Overview

52: Week Thirty-Three

Review

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52: Week Thirty-Three

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, & Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen, Joe Prado, Tom Derenick & Tom Mandrake
  • Inks: Jay Leisten & Rodney Ramos
  • Colors: David Baron
  • Story Title: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Dec 20, 2006

Celebrate Christmas with the superheroes in this latest edition of DC’s weekly tale. Be forewarned though, some are merrier than others….

52 takes a pause in its plot progression this issue to check in on how various members of the cast are celebrating the holidays. Ralph Dibny and his spiritual guide, the Helm of Fate, make a quick stop at the Flash Museum to retrieve a memento—one which may hold ominous implications for Dibny. Nightwing confronts Batwoman with a special gift and (presumably) official sanction as a defender of Gotham. Lex Luthor’s holiday is not so bright, as it is filled with disappointment and lack of gratitude for his works. But as ever, Luthor takes it in stride and shows his true colors when a morbid opportunity comes knocking. At Kate Kane’s penthouse, The Question’s condition steadily deteriorates and Renee struggles to find some Christmas cheer. And Black Adam and family attempt a little public relations, unaware that they are being closely watched by new enemies.

Taken on its own, Week Thirty-Three is a solid holiday story, filled with equal parts heartwarming moments, humor, and threatening suspense. For those enjoying the journey, this is an amusing rest stop before the latter half of the plot kicks into high gear. For readers who are frustrated by the slower pace of the series or those paying close attention to the DC Universe though, this may not be quite as happy a holiday offering. Although the script presents some interesting tension for upcoming plotlines, a few of these are undermined by already knowing their resolution in the "One Year Later" DCU. For instance, we know where Luthor ends up and which of the new enemies revealed on the final page survive the conflict to come. These are somewhat distracting elements that detract a bit from the issue’s effectiveness. Thankfully, an air of mystery has been preserved for the fates of the series’ lead characters however.

The art in this issue was also a little on the disappointing side. Artistic duties are shared this time around by Joe Prado and Tom Derenick and while certainly passable, their respective styles do not always mesh. Additionally, there are some odd things going on with human anatomy in a few panels, as Kate and Renee’s waists seem unnaturally elongated (has Ralph been spiking their eggnog with Gingold?). These are certainly not deal-breakers by any means but, again, slightly distract from the otherwise entertaining holiday stories. On the other hand, the Martian Manhunter origin backup drawn by Tom Mandrake on is an excellent showing that gives just the right unsettling, inhuman touch to J’onn J’onzz.

Overall, the issue is a mix of excitement, surprise, and disappointment, not unlike the gamut of emotions one feels when opening Christmas gifts from the relatives. Apropos perhaps, but not the strongest installment in the series’ run.

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