52 #51 Review

The penultimate issue of 52 arrives this week. I can’t believe that the end is almost here. There is still a ton of storyline for the writers to cover. I am sure that 52 #51 is going to be chock full of entertainment. There is no way we don’t get a fantastic read with this issue. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Penciler: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson & Belardino Barbo

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Week 51, Day 1: We begin with Animal Man’s wife, Ellen, being dropped off at home by a man named Roger. Roger, evidently, wants to date Ellen. Alan tells Roger that she is not over Buddy. Roger leaves. Ellen begins to walk into the house when suddenly a glowing Animal Man appears out of thin air. Animal Man tells Ellen not to come any closer because he still solar powered. Ellen is happy, and joyfully exclaims that she knew that body would come back to her.

Animal Man and Ellen sit down in the front yard. Animal Man says how space is so much bigger than you think. Animal Man’s children then come out of the house and pass their dad if he brought them anything from space.

We then hear two off panel characters talking to each other about how they have identified the target and that they will wait for the proper time to kill Animal Man in the name of Lady Styx.

Week 51, Day 2: We cut to a huge ceremony being held in the courtyard where Superman and Superboy’s statues are located. Dozens of super heroes have assembled at this location to pay their respects to the heroes who lost their lives trying to halt the rampage of Black Adam.

We see Wonder Girl hugging Donna Troy. Wonder Girl comments that she is sad that Ralph Dibny died without her ever being able to tell him that she was sorry. We then see Agent Diana Prince on the scene taking a list of all the heroes who have arrived for this ceremony.

Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent talk with each other. Clark mentions how Conner has grown a following of kids. It is called, “The Church of Kon-El.” Bruce says that mixing religion with what they do is dangerous. Clark says that it is not like the cult that Wonder Girl fell into. That it isn’t about raising the dead. It is more inspirational.

We cut to Ravager talking to Robin about how Star Girl was asking Wildcat if they should arrest her. Robin tells Ravager that if she wants to get out from under her father’s shadow and that she has to get used to that type of talk.

Robin reminds Ravager that they are here today to remember the fallen Titans. Ravager says that she barely knew who Tara and Young Frankenstein were. Robin retorts that if she wants to be at Teen Titan then she needs to find out. Robin walks away. Kid Devil then approaches Ravager. Kid Devil asks Ravager if she will introduce him to Robin.

We see Jimmy Olson commenting to Robin how he changed the colors of his costume from green and red to simply black and red. Robin answers that black and red were Conner’s colors. Robin then goes to approach Wonder Girl. Wonder Girl avoids Robin and flies off with Donna Troy.

Week 51, Day 3: We shift to the planet Rann. Adam strange wakes up in a laboratory. Jon Stewart and another Green Lantern are in the room. The two Green Lanterns talk about the Emerald Eye of Ekron and how it is a prototype will-powered green plasma weapon from the early days of the Guardians the technology.

The scientist tells Adam Strange that his daughter provided copies of her eyes for Adam. The scientist then laced the eyes with the latest gene and enhancements allowing Adam to see across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. That this should make Adams battles with Rann’s hostile ecosystem a little easier. The scientist then tells Adam that the city has been besieged by flaming creatures for several days.

Adam asks where Starfire is. Jon Stewart answers that Starfire left after she re-powered and said something about a jacket. The other Green Lantern tells Adam Strange that the Guardians want to know what Strange saw in space concerning the 52. The Green Lantern also asks where the Emerald eye is. Adam Strange says that Lobo took the Eye.

We then see Adam Strange his wife and daughter enter the room. Adam Strange lovingly embraces his wife and daughter and they walk out of the room onto the balcony. Jon Stewart tells the other Green Lantern to give Adam Strange some time to be with his family. That the two Green Lanterns can deal with the monsters this time.

Week 51, Day 4: We cut to Lobo, arriving at the Church of the Triple-Fish god. Lobo bows in front of the Triple-Fish god and offers him the Emerald Eye. Lobo asks that now that he has returned the Eye to the Triple-Fish god if he would now release Lobo from his vow of non-violence. Lobo asks why the Triple-Fish god wanted the Emerald Eye. The Triple-Fish god responds that prophecy says the Emerald Eye is the only weapon in the universe that can kill it. Lobo says “you don’t say.” Suddenly, we see the Emerald Eye fire and energy blast.

Week 51, Day 6: We shift back to Earth, where Ellen and Buddy are having a welcome home party for Buddy at their house. Suddenly, the bounty hunters working for Lady Styx enter the house.

Out of nowhere, Starfire appears in blasts the two bounty hunters into ashes. Starfire tells Ellen that she has come a very long distance to bring her this. Starfire hands and Ellen Animal Man’s jacket. Starfire then passes out.

Ellen asks if someone order to a stripper. Animal Man rushes to the door and tells Ellen that Starfire is space royalty. Animal Man’s son asks his dad is making keeper.

Week 51: Day 7: We cut to the Rocky Mountains and see Skeets appearing in Morrow’s secret lab. Red Tornado’s head keeps saying the word “52” over and over. Skeets comments that Red Tornado caught a glimpse of the garden and made a map.

Morrow is sitting at his desk holding a gun. Morrow says that Skeets appeared exactly as they said he would. Morrow then says that there are 52 worlds. 52 Morrows. And it all comes down to him. Skeets demands to have the map from Red Tornado.

Rip Hunter and Booster Gold jump out and say pray for the sake of the 52 that they don’t screw up this time. Booster tells Skeets to take it easy and that they know that his data got corrupted somehow.

Skeets comments that Skeets is dead. That he ate him from within to make a cradle. A cocoon. Skeet says imagine the mind of an alien genius trapped in the body of a lowly caterpillar. That he was then irradiated with suspendium particles and he began his transformation that now concludes.

Skeets suddenly begins to transform. Skeets says that it is too late to stop it now. The 52 weeks of its gestation are complete. A huge monstrous insect creature comes out of Skeets’ body. The creatures says behold the metamorphosis of Mr. Mind. Mr. Mind says he is hungry, and he could eat and entire universe.

Rip Hunter yells that they are too late again and he grabs Red Tornado’s head. Rip tells Booster to grab what is left of Skeets and get into the time sphere. Rip tells Morrow to activate his androids and to get out of his lab. Rip and Booster jump back into the time sphere. Rip tells Booster that they are going to go back to where it all started. End of story.

We get a two page back up story on the origin of the Justice League of America. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Incredible. 52 #51 was an absolute blast to read. Let me just begin with saying that the Multiverse is back! The Multiverse is back. Oh my gawd, the Multiverse is back! Sorry for that bad Jim Ross impersonation.

Yeah, I know that we all knew months ago that the secret of the 52 was that the Multiverse still existed. However, it was awesome to actually read it in 52 and to have it officially revealed in the story that the Multiverse is still in existence. I am so psyched.

I have always hated and despised the first Crisis on Infinite Earths. I thought it was a massive mistake to get rid of the Multiverse. I firmly believed that getting rid of the Multiverse would not clean up the continuity of the DCU. In fact, I firmly believed that junking the Multiverse would only further make a mess of the DCU. And it did.

The Mutliverse was a wonderful and convenient tool to explain away any continuity issues that morose within the DCU. Getting rid of the Mutliverse only served to create even more continuity problems. Plus, getting rid of the Mutliverse gutted so much of DC’s glorious and colorful history.

I am beyond thrilled that the Multiverse is back. I cannot wait to learn more about this new Mutliverse. This was a brilliant move by DC and should create endless amounts of possibilities for future storylines. The Multiverse gives DC so many directions that they can go in with stories about alternate Earths and alternate versions of established characters.

Marvel has the 616 universe, the Ultimate Universe and the Squadron Supreme Universe. DC just blew past them with 52 different Earths. DC should definitely start cranking out titles about characters from these alternate Earths.

Of course, the best part about the Mutliverse is that my boys Barry Allen, Ted Kord and Ralph Dibny are still alive on some of those alternate Earths. Sweet. And I loved Morrow’s reaction to the re-appearance of the Mutliverse. Even a brilliant genius like Morrow can barely wrap his head around the concept of 52 different versions of himself.

Now, the creative team didn’t just drop the bomb on the reader about the Mutliverse returning at the end of this issue. Oh no. They dropped a second bomb on the reader at the end of 52 #51 with the revelation that Skeets was really Mister Mind! What a cool twist! I certainly didn’t see it coming.

I absolutely love the revelation that Mister Mind feed on Skeets and used Skeets’ shell as a cocoon in order to grow and transform from a lowly worm into a much higher physical form. Most caterpillars turn into pretty butterflies. Not Mister Mind. He turns into one evil looking insectoid creature.

I have been wondering since the very beginning what happened to Mister Mind. I knew that the writers weren’t going to leave that plotline dangling. I knew that somehow Mister Mind had to come back and play a large role in 52. However, I certainly didn’t expect this.

What a great move to take a largely irrelevant character and mold him into a monster villain with real relevance in the DCU. And that is exactly what one of the major purposes of 52 was. To take C-list characters and to develop them into major players in the DCU. Well, they have definitely succeeded in doing that with Mister Mind.

It is going to be a blast seeing how Booster Gold and Rip Hunter are going to be able to stop Mister Mind. Evidently, going back to the beginning is exactly how they plan to do that. What exactly do they mean? All the way back to the first issue of 52? This should make for one wild finish.

It was great to see Animal Man return home to his wife and children. I have a soft spot in my heart for Buddy and I would have hated it if the creative team had killed him off. Buddy is one of the few real genuinely good guys in the DCU and a loyal family man.

And what is cool is that not only does Animal Man survive 52, but he also receives one serious power upgrade. I hope that DC has some plans for this newly powered Animal Man. It would be a shame to let this character languish on the sidelines after receiving so much character growth during 52.

It was equally enjoyable to see Adam Strange return home to his wife and child. This new DCU has been dark enough with tons of graphic violence and deaths. It is cool to see two quality men like Animal Man and Adam Strange return home to their families after all they have been through. It showed a positive side to this rather dark and violent new DCU.

The short scene with Starfire arriving at Buddy’s house to give Ellen Buddy’s jacket was hilarious. Again, like with Animal Man, I’m thrilled that it appears that Starfire just might make it through 52 alive. I don’t think we have seen her in any of the One Year Later storylines. At least, I don’t remember seeing her anywhere. Of course, I might have missed it

Ellen’s line about someone ordering a stripper and then Animal Man’s son asking if they can keep Starfire were classic. 52 has been rather dark and heavy so some much needed levity is in order to keep the reader from getting too worn down.

The creative team did a nice job trying to fill in some of the gaps between the end of Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later storyline over on the Teen Titans. 52 has been appropriately criticized for failing to properly explain everything that has gone on in the DCU between Infinite Crisis and the beginning of all the various One Year Later storylines.

This memorial scene was another effort by the creative team to fill us in on how Ravager is struggling adjusting to being on the Titans. It also shows how Kid Devil gets his roster spot on the Teen Titans.

We also see how Conner’s death has impacted Robin. The explanation for the color change of Robin’s outfit was a nice touch and a cool way for Tim to honor his best friend. I didn’t expect that The Church of Kon-El would continue on in existence after the end of 52. However, it is nice that the group isn’t a bunch of crazies and instead is comprised of teens who want to honor the memory of Superboy.

Joe Bennett provided plenty of solid artwork. Bennett has certainly been one of the better artists to work on 52.

The Bad: I still think that Lobo is an incredibly lame character that should have been left in the 1990’s. DC boasted that we would be seeing an all-new version of Lobo that would be nothing at all what we would expect. Um, yeah, I’m still waiting for that version of Lobo.

The Lobo that we get in 52 is the same boring and one-dimensional character that is nothing more than a walking talking joke. And I can’t say that I’m all that interested in what Lobo is up to with the Triple-Fish god and the Emerald Eye. Maybe the creative team can get me to change my mind. However, they only have one issue to do so.

Overall: 52 #51 was a kick-ass read. It was sweet to officially see the return of the Mutliverse. I am so happy about that that the rest of this issue could have been about Lobo’s personal grooming habits and I still would have given this issue a 10 out of 10.

3 Comments

  1. I don’t mind having multiverses (alternate realities can be used to good effect in many stories), but this whole “Infinite Crisis” strikes me as both a bad precedent and bad for continuity; COIE created a lot of continuity problems (they should have done a hard reboot of the whole line and started from scratch, rather than say some stories from the past had happened, but in modified forms, etc.), but IC just adds more. From 1986 to 2006 DC had twenty years of relatively coherent comics (“Zero Hour” taken into consideration), and a generation of readers used to them. Now they’ve just mixed in those stories with ones from the previous forty years in a different manner. I just think it hurts DC to have no coherent continuity for any real length of time; is there any run of any title that can be read whole without a bunch of caveats about what is or isn’t in continuity anymore?

  2. Ilan the Portlander Rebbe April 27, 2007 at 12:29 am

    What I would like to see is the post IC earth a sperate earth from the Pre IC one. That way, DC has four main earths, earth one, earth two, post COIE earth and post IC earth. By makeing Post COIE earth it’s own universe, fans who grew up on those stories still get to have them in continuity, silver age fans get their muiltverse back and new readers get an earth four to explore.

  3. I stopped reading/boycotted comics (I was reading pretty much only DC) after Supergirl was killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths. I did read some of the Infinity Inc, so I saw how things had changed post-destruction of the multiverse, and I hated it. I hated how some characters had their histories gutted while others were gone. I hated how alternate versions of some characters had to be pigeon-holed into the universe, with most becoming parents to the younger characters.

    Mainly, I missed the richness of the DCU, the levels of reality, all those earths. Some of my fav science fiction stories are alternate reality and parallel time stories. I don’t see how that could be confusing and DC was wrongheaded to collapse the realities into one.

    I am so jazzed at getting the multiverse back.

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