Overview

52: Week Thirty-One

Review

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52: Week Thirty-One

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, & Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen, Chris Batista, & Freddie E. Williams II
  • Inks: Rodney Ramos, Dan Green, & Dave Meikis
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: Human Resources
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Dec 6, 2006

The horrifying Lady Styx is at last revealed. Believe in her or perish….

In the distant reaches of space, the planet Vardu is besieged by undead legions and nightmarish technology from outside the known galaxies. Captain Comet desperately tries to hold the fort while telepathically seeking assistance. When two representatives of the Green Lantern Corps arrive to help, they get far more than they bargained for in the battle against the destroyer and so-called goddess known as Lady Styx. Meanwhile, on Earth, trouble brews among the members of Infinity, Inc. when the true nature of Everyman’s powers (and of the man himself) becomes clear. And as Ralph Dibny and Wonder Girl reconcile and compare notes, some significant (but still befuddling, at least to this reader) clues are dropped to the true identity of Supernova.

In this chapter, a promised new arch-villain who has been hinted at in various DC titles makes her triumphant and unsettling first appearance. Lady Styx seems to be cut from the cloth of old school adversaries with little motivation other than destruction, death, and the furtherance of their own evil. Whether this will make her a compelling character or a tiresome one-note wonder remains to be seen but thus far, she seems to have the chops to pose a frightening challenge to our heroes. She even provokes a fairly shocking response from the Guardians of the Universe, proving that those manipulative little blue bastards haven’t changed that much. Their treatment of their agents in the field (and said agents’ eventual fate) makes for some rather chilling moments in this issue. The writing quartet does a good job of making the reader feel ill at ease here, indicating that the occasionally lagging space plotline has some meat to it after all.

More intriguing though is the scene between Ralph and Supernova. For perhaps the first time in the series’ run, we are given some pretty blatant hints to who’s behind the mask. It’s a wise storytelling decision that prevents this particular subplot from lapsing into the background. Despite what I consider a pretty healthy (some might say obsessive) knowledge of the DC Universe, I must confess I’m still at a loss as to the mystery man’s identity. But now, at least, we have something to work with beyond the basics.

The rotating art chores fall once again to Chris Batista this issue. Batista always does a solid job with superhero action and here the artist amps up the tension with scenes evocative of the London blitz. It’s an interesting and appropriate choice. He also does commendable work on the subtler moments, giving us a remorseful (and stunning) Wonder Girl, a pensive Mr. Dibny, and much confusion from the ranks of Infinity. In the backup, Freddie Williams’ slick, cartoonish style fits well with the Origin of Robin.

52 gives us some big moments and food for thought this time around and I continue to enjoy the ride.

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