52 is beginning to wrap up most of the major plotlines. Ralph’s plotline has been resolved with his death. Renee, much to my dismay, has finished off her plotline and replaced Vic Sage as The Question. And now it appears that the Black Adam plotline is going to move closer to a resolution with 52 #44. I am positive that 52 #44 is going to be another wild read. Let’s hit this review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Dan Green, Rodney Ramos & Eddy Barrows
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 44, Day 1: We begin with Black Adam suddenly feeling his powers return to him. Black Adam tells Isis that Osiris has given up his powers. We cut to Black Adam and Isis finding Amon’s gory half-eaten body. (Gotta love that more positive lighter DC Universe.)
Sobek steps out of the shadows and tells Black Adam and Isis that Osiris was a fool. That Osiris didn’t even taste good and his flesh is still stuck in Sobek’s teeth. Sobek reveals that he is Yurrd the Unknown. He is Famine. That he was tent to Sivana’s home hours before the Black Adam family arrived.
That Intergang offered Black Adam everything they could for sage passage through Kahndaq. Since Black Adam refused Intergang, then he and his “family” are a threat to Intergang. That is why the four Horsemen were brought to Kahndaq.
We then see the other three Horsemen appear on the scene. Sobek reveals that it has been the four Horsemen of the Apokolips that have been behind all of Kahndaq’s misery the past several weeks. And with that the Horsemen attack Black Adam and Isis.
Black Adam locks horns with Sobek. Sobek comments how Osiris’ organs popped like juicy grapes in his mouth. (Ooookay.) Black Adam says the Horsemen are monsters and shall be treated as such. Black Adam then rips apart Sobek’s jaws and kills him.
Black Adam then squares off against War. Pestilence then faces off with Isis. Isis is horrified that man could make such terrible creatures. War gets the upper hand on Black Adam as Pestilence infects Isis with his disease. Pestilence then tells Death that Isis is ready for her.
We see Black Adam rip out the insides of War. War is dead. Black Adam then takes the War’s canon and uses it to blast Pestilence’s head off. Pestilence is now dead. Black Adam then squares off against Death. Isis uses her last bit of power to summon a massive blast of lava that fries Death and launches him high into the sky.
Black Adam then holds the dying Isis. Isis tells Black Adam that she now understands why his way kept Kahndaq and its people safe. Black Adam says that Isis taught him to never give up hope. Isis responds that she was wrong. That it was never Black Adam that needed redemption. It was the rest of the world. The world of men that made such horrible creatures like the Horsemen. The Evil needs to die. Isis then tells Black Adam to avenge her and Osiris.
Black Adam then absorbs back his powers from Isis and Isis dies in his arms. Black Adam begins to cry. Then he looks into the sky and stops crying. Black Adam then has one seriously murderous pissed off look on his face. (Oh shit. I think Intergang better start saying their prayers.)
We cut to Nanda Parbat. (And suddenly all my excitement in this issue comes to a crashing halt.) The rose that Isis gave Renee dies. Renee comments that Isis is dead. That this can’t be good. Richard tells Renee that it is time for her to leave and go find out what has happened.
Richard then gives Renee an outfit, hat and mask just like The Questions that has been treated by the same reactive compound. Renee doesn’t want to be the new Question. (Well, that makes two of us.) Richard responds that some questions can only be answered by wearing a mask. Richard tells Renee to start in Kahndaq and see where it leads her. Renee puts on The Questions hat. End of issue.
The Good: Nice! 52 #44 was one kick ass issue! We got gobs of brutal Black Adam action in this issue. I like complex and intelligent reads as much as the next person, but sometimes a rage fueled slugfest can make for a damn fine read. And that is exactly what we got with 52 #44.
The creative team cranked up the action and intensity with this issue. The pacing moved at a rapid pace as we got treated to a massive brawl. The Black Adam plotline finally game to a boil. And how sweet was it to watch Black Adam just unleash unholy hell on the Four Horsemen. What was incredible was how Black Adam single-handedly killed three of the Four Horsemen. These were supposed to be some major monster villains.
Normally, I’d complain that such quick deaths of the Four Horsemen made the story a bit shallow and cheated the reader of what were supposed to be tough adversaries. However, in this issue it made sense. The point of having Black Adam take out such monster villains all by himself to was impress upon the reader the immense power and rage that Black Adam possesses. This was to remind the reader that Black Adam is certainly one of the most powerful individuals in the DC Universe. And that a pissed off Black Adam is a huge threat to just about everyone outside of Kahndaq.
Seeing Black Adam lay waste to the Four Horsemen also represents the end to this “new” Black Adam that Isis had worked so hard to create. The scene where Isis dies in Black Adam’s arms signals a re-birth for Black Adam. I say re-birth, because Black Adam isn’t going to simply return to his old self. No. Black Adam is going to turn into something even more hateful and violent than his old self ever was.
What makes Black Adam such a force to be reckoned with is his unique combination of personality and powers. Black Adam has the powers of Superman and the attitude and personality of Wolverine. That is one seriously nasty combination and it makes Black Adam an unpredictable and highly dangerous character.
Isis telling Black Adam that she was wrong about him. That it was the world that needed redemption and not Black Adam. This was a very powerful scene. This was an unexpected re-affirmation by Isis that everything Black Adam believed in prior to meeting Isis was proper and just. It was shocking to see Isis completely reverse her stance on how Black Adam should live his life.
Then the bomb was dropped. Isis commands Black Adam to seek revenge for her death and Osiris’s death. Isis, the one positive and calming force in Black Adam’s life, just gave Black Adam the green light to go on a murderous rampage. Isis just unleashed an engine of destruction on the world.
I cannot wait for the next issue to see what in the world Black Adam does to Intergang. We know one thing for sure. It is going to be bloody and violent. Should be fun!
The artwork was the typical average art that we have gotten during the entire course of 52. Nothing bad, but nothing great.
The Bad: I understand why the creative team killed off Osiris and Isis. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m entirely thrilled with those decisions. Once Osiris died last issue, I think that it was painfully transparent that Isis was going to die in this issue. And that is too bad. A death of a character should never be blatantly obvious.
But, more important is that I think DC really dropped the ball and screwed up a chance to create something interesting with the Black Adam family. Both Osiris and Isis were very cool characters who also had the added benefit of increasing the diversity of the DC Universe. These two characters are the perfect example that it is possible to create entirely new characters to satisfy diversity needs without having to kill off established white characters.
Both Osiris and Isis had tons of potential and it is a shame that DC squandered that potential in exchange for some cheap “shocking” scenes and the excuse to unleash Black Adam in a homicidal rage. I think that having Osiris and Isis nearly killed and the people of Kahndaq dying from disease and famine would have been enough to send Black Adam into a killing spree.
The Black Adam family could have been the source for many compelling and interesting future storylines. Unfortunately we will never know what DC could have done with this collection of characters. Hopefully, DC doesn’t go for the hat trick and kill of Black Adam as well.
Now let’s talk about the scene with Renee Montoya. It should come as no surprise that I have absolutely no interest at all in Renee as The Question. None. I have tried to maintain my composure and be polite when discussing Renee and her replacing Vic Sage. I’ve tried to view Renee with an open mind and comment on the good points of her character. However, I’m officially done with that.
I have no idea why DC would think that Renee would be a more appealing Question than Vic Sage. If a reader can’t dig The Question because he is a white man then they are racist. I’m Hispanic. I imagine that I’m the target audience that DC is going after with this move. Does making The Question a Hispanic female make me get into this character any more? No. I could absolutely care less. I don’t look at the race of a character in determining if I like that character or not. That would be incredibly lame of me to do that.
Instead, DC has gotten me to absolutely hate a character that I never hated before. Initially, I was non-committal about Renee. Then I slowly started to enjoy her character. If DC had just left Renee as a private detective then they would have succeeded in turning me onto a new character. However, DC decision to kill off Vic Sage in order to replace him with Renee only served to make me suddenly hate her character.
And that is why it is never a good idea to kill off established white characters and replace them with a minority character. Just create cool new minority character like what DC killed off in Osiris and Isis. I know it takes some time and effort, but it is well worth it. I mean what does DC think they are going to have with Renee as the Question? Another title that sells poorly like the unimpressive sales numbers of the new Atom, Firestorm and the new Blue Beetle?
So all I can hope for is that Black Adam in a blind rage goes on a rampage, mistakes Renee for an Intergang spy and rips both her arms off and proceeds to beat her to death with them.
Overall: 52 #44 was a wild read. 52 has succeeded in making Black Adam one of my favorite DC characters. I cannot wait to see what Black Adam does next. 52 has been an absolute blast to read over the past couple of weeks. And it is only going to get better.