52: Week Twenty-Three


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52: Week Twenty-Three


  • Words: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
  • Art: Keith Giffen, Drew Johnson, and Jerry Ordway
  • Inks: Ray Snyder
  • Colors: David Baron and Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: The Island of Professor Morrow
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Oct 11, 2006

Mysteries are resolved as the secret of the missing scientists and the location of Isis’ brother are discovered.

Kidnapped by a giant robot, Dr. Will Magnus finds himself on Oolong Island, a remote location that’s been converted into a resort for mad scientists. Here, these deranged geniuses are encouraged to let their insane imaginations run free—but to what end? While Magnus ponders this, Renee Montoya and the Question come upon the serpentine Whisper A’Daire presiding over a reading from a so-called "Book of Crime." Her criminal cult has successfully reprogrammed numerous children and aims to make Amon Tomaz—brother of Isis—their latest convert, even if they must break his body and spirit to do so.

Progress at last seems to be made in the Doc Magnus storyline this issue, a sub-plot that previously crawled along with only the amusingly twisted "Tuesdays with Morrow" sequences to hold the reader’s attention. But Prof. Morrow, it seems, is but one piece of the puzzle. The concept of an island of mad scientists with an unlimited budget provides much humor in this issue and the potential for something bigger on the horizon. One has to wonder who would stand to gain from such a bizarre and demented think-tank.

The majority of the story, however, is devoted to at last revealing the fate of the kidnapped Amon, a mystery that has hung over the series since Isis’ introduction. The sequence is handled well by the writers and given the appropriate levels of action and suspense, in addition to a few surprising wrinkles. Whisper’s crime-based, Cain-worshipping religion is a new idea for this series and a rather odd one that has me scratching my head as to its significance. There is seemingly more at work than a mere Intergang plot. Though this sequence is emotionally effective, its final revelation is undercut slightly by a character’s recent cameo appearance in Teen Titans. The hint provided there did not spoil the mystery entirely but it did remove some of the tension. This has ever been the challenge and drawback of 52—to not give away too much in the DC series that have already progressed beyond this story’s status quo.

The artwork is handled here by Drew Johnson, who delivers the same chiseled, Greco-Roman style beauty in the characters that he displayed so admirably on Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman. Johnson is an excellent choice for such an emotional tale and he skillfully depicts Magnus’ confusion, Montoya’s hard-edged anger, Black Adam’s boundless rage, and a gamut of emotions for the despondent Isis.

The issue closes with "The Origin of Wildcat" by Mark Waid and Jerry Ordway. Ordway brings a nice old school touch to this Golden Age great. He also draws Wildcat’s mask unlike any other artist I’ve seen, giving him sharp teeth and unsettling cat’s eyes that lend a nice dramatic flair to the character’s design.

Though eagle-eyed DC fans may have already guessed the ending of this issue, Week Twenty-Three is an excellent roller coaster ride that brings much needed development to two dangling plot-threads.

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