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52 #41

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2007
By: John Hays



Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns); Giuseppe Camuncoli (p), Rodney Ramos (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


The Plot Tease: Adam Strange and Starfire stop being polite, and start getting real! Renee takes a really good look at herself. Ralph is too smart for his own good! Mogo goodness!

The Heroes: Adam Strange and Starfire: Is that some kind of space De Lorean they were piloting? Isnít Adamís jetpack going to run out of fuel at some point?

Just when Adam is feeling at his lowest (and giving the readers a more interesting personal history than any two page origin story will), Starfire takes the piss out of him, helping him refocus. Good interaction between these two. I hope they remain close after 52 is over. It would only be reasonable that an experience like this would bring them closer together as friends. Of course, thatís assuming Starfire survives! Itís the meaningful conversations like this that add to the depth of 52 and not make it merely an event comic, but a character driven one, as DC so often preaches these days.

Renee: ďOr just asking why it, like you, is still aliveÖand Charlie isnít.Ē Thatís rough reading right there. I think anyone who has survived the death of a loved one feels the bite of reading that statement. Just when we think Reneeís ready for that next step in her development, she backs down. Fortunately for her, she runs into a certain Amazon who helps her FINALLY figure out the big question thatís been plaguing her all this time: ďWhich will have greater rule over youÖyour fearÖor your curiosity?Ē

In that moment when Renee decides the latter, a new Question is born! Good thing Diana was there to break it down for her, even after Renee tries to subtly hit on her (one of multiple aspects of regression before progression in this issue). I think the slow burn pacing of this story has been excellent and very realistic, and I think those who have also had to watch loved ones suffer over extended periods of time and then try to come out of that sadness know what Iím talking about.

Mogo: Yeah, pretty much any time Mogo appears, itís a good issue!

The Villains: Molek the Hunter: Iím guessing Grant wasnít at this particular villain-naming meeting, because Molek seems like a bottom-of-the-barrel name for a villain. Plus, heís pretty pathetic in close quarters. I mean, what did he think he was going to do once he caught them if he couldnít even handle himself in a fight?

Ralph: While I greatly enjoyed the return of the nose twitch (anyone else wonder whether thatís just a nod to the character or perhaps something more, what with the theory that his flask is really gingold extract?), I have to put Ralph in the villain category this week because his actions are getting more and more desperate and unfeeling as this story progresses. Judging from the picture tease for next issue, Fate may be forcing Ralph to make a life or death decision.

I will say that itís fascinating to see the multiple sides of all of these characters, and not just view them as one dimensional heroes or villains. Renee makes progress, and then regresses, and then makes more progress. Ralph is at the end of his rope, he does some great detective work, he then misses obvious clues and is desperate again. THIS is realism, folks. Life isnít a one way nonstop trip. Even the best of us stumble and then pick ourselves back up, over and over again. Good stuff.

The Resolution: Will Starfire and Adam Strange make it back to Earth alive?

Will Renee now fight crime as The Question?

Will Ralph reunite with Sue, and if so, at what cost?

What does Mogo eat???

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

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