a little stiff and there seemed to be something missing. He makes up for this, though, when he spins out Rip Hunter’s lab.

Six issues down and forty-six to go, 52 holds to its promise of answering questions, building mysteries, and changing the face of the DC Universe.

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