It is absolutely insane how good 52 has been since issue #35. The boys at DC have cranked up the intensity on 52 as we head to the final 13 issues of this title. There is no doubt in my mind that 52 #39 is going to be another great read. Let’s hit this review
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Pencils: Andy Smith
Inks: Ray Snyder
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 39, Day 1: We begin with Jake and Natasha following Dr. Laughlin into a secret lab. Natasha confronts the doctor once they are inside the lab. Dr. Laughlin yells for Natasha and Jake to get out of the lab. Suddenly, a bomb explodes and destroys the lab. Jake and Natasha escape the blast. They are stunned that Dr. Laughlin would have bombed his own secret lab. The doctor also jammed the sprinklers and emptied the fire extinguishers. It is clear that Dr. Laughlin wanted to burn everything.
Suddenly, Ms. Graves, Lex’s assistant, and a security guard enter the secret lab. Ms. Graves tells the guards to have the lab cleared and salve anything and everything no matter how small. Jake and Natasha are hiding from them and hear every word.
Week 39, Day 3: We shift to Ralph Dibny and the helmet of Fate visiting Atlantis. There they meet a magician who looks like Aquaman with long hair and a beard. The magician bemoans the destruction of Atlantis, the birthplace of magic on Earth. Fate’s helmet tells Ralph that Aquaman is missing. He is a victim of the magicks of the legend and power of the sea.
The magician tells Ralph that he can tell him where the Shackles of Arion. Ralph needs a link from this mystical chain. The magician tells them where the Shackles of Arion are located and warns them that no one has ever obtained a link.
We cut to the cave where the Shackles of Arion are located and see that the mystical chain binds a monstrous creature. Fate asks Ralph what he will exchange for a link. Ralph takes off his wedding band. The wedding band enlarges and replaces one of the links on the mystical chain. Ralph and Fate then exit the cave.
Week 39, Day 6: We hop over to Oolong Island. T.O. Morrow asks Dr. Sivana what he has been working on. Dr. Sivana reveals that he has been working on artificial time in a particle form. He calls it Suspendium. Morrow then asks Sivana what happened to Mister Mind. Sivana replies that he bombarded Mister Mind with Suspendium. That Sivana has no idea where Mister Mind wound up. Sivana adds that the Suspendium has been acting very strangely as of late.
Morrow then goes and checks in on Dr. Magnus. Morrow tells Magnus that tin cans, mercury thermometers, a missing gold watch and some lead shielding have gone missing. Plus, Magnus has been talking to himself. Morrow tells Magnus to be careful, because Magnus is acting very suspiciously. Morrow asks Magnus if he is up to any secret projects. Magnus replies that he is under constant surveillance. That he is not rebuilding his Metal Men.
Magnus then shows Morrow a new report from Australia about an artist who has a piece of art with Red Tornado’s head on it. Morrow says he must immediately look into this and runs out of the room.
Mercury then comes out of hiding and asks Magnus if he knew that mercury was the only metal that’s liquid at room temperature.
We cut to Kahndaq where Isis is telling Black Adam that she is worried about Osiris. How Osiris feels his power inside of him made him kill. That Black Adam’s power is cursed. Black Adam scoffs at such a notion. Suddenly, massive storm clouds come out of nowhere and a deadly rain falls that immediately begins to kill all the flowers in Isis’ garden.
Week 39, Day 5: We hop over to Lex’s lab. Natasha is outside the lab listening in on everything via one of her robotic bugs. Jake walks up and tells Natasha that she shouldn’t be out in the open spying like this. Jake then tells Natasha that he knows of a better hiding place close by where she can watch everything via her electronic bug.
Jake then opens the door to a nearby room and we see the real Jake on a table missing a foot, part of his other leg and one arm. We see a plate with a fork and knife and a glass of wine on the table. The alive Jake then transforms into Hannibal aka Everyman. Natasha is in total shock.
Hannibal comments how all he needed to eat was a fingernail in order to steal Jake’s shape. However, once he got a taste he just couldn’t stop eating. Hannibal then goes to take a bite out of Natasha. Natasha and Hannibal then start brawling. Natasha starts beating up on Hannibal.
Suddenly, Lex Luthor appears and blocks Natasha’s energy blast. Lex then tells Natasha that he is going to take away her powers. Natasha says that this can’t be happening. That Lex has always been incompatible for the Everyman Project. Lex responds that Dr. Laughlin had been lying all this time. That all of Dr. Laughlin reports were false. Lex proceeds to just whip Natasha like a rented mule. Natasha then calls Lex an animal. Lex responds that he is Superman and picks up Natasha’s bloodied and broken body.
The Good: 52 #39 was one kick-ass read! Wow! The boys at DC delivered one exciting issue. I knew I would like this issue, but I wasn’t expecting several of the scenes that we got in 52 #39. The writers did an excellent job surprising the reader with several scenes as well as teasing the reader with some hints concerning some future plotlines.
The incredible job that the writers have done plotting 52 has been mind-blowing. Every time the writers answer a question, several more new questions sprout up. Even at this late stage of this title, the writers are still tossing out new questions and plotlines at the reader. There is just no let up on 52. And it is amazing watching how the various plotlines are beginning to tie together. How even the smallest of details and hints from earlier issues are beginning to make more sense now that we are deeper into the story.
52 #39 was excellently paced. The readers managed to deliver a very balanced issue that moved at a steady pace up until the final scene where suddenly the pacing ramped up in speed. And the writers end the issue with a great hook ending with Luthor claiming himself to be Superman while holding a badly beaten Natasha. That is definitely one dramatic attention getting ending!
The scene with the Black Adam Family was short but interesting. Osiris’s reaction to killing the villain a couple of issues ago is perfect realistic and to be expected. Osiris may have Black Adam’s powers, but he doesn’t have Black Adam’s personality. Osiris doesn’t have the same arrogance and willingness to kill that Black Adam does. Osiris is a much more gentle soul and it is sad to see him torn up over this entire event.
Osiris also makes an interesting assertion that Black Adam’s powers are cursed. While that probably isn’t the case, I could certainly see where that is a definite possibility. Black Adam is definitely a man born of violence and hate. It would make sense that his powers would be the same.
The scene with Ralph and the helmet of Fate was pretty solid. We finally get to check in on Atlantis for I believe what is the first time since the end of Infinite Crisis. The writers present us with a character named the magician who clearly appears to be Orin with long hair and a beard.
We also see Ralph apparently on the final stage of his quest to gather certain magical items. This plotline has certainly been in somewhat of a holding pattern for several issues. However, it appears that we are finally drawing to some sort of resolution to this plotline. I’m definitely interested to see what happens to Ralph and the helmet of Fate. I still hope that Sue Dibny does not come back to life. I am in the group of readers who want to see Sue stay dead.
The scenes on Oolong Island were by far the best that we have gotten in this entire series. I found these scenes to be rather intriguing. First, you have Sivana’s new invention: Suspendium. Some sort of artificial time in particle form. And Sivana mentions that it has been acting strangely as of late. Clearly, this has to have something to do with Booster and Rip Hunter’s battle with Skeets. Time is definitely entering some sort of state of flux. Could this be the beginning of the pathway between this new Earth and some form of Multiverse? I don’t know, but I’m definitely interested to learn more about this Suspendium as well as what is going on with the state of time.
Second, Sivana mentions that he has no idea what happened to Mister Mind after he tested the Suspendium on the hapless worm. This is probably a teaser that Mister Mind must be up to something and would probably make an appearance in some for or another in the entire time stream plotline. I’m curious to see what the old worm is up to.
Third, we get treated to the beginning of the return of the new Metal Men. Clearly, Magnus is up to something. Magnus is acting completely insane, but it appears that Magnus hasn’t fallen back into his old evil scientist ways. Could Magnus be frantically working to build his new Metal Men in order to stop Chang Tzu and Intergang’s nefarious plans involving the Four Horsemen? That remains to be seen, but I’m certainly excited to see the Metal Men back in action once again.
Fourth, the writers finally blend the long dormant Red Tornado plotline into the Oolong Island plotline. The writers have done an excellent job of slowly blending the various plotlines together in a logical fashion and this is another example of that. Morrow’s reaction to Red Tornado being alive in some sort of fashion was to be expected. I can’t wait to see what Morrow does once he gets his hands on his old creation. It is clear that the answer to the meaning of “52” lays somewhere in Reddy’s memory banks.
As good as all the scenes I have discussed were, the best part of this issue were the scenes at Lex Luthor’s lab. I liked that Dr. Laughlin destroyed his own lab and killed himself in the process. I certainly didn’t see that coming. Then we get the revelation that Jake is really Everyman in disguise and that the real Jake is dead. I didn’t guess that, but loyal Revolutionary Ilan certainly did.
Then we got the big swerve that Dr. Laughlin had been lying to Luthor all along about him not being compatible with the Everyman Project. That Dr. Laughlin lied and falsified the test results. Damn! My jaw was on the ground when I read that. I didn’t see that coming.
And then we get a Lex Luthor with all of Superman’s powers. Again, I certainly didn’t expect to see a Super-Lex at the end of this issue. The writers did an excellent job throwing out several surprises in the scenes at Lex’s lab in this issue.
A super powered Lex Luthor is a frightening thing. I cringed as we saw Lex absolutely destroy Natasha. Lex’s incredible ego and appetite for power combined with the powers of Superman is going to make him one of the greatest threats that our heroes have ever faced. I am excited to see what the writers do next with Lex and how our heroes are going to be able to stop him.
We know that next issue is going to sport the showdown between one pissed off Steel and Lex Luthor. This was a great hook ending and I am excited to see the big brawl between Steel and Lex.
The Bad: The big revelation that Jake was really Hannibal and seeing Jake’s half eaten corpse was just way too over the top for me. It just didn’t work. I felt like Everyman should have been evilly twisting his moustache while laughing “Mwahahahaha!” When I saw that one page splash shot I heard in my head that stereotypical and campy “Bum-bum-bum-baaaa” organ sound when there is a big revelation in cheesy movies.
Hannibal comes across as a seriously cheesy imitation of Hannibal from Silence of the Lambs all the way down to the plate with a fork and knife and a glass of wine next to Jake’s body. I mean, really, was Everyman enjoying a nice Chianti while eating Jake’s flesh? Lame. Hannibal Lector is cool. Hannibal the Everyman is lame. This scene was a total miss for me and didn’t have the impact that the writers were striving for.
And what happened to the new shiny, happy, positive DC Universe that DC fell all over themselves promising us after the conclusion of Infinite Crisis? I sure haven’t seen any evidence of it on any of the title. Personally, I could care less. I like dark, grim and gritty stories. However, if you are going to shoot your mouth off like DC did then you’d better back it up or admit that you were just blowing smoke.
The art is rather pedestrian.
Overall: 52 #39 was an excellent read. The boys at DC just keep hitting homerun after homerun with this title. I didn’t think that 52 could get any more exciting, but it does. With each issue, the writers continually top themselves. 52 is definitely one of the best titles on the market.
We get a two page back up story concerning the origin of Mr. Terrific. End of issue.