Overview

52: Week Ten

Review

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52: Week Ten

Credits

  • Words: Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and Dan Jurgens
  • Art: Keith Giffen, Chris Batista, and Dan Jurgens
  • Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti, Jack Jadson and Art Thibert
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: Stop the Press
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Jul 12, 2006

It’s do or die time for Clark Kent at the Daily Planet: he either manages an exclusive on the new Metropolis superhero, Supernova, or he’s out of a job!

The Daily Star – the Daily Planet’s number one competition – just broke the exclusive on Superman’s seeming replacement, the upstart new hero called Supernova, and this was the job that Kent had begged the right to perform, much to Perry White’s admonitions. Clark, whom Perry now realizes just can’t cut it anymore as a reporter (what could possibly have happened to change the man so, he wonders, though readers certainly know), is grudgingly handed his termination slip, effective immediately unless Clark can somehow ante up with a better expose than the Star’s photo and media-chosen name. What’s a washed-up, ex-superhero to do? Meanwhile, Black Adam continues his violently valiant efforts to create a united, international front of anti-spandex nations, and Doc Magnus finds something portentously peculiar in his old enemy, Doctor Sivana’s lab….

This latest issue of 52 spends over two-thirds of its pages devoted to Clark Kent’s plight at the Planet, which was a refreshing breather from the jam-packed, sub-plot heavy issues as presented to readers up until now. As much as I love me some multitudinous plot complexities, it was becoming a chore to keep up with every stray character and every sidelong event the foursome of writers have had to pump out with such alarming speed. It’s odd, in a way, that not much has actually happened yet in 52, yet at the same time, since it’s all been little more than build-up – laying the groundwork for OYL plus for whatever the big, big possibly-cosmic "52 are coming" threat is – the story as a whole has been a whirlwind of activity and caused an equivalent amount of whirlwinded-ness to hit readers right between the ears. Due to this, having a single issue with a singular focus, bringing us up to date with one of the big, missing three (I’d love to have an issue or a mini that followed Batman and Co. wherever specifically they went), and then giving only a slight tidbit more from some of the other players (can’t come to a complete screeching halt, now can we?) was revitalizing to the extreme.

The Black Adam sequences are by far my favorite, not because they’re the best done, nor even the most intriguing plot-wise (plot-wise it smacks of a Civil War rip, which in turn smacked of an Infinite Crisis rip, so all’s fair in comic events and continuity, I suppose). Nay, the part that makes me giddy to see the big black cheese every time he appears, is that both the character and his undertakings are the most complex in morality and, due to this, the most intelligently handled. Hated the heavy-handedness of the Natasha/John Irons battle of Week 9? Well, the scene where Adam argues the righteousness of his actions with the slave girl he recently freed from the evil Intergang’s clutches a few weeks back is the flipside of that coin – considered, rather than rash; both sides weighing in the other’s points before response, and both striking out with damn honest and believable arguments. The scenes were brief, but oh, lord, I love it when an anti-hero is portrayed like an honest-to-god anti-hero, rather than merely an attitude-laden hero or simply an anger-prone version of the same. I only hope the final solution and climax of Adam’s intentions is handled with as much honest, philosophical verve as these beginnings of his machinations!

As for the art, Chris Batista returns and turns in a strong and eye-pleasing performance. As usual, this series isn’t about dropping reader’s jaws or popping out their eyes – it’s about a unique and hopefully, eventually, wholly satisfying comic book read, both visually and story-wise. So far, so good. Week 9’s Shawn Moll took a bit of flak for turning in what was arguably sub-par work (and his all-metal Irons was, indeed, a bit too messy and plain of a figure – maybe just a bad issue for his style to have been lent to?), but otherwise Batista has been a solid replacement for Joe Bennett, and here continues to produce some easily enjoyed pages, continuing the series’ overall consistent run.

So a change of pace kind of issue, with a truly well-written Clark Kent vignette and a few other teaser surprises to fill in the gaps and keep up the long-term interest. It looks like the big Batwoman introduction is right around the corner, too, so I gotta say I’m still excited and deeply digging this stretched-out, milk-‘em-for-their-money DC event. Oh, and Booster Gold appears for one page only. That should keep at least one person around here delighted for another week. 52 Week 10: the first rest-stop along the way to a far distant state. No, kids, we aren’t there yet, though thankfully I’ve yet to get sick of the view, or the drive.

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