Thursday, May 03, 2007

Comic Book Review: 52 #52

I cannot believe that the end is finally here. I have to admit that I’m a bit sad that 52 is ending this week. It is the same feeling I get after I finish a novel that I really enjoyed. I have enjoyed 52 much more than I expected. 52 has been the comic book that I look forward to the most each and every week. It has been very impressive that a weekly comic book could be this consistently good. I fully expect 52 #52 to deliver one hell of an ending.

We still of a lot of story left to cover and I’m curious to see how much of it the writers will resolve in this last issue and how much will be left to be resolved in Countdown and various other titles. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for 52 #52.

Creative Team
Writers
: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Pencilers: Mike McKone, Justiano, Eddy Barrows, Chris Batista, Pat Oliffe and Darick Robertson
Inkers: Andy Lanning, Walden Wong, Rodney Ramos, Drew Geraci and Darick Robertson

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Week 52, Day 0: We begin with Booster and Rip in their time sphere appearing exactly one year ago in the time stream. They witnessed the birth of the new Multiverse. Each Earth is an exact copy of the New Earth. Rip explains that he was traveling in time investigating and an anomaly. Rip saw Alexander Luthor tear open the time stream. That Alexander split Earth into thousands of divergent worlds. Unfortunately, each world was unstable.

Once Conner Kent sacrificed his life to save Earth, the broken Earths collapse back together. However, that new Earth was too small to contain the energy within it. Therefore, the New Earth began replicating itself. The new Multiverse was then born. 52 identical Earths and 52 identical cosmos. Rip says that in a few seconds the multiple births will occupy the same space, each on a different vibrational plane.

This is why they needed Red Tornado’s head. Tornado is enabling Rips time sphere to alter vibrational frequencies in order to travel between the 52 parallel universes. That Tornado witnessed the birth of the new Multiverse and that he mapped the new Multiverse in his brain. Rip says that they must save the New Earth and Earths-1 through 51 from Mr. Mind.

Suddenly, Mr. Mind appears and says that he was the dominant life form one Earth between the dinosaurs and the humans. That Mr. Mind will be dominant again but this time not just one Earth but on all Earths. Rip says that Mr. Mind has evolved and instead of feeding off mind waves he now feeds off time and space. Rip reminds Booster that Mr. Mind ate the Phantom Zone earlier. And that Mr. Mind is about to regurgitate it at them. That is why Rip lead Mr. Mind to this specific point in time.

Mr. Mind blasts the Phantom Zone out of his mouth at our heroes. Suddenly, Supernova appears and absorbs the Phantom Zone. Rip comments that thanks to the Phantom Zone technology in Supernova’s uniform, it was able to reflect and restore the Phantom Zone to its proper dimensional plane.

Supernova enters the Times fear and takes off his mask. Supernova is Daniel Carter, Booster Gold ancestor from the present. That Mr. Mind recruited Daniel to break into Rip’s lab and trapped him in an endless time loop of 52 seconds. Rip moved the loop here and gave Daniel the Supernova uniform, because it was keyed to the Carter genetic code. Rip tells Daniel that they still need his help.

Rip tells Booster that he knew Mr. Mind would try to zap them with the Phantom Zone at this moment, because of a machine that Professor Morrow created. This machine allows Morrow to record glimpses of the future. This is how Morrow “discovers” most of his technology. Rip’s job is to police the time stream and that Morrow was breaking into it. Rip appeared at Morrow’s lab to shut him down, but Morrow was already gone. That is when Rip saw the handful of images on Morrow’s machine of Rip, Booster, Supernova and Mr. Mind.

Mr. Mind then attacks the time sphere. Rip directs Red Tornado to prepare the time sphere for Earth-jump. Suddenly, the time sphere appears in Metropolis on Earth-17. Mr. Mind appears on Earth-17 and begins to eat the years and events from this Earth’s history. Rip tells Tornado to Earth-jump out of Earth-17 before Mr. Mind destroys everything until the point that there is nothing left. The time sphere and Mr. Mind disappear, and we see Earth-17 descend into some type of medieval society.

We see the time sphere and Mr. Mind appear on Earth-3. Mr. Mind begins eating their time and history. Earth-3 then turns into the world where the justice league is the Crime Syndicate. The time sphere and Mr. Mind transport away from this Earth to various other Earths. They go to Earth-10, where Mr. Mind’s feasting turns this Earth into a world where America is still battling the Nazis.

We go to Earth-50 that houses the Wildstorm characters. We go to Earth-5 that houses the Marvel family. We go to Earth-22 that is the Kingdom Come universe. We go to Earth-2 where Superman and Power Girl are missing. We go to Earth-4 and see several 1940s style mystery men including the real Question. With each parallel Earth-jump, Mr. Mind changes that Earth so it is different from New Earth. Red Tornado then tells Rip that system failure is imminent.

Rip shows Booster and Daniel and image of the future if Mr. Mind wins. We see how Mr. Mind has spawned hyper-flies that devour the consciousness of every living thing on every multiple Earth. Booster comments that he has no idea why Rip picked him to save the Multiverse. That there must be more qualified super heroes with a better record than Booster.

Daniel tells Booster to be more positive and that if he can do it so can Booster. Booster comments that he does not understand why Rip would stake the survival of the entire Multiverse on the guy with the screw-up gene. That there are super heroes with much better track records that can do a better job.

Booster puts together Skeets' shell and Skeets manages to utter a few words. Skeets tells Michael that he has the utmost faith in him. Booster is now brimming with confidence and tells Rip that he knows where to find the kind of energy source that they need. Booster then slips into the time stream. Rid then put song his time suit and tells Daniel to hold down the fort at the time sphere because Rip is going to go time hunting.

We cut to New Earth the day after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. We see Blue Beetle searching the wreckage for something. Booster Gold appears and introduces himself to Blue Beetle. Blue Beetle asks Booster Gold if he saw some kind of amulet lying around that looks like a scarab. Booster and Blue Beetle trade a few funny one-liners. Booster takes the scarab unbeknownst to Blue Beetle and disappears from the time stream with one parting funny line. Blue Beetle busts out in a trademark “Bwa-ha-ha-ha.”

We cut to Sivana arriving at his house. His children tell him that they were playing with the suspendium, while he was gone. Sivana tells his family to hurry up that something terrible is about to happen and that he wants them to be outside of space and time when it does. That they will be safe in the suspendium globe. Rip Hunter appears and shoots Sivana in the leg. Rip then takes Sivana's suspendium globe.

Rip and Booster arrive back at the time sphere. Rip explains that suspendium is artificial time and should work like crack cocaine on Mr. Mind's hyper-flies. Booster says that he found their power source. Rip tells Daniel that they are about to turn the dial is up to 11 on his Supernova circuitry. Booster focuses his energy into Daniel's Supernova costume and massive amounts of energy ripples out of the time sphere. They then attract Mr. Mind's attention and tell him to chase them.

We cut to the time lab of Rip Hunter. The time sphere appears, and so does Mr. Mind. Rip tells Tornado to close the time locks. Rip has reinforced Skeets his shell with suspendium. That they can imprison Mr. Mind inside of Skeets. The Skeets tells Booster Gold that this is the only way. Skeets tells Booster to put him to use. Booster Gold then lunges at Mr. Mind and traps him inside of Skeets’ shell.

Rip says that the suspendium cannot hold Mr. Mind until it is fully charged. That the faster and harder it moves against the time stream the more chronal energy the suspendium will pick up. If they move it with enough force, then it will become the only thing that can save the Multiverse. A time bomb that will end the threat of Mr. Mind. Unfortunately, it will eliminate Skeets completely.

Skeets tells Booster that Mr. Mind is eating him from the inside and that he won't last long. The Skeets says that he never thought he would leave this world as a weapon, but if he must then let him leave as a howitzer. Skeets tells Booster that Booster has saved all of time and space so Skeets must have done something right with training Booster. Booster says his last goodbyes to Skeets.

Booster hurls Skeets against the time stream with sufficient force. Booster takes Skeets and throws him into the time stream. Supernova flies after Skeets as they go back in time through the events of the last year. We shift to week two, day one and see Supernova still chasing after Skeets.

Supernova thinks how Rip calculated the exact time and place that might has to end up. Once Supernova and Skeets arrived at week one, day six in the lab where Mr. Mind is in his tube, Supernova grabs Skeets’ body. Supernova continues to fly through the time stream and powers up Skeets’ shell and then spikes it hard into the ground creating a massive explosion at the point of week one, day one.

We cut to Sivana searching the area where Supernova spiked Skeets’ shell with Mr. Mind inside of it. We see Mr. Mind back in his original worm form crawling out of the crater. Sivana picks Mr. Mind up and places him inside of a tube. Sivana is stunned that he would come across his old enemy. Sivana comments that he cannot have Mr. Mind crawling around loose. That Sivana does not need competition for the position of rightful ruler of the universe. Sivana says Mr. Mind is trapped forever now.

We cut back to Supernova reappearing at Rip Hunter's lab. Rip says that they stopped Mr. Mind but not before he wreaked unimaginable havoc on 50 plus Earths. That the whole notion of there is a Mutliverse beyond the reality they know is too dangerous a secret to spread. That none of them can tell anyone what happened here.

Booster says he wants to tell people what happened so Skeets’ sacrifice will not go unremembered. The Skeets was his best friend. Rip then tells Booster that while he was re-enforcing Skeets with suspendium that he copied Skeets’ mem-self into a left over responsometer. Rip says that they both know who can do a full restoration.

Rep then comments that he needs to analyze the effects of Mr. Mind’s rampage on New Earth and its time stream. Booster asks Rip if he worries that so much has been broken. Rip asks if the universe broken or opened? That there is so much more happening out there than they could ever have imagined. That is not broken. That's the way things should be. Welcome to a new Multiverse of possibility. Welcome home. We see Rip, Booster and Daniel in their time sphere traveling through all the different Multiverses.

Week 52, Day 6: We see the amulet of Isis amid some flowers and a memorial to Isis. We see a hand reaching for the amulet. We see that every agency in the world including Checkmate and the Department of Meta-Human Affairs have tagged black Adam as the most wanted mortal in the world.

We cut to a preschool in Alabama. A schoolteacher is horrified by what she just saw. We see a massive fiery pit in the classroom. The teacher shows the police officers what the children drew on their pads of paper once they saw the fiery pit appear in their classroom. The police say they have no idea what is going on and they don't even know who to turn to for answers. We then see the spirits of Ralph Dibny and Sue Dibny come floating out of the fiery pit. Sue comments how Ralph's nose is twitching.

We cut to Booster Gold visiting Doc Magnus. Magnus tells Booster that when Booster brought Skeets to him a year ago that Magnus made a backup copy. That Skeets won't remember anything of the last year, but he can be restored. Magnus restores Skeets’ memory into his new body. Skeets then asks Booster if he missed anything.

We see Renée Montoya taking the question mark symbol off of the Bat-signal and replacing it with a large bat decal. We then cut to Kate, Batwoman, being told that she is recovering from her stab wound to her chest. But that her recovery is still going to take her some time. Kay comments how she still has not regained any of her memory. That she does not remember how she ended up in the ER with a stab wound.

We then see Renée Montoya turning on the Bat-signal. Kate looks out her window at the Bat-signal. René says that she has a question. “Are you ready?” End of issue.

Comments
The Good
: 52 #52 was one hell of an issue! This issue instantly becomes one of my all time favorite comic books ever. Why? It is real simple. I finally have my Multiverse back in all of its Pre-Crisis glory. I couldn’t be happier.

I have always hated what the original Crisis on Infinite Earths did to the DCU. I despised how DC completely strip mined, gutted and nuked their rich and textured universe and history. I thought it was a massive mistake and never changed my opinion over the past twenty years since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I found the Post-Crisis DCU to be shallow, boring and completely lacking the incredible feeling of anything being possible. Finally, twenty years later, DC fixes what I have viewed as their greatest mistake. Many of my friends who disliked the original Crisis eventually resigned themselves to accept the Post Crisis universe. I never did. My loathing and un-acceptance of the Post-Crisis universe never lessened over the years.

The Post-Crisis universe caused me to loose most of my interest in DC’s comic books. Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, I always liked the DCU more than the Marvel Universe. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Marvel quickly supplanted DC as my favorite comic book universe. Well, all bets are off now. With the return of the glorious Multiverse, DC knocks Marvel off the throne and is once again my favorite comic book universe.

And what is so great about this move to bring back the Multiverse is that it doesn’t stomp all over the Post-Crisis DCU like the original Crisis stomped all over the Pre-Crisis DCU. DC hasn’t suddenly said that everything that happened between 1986 to the present no longer happened. Instead, DC is simply adding this new Multiverse on top of the history that has taken place over the past twenty years.

This is a wise move so that fans of the Post-Crisis DCU who were too young to experience the awesomeness of the Pre-Crisis DCU won’t feel cheated and robbed like fans of the Pre-Crisis DCU did after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. It is a win-win situation that satisfies all the fans involved.

The writers did an excellent job explaining the birth of this new Multiverse and tying it neatly into the events of Infinite Crisis. This move gives Infinite Crisis more weight and importance. My major gripe with Infinite Crisis was that it was a bunch of hype for nothing. That the end of Infinite Crisis brought about no real substantive changes. Just a few tweaks to the time line of the New Earth. Well, now that the end of Infinite Crisis heralded the re-birth of the Multiverse, suddenly that mini-series becomes much more profound and important.

I dig how the writers explain that Red Tornado witnessed the birth of the new Multiverse and that he mapped the 52 identical Earths in his memory banks. And that this map is what provides Rip Hunter the ability to travel in between the multiple Earths.

Of course, it is interesting that Infinite Crisis brought about the birth of a new Multiverse, but not the Multiverse that we knew and loved where each Earth was different. This new Multiverse contained 52 exactly identical Earths and cosmos. So, somehow DC had to get these identical Earths to be distinctive like the old multiple Earths. And how do the writers pull of that trick? Enter Mr. Mind.

Mr. Mind was an excellent plot device that enabled the writers to conveniently recreate the old Multiverse that we loved so much. We see Earth-3 where the Justice League of America members are all criminals and are known as the Crime Syndicate. We see Earth-10 where the Freedom Fighters are battling the Nazis. Earth-50 conveniently houses the Wildstorm characters. Earth-5 houses the Captain Marvel family complete with a talking tiger. Earth-22 houses the Kingdom Come characters. Earth-2 is re-created and is missing their Superman and Power Girl.

I absolutely geeked out during this sequence of panels! The real Freedom Fighters still kicking ass! The Crime Syndicate making their return! The real Captain Marvel universe in all its campy glory! The Kingdom Come universe and the Wildstorm Universe officially integrated into the DCU.

The writers did an excellent job employing Mr. Mind as their literary tool to sculpt this new Multiverse in the image of the old Multiverse. And Rip’s plan to take out Mr. Mind was well orchestrated and provided for a dramatic and exciting finish. It provided Booster Gold the platform to show what a true A-list hero he is. It enabled Skeets to display his heroic side and willingness to sacrifice his existence in order to save the Multiverse.

And it dealt Mr. Mind one wicked fate. I love that Rip’s plan includes Mr. Mind being transformed back into his worm form and then being found by Sivana. Sivana traps Mr. Mind telling him that he will never be able to escape. And thus, Mr. Mind is trapped in a time loop that he will never break free from.

It was great to see the evolution of Booster Gold in this issue. Booster rightfully questions Rip why he would choose Booster, the hero with the screw-up gene, over other heroes with a better pedigree. Skeets provides the necessary inspiration for Booster to realize that no matter what, Booster has the heart of a true hero. Booster finally takes that next step in his character growth as he is thrust into center stage as the hero who will help save the Multiverse. Not Batman. Not Superman. Not Wonder Woman.

Booster Gold will forever be remembers in DCU history as the hero who save the Multiverse. And this was the exact purpose of 52. To take away the crutch of the holy trinity of the DCY and to insert C-list characters into the spotlight and to grow and develop them into major players in the DCU.

DC has successfully done that with Booster Gold. Booster is now a true hero who has joined the A-list. And what proves Booster’s growth in maturity is that he doesn’t want people to know about the Multiverse for his own glory or honor. No, he wants people to know about it to honor the sacrifice that Skeets made for everyone.

I liked the cool twist of having Daniel Carter in the Supernova outfit. I knew that we had to see his character again. I just couldn’t believe that the writers had no more use for the character. The writers have done such an impressive job of making everything no matter how small important. That everything that occurred on 52 happened for a reason and that every little detail would fall in place by the end of this series.

I loved the scene between Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. It was well done and rather touching. It was wonderful seeing these two characters together once again zinging one-liners at each other. Even the trademark “Bwa-ha-ha-ha” made a return. This scene was important because it has seemed like DC has pretty much stomped all over the Bwa-Ha-Ha JLU during the events leading up to Infinite Crisis, Infinite Crisis itself and the events of 52. This scene was a cool nod to an era of the JLU that is rather underrated.

I was psyched that the loveable old Skeets return at the end of this issue. 52 has had enough death and destruction. I’m glad that the writers decided to tie up this series with a happy ending. Adam Strange survives and is re-united with his family. Animal Man survives and is re-united with his family. Starfire survives as well. Booster Gold and Daniel Carter both survive. And good old Skeets is restored back to his normal self. For a title as dark and death filled as 52, a positive ending was absolutely necessary.

We get teased with several dangling plotlines at the end of 52 #52. Will Black Adam ever be found? Who stole the amulet of Isis? Both of these questions will probably be addressed together. I’m curious to see what DC has in store for Black Adam and for the amulet of Isis.

We then get teased with the appearance of a huge fiery pit in a school classroom. Just what exactly did the children see? And then the writers drop a bomb on the reader by revealing the appearance of the ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny floating out of the fiery pit and ready to investigate the mystery. I most definitely did not see that plot twist coming! I’m very curious to see where DC takes this plotline.

DC also teases us with future stories concerning the changes to the New Earth’s time stream. Rip mentions that he must explore the changes to the time stream. We already have seen these changes manifest in the appearance of the Pre-Crisis Legion and the fact that Superman was a member of the Legion of Super Heroes. The changes to New Earth’s time stream is a wonder full of potential exciting storylines.

DC also decides to have Rip tell Booster and Daniel that they must keep the Multiverse a secret. That is too dangerous to let it become common knowledge. Unfortunately for Rip, what he doesn’t know is that he slipped and mentioned something about multiple Earths in front of Sivana when Rip stole the suspendium globe. So now the evil genius Dr. Sivana knows about the existence of the new Multiverse. That most definitely cannot be a good thing.

Of course, the new Multiverse is a monstrous literary tool that will provide DC with an almost endless amount of stories and possibilities. I dig that DC is keeping the new Multiverse a secret for now. It should provide for plenty of entertainment as our New Earth heroes slowly, but surely, discover each different multiple Earth. The new Multiverse is overflowing with almost endless amounts of future possibilities and storylines. The writers for DC should feel like kids in a toy store with a ridiculous amount of toys to play with.

Plus, the Multiverse is an effective tool in pacifying fans of certain characters who feel cheated by what happens to those characters in the New Earth. Upset with Winick’s stomping all over the Captain Marvel mythos and characters? Don’t worry. We have Earth-5 where the Captain Marvel family exists in their original glory. Upset that the Freedom Fighters were slaughtered? Don’t worry; we have Earth-10 where the Freedom Fighters are still fighting the good fight against the Nazis.

Rip sums up my feelings exactly with his speech at the end of 52 #52. “Broken or opened? Look around you, Booster. There’s so much more happening out there than we could ever have imagined. That’s not ‘broken.’ That’s the way things should be. Welcome to a Multiverse of possibility, Booster. Welcome Home”. In Rip’s monologue, DC tells the reader exactly why they decided to rectify their mistake some of twenty years ago and bring back the Multiverse. And I couldn’t agree more. Welcome home, indeed.

The Bad: I have very few complaints with this issue. And the return of the Multiverse definitely makes these complaints minor. I could still care less about Batwoman or Renee. Ending the issue with a lame-ass character like Renee was a bit of a let down. Nothing about her character appeals to me and I can only hope that she meets with a slow and painful death. Of course, knowing that the real Question still lives on another alternate Earth does bring a smile to my face.

And why the hell couldn’t Batwoman just die?! She got stabbed through the freaking chest! C’mon. DC offs cool character left and right, but somehow this lame character gets to live.

And what in the hell is up with Ralph and Sue Dibny: Ghost Detectives? What a terrible concept. And with that move, Ralph goes full circle and becomes the lame corny character that he was prior to Identity Crisis. I was never interested in Ralph’s character prior to Identity Crisis.

However, after Identity Crisis, Ralph suddenly became a much more complex and compelling character. Then 52 rocketed my interest in Ralph to a whole new level. I liked Ralph’s new attitude. Ralph became such a fascinating character.

Then DC ruins it by killing him off in one of the lamest and pointless deaths. And then they bring him and Sue back as some cheesy husband and wife ghost detective team. Uggh. I’ll pass on this concept.

Overall: 52 #52 was an excellent ending to a very impressive and enjoyable year long story. DC deserves a lot of credit and praise for their tireless work on 52. Yeah, 52 didn’t deliver what DC initially told us it would. 52 did not fill in the gaps between the end of Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later stories. All we got was some cursory treatment of the missing year in a couple of panels in the World War III issues.

However, what 52 did deliver was excellent character growth of some C-list characters. Plus, it gave us the return of the Multiverse. Also, DC deserves credit for cranking out a weekly title without a single delay. That’s right not one single issue of 52 was late. And that is saying something considering how Marvel labored to crank out the seven issues of Civil War over the course of 12 months.

So many naysayers kept saying that 52 would fail and that DC would never be able to keep up with the weekly format. Well, those naysayers were wrong on both counts. 52 was a sales success posting great sales numbers and was on time each and every week.

Kudos, DC for a job well done on 52. Thank you for an entertaining story that was consistently good each and every week and never once delayed. But, most of all, thank you for giving me back my childhood. The return of the Multiverse makes me happier than anyone could imagine.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just started reading comics at this last crisis so I would be disappointed if they told me this last year of collecting and reading was all a waste.
On the new question, I don't care for Renee or Batgirl but I did enjoy the story associated with it. My interest dies with 52 however. Too bad they can't keep something like this going in an indefinite series. Similar to the JSA or JLA but with out the official team name, building, and all C characters. Let's just keep it once a month so there aren't so many filler issues/pages as there were in 52 however.

Palomides said...

I feel that the series wrapped up a lot of questions I had a lot better than I had expected them to do; but, do youhave any explanations for the questions raised by the "Bible of Crime" arc? I realize a lot of this might be dealt with in "Countdown" but:
-Why is Intergang is creating fire pits in Gotham? I don’t know Kirby’s work well so do these Apokylpse-like fire pits give Darkseid power? Is Darkseid planning to use Gotham as a base of operation on Earth?
-Why exactly did China (and by implication, Intergang and Darkseid) want to take out the Black Adam family? It seems like their plans were in place long before Adam snubbed them directly.
-(Nit-picker question asked by everyone) Why did Black Adam attack random countries around the world instead of going straight to China?
-Why did Batwoman (as opposed to any random blood sacrifice) need to be killed to “unite” these pits? (Aside from being an arbitrary plot devise)

IslandLiberal said...

And what is so great about this move to bring back the Multiverse is that it doesn’t stomp all over the Post-Crisis DCU like the original Crisis stomped all over the Pre-Crisis DCU. DC hasn’t suddenly said that everything that happened between 1986 to the present no longer happened.
...
It is a win-win situation that satisfies all the fans involved.


I'd have to disagree there. It does stomp all over the previous 20 years, because now those 20 years didn't happen like they did; the whole era is a swathe of retcons (Maxwell Lord, for one) and omissions in the "New Earth." Moreover, they've utterly ruined so many of the improvements made in that era: "Man of Steel" brilliantly got rid off all the worthless Silver Age Superman baggage and made the character worthwhile; "Gods and Mortals" created the only version of Wonder Woman that's ever been worth a damn. Now we've got all kinds of pre-Crisis stuff back that they wisely ditched (Bizarro World? Superman no longer the Last Son of Krypton? Pretty much everything they've done to Wonder Woman?).

Obviously, I was born in the 1980s, so the post-Crisis DCU is my era, unlike yours, so I understand why you love having it back.

I really don't see how having characters alive in other worlds does anything to soothe their butchering in the main DCU, which is the only one that really matters: assuming the George Perez/Greg Rucka Wonder Woman is still out there somewhere, the actual WW title is still about the "Diana Prince" Wonder Woman; Kryptonians are still a dime-a-dozen in the Superman titles, and there are fifty billion types of Kryptonite.

Whatever reservations I have about this whole direction for the DCU, this was a good final issue.

Michael said...

Some neat things about the new Earths that you either didn't mention or didn't catch:
- The new Earth-10, home of the original Freedom Fighters, used to e Earth-X (and "X" is Roman numeral for 10)
- The new Earth-5, home of the Shazam! Family, used to be Earth-S (and "5" looks a lot like "S")
- Earth-17 is where the Great Disaster took place. Those knights riding giant Dalmations are the Atomic Knights. This is the home of OMAC and Kamandi.
- The new Earth-4 has the same numbering as the one introduced in the original Crisis, home of the Charlton characters (that's the original Blue Beetle, Nightshade, Question, Peacemaker, Judo-Master, and Captain Atom in there)
- The new Earth-3 has the same numbering as the old one with the Crime Syndicate.
- The new Earth-2 has the pre-Crisis people, as if it's taking place in the early 80's when the original Infinity Inc came along

I'd suspect that in retrospect, since this Superman says he was in the Legion and their statues are in the Fortress, that the "new" Legion is the Legion of New Earth, while the post-Zero Hour Legion is in the future of Earth-1 (which we didn't see), and the post-IC Legion is in the future of Earth-2. We'll see...

Ben Herman said...

We go to Earth-4 and see several 1940s style mystery men including the real Question.

Earth 4 lookes to be "Earth Charlton," featuring the heroes from Charlton Comics. The other characters are Nightshade, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Judomaster and, looking out the window, Peacemaker.

Any, yeah, I definitely agree with your sentiments regarding the multiverse. DC has been a continuity trainwreck since the first Crisis. Superboy, Hawkman, the Legion, the Justice Society, Power Girl, Huntress, Donna Troy and I don't know who else have all gotten royally screwed up with the constantly-changing origins writers tried to come up with to explain how they existed without a multiverse. The last twenty years have been a "crisis of infinite retcons." I hope this marks the end of that obnoxious trend.

IslandLiberal said...

Superboy, Hawkman, the Legion, the Justice Society, Power Girl, Huntress, Donna Troy and I don't know who else have all gotten royally screwed up with the constantly-changing origins writers tried to come up with to explain how they existed without a multiverse.

Most of those continuity issues don't have anything to do with the Multiverse (only Power Girl, the JSA, and Huntress; in the case of the Huntress, her origin isn't screwed up: they introduced a new character, whose backstory is pretty clean, and works quite well). They relate to creative changes; Byrne decided that Superboy was a bad idea (which he was; he devalues Superman, and makes the Clark Kent disguise even more ridiculous); this had a domino effect on the Legion; Perez moved up Wonder Woman's arrival (which relates to DC's refusal to do a line-wide reboot), thus causing problems for Donna (whose very existence pre-Crisis was caused by a continuity error, so perhaps its fitting).

I hope this marks the end of that obnoxious trend.

If anything, I suspect this establishes the opposite precedent: the original Crisis was meant as a one-off affair (with ZH meant to clean up some things further down the line because of a lack of planning) to modernize the DCU. The second Crisis was used by a clutch of pro-Silver Age writers to reintroduce their favourite stuff from the old era, as a creative (and marketing) choice. So, whenever the people from my generation get in charge, maybe they'll do the same thing in twenty years to reintroduce the elements from their childhood that they prefer.

Following up on Rokk's review, he says that he thinks reverting to the Dibneys' old status quo (more or less) was a bad idea, and killed the interest he had developed in the characters since "Identity Crisis"; basically, that's the same thing that's happened to much of the DCU since "Infinite Crisis:" a reversion to how things used to be. For each individual reader, their mileage on these changes may vary.

Universal Man said...

I agree on most counts. The only problem I have is the fact that the Wildstorm universe is included among the 52 universes. I know the both DCU proper and Wildstorm have crossed over, but I prefer the two to remain independednt of each other as much as possible.

Otherwise, a very enjoyable and worthwhile read. On to Countdown!

Rokk Krinn said...

Wow, we got some great posts about this final issue of 52. Anonymous, you have a pretty interesting idea about a team of C-list characters. It might be a direction that DC looks into.

Palomides, you raise some good question. I think that Countdown will be dealing with some of the issues concerning Intergang and the Bible of Crime story arc.

I know that Darkseid is going to play a role in Countdown and there could certainly be a connection between Intergang and Darkseid. Especially given Intergang’s penchant for alien technology and weapons and the fire pits in Gotham. I hope that DC gives us more answers about Intergang and their plans.

I don’t know about China and their plan to take down Black Adam. It could have been as simple as China worrying that Black Adam being influences by Isis was becoming a human rights champion and would eventually turn his sights on China. I guess they figured they need to remove him before he became an immediate threat.

And I think that Batwoman was an arbitrary plot devise. I really don’t think that there was anything deeper to the need for killing Batwoman in order to unite the pits.

Rokk Krinn said...

Hey, Island. You make some good points. I felt that this New Earth and the Multiverse didn’t stripmine the Post-Crisis DCU like the original Crisis absolutely nuked the Pre-Crisis DCU. Yeah, there are changes, but not to the same massive degree.

Of course, I will totally admit my bias. I love the multiverse and that definitely colors my view. And I can’t see any improvements that the original Crisis on Infinite Earths brought to the DCU at all.

But, I can understand your view on the changes that New Earth and the Multiverse have made on the DCU and that you liked certain aspects of the Post-Crisis DCU like the “Man of Steel” and “Gods and Mortals” storylines.

And I can totally understand how you would see the changes brought by the New Earth as massive changes that stomp all over the Post-Crisis DCU.

I was only a kid when the first Crisis wiped out the DCU. It caused me to drop every DC title except the Legion. I became a total Marvel Zombie and didn’t read DC comics from 1986 until around 1997.

I got to admit that I dig other Kryptonians running around the DCU over in the pages of Action Comics. And, yeah, I’ll admit that I dig Bizarro, too. And I’ll also cop to liking all the various types of Kryptonite, too.

I guess it is a personal issue if seeing characters alive in other worlds soothes the fact that those characters were butchered in the New Earth. Personally, it soothes me. However, it may not for other people.

Anyway, I know how you feel Island. It is pretty much how I felt back in 1986.

Rokk Krinn said...

Hey Michael. Your encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU rocks and definitely exceeds my ability to recall the history of the DCU! I missed some of the things you mentioned.

I remembered Earth-S and Earth-X, but I didn’t even think about how “X” is the Roman numeral for 10 or “5” looking a lot like “S.” Good eye for detail. That is definitely a cool nod to the original Multiverse.

I didn’t know that those were the Atomic Knights on Earth-17 or that Earth-17 is the home of OMAC and Kamandi. And thanks for clearing up the characters on Earth-4. I had a feeling that this was the home of the Charlton characters, but I didn’t recognize all of them and I didn’t want to look stupid by calling it the Charlton Earth if I was wrong.

I love that we get the return of all the classic Charlton characters. These are all some fantastic characters that are seriously underrated. I’d definitely buy any Earth-4 Charlton titles if DC decides to publish some.

And thanks for explaining the new Earth-2. I wasn’t too sure what was going on with Earth-2. I dig the idea of an Earth taking place in the early 80’s dealing with the Pre-Crisis DCU.

And you make an excellent guess about how this all ties into the Legion. The Legion we see in JLA/JSA is the “new” Legion for New Earth while the post-Zero Hour Legion is in the future of Earth-1 and the Post-Crisis Legion is in the future of Earth-2.

I like it. You just may be on to something with this theory. It should be interesting to see what DC does with the Legion.

Rokk Krinn said...

Hey, Ben. You are preaching to the choir with me. DC’s continuity has been a massive train wreck ever since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Byrne pretty much destroyed my beloved Legion which eventually led to the Legion getting a complete and total reboot. And no doubt that the Justice Society Hawkman, Superboy, Power Girl, Huntress and Donna Tory were completely screwed up.

The original Crisis on Infinite Earths was a bad idea that led to an endless amount of retcons in order to try and clean up the mess from the original Crisis.

We had to suffer through Zero Hour. I had to see the Legion get a hard reboot not just once, but twice. Every time you turned around it seemed like another character or title was getting retconned.

The twenty years of the Post-Crisis DCU was one massive continuity mess. At least with the Multiverse restored, DC has a very convenient plot device to explain away continuity issues.

I also hope that DC cools it with the continual retcons for a good long time.

IslandLiberal said...

Ultimately, there's no use crying over spilt milk, and this DCU is the one we'll have for the near future; I don't have a problem with a Multiverse, really (Marvel has one, and I'm a hardcore fan), more with the creative choices of many DCU-proper titles. But really, make Wonder Woman the Ambassador of Themiscyra again and ditch "Diana Prince" and I could live with the rest.

My thoughts on Superboy are, as I said, that I think he devalues Superman by existing. Clark should come to terms with his powers as a teenager (as a sidenote, this aspect I really prefer, since I have a hard time accepting that a superpowered baby wouldn't have accidentally killed the Kents at some point), occasionally perform some feats in Smallville, and then adopt his superpowered identity as a mature adult. It works as a coming-of-age thing. Also, Superboy in Smallville just makes the Clark Kent identity even more difficult for me to buy (no one notices that Superman follows Clark wherever he goes?).

Rokk Krinn said...

Island, you make an interesting point that pro-Silver Age writers decided to bring back the Multiverse and that when writers of your generation get in charge that they will reintroduce the elements for their childhood that they prefer.

I hope that doesn’t mean that in twenty years DC junks the Multiverse for a second time. This would lead to a vicious circle.

Because in another twenty years, the generation who grew up with this New Earth and new Multiverse will get in charge and then bring back the Multiverse for a third time.

And so on it goes forever and ever with massive changes being made back and forth every ten to twenty years.

Marvel has done a good job not having the massive retconning that DC has suffered through. And Marvel has definitely been kicking DC’s ass in sales for at least twenty years.

Marvel has had a clear identity for their 616 Universe for a long time. DC seems to suffer from schizophrenia when it comes to the identity of the DCU.

Maybe change is good for DC and maybe DC should take a page from Marvel’s playbook and stop retconning their characters and universe every other day.

fenixrisingxl said...

I thought this was a satisfying conclusion to a great story. My only problem with it (and this directed more towards the entire series as opposed to just this issue), was that it was so heavy on the Rip/Booster/Daniel thread, that it really only concluded that arc, and subsequently threw the other characters involved one or two-page bones. I would've preferred to have everyone's arc come to a close this week, but understand it would've been impossible, not to mention improbable, to do so.

My biggest beef is the Rip/Booster arc was the one I was looking forward to reading the most, but it seemed to get so little screen time after the first fifteen weeks, that this issue almost feels like an apology.
But, hey, with a BG monthly on the way, I'm not going to complain too loudly.

Also, I may be in the minority here, but I like how this issue has a symmetrical ending in regards to the first issue, with both Questions asking 'Are you Ready?' Only qualm with that is Kate Kane doesn't seem to be anywhere near in need of the sojourn Renee just went through. I know she's coming off of a stab wound to the chest, but she's not in the self-esteem rut Renee was in. But why the heck isn't Renee wearing the hat? You need the hat. You're just not the Question without it.

Question to anyone that can answer: Why is Power Girl missing on Earth-2? I know this is probably a stupid question, but I thought Infinite Crisis explained Power Girl was Earth-2's Supergirl, somehow alive after the original Crisis, thrown onto New Earth. Shouldn't that be a picture of Kal-L, and Kara as Supergirl, or did I misinterpret something?

Excellent series. Now bring on the Countdown.

Rokk Krinn said...

Fenixrisingxl, I have to agree with you. The Rip/Booster arc was certainly the most important arc out of all the various plotlines in 52. Yet, it didn’t get much panel time at all in the middle to end of 52.

This issue was definitely a make-up issue by devoting the grand finale to almost nothing but the Rip/Booster arc.

And there is going to be a Booster Gold monthly? Sweet. Since I avoid internet comic book sites, I hadn’t heard this news. Has the creative team been announced?

Good point about the symmetrical ending with regards to the first issue. Even though I loathe and despise Renee as the Question, I liked this touch.

About your question concerning Earth-2, I think I have an answer. Power Girl is from Earth-2. To the best of my knowledge, she never went by the codename “Supergirl” over on Earth-2. That is why they reference her as Power Girl.

Countdown certainly has its work cut out for it trying to follow such an excellent story in 52.

fenixrisingxl said...

Thanks for the heads-up about PG. Makes sense.
You'll probably love Booster's series, as it's headlined by Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens.
I wish I was as good about avoiding websites as you are, but I'm weak, damn it.
I think Countdown's in good hands. I have complete faith in Paul Dini, and I'm sure he can wrangle good issues out of Beechen.

IslandLiberal said...

The creative team on Booster's new title (debuting in July, I believe) is Geoff Johns (writer) and Dan Jurgens (art).

The premise is that Booster is now a time cop/fixer, and must adopt a 'secret identity' as a complete moron in the 21st century (ie, the present) in order to avoid suspicion.

EL ALQUIMISTA said...

is starfire dead?

fenixrisingxl said...

I believe Starfire's still alive. It looks like she only passes out at Buddy's doorstep after traveling such a long way.
That, and she's in the background of the cover for the final issue, while items from each of the dead characters are in the foreground.
Wonder if they'll do an Absolute Edition in a couple of years.

Rokk Krinn said...

Thanks for the info on the upcoming BG series, guys. I'll definately give that title a try. If Johns writes it then I usually dig the title. I'm not thrilled with Jurgens doing the art, but I can live with it.