52 is a comic that I always look forward to reading. It has been a consistently good read since the first issue. 52 #17 has Lobo on the cover and I’ll be honest, that does nothing to make me excited about this issue. I will admit up front that I have never been impressed with Lobo’s character. I find his character to be terribly boring and idiotic. Just seeing his character probably made my I.Q. automatically drop a few points. However, DC has promised us a new spin on Lobo that we are going to enjoy. I certainly hope so. All right, let’s hit this review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Penciler: Chris Batista
Inker: Ruy Jose & Jack Jadsen
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 17, Day 1: The issue starts with a promo clip of Lex Luthor’s new upper team. The roster consists of Erik Storm who has claws that can cut through anything, Eliza Harmon, who is a super speedster, Hannibal Bates, who can morph into any form, Gerome McKenna, who is super strong, Jacob Colby, who can fly really fast, and Natasha Irons, who has light based powers.
We then cut to Lex with his group of heroes viewing the video footage. He isn’t all that impressed with the intro of his team and decides that they need a team name. The members tell Luthor that they also need codenames. We then see Eliza shoot up with a drug called “the Sharp.” It is the only thing that can “slow her down.” Her speed powers are hard to control and everything is constantly fast and nothing ever slows down. Eliza gets in Luthor’s grill and yells at him for her hard to control poorly planned powers. Luthor retorts that he simply gave her what she asked for. With that, Eliza races out of the room yelling “Too hell with all of you!”
Week 17, Day: 2: We see out lost heroes in space making their way in their space craft. They have encountered a terrible meteor shower. Adam Strange and Starfire simply are not co-existing very well. (Animal Man engages with Strange in some rather entertaining dialogue in this scene.) Suddenly, Starfire, who is flying outside of the space ship, gets taken out by some of the meteors.
Week 17, Day 3: Out heroes are still in their space ship. Starfire tells Strange she thinks someone threw the meteor at her yesterday. Strange has the ship’s sensor array hooked directing into his visual cortex so he can “see” out to a distance of two parsecs. Strange says the meteor storm is too large to go around and too dense to go through. Strange says that their ship does not have enough energy to power the life support system for much more than six days at best.
Week 17, Night 4: We see Animal Man looking at a photograph of his wife and child. Starfire tells Animal Man that he will se them again. Animal Man tells Starfire that whatever he saw back during Infinite Crisis changed his life. That he saw the entire universe. He saw everything at once and understood things about the shape of space and time. That it is all too overwhelming. Starfire tells Animal Man to relax. That no matter how big something seems, it is never too big to fit inside your head.
Suddenly, Devilance appears and rips his spear out of the space ship. Before Devilance can attack out intrepid heroes, he is hit by a huge energy spike that explodes his entrails across the windows of the space ship’s cockpit. We then see Lobo standing next to Devilance’s dead and disemboweled body.
Strange quickly fills in Animal Man on who Lobo is and how he is impossible to defeat. Strange builds him up to be the universe’s biggest psychotic killer. Starfire then goes outside to “talk” to Lobo. We see the two talking. Lobo rips off Starfire’s top and stares at her breasts. The two continue talking.
We then cut to Starfire back in the space ship telling her fellow heroes that Lobo said Devilance walked into a trap that was meant for Lobo. That Lobo knows where they can find food, water and fuel and that he is the only person who can guide them through this mess. Starfire told Lobo she was a Tamaranian Princess with fabulously wealthy parents. Also, that Lobo has problems of his own for the first time in his life. That he has joined the Church and turned his back on violence. (Now that is an interesting twist.)
We then see Lobo hook up our heroes’ space ship to his space bike and take off. Devilance’s head is spiked on his lance. (Hmmm, I thought Lobo wasn’t into violence anymore?)
Week 17, Day 7: We see Red Tornado’s severed torso lying in the outback of Australia. Red Tornado comes online and is surrounded by three aborigines. Red Tornado says “52.” End of issue.
We are “treated” to a two page origin of Lobo. End of issue.
The Good: 52 #17 wasn’t a bad issue, but, it certainly was my least favorite issue so far. 52 #17 was a well written issue. I liked the scene with Lex Luthor and his new team of metahumans. You knew it was only a matter of time before someone’s powers became uncontrollable. Eliza’s inability to “slow down” due to the powers Luthor gave her is a nice plotline. And I loved how when accosted by Eliza for her inability to control her powers, Lex responds that she cam to him begging for speed and all he did was give her what she asked for. Vintage Luthor. Lex Luthor is the devil and you have to be careful entering into a deal with him. Be careful what you ask Lex for because you might just get it.
I’m interested to see where the writers take this plotline. It should be spectacular to watch Lex’s plans crumble before his eyes. Also, there absolutely has to be a connection between Super Nova and Natasha Irons. They have the same type of powers that have the same energy signature and look. If there is a connection then I’m very interested to lean more about it. Of course, I may simply be reading too much into the storyline.
The scene with Red Tornado was extremely short, but piqued my interest. I didn’t think that Reddy would be online at all during 52 since everyone thinks that he is still dead over in Justice League of America #1. Again, we are teased with the “52.” I cannot wait to finally learn just who or what the “52” is.
All the scenes with our lost heroes in space had some excellent dialogue. I loved it. Animal Man’s dialogue was perfect. Very funny and oddball. This is why I love Animal Man’s character. Plus, Starfire and Strange are the perfect straight men for Animal Man to play off of with his odd brand of humor and outlook on life. I also like that Strange and Starfire just don’t get along on some deep basic level. These three characters have great chemistry with each other.
I liked the twist on Lobo. That he has joined the Church and has given up violence. That was unexpected. It is certainly odd to see our lost heroes relying on Lobo to safely navigate them to a safe harbor. The writers were certainly trying to get us to believe that Lobo was going to be one of the bounty hunters who are all after our lost heroes. This was a nice unexpected direction and I’m curious to see if the writers can really make Lobo an interesting character with any type of depth or texture.
52 #17 is another well crafted issue full of nicely written dialogue that has an enjoyable flow. This issue also has plenty of strong character development with out three lost heroes. That is one thing the writers have been amazingly successful at with this title. They have really managed me to get into and care about all the characters in this title regardless if I liked them or not or even knew them at all prior to reading 52. That is a sign of strong writing.
The art is slightly better than average. Nothing I’m going to rave about, but nothing I’ll complain about either.
The Bad: I do have some criticisms. I found this issue to be the first issue of 52 that was slow and boring. Not much happened that grabbed my interest. The scenes with out lost heroes in space dominated this issue. Unfortunately, I felt that I got more of the same in those scenes. Animal Man wondering if he’ll ever see his family. The team of heroes worried that they will be stuck in space and never make it home. It just drug a bit for me.
I also thought that Lobo pretty much acted like the same old Lobo. I know he supposedly found religion and turned his back on violence. But, he engages in his same old boring shtick of tearing off Starfire’s top and staring at her boobs. We then see him towing the space ship with his space bike and he has Devilance’s severed head on his lance. These are all reasons why I thought Lobo was a rather lame and un-compelling character in the first place. I can see where Lobo would be incredibly appealing to a 13 year old boy. Luckily, I’m no longer 13 so scenes like this just don’t do it for me anymore. I am very skeptical that the writers are going to get me interested in Lobo this time around. However, the boys at DC have done a wonderful job with 52 up to this point, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of a doubt on this one plotline and hope they can make it work.
Overall: 52 #17 is a solid issue and the fact that it got my lowest score and is my least favorite issue of this series thus far is more of a compliment to these past 17 issues than a condemnation of this one issue. 52 is still a well done story that is largely entertaining. It is almost impossible for the writers to crush a home run for 52 straight issues. 52 #17 was the weakest issue for me, but I’m still excited for next weeks issue, because you never know what wild surprise is just around the corner.