I cannot believe that the end is finally here. I have to admit that I’m a bit sad that 52 is ending this week. It is the same feeling I get after I finish a novel that I really enjoyed. I have enjoyed 52 much more than I expected. 52 has been the comic book that I look forward to the most each and every week. It has been very impressive that a weekly comic book could be this consistently good. I fully expect 52 #52 to deliver one hell of an ending.
We still of a lot of stories left to cover and I’m curious to see how much of it the writers will resolve in this last issue and how much will be left to be resolved in Countdown and various other titles. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for 52 #52.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Pencils: Mike McKone, Justiano, Eddy Barrows, Chris Batista, Pat Oliffe, and Darick Robertson
Inks: Andy Lanning, Walden Wong, Rodney Ramos, Drew Geraci, and Darick Robertson
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 52, Day 0: We begin with Booster and Rip in their time sphere appearing exactly one year ago in the time stream. They witnessed the birth of the new Multiverse. Each Earth is an exact copy of the New Earth. Rip explains that he was traveling in time investigating an anomaly. Rip saw Alexander Luthor tear open the time stream. That Alexander split Earth into thousands of divergent worlds. Unfortunately, each world was unstable.
Once Conner Kent sacrificed his life to save Earth, the broken Earths collapse back together. However, that new Earth was too small to contain the energy within it. Therefore, the New Earth began replicating itself. The new Multiverse was then born. 52 identical Earths and 52 identical cosmos. Rip says that in a few seconds the multiple births will occupy the same space, each on a different vibrational plane.
This is why they needed Red Tornado’s head. Tornado is enabling Rip’s time sphere to alter vibrational frequencies in order to travel between the 52 parallel universes. That Tornado witnessed the birth of the new Multiverse and he mapped the new Multiverse in his brain. Rip says that they must save the New Earth and Earths-1 through 51 from Mr. Mind.
Suddenly, Mr. Mind appears and says that he was the dominant life from one Earth between the dinosaurs and the humans. That Mr. Mind will be dominant again but this time not just on one Earth but on all Earths. Rip says that Mr. Mind has evolved and instead of feeding off mind waves he now feeds off time and space. Rip reminds Booster that Mr. Mind ate the Phantom Zone earlier. And that Mr. Mind is about to regurgitate it at them. That is why Rip leads Mr. Mind to this specific point in time.
Mr. Mind blasts the Phantom Zone out of his mouth at our heroes. Suddenly, Supernova appears and absorbs the Phantom Zone. Rip comments that thanks to the Phantom Zone technology in Supernova’s uniform, it was able to reflect and restore the Phantom Zone to its proper dimensional plane.
Supernova enters the Times fear and takes off his mask. Supernova is Daniel Carter, Booster Gold ancestor from the present. That Mr. Mind recruited Daniel to break into Rip’s lab and trapped him in an endless time loop of 52 seconds. Rip moved the loop here and gave Daniel the Supernova uniform because it was keyed to the Carter genetic code. Rip tells Daniel that they still need his help.
Rip tells Booster that he knew Mr. Mind would try to zap them with the Phantom Zone at this moment, because of a machine that Professor Morrow created. This machine allows Morrow to record glimpses of the future. This is how Morrow “discovers” most of his technology. Rip’s job is to police the time stream and that Morrow was breaking into it. Rip appeared at Morrow’s lab to shut him down, but Morrow was already gone. That is when Rip saw the handful of images on Morrow’s machine of Rip, Booster, Supernova, and Mr. Mind.
Mr. Mind then attacks the time sphere. Rip directs Red Tornado to prepare the time sphere for Earth-jump. Suddenly, the time sphere appears in Metropolis on Earth-17. Mr. Mind appears on Earth-17 and begins to eat the years and events from this Earth’s history. Rip tells Tornado to Earth-jump out of Earth-17 before Mr. Mind destroys everything until the point that there is nothing left. The time sphere and Mr. Mind disappear, and we see Earth-17 descend into some type of medieval society.
We see the time sphere and Mr. Mind appear on Earth-3. Mr. Mind begins eating their time and history. Earth-3 then turns into the world where the justice league is the Crime Syndicate. The time sphere and Mr. Mind transport away from this Earth to various other Earths. They go to Earth-10, where Mr. Mind’s feasting turns this Earth into a world where America is still battling the Nazis.
We go to Earth-50 which houses the Wildstorm characters. We go to Earth-5 which houses the Marvel family. We go to Earth-22 which is the Kingdom Come universe. We go to Earth-2 where Superman and Power Girl are missing. We go to Earth-4 and see several 1940s-style mystery men including the real Question. With each parallel Earth jump, Mr. Mind changes that Earth so it is different from New Earth. Red Tornado then tells Rip that system failure is imminent.
Rip shows Booster and Daniel an image of the future if Mr. Mind wins. We see how Mr. Mind has spawned hyper-flies that devour the consciousness of every living thing on every multiple Earth. Booster comments that he has no idea why Rip picked him to save the Multiverse. That there must be more qualified superheroes with a better record than Booster.
Daniel tells Booster to be more positive and that if he can do it so can Booster. Booster comments that he does not understand why Rip would stake the survival of the entire Multiverse on the guy with the screw-up gene. That there are superheroes with much better track records that can do a better job.
Booster puts together Skeets’ shell and Skeets manages to utter a few words. Skeets tells Michael that he has the utmost faith in him. Booster is now brimming with confidence and tells Rip that he knows where to find the kind of energy source that they need. Booster then slips into the time stream. Rid then put song his time suit and tells Daniel to hold down the fort at the time sphere because Rip is going to go time hunting.
We cut to New Earth the day after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. We see Blue Beetle searching the wreckage for something. Booster Gold appears and introduces himself to Blue Beetle. Blue Beetle asks Booster Gold if he saw some kind of amulet lying around that looks like a scarab. Booster and Blue Beetle trade a few funny one-liners. Booster takes the scarab unbeknownst to Blue Beetle and disappears from the time stream with one parting funny line. Blue Beetle busts out in a trademark “Bwa-ha-ha-ha.”
We cut to Sivana arriving at his house. His children tell him that they were playing with the suspendium, while he was gone. Sivana tells his family to hurry up because something terrible is about to happen and that he wants them to be outside of space and time when it does. That they will be safe in the suspendium globe. Rip Hunter appears and shoots Sivana in the leg. Rip then takes Sivana’s suspendium globe.
Rip and Booster arrive back at the time sphere. Rip explains that suspendium is artificial time and should work like crack cocaine on Mr. Mind’s hyper-flies. Booster says that he found their power source. Rip tells Daniel that they are about to turn the dial up to 11 on his Supernova circuitry. Booster focuses his energy on Daniel’s Supernova costume and massive amounts of energy ripple out of the time sphere. They then attract Mr. Mind’s attention and tell him to chase them.
We cut to the time lab of Rip Hunter. The time sphere appears, and so does Mr. Mind. Rip tells Tornado to close the time locks. Rip has reinforced Skeets his shell with suspendium. That they can imprison Mr. Mind inside of Skeets. Skeets tells Booster Gold that this is the only way. Skeets tells Booster to put him to use. Booster Gold then lunges at Mr. Mind and traps him inside of Skeets’ shell.
Rip says that the suspendium cannot hold Mr. Mind until it is fully charged. That the faster and harder it moves against the time stream the more chronal energy the suspendium will pick up. If they move it with enough force, then it will become the only thing that can save the Multiverse. A time bomb that will end the threat of Mr. Mind. Unfortunately, it will eliminate Skeets completely.
Skeets tells Booster that Mr. Mind is eating him from the inside and that he won’t last long. The Skeets says that he never thought he would leave this world as a weapon, but if he must then let him leave as a howitzer. Skeets tells Booster that Booster has saved all of time and space so Skeets must have done something right by training Booster. Booster says his last goodbyes to Skeets.
Booster hurls Skeets against the time stream with sufficient force. Booster takes Skeets and throws him into the time stream. Supernova flies after Skeets as they go back in time through the events of the last year. We shift to week two, day one, and see Supernova still chasing after Skeets.
Supernova thinks about how Rip calculated the exact time and place that might have to end up. Once Supernova and Skeets arrived at week one, day six in the lab where Mr. Mind is in his tube, Supernova grabs Skeets’ body. Supernova continues to fly through the time stream and powers up Skeets’ shell and then spikes it hard into the ground creating a massive explosion at the point of week one, day one.
We cut to Sivana searching the area where Supernova spiked Skeets’ shell with Mr. Mind inside of it. We see Mr. Mind back in his original worm from crawling out of the crater. Sivana picks Mr. Mind up and places him inside a tube. Sivana is stunned that he would come across his old enemy. Sivana comments that he cannot have Mr. Mind crawling around loose. That Sivana does not need competition for the position of the rightful ruler of the universe. Sivana says Mr. Mind is trapped forever now.
We cut back to Supernova reappearing at Rip Hunter’s lab. Rip says that they stopped Mr. Mind but not before he wreaked unimaginable havoc on 50-plus Earths. That the whole notion of there is a Multiverse beyond the reality they know is too dangerous a secret to spread. None of them can tell anyone what happened here.
Booster says he wants to tell people what happened so Skeets’ sacrifice will not go unremembered. The Skeets was his best friend. Rip then tells Booster that while he was re-enforcing Skeets with suspendium that he copied Skeets’ mem-self into a leftover responsometer. Rip says that they both know who can do a full restoration.
Rep then comments that he needs to analyze the effects of Mr. Mind’s rampage on New Earth and its time stream. Booster asks Rip if he worries that so much has been broken. Rip asks if the universe is broken or opened. That there is so much more happening out there than they could ever have imagined. That is not broken. That’s the way things should be. Welcome to a new Multiverse of possibilities. Welcome home. We see Rip, Booster, and Daniel in their time sphere traveling through all the different Multiverses.
Week 52, Day 6: We see the amulet of Isis amid some flowers and a memorial to Isis. We see a hand reaching for the amulet. We see that every agency in the world including Checkmate and the Department of Meta-Human Affairs has tagged black Adam as the most wanted mortal in the world.
We cut to a preschool in Alabama. A schoolteacher is horrified by what she just saw. We see a massive fiery pit in the classroom. The teacher shows the police officers what the children drew on their pads of paper once they saw the fiery pit appear in their classroom. The police say they have no idea what is going on and they don’t even know who to turn to for answers. We then see the spirits of Ralph Dibny and Sue Dibny come floating out of the fiery pit. Sue comments on how Ralph’s nose is twitching.
We cut to Booster Gold visiting Doc Magnus. Magnus tells Booster that when Booster brought Skeets to him a year ago that Magnus made a backup copy. That Skeets won’t remember anything of the last year, but he can be restored. Magnus restores Skeets’ memory into his new body. Skeets then asks Booster if he missed anything.
We see Renée Montoya taking the question mark symbol off of the Bat-signal and replacing it with a large bat decal. We then cut to Kate, Batwoman, being told that she is recovering from her stab wound to her chest. But that her recovery is still going to take her some time. Kay comments how she still has not regained any of her memory. That she does not remember how she ended up in the ER with a stab wound.
We then see Renée Montoya turning on the Bat-signal. Kate looks out her window at the Bat-signal. René says that she has a question. “Are you ready?” End of issue.
The Good: 52 #52 was one hell of an issue! This issue instantly becomes one of my all-time favorite comic books ever. Why? It is really simple. I finally have my Multiverse back in almost all of its Pre-Crisis glory. I couldn’t be happier.
I have always hated what the original Crisis on Infinite Earths did to the DCU. I despised how DC completely strip-mined, gutted, and nuked its rich and textured universe and history. I thought it was a massive mistake and never changed my opinion over the past twenty years since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.
I found the Post-Crisis DCU to be shallow, boring, and completely lacking the incredible feeling of anything being possible. Finally, twenty years later, DC fixes what I have viewed as their greatest mistake. Many of my friends who disliked the original Crisis eventually resigned themselves to accept the Post Crisis universe. I never did. My loathing and un-acceptance of the Post-Crisis universe never lessened over the years.
The Post-Crisis universe caused me to lose most of my interest in DC’s comic books. Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, I always liked the DCU more than the Marvel Universe. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Marvel quickly supplanted DC as my favorite comic book universe. Well, all bets are off now. With the return of the glorious Multiverse, DC knocks Marvel off the throne and is once again my favorite comic book universe.
And what is so great about this move to bring back the Multiverse is that it doesn’t stomp all over the Post-Crisis DCU as the original Crisis stomped all over the Pre-Crisis DCU. DC hasn’t suddenly said that everything that happened between 1986 to the present no longer happened. Instead, DC is simply adding this new Multiverse on top of the history that has taken place over the past twenty years.
This is a wise move so that fans of the Post-Crisis DCU who were too young to experience the awesomeness of the Pre-Crisis DCU won’t feel cheated and robbed like fans of the Pre-Crisis DCU did after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. It is a win-win situation that satisfies all the fans involved.
The writers did an excellent job explaining the birth of this new Multiverse and tying it neatly into the events of Infinite Crisis. This move gives Infinite Crisis more weight and importance. My major gripe with Infinite Crisis was that it was a bunch of hype for nothing. That the end of Infinite Crisis brought about no real substantive changes. Just a few tweaks to the timeline of the New Earth. Well, now that the end of Infinite Crisis heralded the re-birth of the Multiverse, suddenly that mini-series becomes much more profound and important.
I dig how the writers explain that Red Tornado witnessed the birth of the new Multiverse and that he mapped the 52 identical Earths in his memory banks. And that this map is what provides Rip Hunter the ability to travel between the multiple Earths.
Of course, it is interesting that Infinite Crisis brought about the birth of a new Multiverse, but not the Multiverse that we knew and loved where each Earth was different. This new Multiverse contained 52 exactly identical Earths and cosmos. So, somehow DC had to get these identical Earths to be distinctive like the old multiple Earths. And how do the writers pull of that trick? Enter Mr. Mind.
Mr. Mind was an excellent plot device that enabled the writers to conveniently recreate the old Multiverse that we loved so much. We see Earth-3 where the Justice League of America members are all criminals and are known as the Crime Syndicate. We see Earth-10 where the Freedom Fighters are battling the Nazis. Earth-50 conveniently houses the Wildstorm characters. Earth-5 houses the Captain Marvel family complete with a talking tiger. Earth-22 houses the Kingdom Come characters. Earth-2 is re-created and is missing their Superman and Power Girl.
I absolutely geeked out during this sequence of panels! The real Freedom Fighters still kicking ass! The Crime Syndicate making its return! The real Captain Marvel universe in all its campy glory! The Kingdom Come universe and the Wildstorm Universe are officially integrated into the DCU.
The writers did an excellent job employing Mr. Mind as their literary tool to sculpt this new Multiverse in the image of the old Multiverse. And Rip’s plan to take out Mr. Mind was well orchestrated and provided for a dramatic and exciting finish. It provided Booster Gold the platform to show what a true A-list hero he is. It enabled Skeets to display his heroic side and willingness to sacrifice his existence in order to save the Multiverse.
And it dealt Mr. Mind one wicked fate. I love that Rip’s plan includes Mr. Mind being transformed back into his worm form and then being found by Sivana. Sivana traps Mr. Mind telling him that he will never be able to escape. And thus, Mr. Mind is trapped in a time loop that he will never break free from.
It was great to see the evolution of Booster Gold in this issue. Booster rightfully questions Rip why he would choose Booster, the hero with the screw-up gene, over other heroes with a better pedigree. Skeets provides the necessary inspiration for Booster to realize that no matter what, Booster has the heart of a true hero. Booster finally takes that next step in his character growth as he is thrust into center stage as the hero who will help save the Multiverse. Not Batman. Not Superman. Not Wonder Woman.
Booster Gold will forever be remembered in DCU history as the hero who saved the Multiverse. And this was the exact purpose of 52. To take away the crutch of the holy trinity of the DCY and to insert C-list characters into the spotlight and to grow and develop them into major players in the DCU.
DC has successfully done that with Booster Gold. Booster is now a true hero who has joined the A-list. And what proves Booster’s growth in maturity is that he doesn’t want people to know about the Multiverse for his own glory or honor. No, he wants people to know about it to honor the sacrifice that Skeets made for everyone.
I liked the cool twist of having Daniel Carter in the Supernova outfit. I knew that we had to see his character again. I just couldn’t believe that the writers had no more use for the character. The writers have done such an impressive job of making everything no matter how small important. That everything that occurred on 52 happened for a reason and that every little detail would fall in place by the end of this series.
I loved the scene between Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. It was well done and rather touching. It was wonderful seeing these two characters together once again zinging one-liners at each other. Even the trademark “Bwa-ha-ha-ha” made a return. This scene was important because it seemed like DC has pretty much stomped all over the Bwa-Ha-Ha JLU during the events leading up to Infinite Crisis, Infinite Crisis itself, and the events of 52. This scene was a cool nod to an era of the JLU that is rather underrated.
I was psyched that the loveable old Skeets return at the end of this issue. 52 has had enough death and destruction. I’m glad that the writers decided to tie up this series with a happy ending. Adam Strange survives and is reunited with his family. Animal Man survives and is reunited with his family. Starfire survives as well. Booster Gold and Daniel Carter both survive. And good old Skeets is restored back to his normal self. For a title as dark and death filled as 52, a positive ending was absolutely necessary.
We get teased with several dangling plotlines at the end of 52 #52. Will Black Adam ever be found? Who stole the amulet of Isis? Both of these questions will probably be addressed together. I’m curious to see what DC has in store for Black Adam and for the amulet of Isis.
We then get teased with the appearance of a huge fiery pit in a school classroom. Just what exactly did the children see? And then the writers drop a bomb on the reader by revealing the appearance of the ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny floating out of the fiery pit and ready to investigate the mystery. I most definitely did not see that plot twist coming! I’m very curious to see where DC takes this plotline.
DC also teases us with future stories concerning the changes to the New Earth’s time stream. Rip mentions that he must explore the changes to the time stream. We already have seen these changes manifest in the appearance of the Pre-Crisis Legion and the fact that Superman was a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The changes to New Earth’s time stream are fantastic and are full of potential exciting storylines.
DC also decides to have Rip tell Booster and Daniel that they must keep the Multiverse a secret. That is too dangerous to let it become common knowledge. Unfortunately for Rip, what he doesn’t know is that he slipped and mentioned something about multiple Earths in front of Sivana when Rip stole the suspendium globe. So now the evil genius Dr. Sivana knows about the existence of the new Multiverse. That most definitely cannot be a good thing.
Of course, the new Multiverse is a monstrous literary tool that will provide DC with an almost endless amount of stories and possibilities. I dig that DC is keeping the new Multiverse a secret for now. It should provide plenty of entertainment as our New Earth heroes slowly, but surely, discover each different multiple Earths. The new Multiverse is overflowing with almost endless amounts of future possibilities and storylines. The writers for DC should feel like kids in a toy store with a ridiculous amount of toys to play with.
Plus, the Multiverse is an effective tool in pacifying fans of certain characters who feel cheated by what happens to those characters in the New Earth. Upset with Winick’s stomping all over the Captain Marvel mythos and characters? Don’t worry. We have Earth-5 where the Captain Marvel family exists in their original glory. Upset that the Freedom Fighters were slaughtered? Don’t worry; we have Earth-10 where the Freedom Fighters are still fighting the good fight against the Nazis.
Rip sums up my feelings exactly with his speech at the end of 52 #52. “Broken or opened? Look around you, Booster. There’s so much more happening out there than we could ever have imagined. That’s not ‘broken.’ That’s the way things should be. Welcome to a Multiverse of possibility, Booster. Welcome, Home”. In Rip’s monologue, DC tells the reader exactly why they decided to rectify their mistake some twenty years ago and bring back the Multiverse. And I couldn’t agree more. Welcome home, indeed.
The Bad: I have very few complaints about this issue. And the return of the Multiverse definitely makes these complaints minor. I could still care less about Batwoman or Renee. Ending the issue with a lame-ass character like Renee was a bit of a letdown. Nothing about her character appeals to me and I can only hope that she meets with a slow and painful death. Of course, knowing that the real Question still lives on another alternate Earth does bring a smile to my face.
And why the hell couldn’t Batwoman just die?! She got stabbed through the freaking chest! C’mon. DC offs cool characters left and right, but somehow this lame character gets to live.
And what in the hell is up with Ralph and Sue Dibny: Ghost Detectives? What a terrible concept. And with that move, Ralph goes full circle and becomes the lame corny character that he was prior to Identity Crisis. I was never interested in Ralph’s character prior to Identity Crisis.
However, after Identity Crisis, Ralph suddenly became a much more complex and compelling character. Then 52 rocketed my interest in Ralph to a whole new level. I liked Ralph’s new attitude. Ralph became such a fascinating character.
Then DC ruins it by killing him off in one of the lamest and most pointless deaths. And then they bring him and Sue back as some cheesy husband-and-wife ghost detective team. Uggh. I’ll pass on this concept.
Overall: 52 #52 was an excellent ending to a very impressive and enjoyable year-long story. DC deserves a lot of credit and praise for their tireless work on 52. Yeah, 52 didn’t deliver what DC initially told us it would. 52 did not fill in the gaps between the end of Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later stories. All we got was some cursory treatment of the missing year in a couple of panels in the World War III issues.
However, what 52 did deliver was excellent character growth of some C-list characters. Plus, it gave us the return of the Multiverse. Also, DC deserves credit for cranking out a weekly title without a single delay. That’s right not one single issue of 52 was late. And that is saying something considering how Marvel labored to crank out the seven issues of Civil War over the course of 12 months.
So many naysayers kept saying that 52 would fail and that DC would never be able to keep up with the weekly format. Well, those naysayers were wrong on both counts. 52 was a sales success posting great sales numbers and being on time each and every week.
Kudos, DC for a job well done on 52. Thank you for an entertaining story that was consistently good each and every week and never once delayed. But, most of all, thank you for giving me back my childhood. The return of the Multiverse makes me happier than anyone could imagine.