Overview

52: Week Twenty-Six

Review

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52: Week Twenty-Six

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
  • Art: Patrick Olliffe
  • Inks: Drew Geraci
  • Colors: Pete Pantazis
  • Story Title: Halfway House
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Nov 1, 2006

Lighthearted, old-school, and utterly bizarre in content, 52 reaches its halfway mark and celebrates with perhaps the oddest interlude imaginable.

The Black Adam family (Adam, Isis, and Osiris) join the Sivana family for dinner and search-and-rescue negotiations (they want Adam to find their missing father), but an unexpected – and completely unknown – guest quickly disrupts the festivities. There’s a lot to enjoy in this latest offering of DC’s big experiment, though not everything will be enjoyed by everyone. There’s an opening sequence with Renee Montoya and Vic Sage which further insinuates (as many fans have suspected) that Montoya will not be leaving this series without a firmly established vigilante title. There’s also a scene in which John Henry Irons confronts his niece Natasha on a late night television show, though to be perfectly blunt, as much as I love the characters, this is by far the weakest handled conceit of the series. The scripter puts out some decent arguments for both sides of the "great power equals great responsibility" coin, which is far better than has been ante up to for this subplot in the past, yet still the enmity between Steel and Starlight seems ridiculously drawn out, with both characters acting childishly out-of-character.

Beyond these two shorts, though, the meat of Week Twenty-Six – a sort-of Halloween special – concerns itself with the Adam/Sivana palaver, and the odd creature that is revealed to be at the heart of it all. Not that this creature actually has anything to do with the rest of the story’s set-up; the odd quality of this peculiarly drawn-out sequence is that this creature (who gets a surprise first appearance) doesn’t yet seem to have much to do with any other subplot, save that he/it is befriended by one of the other major supporting leads by the end. In fact, this entire issue – which primarily deals with reintroducing the extensive cast of the Sivana family tree (and the writers have a shipload of fun playing with such outlandish, Golden Age character designs) – doesn’t, by the end, honestly make apparent what the point of its existence was. In short, it isn’t obvious why we had this issue at all.

The flavor of the script is borderline comical, as with a writing team consisting of Rucka, Morrison, Johns, and Waid, nearly everything these long-time fans-cum-writers manage is steeped in self-aware parody. This is mostly an issue that fans of quirky, Silver/Golden Age stories will dig into and enjoy, though for the rest of us it’ll be one that ends as little more than a giant-sized question mark. The series has proven itself time and again as being able to juggle anomalous plot threads that fans can’t hope but become lost within, only to bring them each and every one into sharp focus with a carefully dropped hint or surprise revelation. So while I won’t condemn the issue for having no evident direction as compared to the rest of the series, I will say that the issue didn’t really seem to have a point in and of itself, either, and so for the first time in a literal few months, the series does manage to fall a little flat.

The art by Pat Olliffe is perfectly suited for the classic subject matter, though I was hoping for an artist of more visceral dynamism to illustrate the so-called horror issue. Yet the script, in the end, didn’t actually call for anything of the sort, and Olliffe puts out a polished and powerful performance that enhances and emblazons the oddball going-ons of the plot. As for the Secret Origins back-up, it’s as straight-forward and unenlightening as the rest of them, though in this particular case I do believe that the origin of Hawkman and Hawkgirl should be reiterated as many times and in as many places as possible (it’s that convoluted!).

So an interesting issue, if nothing else can be said of it quite yet. There’s a one-panel cameo by Waverider that keeps the cosmic-chrono threat fresh in reader's minds, though beyond this little more clues or hints are dropped. If nothing more, 52 has proven to be one the most experimental and intriguing major company events to ever be published, and now that half of it’s over, no matter how ambivalent I felt about this actual halfway-point issue, I desperately don’t want to ever see it end. But then what would the point of that be? Here’s to twenty-six issues that bring it all together and blow our fan-people minds!

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