52 has been a favorite here at the Revolution. The weekly format is a blast and I have found the storyline to be interesting. Most importantly, 52 is getting me interested in characters that I never really cared for in the past. It’s Friday morning. I have my mug of Café Bustelo. The weekend is right around the corner. I’m ready for this review 52 #4.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka & Mark Waid
Penciler: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: Week 4, Day 1: We see Renee on a stakeout outside the dumpy building on Kane St. that the Question hired her to watch. She complains about how boring surveillance is and how since the Question paid her in advance for three weeks of work that at the end of the three weeks she is done with this gig. On top of that, nothing has happened at this building for the past week.
We then shift to the space crew outside Earth trying to track down the lost heroes from the space mission in Infinite Crisis. Halo tracks an oscillating signal high up on the Zeta frequency trying to come in. The Zeta Beam Transfer is how Adam Strange travels.
We then cut to Booster Gold and Fire meeting at Booster’s high rise condo. Fire tells Booster that Martian Manhunter is getting a rescue team together to search for the missing space team of heroes. Booster says he can’t due to his tight schedule that Skeets keeps for him. Skeets reminds Booster of their upcoming meeting for an endorsement deal with Big Belly Burger. Fire snaps on Booster tearing off one of his sponsorship patches from his costume. Fire yells at him for being money hungry and loosing out for himself rather than trying to find and help people like Alan Scott and Animal Man. Fire mentions that she thought that Booster left this ego centric lifestyle behind him after Ted got killed. Booster snaps and says that he did his part. He risked his life jumping back to the present from the 25th century to finish what Ted Kord started. That he helped save the world. That right now it is about him! Fire burns down Booster’s front door and leaves. (Ah, that Fire! Muy caliente!)
Week 4, Day 3: Renee is still on her stakeout on Kane St. The Question suddenly appears in the back seat of her car. They exchange some funny dialogue and then the Question tells Renee to keep up the good work and he leaves.
We then hop over to Steelworks. John Irons is working on his armor and begins to hallucinate himself talking with “Steel.” John tells “Steel” that he should have never risked his life and put on the armor. That he doesn’t want to set a bad example or wrong inspiration for his niece, Natasha. He doesn’t want her to get hurt. We then see John run to the bathroom and throw up. He stumbles out of the bathroom claiming that somebody has poisoned him. He then touches one of his machines and his hand and face turn into metal. Then there is a huge explosion in his lab.
Week 4, Day 4: Elongated Man is meeting with Wonder Girl and her Superboy Clan in their Kryptonian temple. Wonder Girl tells Ralph that they did not vandalize his wife’s tombstone. One of the Superboy Cult members is named Devem. (Hey! A play on the Dev-Em from the Legion of Super Heroes. Except that Dev-Em was a cool Daxamite as powerful as Mon-El.) They tell Ralph to get into the striped waters of the River Memon. That the rive grants visions of the afterlife. That Devem showed Wonder Girl this river. That it showed her someone she thought was forever lost. They tell Ralph that they need something significant or that means the most to him before he gets into the waters. He tells them that since Sue has died that he has nothing important left. Ralph then gets dunked into the water. He is held under until he passes out. He wakes up and gets out of the River and everyone is gone. Ralph then notices that his wedding ring is gone from his finger.
Week 4, Day 5: We shift back to Renee still on her stakeout. She sees a large figure enter the building. She runs into the building to follow him. The Question suddenly appears from behind her. They engage in more humorous dialogue and come across a secret door that drops them into an underground room. There they see the large figure which is some type of lizard/alien like creature. The creature is loading all sorts of high tech weaponry into crates. And we officially have a braaaaaawl!! The big creature starts beating up both Renee and the Question until Renee grabs one of the hi-tech guns and blasts the creature to smithereens.
Week 4, Day 7: We hop over to the space rescue team from earlier in the issue. They have spoken with the Rannians and Halo believes she can influence the Zeta current to ground itself in Australia. The military then arrives at the target area in Australia. The Zeta Beam hits ground and we see our missing heroes back on Earth looking like hell. Alan is bleeding from his eye socket, Bumblebee is bloody and torn up, Vox has pieces of metal shards sticking out of his chest. Hawkgirl is giant sized and beat up. Two other characters that I don’t recognize look fused together. End of issue.
This issue has a 4 page History of the DCU backup story. Donna learns of the Crisis of Infinite Earths and how the Anti-Monitor destroyed all the parallel Earths. She learns how Alexander Luthor was sent from his world to ours to help us defeat the Anti-Monitor. And Donna learns that during the fight, the Anti-Monitor kills Supergirl. No, not Britney Zor-El (we could only be so lucky), the original Supergirl, Kara. End of story.
The Good: I liked the scenes with Renee and the Questions. These two characters have great chemistry with each other. The dialogue is entertaining and fun to read. These scenes had the best dialogue of the entire issue. I am really enjoying the team of Renee and the Question and I think the writers are doing a great job developing these two characters together.
We finally learn a little bit more about what is going on in the building on Kane Street. It appears we have someone trafficking in hi-tech weaponry. More than likely, this creature is some type of monster working for Intergang. At any rate, the Question/Renee storyline is well done and is becoming rather interesting.
The scene with Ralph, Wonder Girl and the Superboy Cult was cool. The main reason I liked it was the appearance of Devem. Even though he is drastically different from the real Dev-Em of the old Legion of Super Heroes, it is still cool to see his character again. And it is interesting that they stole Ralph’s wedding ring. It does appear that this cult may be trying to resurrect Sue Dibney. Personally, I think Sue needs to remain deader than dead. I thought Identity Crisis was incredible. Probably the best thing that DC has done in a very long time. And definitely better than Infinite Crisis. To bring Sue back would grossly cheapen and ruin Identity Crisis.
It will be interesting to find out more about Devem and how he know about the River Memon and what it meant to the Kryptonians. Devem could become a rather manipulative and sinister character preying off of Wonder Girl’s desperate hope that Superboy is alive. We know that she eventually leaves this Superboy Cult and that Superboy does not get resurrected because in the One Year Later storyline in the Teen Titans, Conner is still dead. At any rate, I love Ralph’s character and at this point, I find this storyline to be the most interesting of all the storylines.
The Booster Gold scene was also well written. It gave some explanation as to why Booster has been acting like the old Booster rather than the new Booster from the Infinite Crisis storyline. I think it was believable that after all Booster has been through that he would react in this manner. That he would revert back to the safe selfish mode and only take care of himself. I have no problem with this regression in his character. It seems natural and realistic to me. And I love Fire! We need more of that lovely Latina.
The John Irons storyline is starting to get interesting. This was the weakest of all the storylines in the first three issues of 52. However, it appears that John is going to morph into some type of metallic creature. I’m curious to see where the writers are going with this storyline.
And finally, we see how the lost heroes from the space mission in Infinite Crisis return home. And wow, do they return home messed up. I cannot wait to read about what happened to the heroes in the space mission. That storyline got completely dropped from Infinite Crisis so it would be nice to get some detail on that mission here in the pages of 52.
Overall, I thought 52 #4 was well done. The writing is very solid. Each time we get an answer to a question a new mystery pops up to take the place of a solved one. That is a sign of a well plotted storyline. The dialogue is very strong and in the case of the Question and Renee, quite funny. I also am enjoying the pacing. Since there is a 4 page backup story in each issue, the 52 is shorter than your average comic book. So, that limits how much plot advancement can be done with each issue. Personally, I have no issues with the pace of 52. I think the fact that it is weekly instead of monthly allows the writers to pace this storyline a bit more deliberate and drawn out than your average monthly title. I am quite enjoying it.
Of course, Bennett’s artwork is fantastic. Bennett has really impressed me with his work on 52. He has great skills and his art makes 52 an enjoyable comic book to read.
The Bad: I have no complaints with the writing or artwork for 52. My only complaints are with the lame 4 page History of the DC Universe backup story. It is so lame. With only 4 pages, the writers don’t have much to work with. But, so far, nothing of interest has happened. We have managed only to get up to Supergirl getting killed during the original Crisis. I would rather these stories focus on what happened to this New Earth since Infinite Crisis rather than re-tell old history from the original Crisis. I suppose it is necessary for readers who missed the original Crisis. But, for long time readers it is boring.
52 #4 was a good issue and 52 in general has really delivered. I’m glad to see that DC is doing their best to live up to the hype generated before 52 was released. This was something that they failed to do with Infinite Crisis.