Current Reviews


52 #10

Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2006
By: Jim Beard

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Chris Batista (p), Jimmy Palmiotti, Jack Jadson (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

For Synop-sissies Only: Black Adam has friends over for a spit and polish, 98 lb. weakling Clark Kent tries Lois Lane Maneuver #21-A, T.O. Morrow is envious of Sivana’s bug collection, and Booster Gold’s a jerk.

The Yo!: What a difference a week makes…

After a few disappointing weeks, 52 rebounds and gives us a meal to sink one’s teeth into. Week 10en activated my brain and spurred my imagination, giving out meaty dialogue, weighty confrontations, and significant events in the “Year Without Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.” Kudos to the 52 team for reaffirming my faith in this grand experiment. Almost a perfect issue, gentlemen.

The Clark/Perry scene is just about worth the entire price of admission. It’s a relationship in the Superman universe that’s not quite as well-defined as others and has always been one that I myself would like to see more of. Perry’s no-nonsense, for the most part, and one wonders how in the world Clark has been able to keep his job all these years, what with his penchant for “disappearing.” Alas, he’s Superman, and his extra edge has kept him ahead of the game. No more. Sans powers, sans costume, Clark the man is facing a Brave New World and Week 10en asks the question: “How brave is he?”

This confrontation between employer and employee (between friends?) has more going on below its surface than just a simple performance review. And that’s what makes this scene so interesting to read. Clark is truly concerned about losing his job at the Planet…or is his interest simply piqued about Supernova? OR…is his pride wounded? And Perry, bless him, could be right, absolutely right about Clark’s “lazy” techniques as a reporter. We the readers know there’s much, much more going on, sub-dermally, and these layers become intensely fascinating as we strip them off, one by one. And Clark uses the “Lois Lane playbook”? How cool is that?!?!

Who is Supernova? Okay, I’m asking. Really. Yes, I was nonplussed about his first appearance in 52, but now I wanna know who he is! Paint me “Officially Intrigued,” as this Week sold me on the mystery. Of great interest to me was Supernova’s technique with bystanders. Yes, it’s definitely Old School behavior (almost made me think it's Captain Marvel) and Clark Kent’s territory has been significantly invaded. Add that into the mix and the Planet’s offices become a seething soup of emotion and inner turmoil. And high-level, easy-to-open windows.

Black Adam’s story got turned up to eleven this issue and again, I’m hooked. What was once another “we must deal severely with criminals” 1990s comics kind of deal is now also incredibly multi-faceted and deliciously bewildering. It’s good to read a story where I truly have no idea where the character is heading. Adam’s single-minded drive hits a shapely pothole and his “guest” imparts a few truths that our favorite, resident “god” needs to hear. “You’re not going to change the world” she says, and the irritation on Adam’s face and in his body language is both humorous and somehow gratifying. I want Adam to be stopped, yet I want to see how his designs might play out. Great stuff. Love the cape, too.

Will Magnus and T.O. Morrow are fast becoming THE couple, eh? Morrow’s pride, his feelings of friendship towards Will, his interest in other scientists’ work, and his prickliness over his own denied genius earn the Red Tornado’s creator the Most Evolved Formally Two-Dimensional Villain Award. He’s planning something, sure, and I for one will pay top dollar to see what exactly it is…and how it affects the rest of the 52 story. Who’d ever have thought that this character could have all this going for him?

The Batista-Palmiotti-Jadson art was a very welcome respite from the spate of mediocre visuals plaguing this series of late. Black Adam came off particularly well this week, along with Clark. This is the “cut-above” kind of art that I expect from DC and from a monumental project like 52. My only complaint in this department is that I believe I was able to tell what pages were inked by Jimmy and which by Jack. That’s a bit of a speed bump, Mr. Editor, sir.

The Meh…: Booster, of course. It’s a downright cosmic joke, this frustratingly non-progressive storyline of Mr. Gold’s. When I assume and accept that any pages concerning Booster and Skeets will be almost identical to any previous week’s pages, that’s pretty damn sad. Let me summarize: Booster’s shallow, Booster’s self-centered, Booster’s screwing himself, Booster’s a jerk. We…get…it…guys. Stop…now. Send…money.

Do I even need to mention History of the DCU? Oops, I did it again! Tee hee…

Other than that, I am only going to bring up my slight disappointment of catching a glimpse at Black Adam’s attempt to form his own United Nations and then catching no more. That was really cool. I love groupings of characters that you pore over and try to name. Isn’t that part of what makes comics great?

The Moment: So many to pick from in Week 10en. How to pick just ONE? Perry White firing Superman? Superman falling to his death? Black Adam being told he’s wrong? Lois telling Superman that a pot’s hot? The little bag with the cocoon? How about…you’ll be mad at me…Black Adam saying “Shazam”?

Yes, a tiny scene, three panels, but what a conundrum. Adam experiments with his Magic Word…but why? What did he hope to gain? What exactly would he normally been transformed back to these days? Why would he want that? WHAT'S GOING THROUGH HIS MIND, DARNIT???

Three little panels that changed my life.

The Line: “We ALL go a little crazy sometimes.” Out of the mouths of super-villains… Words to live by, I think. Could be the key to world peace, actually. I’m not kidding.

The Character: Close tie between Adam and Clark (the yin and yang of Week 10en?) but I’m handing it to Mr. Clark Kent this time. He comes out of nowhere, crowding into an already-crowded series, but giving us an Oscar-level performance and wowing us with his trials and tribulations.

Mr. Wanty: wants more big pictures of super-people standing around looking cool and then having them do stuff. Mr. Wanty also wants more issues like Week 10en that tell us stuff we didn’t already know, puts certain characters in their place, shows us how heroes who have lost almost everything survive, and show us the cranking up of desperation and the dampening of ego. Yeah, that’s all.

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