All right, since I won’t be able to load you guys up with plenty of Thursday reviews, I decided to deliver a rare Wednesday review. Enjoy. The Revolution was less than impressed with the last issue. It was an unusually weak issue for a title that has been remarkably strong each and every week. Hopefully, that was just an aberration and the writers are able to gain some steam and roll toward an exciting ending. I have a feeling that 52 #27 will be a rebound issue and deliver a pretty solid story. Let’s hit the review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Penciler: Shawn Moll
Inkers: Ruy Jose, Mariah Benes, Rodney Ramos, Prentis Rollins & Nelson
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 27, Day 1: We see Ralph Dibny and Dr. Fate’s helmet meeting with the Spectre. Ralph tells the Spectre that the boundary between life and death cannot be breached without paying a price. Ralph says that he is willing to pay that price if the Spectre can bring back Sue. The Spectre agrees.
The Spectre then transports them into deep space where the Shadowpact placed Jean Loring/Eclipso in eternal orbit around a sun to eternally nullify her shadow fueled magic. Ralph is stunned to be face to face with Jean. The Spectre tells Ralph that he needs a host in order to exact vengeance. The Spectre tells Ralph to be his host and to exact punishment on Jean Loring. The Spectre says if Ralph exacts a fitting punishment on Jean then the Spectre will bring Jean back to life. With that, the Spectre enters Ralph’s body. Ralph then grabs Eclipso and then they disappear.
Week 27, Day 2: We see Waverider in a room full of clocks. Once the clocks hit 5:25:20 a.m. all of the clocks stop. Suddenly, Time Commander appears in an hourglass near Waverider. Time Commander says that they were supposed to be the new Time Masters. That Waverider promised Time Commander and Chronos and all the other time stealers that Rip Hunter would grant them a reprieve if they joined his fight. Time Commander screams that Waverider lied. With that Time Commander melts away into nothing.
Suddenly, that evil little toaster known as Skeets appears. Waverider accuses Skeets of causing the time splinters. Skeets responds that it wasn’t his doing. That the catalyst was Luthor from the parallel Earth. In Luthor’s wake, he left in his wake something new. Skeets binds Waverider and demands to know where Rip Hunter is located. Skeets mentions that he has already killed Time Commander and Clock Queen. Waverider tells Skeets that Rip Hunter’s true name, his entire past and origin is unknown. Nobody knows it. That Skeets will never be able to find Rip Hunter.
Skeets then asks Waverider if he knows where the gold metal came from that makes Skeets impervious to the ravages of time portals. Skeets says that the gold metal was taken from a burned corpse discovered in a deep grave five hundred years from now. With that, Skeets fries Waverider to death. (Damn that evil little toaster! Damn him to hell!)
Week 27, Day 5: We see Renee Montoya getting her ass kicked by Richard Dragon during her training sessions. Montoya notices that The Question has been coughing a lot lately. Richard Dragon uses teas, acupuncture and massages pressure points to try and help The Question. Montoya approaches The Question about his condition. The Question admits that he used to be a heavy smoker and now he has lung cancer. That the Question only has about seven months to live. Montoya asks why he picked her out of all of the people on the planet. The Question responds that “That’s the question, isn’t it?”
We cut to Montoya and the Question talking with Richard and Tot about some prediction in one of their books of magic. The prediction talks about the city of Gotham and how Kathy Kane is going to be murdered. Montoya wants to contact Kathy, but there are no phones or other means of modern communication in Nanda Parbat.
Week -84, Day -2: We see Ralph and Eclipso appear at Ralph’s house on the night of Sue’s murder. Ralph uses the Spectre’s powers to make Eclipso sane. Suddenly, Eclipso turns back into normal Jean Loring. Jean tells Ralph that the dark is all gone. That she feels different. Ralph tells Jean that he is going to leave her here in a tiny loop of time to witness Sue’s murder over and over again for all eternity.
Like a true pimp, Ralph drags Jean up the stairs by her hair. Ralph forces Jean to watch Sue as the phone rings. Right before Sue gets killed Jean tells Ralph that he has to look away, because he is only punishing himself. Ralph screams and the two of them teleport back into deep space. Ralph tells the Spectre that he couldn’t do it. Ralph tells Dr. Fate’s helmet to get him far away from the Spectre. Ralph tells Dr. Fate’s helmet that the Spectre told him something crucial. That Ralph can get Sue back and that there is a better way. Ralph tells Dr. Fate’s helmet to Nanda Parbat.
We then get a two page back-up story about Black Canary. End of issue.
The Good: Damn! 52 #27 was a hell of an issue. Talk about a huge rebound. After a lackluster issue, the writers came strong with 52 #27. What a great read. I was absolutely engrossed by this story. The writers delivered a nicely paced issue and it had a nice flow as it weaved between the various plots. The dialogue was well done, but the scenes with Ralph were the best.
I loved both the Skeets plotline and the Ralph Dibny plotline. The scene with Skeets was a real shocker. Just when you thought Skeets couldn’t be more of a bastard! Skeets is officially the most evil robot in the DCU. It is shocking how the writers have successfully and believably morphed Skeets from a goofy sidekick into a cold blooded killer who is absolutely chilling. And seeing Skeets ruthlessly blast to death Waverider just continues to build his rep as one seriously psychotic flying toaster. I thought the twist that Skeets’ metal came from Waverider’s corpse was a pretty cool twist. Nice touch.
And we finally find out what has been the catalyst to all of the time problems: Alexander Luthor from Earth Three. Alexander’s presence on our Earth, before DC so foolishly killed him off, has evidently caused some rather strange and unusual time splinters. And, evidently, they turn Skeets on. This plotline is getting more and more interesting and I cannot wait to see where the writers go with this story. This is certainly my absolute favorite plotline out of all of the various ones in 52. I’m curious to see how extensive the changes are to our timeline and our Earth. So far, in the One Year Later DCU, I haven’t really noticed that much of a difference. I hope DC doesn’t drop the ball with this promise that this New Earth is different than what we had before Infinite Crisis.
The Ralph Dibny scenes were fantastic. These were the best scenes in this issue. They dialogue was well done and the tension and emotion poured off the page. I really felt for poor Ralph. The scene between Ralph and Jean right before Sue’s murder was completely unnerving. I loved it.
Once again, poor Ralph just doesn’t have the guts and balls to do what the Spectre asks of him. Ralph is simply not a tough guy. He isn’t the kind of guy capable of delivering the Spectre’s hardcore vengeance. Ralph is just a very desperate man who is on a quest that very well may cost him his life. I really like how complex and interesting of a character Ralph has become in 52. I know many old school fanboys would vehemently disagree, but Identity Crisis and 52 were the best things to ever happen to Ralph’s character. It made him so much more textured and compelling. Suddenly, a lame joke of a character that didn’t appeal to a lot of fans is now the subject of probably the second best plotline in 52.
And I’m curious to see what Ralph’s big plan is to bring Sue back to life. I dig that the writers are combining Ralph’s plotline with the Question’s plotline by having him go to Nanda Parbat. The writers are able to slowly combine the various plotlines as 52 is past its halfway point. But, the best part is that the writers also show off their talent for giving the reader answers that merely lead to even bigger and better questions. 52 is an impressively constructed and plotted story. This is what makes it such an enjoyable comic to read.
Shawn Moll does a solid job with the art duties. Moll has been the best artist out of all the various ones that have been rotated in and out of this series.
The Bad: I flat out didn’t like the scene with Montoya and the Question in Nanda Parbat. Now, don’t get me wrong. It isn’t because it wasn’t a well written scene. It was. The dialogue was solid. Montoya and the Question still have great chemistry. And the writers managed to work Kathy Kane back into the mix via the mysterious prediction of her death.
No, the reason that I didn’t like this scene was that it appears that DC is setting up to replace Vic Sage with Renee Montoya. Yep, the old tried and true method of replacing the blanco with a minority character. Now, look, Montoya is one of mi hermanas and I’m glad to see her getting some panel time. However, the last thing I want to see is Montoya replacing Vic Sage as the Question. Plus, DC gets yet another lipstick lesbian to titillate young male readers like Winick is doing over on the Outsiders.
And how often does replacing an established blanco super hero with a minority character actually work? The new Atom isn’t exactly getting great sales numbers. The new Blue Beetle is getting crappy sales numbers. The new Firestorm is getting beyond abysmal sales numbers. But, I guess that doesn’t matter to Dan “diversity” Didio and his desire to replace established blanco heroes with an interesting collection of minority characters rather than taking the time and effort to create new and interesting minority super heroes. Look, I would love to see more of mi hermanos running around in spandex and fighting crime. But, I don’t want it at the expense of some pretty cool established white super heroes.
Now, this could be a total red herring. DC may be trying to throw off the readers into thinking that Montoya is going to replace Vic as the Question. So, I will withhold my final judgment on this until we find out if this is a fake out or if Montoya is really going to be the new Question.
Now, I didn’t reduce the overall grade for the writing because I personally don’t like the idea of Montoya replacing Vic. The fact is that this was still a well written scene and I won’t be fanboy-ish and knock down the grading of the writing just because I’m not thrilled with the direction. The Question/Montoya plotline is still well written, very entertaining and certainly boasts some of the best chemistry.
Overall: 52 #27 rocked! I loved this issue. The boys at DC really impressed me by following up such a dull issue with one hell of an issue. 52 is a fantastic read and is definitely a fun ride. If you passed on this title because of the weekly format then I urge you to get the trade paperback for 52 whenever it is released.