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52 #2

Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2006
By: Jim Beard



Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose and Jack Jadson; Dan Jurgens and Art Thibert (backup feature)

Publisher: DC Comics


For Synopsissies Only: Ralph Dibny meets a grave new friend and excuses himself to go to church. Booster takes Skeets to the doctor and gets some exercise. Renee Montoya tries on underwear with a recent acquaintance and misunderstands the Question. T. O. Morrow wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, dammit.

The Yo!: Week 2’s impact, in my opinion, is to illustrate the richness of the DC Universe and the delicious interactions that can occur within. This can be rewarding on many levels for both longtime readers and those who have “just come in.” Elongated Man is compared favorably with Batman; Doc Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, visits with T. O. Morrow, creator of the Red Tornado; and there is news of more than a few obscure DCU villains. Mixing and matching like this creates these fictional playgrounds of ours and fleshes them out to fascinating extremes.

On a more personal level, I’m thrilled beyond reason to catch up here with Thomas Oscar Morrow. The android Red Tornado is one of my most favorite DC heroes, and the opportunity to have his creator comment upon him, albeit briefly, was a real treat for this fan. It’s also a good thing that I know ol’ Reddy’s probably not dead for long… But oh, his insufferable father! What an inflated ego, even at this decidedly low point in his career! What a “mad scientist” to love to hate! And what’s this about a “Red Inferno”??? Watch out, Will Magnus: T.O.’ll break your heart…

This issue also presents the first installment of the “History of the DC Universe” backup feature, one that will most likely be a hoot to watch as it unfolds before us. We’ve read the story of Krona many times and in many ways, but y’know what? I still get some chills every time it’s trotted out. It’s a Big Story. Extra points to Jurgens for the inclusion of Earth Two Robin’s first costume as an adult…and as a JSAer!

And the First Church of the Superboy??? I’m intrigued. This sort of thing has been done before in comics (what hasn’t), but the involvement of Wonder Girl and Ralph Dibny could make for quite an interesting tale. I’m watching closely to see this play out.

The Meh…: I was disappointed in the Booster Gold segments for the most part. His concern for Skeets is touching and his rescue of the plane spectacular, but basically nothing much more was told than what was told in Week One. Booster’s grasp of future events is wonky. Now we know it again. Fifty-two weeks is a lot of time to tell these stories, gang. We don’t need no steenkin’ padding.

As to the lovely and soused Renee Montoya, I have two questions: Am I supposed to feel sorry for her? And am I supposed to be titillated by her? She’s unhappy, she doesn’t like herself, she drinks too much, and she carouses. Boo Hoo Hoo. If there’s really something redeemable in her present character, I hope they get with it sooner than later. She’s as boring as boring can be, sez me. And I’m sorry, but her little slumber party came across as sensationalistic and unnecessary. Sure, her little tryst is presented as another nail in her personal coffin, I understand that, but it could also have been done without resorting to shock value. And before I’m accused of homophobia, I would say this if it were a man and a woman, two men, two dogs, a man and a dog, whatever. A story is being told here by adults, aimed mostly at adults. We don’t need a juvenile pinch on the rump to make us sit up and take notice, in my opinion.

The Moment: This was an easy one for me, here in Week Two. It goes to Ralph Dibny and the Return of the Detective. When that nose vibrates and he says, “It’s a mystery,” well, it was a good feeling. We missed you Ralph. Sorry this new mystery has to surround your dear deceased wife, but you look much, much better without a gun sticking out of your mouth. Welcome back, old chum…now get thee to some Gingold.

The Line: “*Tssk* Why does he have to keep doing that?” The line that every Red Tornado fan has waited for Morrow to say and the one that we have said many times to ourselves. Reddy’s penchant for self-destruction has become legend and his father must get very, very frustrated by his robot-with-a-death-wish. Now, if he could just fix that little glitch…

Runner-up is last week’s “The Line” star, Skeets, and his “zen” comment. You and me both, lil buddy.

The Character: It’s a tie. Both Ralph Dibny and T. O. Morrow caused me to keep thinking about the issue long after I finished reading it. Ralph’s not doing much smiling currently, but his old instincts are coming to his rescue, and a mystery has him by the short ones. If he’d just get back into costume, all would be right in the world. T. O. Morrow’s shown us that the intellect and the ego don’t shrivel away when one is incarcerated, they flash and sparkle and join with wit and petulance to form a villain that while never a major player can still be a fascinating textbook of genius.

Mr. Wanty: What do I want? I want a trip to Europe! But in the meantime, I want to see more of Ralph’s new pal and defender of Sue’s dignity, Marty’s brother. Get him a name and a regular job as the Elongated Man’s sidekick and take that sucker on the road…dude! I’d also like to have many more nods to DC’s past and then continue to weave them into the tapestry of the future. This is, for me, when DC is at its strongest: playing of their history, embracing what has come before, and using it all as a launch site to the moon…and beyond.



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