Overview

52: Week Three

Review

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52: Week Three

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen and Joe Bennett
  • Inks: Ruy Jose
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: New World Order
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: May 24, 2006

Black Adam makes a shocking statement to the world as DC’s "lost year" continues.

Pursuing the villainous Terra-Man over the skies of Kahndaq, Power Girl is confronted by that land’s sovereign defender, Black Adam. Adam has been profoundly affected by the massive casualties of the recent crisis and the evil of his former teammates in the Society. He is determined to set an example to the world of the kind of harsh and unflinching action he believes it needs. The Terra-Man is to help him with this (though not in the way the criminal thinks). Meanwhile, a body found in Gotham City gives Lex Luthor another opportunity to manipulate his way out of trouble and Booster Gold’s tampering with time continues to have unforeseen effects.

As it is spaced over 52 issues, the plot progression of this series’ various threads is unfolding at a rather gradual pace. This is no laboriously decompressed tale however, as there has been much at work in every issue thus far. If nothing else, 52: Week Three proves that Black Adam is one of the biggest badasses and most fascinating characters of the DC Universe. His evolution from hero to villain to anti-hero to ambiguous figure combining all of the above has been one of the most interesting arcs I’ve read in a superhero comic. His actions in this issue are shockingly audacious and horrifying yet there is an undeniable (if frightening) moral code behind them. What road Adam plans to pursue after this will surely be one of the more compelling stories of the "lost year." This issue also puts Lex Luthor back on surer footing as a master villain after the lowly state to which he was recently reduced. The move is so quintessentially Lex that I’m surprised I didn’t see it coming. Steel, however, seems to have foreseen it and the script allows us to practically feel him bristle at the prospect. Overall, the writing on 52 has been top-notch and no one writer’s "voice" feels like it’s drowning out the others.

Joe Bennett’s art (following Keith Giffen’s breakdowns) looks the best that it has in some time. There is a sharpness to the line work that is building upon and surpassing his previous style, perhaps in part due to the sure hand of inker Ruy Jose. Drawing even a segment of this far-reaching weekly story must be a daunting task but the art team admirably rises to the challenge. Bennett particularly impresses on the range of facial expression, as we see Luthor’s intolerable smugness, Steel’s wariness, and Adam’s frightening intensity.

I’m a bit more ambivalent about the "History of the DCU" back-up feature by Dan Jurgens and Art Thibert however. It’s still a bit early to judge but I’m having difficulty determining its goal. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive history (nor could it be with the space provided).Yet neither does it seem to be a Cliff’s Notes version of the current state of the DCU for it here dwells on earlier, discarded versions of the continuity. Is Jurgens rushing through the old material to give us a full picture or will these elements all take on importance later on?

Regardless, 52 seems to be meeting its goal of telling an intriguing tale in weekly installments and keeping us all guessing about what will happen next.

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