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52 #1

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2006
By: Jim Beard



Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose and Jack Jadson

Publisher: DC Comics


JSA Jim’s 52 Voodoo Hoodoo

Let’s get it on…

For Synop-sissies Only: Someone breaks a plate of glass in the Infinite Crisis Outlet Store and the pieces fall where they may…Steel gives aid where needed and performs a textbook smack down on his niece. Ralph Dibny’s not happy with his new twinplex and skirts dangerously close to lead poisoning. Renee Montoya looks for the worm at the bottom of the bottle and closes the door on any Questions. Booster Gold’s future is so bright he’s gotta wear goggles again, but receives a rude awakening. Black Adam disarms a malcontent. The world and its heroes begin to make lists and take names…

The Yo!: A good super-hero comic for me is one that not only shows all the drama of costumes but a healthy helping of said costumes interacting with the people they strive to protect. Week One of 52 gives me all that plus heroes cleaning up after a big battle, bantering in bars, personal slides into despair, and different reactions from civilians to their heroic avengers. I also greatly appreciate that Booster Gold’s knowledge of future events is more than uncertain and he must live in the present just like the rest of us peons. Could this mean Booster’s from an alternate future, one that was wiped out in the Crisis?

Steel’s dealing with his niece Natasha was a good bit of business, too. Call me an old fogey but an adult taking some responsibility and reining in a headstrong juvenile is not always a bad thing. He was harsh, he was cold, but he was within his rights and perhaps this will prevent a disaster…and another teen-age super-hero’s death.

The Meh…: We’ve been warned all along that 52 was going to follow multiple characters and their stories, but here in Week One I can see a glimmer of a potential problem. There are six or seven stories introduced in this single issue and such a wealth of plots could also lead to a mishmash of hash. I’m not sure I expected to have everything introduced all at once, but I’ll see how it goes. DC wants 52 to be “all things to all readers,” but even the most open-minded of us fans will probably only truly care about half to three-quarters of these tales…unless they all dovetail at some point.

Then there’s Ralph Dibny’s road to perdition. I don’t buy it. Yes, he lost the love of his life and in a particularly gruesome fashion. He’s still in shock. But Ralph’s always been a particularly distractible guy, and I find it hard to believe that he reached the crossroads in this relatively short time…to the extent he sticks a gun in his mouth.

Black Adam’s teetering on the edge of becoming a bore methinks. I suppose his story is somewhat topical, but I hope they see fit to get him out of his country and interacting with the rest of the world.

Montoya’s bottle bash is also kind of “meh”…unless she becomes Batwoman.

The Moment: I gotta give this to John Henry. Preachy, uptight, overbearing, sure, but what he did is important. “You want armor? Build it yourself.” No more mollycoddling these kids. They want to be heroes, but they want the fast track to glory. They want to do right, as Natasha does, filling the gap left by others, but they want it NOW. Steel is being responsible. He might also drive Natasha to desperation but, hey, that’s probably another story…

The Line: “Sir, that was POETRY!” One great little line from one fun little robot. Skeets most likely had his obsequious circuits in full gear as he said that, but you can almost, almost hear the sarcasm behind it. A tiny bit, but one that made me chuckle.

The Character: This one goes out to Skeets again. Wish I could have said Ralph, but Skeets has the wisdom and patience that Ralph obviously lacks these days. Long-suffering, Booster’s robot pal knows how to build his master up and tear him right down again. And to think they allowed this fun little bucket of bolts to languish in a warehouse for an intolerable amount of time. Only stupid thing about Skeets is those little clumps of poo that float around him. I know what they’re supposed to be, artistically, but what was wrong with his original attached fins and whatnot. Word to Skeets' tailor: you’re fired.

Mr. Wanty: this week’s whine goes back to the segmented storylines. I want to see less shattered glass and more coherency. I don’t want to have two pages of something interesting then four pages of something dull. I realize I can’t be expected to be interested in every single thing that goes on in this series, but I also don’t want to see readership drop off because, as I stated, DC is trying to please everybody all at once. The focus may be split too much, if Week One is any indication.

I also want to keep seeing good artists like Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose. Great stuff here in Week One and although some complain about comics with too many splashes, I say you give me grandeur in shots like that, and I’m a happy camper. Give me the lay of the land, give me perspective. Cool.



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