52 #48 Review

The Revolution was really disappointed with the last issue of 52. I was stunned that the boys at DC would crank out such a pedestrian read this close to the end of this title. I have to believe that the creative team is going to rebound with a strong read in 52 #48. There are only five issues left and the writers have to end this title with a huge ending. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Art: Darick Robertson

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Week 48, Day 1 & 2 &3: We see Nightwing and Renee Montoya brawling with Intergang thugs in various locations. At every scene, Nightwing and Renee ask the same question: “Where’s Mannheim?”

Week 48, Day 4: We cut to the home base of Intergang where Whisper has Batwoman shackled to an altar. Whisper is preparing for the sacrifice.

We shift back to Renee and Nightwing stumbling across a drill machine at one of the Intergang jobs that they bust up.

We cut back to Mannheim yelling at Whisper that they should just get it over with and kill Batwoman now. Whisper reminds Mannheim that they must sacrifice Batwoman according to the directions in the Book of Crime. Mannheim is upset that they have lost the “key.” Whisper says that Abbot will get the key back. Mannheim comments that he is sick of Abbot’s heresy and wants to get rid of him.

We shift back to Nightwing and Renee inspecting the drill machine. Nightwing says that it looks like a bomb. Suddenly, more Intergang man/animal creatures attack. Abbot then appears on the scene and helps Renee and Nightwing defeat the Intergang creatures. Abbot tells Nightwing that he is sick of Intergang, Mannheim and all of their prophecies. Unfortunately, one of the defeated Intergang creatures manages to activate the drill machine.

Suddenly a huge jet of flame shoots into the air from the drill machine. Abbott tells our heroes that there are many of these devices all across Gotham. Sure enough, we see numerous columns of fire erupting all across Gotham. Abbott says that the drill machines tears through the ground and ignites everything it touches. By the morning Gotham will be a pit of fire.

Abbott tells Renee that Batwoman is to be sacrificed and her death is supposed to unite all the flames from the various drill machines and help open up the pit of fire. Abbott tells Renee where they are keeping Batwoman. Renee decides to go and rescue Batwoman while Nightwing and Abbott run around Gotham and deactivate all the drill machines.

We cut to Renee arriving at the scene of the sacrifice. Mannheim and Whisper are about to sacrifice Batwoman. Renee begins fighting with Whisper. Renee pushes Whisper into some flames and Whisper dies. Renee then shoots Mannheim. Unfortunately, Mannheim was able to plunge his dagger into Batwoman’s chest.

Renee runs to Batwoman’s side. Batwoman says that she is dying. Renee is distraught. Suddenly, Mannheim gets back on his feet and attacks Renee. Mannheim puts a beat down on Renee and takes her gun. Mannheim is about to shoot Renee when suddenly Batwoman pulls the dagger out of her chest and throws it into Mannheim’s back. Mannheim crumples to the floor.

Batwoman then falls to the floor. Renee tells Batwoman to stay with her. That this time will be different. (Oh god, please let Batwoman be dead.)

Week 48, Day 5: We see Chang Tzu broadcasting a message to all of the world’s leaders. We see Checkmate also watching the message. Chang Tzu announces that his Science Squad has in their possession the world’s most dangerous living weapon: Black Adam. Chang Tzu then asks what the opening bid will be for this weapon.

We get a two page back up story on the origin of the Birds of Prey. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Wow, how about that? 52 #48 was another unimpressive read. Of course, that isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy parts of 52 #48. I loved seeing Mannheim plunge his dagger into Batwoman’s chest. Fantastic. I’ll love this issue even more if Batwoman is actually dead. Of course, we all know that Batwoman isn’t going to die. She isn’t an established white male character. So, DC will somehow have her make a miraculous recovery.

But, if DC actually does kill off Batwoman then what a great death. This is how you kill off a hero. Batwoman’s lover Renee is about to get killed by Mannheim. Batwoman pulls the dagger out of her own chest and then kills Mannheim at the last minute and saved her lover, Renee. That is a pretty ballsy and heroic death. In fact, a death like that would make me like Batwoman’s character just a little bit more.

I loved the idea of auctioning off Black Adam on the black market to various governments. Nuclear weapons are sold to countries on the black market, so why not Black Adam? I also dig the way Chang Tzu described Black Adam as the world’s most dangerous living weapon and then ran through the kill numbers that Black Adam racked up during his rampage. This ending certainly got my attention and I’m anxious to see what happens to Black Adam in the next issue.

The Bad: I’m stunned that the creative team has turned out back to back pedestrian reads on 52. We are only four issues to the end of this once white hot title. There is no way I would have every imagined the creative team gacking up two paltry issues in a row just before the ending to this series. I’m amazed how the creative team has managed to completely de-rail the wonderful momentum they had build up prior to issue #47.

Now, I will readily admit that I have found the Renee Montoya, Batwoman and Intergang plotline to be the weakest and least interesting of all the various plotlines in 52. And the past two issues have done nothing but vindicate my belief that this was a weak plotline.

The creative team serves up a lousy ending to this Intergang plotline. I found the ending to be rushed and rather anti-climactic. Nightwing and Renee would have never even found Mannheim if Abbott hadn’t flipped sides and told them where Batwoman was being held. So much for Renee being such a great detective and being worthy of the mantle of The Question.

I never like it when a plotline is resolved by having a villain switch sides and help the heroes to save the day. I’d much rather see the heroes struggle and either fail or succeed on their own.

Also, Whisper and Mannheim were quickly dispatched in a couple of pages. I just felt that Intergang would have put up a better fight than they did. Especially since they were going up against a character in Renee who has no super powers.

The entire ending to the Intergang plotline just came across like the creative team was running out of time and had to quickly dash out an ending. Abbott served as a convenient tool to deliver a fast ending. Given that I have not been impressed with this plotline from the beginning, I simply shouldn’t be surprised that the ending to it was less than satisfactory.

I also didn’t enjoy 52 #48 because I simply loathe Renee Montoya as The Question. As a matter of fact, I will never refer to her as the Question. And this is too bad. I was neutral on Renee’s character prior to 52. But, the creative team did such a good job with her character and the excellent dialogue and chemistry between her and The Question that I actually started liking her character.

Then the creative team had to take it too far and kill off Vic Sage and make Renee the new Question. They immediately made me hate a character that they had finally gotten me to like. Way to go DC.

Needless to say, I think Renee absolutely sucks as the Question. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and she will be a huge hit with comic book readers. However, I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

The dialogue in 52 #48 was average at best. The dialogue was rather stiff and bit generic. There was zero chemistry between any of the characters. Renee as the Question has lost any appeal that her character had back when she was just an ex-cop trying to do her best. Renee and Nightwing don’t work well together and had none of the chemistry that Renee had with Vic Sage. I still haven’t seen any type of chemistry at all between Batwoman and Renee. And to top it all off, Mannheim and Whisper came across as completely one-dimensional villains.

I found Darick Robertson’s artwork to be rather poor. It was sketchy, sloppy and rather dull looking. Robertson’s art made 52 #48 a boring looking comic book.

Overall: The Revolution has loved 52. I have been impressed with the quality of stories each and every week. Prior to issue #47, 52 was white hot and firing on all cylinders. I was convinced that we were in store for an insanely good finale to this series. I didn’t think there was any way at all that the writers couldn’t deliver a fantastic finish. 52 #47 and 52 #48 have completely shocked me by turning out to be back to back average reads.

I cannot believe that the creative team isn’t going to supply a quality ending to a series that has been so consistently good. However, now I’m worried that the ending to 52 is going to be anti-climactic. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic that the writers can get 52 back on track and deliver a great ending.

4 Comments

  1. 52 isn’t going to really end, mark my words; it’s going to segue into various other titles that DC is launching post-series.

    Even if they do intend to wrap up all these storyline in four issues, there’s a serious format problem here: every issue is supposed to cover one week. You can see that in previous issues, where some have very little happen, and then others pack an insane amount of plot into one issue. Look at all the “World War III” specials being added onto Week 50 because they couldn’t tell the whole story in the allotted space (so it’s “56”); “Countdown” dispenses with the “weekly” parametres for that very reason.

  2. How can you not love Renee Montoya as The Question? She’s ethnic and a lesbian. That’s a PC twofer. Batwoman is Jewish, like me, and therefore I must like her, despite the fact that she has no orginal sotry, comes across as dule, makes no sense why Batman would even lete her hang out in gotham to start with………… you get the idea.

  3. makes no sense why Batman would even lete her hang out in gotham to start with

    I wasn’t aware that anyone wanting to fight crime in Gotham needed Batman’s permission (and he’s out of town).

  4. I think they’ve been trying to scale down the “bat-dickery” in the post-Infinite Crisis world.

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