52 #33 Review

The Revolution wasn’t all that impressed with the last issue of 52. It was okay, but not nearly as good as some of the previous issues. Hopefully, the writers will pick up the pace a bit with 52 #33. It appears by the cover that we are going to get a fair amount of Batwoman in 52 #33. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Pencils: Joe Prado & Tom Derenick
Inks: Jay Leisten & Rodney Ramos

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Week 33, Day 4: We see Ralph Dibny drunk and hanging out in the room of the Flash museum that houses the Elongated Man tributes. Ralph tells the helmet of Fate that if Barry were still alive that the Elongated Man would have an entire wing and not just this small closet. The helmet of Fate asks Ralph if he found a personal item that they can use for their spell. Ralph says yes and we see a gun that he has taken from on of his museum items tucked in his belt.

Week 33, Day 5: We see Alfred leading a choir of children singing Christmas carols down at Cathedral Square in Gotham. We see Batwoman watching from the roof of a nearby building. Nightwing swings onto the scene and hands Batwoman a small Christmas present. Batwoman opens it up and it is a new batarang. At first, Batwoman isn’t that impressed. Then Nightwing tells her it is a real batarang and not one of the crappy homemade ones that Batwoman uses. It is nearly indestructible and returns to you when you throw it. After the demonstration of the real batarang, Batwoman is definitely impressed with it.

We cut to LexCorp’s building. Lex Luthor is being informed that a candidate for the Everyman project, Luis Dominero, is in a coma. That Luis is a million to one genetic fluke. That even though he cleared all of the preliminary screening tests, he dropped into a coma the first time he powered up. The scientist tells Lex that Luis is a good kid and they are all rooting for him to pull through. Lex tells the scientist to keep him apprised of the situation.

Lex then visits the members of Infinity Inc. He gives them all their Christmas presents which comes in the form of a fancy expensive car called a Tanahashi. Lex informs them that he has arranged for 5th avenue to be closed today until 11:00 so they have their own personal drag strip. The kids all grab the keys and rush out in such a hurry that they nearly knock down Lex in the process. Lex’s assistant calls the kids ungrateful brats since they didn’t even thank Lex.

Lex’s assistant gives Lex some new test results from his research team’s effort to give Lex super powers. Once again, it failed. Lex comments how he wishes for one little sign to show that all the effort he pours into this world to make it a better place is appreciated. Suddenly, a scientist runs into the room and tells Lex that Luis has made a miraculous recovery. That some X-Factor in his body is spontaneously adapting to the Everyman treatment. Lex smiles and tells the scientist to proceed with a full spinal drain and a full organ harvest on Luis. Then write up a glowing obituary and give the family a generous compensation for their loss. The scientist is horrified. Lex then tells the scientist “Merry Christmas.”

We cut to Renee Montoya at Kathy Kane’s house. We learn that Batwoman is Jewish. We see the Question looking frail and gaunt. He is hallucinating and he imagines Renee as his mother, then his father and then as his sister. Renee puts the Question back to bed. Renee starts crying. Kathy then walks in the room. The two sit down together. Kathy tells Renee that Renee is doing a great job giving the Question as much peace and comfort. The two ladies then kiss. Kathy tells Renee “Merry Christmas.”

We then cut to the various characters in the DCU sharing Christmas pleasantries with their family and friends.

Week 33, Day 6: We see the Black Adam family flying around. Isis tells Black Adam that he needs to atone for killing Terra-Man on live TV and for trying to build an alliance with enemies of the United States. That Osiris doesn’t deserve to be saddled with Black Adam’s sins. That Osiris deserves to be a hero and to be a part of the Teen Titans. They then arrive at the Khandaq embassy in New York. They have arranged for a huge press conference. Isis has even invited the Justice Society of America to attend. Black Adam tells the crowd that despite their godly powers the Black Adam family are just humans like anyone else. With that, all three transform into their human forms.

We cut to Bell Reve Federal Prison where Amanda Waller and Atom Smasher are watching the Black Adam family press conference. Atom Smasher tells Amanda that Black Adam has changed. That the old Black Adam would have never let anyone see him in his human form. Amanda doesn’t believe that Black Adam has changed. Amanda says that everyone has a weakness and now they know Black Adam’s weakness.

Amanda then tells Atom Smasher that he is going to lead the new Suicide Squad on their mission against the Black Adam family. We then see the members of the new Suicide Squad who all got freed from Bell Reve in return for joining the Suicide Squad. The team consists of Boomerang, Plastique, Executioner, Vertigo and a guy who looks like the Persuader from the Fatal Five. End of story.

We then get a two page back up story about the origin of Martian Manhunter. End of issue.
The Good: 52 #33 was an average read. Nothing great, but not terrible. Just very ordinary. As usual, the boys at DC crank out some great dialogue. The writers also continue to generate good chemistry between the various characters. As always, Renee and The Question have incredible chemistry. Their scene is very touching and quite sad. I have been impressed with how much character growth the writers have been able to work with Renee Montoya. I found her character to be so one-dimensional and completely uninteresting at the beginning of 52. However, the writers have gotten me to enjoy her character a lot more. This scene in 52 #33 furthers the growing complexity of her personality.

I also enjoyed the short scene between Kathy and Renee. It was very warm and it was great to see the characters display their love and connection with each other without the scene de-evolving into a teen-age boy’s wet dream to see two lipstick lesbians get it on.

I’m beginning to have just a little bit of hope that maybe The Question is not going to die. That this is just a red herring thrown out their by the writers. That it is just too obvious. However, Booster Gold’s impending death was rather obvious and it turned out not to be a red herring. So, maybe my hope is hollow.

I also thought the writers cooked up some pretty nice chemistry between Batwoman and Nightwing. I still don’t really dig Batwoman and she served little more purpose that eye candy, but I thought this scene was well done. This scene was also important in that it is the step of “officially” including Batwoman into the Batman family. The gift of the batarang is more of a symbol of Nightwing saying “like it or not, you are now a part of our family.” It is cool to see Nightwing so willing to reach out to Batwoman and forge a bond with her. Especially since you know Batman will certainly not be so welcome to a derivative hero fighting crime in his city.

The scene with Ralph was great. There hasn’t been a scene with Ralph that I haven’t enjoyed. Plus, this scene furthers highlights how desperate of a man Ralph is becoming with each issue. He is drunk and bitter about how he feels he has never gotten the glory and recognition due to him. I like the statement that if Barry were still alive then this small room would be an entire wing at the museum. And seeing a drunk Ralph with a gun is never a good thing.

The Lex Luthor scene was deliciously evil. You got to see all the various sides of Lex. His kindness and generosity to the members of Infinity Inc by lavishing them with expensive gifts and not getting mad at receiving no thank you’s or by the fact that none of them got him a gift. Lex reasons that he already has everything he could possibly want.

We get to see the side of Lex where he honestly believes he is making the world a better place. That he genuinely sees himself as the good guy and he is frustrated that he never seems to see any sign that his hard work is appreciated or acknowledged.

We then get to see the horrifically cold and evil side of Lex as he orders the death of Luis and wants his entire body harvested so they can replicate Luis’ X-Factor and use it to give Lex the ability to undergo the Everyman treatment.

The writers did an excellent job delivering a beautifully complex and intriguing Lex Luthor. Lex is one of my all time favorite villains and scenes like this one are proof of why he is such a great character.

The Black Family press conference was unexpected. Seeing Black Adam lower his guard and expose himself in human form to the entire world was rather shocking. And the following scene with Amanda Waller and Atom Smasher shows that Black Adam’s decision to try and turn a new leaf may very well be his family’s downfall. I dig this new Suicide Squad and it should be rather interesting to see Atom Smasher lead them against his former leader and comrade in arms in Black Adam. This definitely has the makings of one highly exiting plotline.

The Bad: Even though I thought many of the scenes were well written 52 #33 was just too slow. I thought that the writers took a holiday with 52 #32 in order to catch their collective breath. Then they turn around and deliver another issue that reads like pure filler. With the exception of the final two pages and Lex’s scene, nothing important or interesting happens in this issue. There is a real lack of advancement in the various plotlines.

After back to back issues where the writers seem to have just mailed it in, it seems that this title is stuck in neutral. With only 19 issues left, the writers really need to get it in gear. We can afford to have too many more filler issues on this title.

The artwork is average. It is your standard artwork by committee and has become the norm for 52.

Overall: 52 #33 was a solid read. I would like to see the writers kick the pacing up a notch or two with the fact that we only have 19 issues left and a ton of ground still to cover. Having said that, I’m still impressed with the quality of writing that these writers have been able to crank out on a weekly basis.