52 Week 049-1

52 #49 Review

The Revolution has been shocked that the past couple of issues of 52 have been rather unimpressive and slightly disappointing. I can’t believe with just four issues left that the boys at DC aren’t going to try to go out on a high note. There is no way that 52 #49 is yet another pedestrian read. I have to think that 52 #49 is going to be a rebound issue and this story is going to get back on track. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
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: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Week 49, Day 1: We begin with the Justice Society of America outside of Chang Tzu’s fortress on Oolong Island. The JSA orders Chang Tzu to turn over Black Adam. The JSA try futilely to break through Chang Tzu’s force field.

The Great Ten arrive on the scene and tell the JSA to leave immediately. That Oolong Island belongs to the Chinese. That any attack on Chang Tzu’s fortress on Oolong Island will be considered an attack on China and an act of war.

We cut to Chang Tzu asking Magnus if the Plutonium Man is ready. That they may need to use it against the JSA. Chang Tzu then asks Magnus how he brings his metal men to life. Magnus responds that it is the magic of his responsometer technology. That personality traits inside humans actually indicate the presence of certain metals in our bodies.

Gold possesses feelings of selflessness, heroism, and nobility. Lead has the stubborn refusal to quit. Iron has inflexible indomitable self-determination. That once a metal is animated it takes a form that perfectly expresses its own nature. The Metal Men pretty much build themselves and can be of any size.

Suddenly, Magnus unveils his miniature-sized team of Metal Men. The Metal Men spring to action and attack Chang Tzu.

We hop back outside of Chang Tzu’s fortress where Alan Scott asks the Great 10 why they would risk war all over one man. We see Thunder Mind’s eyes begin to glow. Alan Scott then says that the Great Ten are trying to cover up something. Alan Scott says that Chang Tzu is a member of the Great Ten.

We shift back to Magnus and the Metal Men attempting to shut down the force fields. Suddenly, Mercury blows apart into little bits. We see T.O. Morrow enter the room with a particle wave pistol. Magnus says that Morrow is too late. That Magnus has disabled the fortress’s defenses.

Magnus then gives Morrow Sivana’s teleport link to his Omnibot that is currently in orbit above their heads. Morrow says that he doesn’t deserve Magnus’s loyalty after Morrow has been so terrible to him. Magnus responds that Morrow was the best teacher he ever knew and that he is trying to overlook the whole psychopathic supervillain thing. Morrow smiles and says they all have their flaws and then teleports to the Omnibot.

We cut to Dr. Sivana frantically searching for his teleport link to his Omnibot. Black Adam swears that he will tear Sivana apart and feed him to Billy’s talking tiger. Sivana grabs his stuff and wishes Black Adam good luck with dealing with the JSA. Sivana then makes his exit.

We hop back outside where the Great Ten is denying any connection with Chang Tzu. Alan Scott continues that Oolong Island has long been under the control of Red China. That under orders of Beijing, Chang Tzu and his crew used Intergang money to build doomsday weapons for the purpose of assassinating the Black Marvel family.

But, no one expected Black Adam to survive. Now the Great Ten is here to finish the job. Because if this gets out, if Black Adam gets out then the Great Ten’s bosses are on the firing line and Chang Tzu knows that. Chang Tzu holds all the cards and he is playing both sides.

We see the August General back at the Great Ten’s headquarters wondering how Alan Scott knows all of this. We see Thunder Mind’s eyes still glowing.

Power Girl then notices that the force fields are down. Alan Scott says that the JSA is going to get Black Adam. That the Great Ten can take Chang Tzu into their custody. And there won’t be a war.

We cut back to Chang Tzu and a couple of the mad scientists confronting Magnus. Magnus yells that he has a particle-wave ray gun and a bipolar disorder and for the scientists to run away. The mad scientists run away and leave Chang Tzu by himself.

Magnus fires a gun at Chang Tzu. The bullet is none other than the miniature version of Lead. Lead smashes a huge hole through Chang Tzu. Magnus uses the particle-wave ray and blasts Chang Tzu into little bits. Magnus comments that Chang Tzu shouldn’t have taken his meds away. That he does crazy things without his meds.

We see the JSA entering the fortress looking for Black Adam. Atom Smasher goes his own way and stumbles across Sivana. Atom Smasher threatens to break every bone in Sivana’s body unless he tells him where Black Adam is being held.

We cut to Black Adam ripping open the wall to Sivana’s lab. Atom Smasher frees Black Adam. Atom Smasher tells Black Adam that the JSA will take him into custody and keep him safe. Black Adam retorts that he will not stay in the JSA’s custody. That the ones who orchestrated the murder of his family still breathe and justice must be had.

Atom Smasher asks about justice for all the men, women, and children that were killed in Bailya? Atom Smasher says that it couldn’t have been Black Adam that killed them. That must have been the Horseman in Bailya that did it.

That if Black Adam killed all those people then he could never go back to Kahndaq. He could never protect his people. Atom Smasher begs Black Adam to tell him that it wasn’t Black Adam who killed those people. Black Adam responds that they wanted a war and that he is going to bring it to them. Black Adam powers up and streaks off into the air.

We shift to Metropolis. We see Jade saying that the world has turned against the Everyman experiments. That there is only a handful of them left. Nuklon says that they are more than experiments. That Infinity Inc. can still be the future. That they can run in and save the day and price to the world that they can do it better than those stupid old men in the JSA.

We then cut to a pissed-off Black Adam streaking through the air. End of issue.

We get a two-page backup story on the origin of the Justice Society of America. End of issue.

The Good: All right! Now that is what I expect when getting the new issue of 52. The boys at DC cranked up the intensity on 52 #49 and delivered a great read. 52 #49 was a well-paced issue that was packed full of interesting twists and turns and plenty of action.

The writers cranked out some nice dialogue. They managed to blend some humor in with a rather serious storyline involving the plans to assassinate the Black Marvel family. Magnus had all the funny lines. The best was the part where Magnus comments that he is bipolar and is wielding a particle wave gun and that who knows what he will do.

52 #49 delivers the ending to yet another major plotline. The writers give us the conclusion of Chang Tzu’s Science Squad on Oolong Island. Everything is explained to the reader. And don’t we get a couple of bombs dropped on us about Chang Tzu? I love the fact that it is revealed that Chang Tzu is a member of the Great Ten and is working for the Chinese communist government.

That Intergang was a means to get money in order to carry out Beijing’s plans to kill the Black Marvel Family. Intergang agreed to fund the construction of doomsday weapons in order to help bring about its goal of world domination.

However, the fact is that it was really the Chinese government that Chang Tzu was building the doomsday weapons for in order to kill the Black Marvel Family. The Chinese government is increasingly wary of the Black Marvel Family ever since the beginning. That Isis and Osiris had an unpredictable effect on Black Adam. That they changed Black Adam’s outlook on the world.

That Black Adam abandoned the coalition that he and the Chinese were trying to build. That Black Adam’s views on how to handle global situations no longer were in line with the views of Communist China. That the Black Marvel Family was a potentially huge threat to the Communist Chinese government. So they had to be killed.

It is fun seeing how all these different plotlines in 52 all hook into each other. The writers did an excellent job of taking the plotlines involving the Great Ten, Chang Tzu’s Science Squad, Intergang, and the Black Marvel Family and merging them together for a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. That is proof of excellent plotting and a nice long-term vision on part of the writers.

The best part about the revelation behind Chang Tzu being a member of the Great Ten and the Chinese government’s plan to kill the Black Marvel Family is how Alan Scott got all this information. It was given to him by one of the Great Ten’s own members: Thunder Mind.

We saw earlier in 52 how Thunder Mind clearly does not see eye to eye with the Chinese government or with the pro-Communist Party members of the Great Ten. That makes sense since I believe Thunder Mind is from Tibet. We all know that Tibet has chafed under the oppressive control of the Chinese government. Plus, Thunder Mind is a spiritual man, and then is no room for spiritualism or religion in Communist China.

I dig that Thunder Mind turns the table on the Chinese government and their nefarious plans that he clearly did not support. This move just adds another layer of intrigue to this storyline.

It is always great seeing the Great Ten. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I absolutely love the Great Ten. I wish the Great Ten would get their own mini-series or maybe even their own ongoing monthly title. I think the Great Ten has an interesting enough roster in terms of personalities and powers to make for an excellent read.

Plus, it would help make the DC Universe even more diverse. The Great Ten is a perfect way to create diversity without killing off established white male characters. See, Danny boy, it can be done. It just takes some effort and creativity.

It was awesome to see Will Magnus return to his heroic form. You just knew it was a matter of time before Magnus showed his true colors and brought down the evil Chang Tzu. The writers have done an excellent job using 52 as a vehicle to flesh out Magnus’s character. Will Magnus is a much more interesting and complex character after the events of 52 than he was prior to 52. This shows how 52 was an excellent tool to help promote the growth of lesser-known characters like Will Magnus.

Of course, it was sweet to see the Metal Men back in action. And the twist of having them be miniature-sized in order to escape Chang Tzu’s constant surveillance of Magnus was a cool idea. I have always liked the Metal Men and am glad to see them back in action in the DC Universe. The Metal Men is certainly a group that would be worthy of a mini-series.

And having Magnus explain how his responsometer technology works on various metals was a convenient way to introduce the Metal Men to readers who may have had no knowledge of those characters.

The scene between Morrow and Magnus was very well done. I like the chemistry between these two characters and the unusual relationship that they have with each other. Plus, it does the job of placing a mad scientist like Morrow on the loose to wreak havoc on the DC Universe at some later date.

The writers also delivered a great hook ending. The writers fire back up the Black Adam plotline with an even angrier Black Adam vowing to bring the war to those who attacked him and his family. With Black Adam on the loose, you know we are in store for plenty of kick-ass action in the upcoming issues.

I also liked how the writers handled the scene between Atom Smasher and Black Adam. These two characters have such an interesting history. I like how the writers showed the genuine hurt that Atom Smasher felt when he realized that Black Adam killed all of those men, women, and children in Bailya. Atom Smasher always looked up to Black Adam and admired what Black Adam did for Kahndaq. It is always tough to watch someone you admire fall from grace.

The short teaser for Infinty Inc. that we got at the end was unexpected. I thought all the Everyman Project experiments lost their superpowers. Evidently not. The remains of Infinity Inc. should provide the writers with enough cannon fodder to kill off in the upcoming World War III. I would imagine that is the reason why these characters were created in the first place.

Eddy Barrows provides solid artwork for this issue. It is nothing incredible, but definitely better than the art over the past couple of issues.

The Bad: I have no complaints about this issue.

Overall: 52 #49 certainly got this series back on track. The writers served up an exciting issue and set the stage for plenty of more action for the final push to the end of 52. I’m glad to see that the writers rebounded with this issue and am looking forward to the events of World War III.

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