52 is a runaway train at this point. The writers have cranked up the intensity as Black Adam has unleashed his fury on the DC Universe. And it appears that things are going to get even crazier with 52 #46. Black Adam is on a collision course with Dr. Sivana and the rest of the mad scientists on Oolong Island. 52 #46 should be another excellent read. Let’s hit this review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inks: Geraci, Ramos, and Olliffe
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 46, Day 1: We begin with Black Adam shattering the peripheral force field around Oolong Island. All of the scientists are in a panic with the exception of Sivana, I.Q., and Morrow. Dr. Cale tells Will Magnus that they are all going to die and that they deserve to die. Cale says that this is not about global crime. It is beyond Mannheim and beyond Chung Tzu. There are others and they walk among us. Morrow is pissed that someone is e-baying their supposed artwork that sports the Red Tornado’s head.
We see Black Adam fight his way past all the various killer robots and other inventions of the mad scientists. We see Dr. Cale telling Will Magnus that the forces of evil are gathering. That the final crisis is coming. Dr. Cale then starts kissing Magnus stating that all of this turns her on.
We cut back to Black Adam fighting past all the various inventions by the mad scientists. We shift to Dr. Cale telling Magnus that human history is at an end and none of this will be remembered. The other scientists are peeing their pants because Black Adam is almost to their base. I.Q. comments that the blast doors should keep Black Adam out.
We then shift to Dr. Cale with a gun. Dr. Cale opens the blast doors and steps outside and tells Black Adam that she made the things that killed his family. Black Adam rushes past Dr. Cale and inside the base. Black Adam then smashes open the blast doors.
The scientists are all about to pass out from fear of Black Adam killing them. I.Q. rallies the scientists by telling them that they have been bullied their entire lives. Now they have the ultimate big bad bully at their doorstep and they have the weapons and the numbers to get even.
The mad scientists get inspired by I.Q. and use their combined gadgets to take down Black Adam. Sivana then approaches the disabled Black Adam and orders that Black Adam be taken to his laboratory and for the acid wash to be heated up. That Sivana has been making plans for this moment for a very long time.
Morrow then cheers because he just won the eBay auction for the piece of art with the Red Tornado’s head on it. Morrow is thrilled because the secrets of the cosmos that are locked inside the Red Tornado’s head are now Morrow’s.
Week 46, Day 3: We cut to Steel and Natasha (in her new armor) outside of the LexCorp. building watching Lex Luthor getting arrested by the police. Suddenly, Clark Kent tells Steel to follow him. Clark claims that Lex is inside the building. Clark leads Steel and the police to a lead-lined room. Steel smashes down the door and inside is Lex Luthor.
We cut outside of the building where the “Lex” outside reveals himself to be Hannibal, the shapeshifter. Everyman attacks Natasha who takes him out with one punch. The police then arrest the real Lex Luthor and take him away.
Week 46, Day 4: We see Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, and Wildcat in Bialya. Alan Scott says his ring has found no survivors. There are over two million dead people. Alan mentions that the JSA needs to become something different. That there are new meta0humans showing up every day. And the JSA can’t let these new meta-humans end up like those arrogant Everyman thugs or like Black Adam.
Alan says that he can’t help feeling responsible for Black Adam. That Black Adam was a member of the JSA and that they deserted him. Jay Garrick responds that Black Adam deserted the JSA.
Suddenly, Atom Smasher arrives on the scene and says that Jay is right. Atom Smasher says that he wants back on the JSA and that he wants to help them find Black Adam. End of story.
We get a two-page backup story on the origin of Batman. End of issue.
The Good: 52 #46 was a solid read. Even though 52 #46 certainly wasn’t as good as the past several issues, I still liked it. The writers took this issue to let the reader catch his breath. The writers have thrown a ton at us over the past several issues, so it was necessary that the reader not feel totally overwhelmed. So, the writers slowed down the pacing with this issue and set the stage for the final sprint to the end of this series.
I really liked how the writers handled the mad scientists. I dig the different reactions to Black Adam’s attack that the various mad scientists showed. The vast majority of the evil scientists are scared to death. You have the calm cool and collected Sivana who looks forward to Black Adam’s arrival. You have Morrow more preoccupied with winning the eBay auction for the Red Tornado head. Then you have I.Q. having the testicular fortitude to give the rallying speech to the other scientists. You have Dr. Cales completely going off the deep end as she fully realizes the horrors that they have committed.
I liked how the writers tapped into the psyche of the mad scientists as those dorky nerdy little kids that always got picked on in high school. And who better to play the role of the super jock than the all-powerful and arrogant Black Adam. I thought it was neat how I.Q. tapped into this inner shame that burns inside each mad scientist and used that shame to give them the courage to finally defeat a big bad bully.
We also get some interesting hints from Dr. Cale. She talks about the forces of evil gathering for a final crisis. She talks about how this is all bigger than Intergang and that there are “others” already out there walking among us. Could Dr. Cale be referencing yet another “Crisis” like the previous two that we have already seen in the DC Universe? And who are these others that walk among us? I am completely intrigued by Dr. Cales’ cryptic statements. I’m definitely looking forward to the answers to these questions that hopefully get answered during World War III.
I’m intrigued by what Dr. Sivana has in store for Black Adam. No doubt that Sivana has been waiting to get his hands on a Marvel for a very long time. What does this little twisted man have planned for Black Adam? I have no idea, but you know it is going to be horribly evil. I’m sure that Sivana wants to turn Black Adam into a weapon that Sivana can use for his own personal gain.
I love the plotline involving Morrow winning Red Tornado’s head. We are finally getting close to learning just what Red Tornado saw. We are that much closer to finding out who or what the 52 is. And the scary part is that this invaluable information is going to be in the hands of a mad genius in T. O. Morrow.
And don’t discount Will Magnus and his Metal Men being the ones who end up saving Black Adam. We know that at some point Magnus is going to show his true colors as a hero. And we will see the dramatic return of his Metal Men.
The dialogue between the mad scientists was classic! It was very funny and well done. I love the chemistry that the writers have created between these oddball evil scientists.
The scene with the holy trinity of the JSA in Bialya was well done. We finally get to see the genesis for the re-birth of the JSA. The three old vets of the superhero world completely understand their role. The new generation of meta-humans skews more towards the 1990s post-Dark Knight style of hero: Dysfunctional, egotistical, and violent. The three old lions of the JSA are the standard by which every hero should measure themselves and that includes Superman himself.
This was a good move to firmly establish these three characters as the inspirational center for the superhero community in the DC Universe. It also shows DC’s desire to make their heroes more in the mold of Alan Scott and Jay Garrick than Lobo and Wolverine. DC has made a big deal about making their heroes more heroic and making the DC Universe a more positive place. I would imagine this is the first step in that effort.
The Bad: The Lex Luthor scene was a total throwaway scene. It was boring and just served as fluff to fill up a couple of pages on this issue. This scene did nothing for me.
The artwork was terribly pedestrian. It created a rather boring-looking issue.
Overall: 52 #46 was another good read. The stage is set for a fantastic finish. The events of World War III should be a wild ride. It just continues to amaze me what an impressive job DC has done with 52.