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52 #38

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2007
By: John Hays



Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns); Joe Bennett (p), Jack Jadson (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

The Plot Tease: Renee goes to the ends of the Earth to try to save her friend. Will Magnus cheerfully eats beans while signs of the end of the world appear before him on Oolong Island. Natasha risks everything to try to bring down Lex Luthor.

The Heroes: Renee: If 52 can be compared to a living entity, with all its various parts, then Renee and Charlie’s story is undoubtedly the heart. When someone you truly love is on the edge of death, there is nothing that you won’t do to try to save them, and Renee exemplifies this in spades. Despite Charlie’s feverish mumblings and thrashings, she continues on her quest undaunted until it finally takes its toll on her and she can no longer continue. If only everyone had friends like this. Of course, in her attempt to save Charlie, I believe she’s also trying to save herself, and that may be the only thing she comes away with from all of this. I find it rather ironic that some complain about Charlie’s condition being dragged out week after week instead of having a quick death, since this is much closer to reality, with cancer patients fighting for years before meeting their fate. The irony is that these are generally the same critics who defend intense violence, rape, and murder in comics because of the need for more “reality” in stories. This is simply the reality that most would rather not be faced with, but it’s so much more personal and real than any scene where Osiris flies through someone’s torso leaving a trail of blood and guts. This is the reality I don’t mind seeing.

Will Magnus: Okay, let’s see here. Upon a quick glance it appears that Will is nuts, right? However, on closer inspection, what evil insane things is he really doing? He’s improving upon some soul code and working on a Metal Man. Something tells me that we’re going to have a very familiar super team going to town on Oolong Island before long, and good old Doc Magnus will be behind it all! This is the Will Magnus I like to see! There ARE the beans, though….

The art team: No really! Specifically for the Renee/Charlie scenes. The vastness of the mountains, the despair and pain on Charlie’s face, Renee’s lips turning bluer as the story goes along, to the point of being chapped and cracked. Great touches! That splash page with the Horsemen is pretty cool as well.

The Villains: T.O. Morrow: He’s hilarious and charming, but his goals are still villainous. It’s rather unfortunate because he could easily go the way of The Shade and become a good person, but I just don’t see that happening. He’s too popular a villain.

Egg Fu: Call him whatever you want, that’s who he is. He’s also quite nuts. In fact, he makes Will look extremely sane in comparison. Are we supposed to know anything about this guy, like his origin, etc.? I sure would like it if the writers would bother telling the origins of the characters in 52 that we might actually not already be familiar with! The Horsemen he’s had created look pretty menacing, and I have a feeling that they play an integral role in the upcoming World War III. One way or another, I wouldn’t want to be Black Adam right now. By the way, I thought the little side chatter during the arrival of the Horsemen was hilarious. Plus, there’s metaphorical mention of the New Gods! That’s always a plus, especially since we haven’t seen them in a while.

Steel/Natasha: The story’s boring me. It really is. Yes, they’re finally making progress, but come on! Did it really need to take the deaths of so many for John Henry to finally do something? I mean, technically, it’s Natasha doing something even now. John’s still on the sidelines. I don’t think that’s going to last much longer, though, judging from the image previews for next week.

As a quick aside, the Red Tornado origin seems to imply that John gets to keep his human form, which is good to hear even if it is a bit of a spoiler.

The Resolution: Will Renee save Charlie?

Is Doc Magnus crazy? What’s he really up to?

Will Natasha give her life to help her uncle?

We can only hope that these and other questions will be addressed in the upcoming installments of 52!
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