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52 #44

Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2007
By: Jim Beard



Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns); Eddy Barrows (p), Dan Green, Rodney Ramos, Eddy Barrows (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


For Synop-Sissies Only: The seeds of World War III are sown. The question is reworded.

It’s Week Forty-Four, and the heat intensifies, bringing action and pathos to the Little Weekly Series That Could.

The Meh: After a needless shot of Osiris' corpse (this is all Sobek ate? After all the chomping he basically only opened up Osiris torso?), we get down to some fussin’ and a’fightin’ between Black Adam, Isis, and the Four Horsemen. The Horsemen have been set up to be major bad-asses for the DCU, and when they finally explode onto the scene to engage Kahndaq’s champion…, it's more of a firecracker than an H-bomb. Lots of exposition, and lots of action that feels confined within its panels. The battle slowed down to a crawl for me, and I couldn’t help but wonder why they didn’t do more to “open up” the panels and let the fracas FILL the pages and give that visual PUNCH that the promise of the Horsemen conveyed. There is little to no feeling of the brutality that has been hinted, the satanic evil that the Horsemen were meant to dispatch onto an unsuspecting world.

So, Isis dies. I’ll get to that more in a bit, but I must ask why the lovely lady became so vindictive at the moment of her demise. Yes, it has been shown previously that she had become disappointed at man’s dismissal of nature but precious little of the thirst for vengeance that she espouses at the end was telegraphed, even in the moments leading up to her murder. I believe the straw that breaks Teth-Adam’s back and leads us to World War should have been a rather weighty one. This wasn’t it.

After the battle I could only think how staged the battle was, how the Horsemen seemed to take turns attacking the duo instead of a pile-on and that perhaps these monstrosities never really gave Adam and bang for his buck.

The Yo!: The Horsemen fight did have a few good scenes, a few good moments, and a deadly consequence. Isis was true to form in that she was not a warrior, unlike her husband. Powerful, yes, but skilled in the art of war and prepared for fighting, no. She was cut down tragically, and though I really, really liked her character and admired her design, I do not mourn her. Adrianna died, not Isis. Isis is a concept that can overlay any human, and though Black Adam (and Isis' fans) may not care for the thought, Isis CAN live again. Adrianna brought three-dimensions to her husband, and her empathy, beauty, and style will be missed.

Anybody else notice that Adam was cut by Death’s sickle? What could that mean in coming weeks? Interesting.

Moving over to the Renee Montoya segment, I’m a sucker for one of those long-distance “he/she is dead” things. It also neatly dovetails Renee’s story with Kahndaq’s for a second time. I like how Renee is very adamant about not becoming the Question. She sees that as honoring her fallen friend and showing that she believes herself to be, even after her vision quest, unworthy. There’s also the interesting question of whether Rodor and Dragon are pushing her into something she does not want and what their real motivations are.

Could Renee sooth Black Adam’s tortured soul with the knowledge she had gained in Nanda Parbat? The “Next” scenes seem to say otherwise, but my interest is piqued, and I will always champion more meshing of the separate storylines.

I also think DC was smart by omitting a secret origin this week, though I wish they had used those pages to make the Horsemen attack seem bigger.

Art this week was nice and the multi-inkers did not distract as they have in previous issues.

The Moment: The four panels that make up Adrianna’s death are beautiful. The look of peace and calmness on her face are a sign that this troubled soul has found tranquility, despite the circumstances of her painful exit. The large sound effect, the whispered “Adrianna,” the falling rain, and the look of grim determination add up to one powerful page. Several emotions, all transpiring in four simple, clean panels.

The Line: “It just makes you uncomfortable. It scares you. It should.” I like to call out moments of absolute truth in comic book dialogue as much as I can because face it, it’s a venue that you don’t really expect to find real-world truth in that often. Richard Dragon is correct: fear is, possibly, the strongest emotion we possess as humans. Fear is survival, and survival is primal. Renee is very prickly to most everything Dragon has to say to her, but this is one line that she should listen to. It’s important. A hero who says they aren’t afraid is lying to themselves.

The Character: Adrianna was Isis. Isis made many DC fans sit up and take notice. She was a character that touched many different ages of fans by having roots in everything from ancient mythology to 70s kids TV to the strong heroines of today. Again, Adrianna will be missed, but the beauty and grace that was Isis can and should live on. May not be the same, but maybe it shouldn’t be.

Mr. Wanty: wants to heartily thank everybody who not only read last week’s review but took the time to comment upon it and the issues it raised. The dialogue that ensued, sometimes a bit ugly but always passionate and engaging, was more than I ever expected. Some of you agreed with me, and more than a few of you disagreed. That’s great. Truly. It means people are talking about what happens in these comics, and I don’t just mean the stories of our favorite heroes and villains. I spoke up about a scene that bothered me, and I hope maybe I gave a few readers something to think about.

Also, I’m pleased to announce that SBC is graciously allowing these reviews to continue on…into Countdown. I hope you’ll join me here for more weekly fun.

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