52! Week Forty-Five

By Johns, Morrison, Rucka, Waid, Giffen, Batista, Igle, Ramos, Sinclair, Lopez, Richards, Schaeffer, and Siglain. Cover by Jones and Sinclair.

52 was a weekly series published by DC Comics starting in May, 2006. Because I had my 52nd birthday in late 2020, I thought it might be interesting (fun?) to examine this series for its 15th anniversary. I plan to post once a week about each issue. To read previous posts, click the link (52!).

Synopsis

“Every Hour Wounds, the Last Kills”

Week 45, Day 3

Shiruta, Kahndaq. The Marvel family help Black Adam with the burial of Isis and Osiris and later try to comfort him, but Black Adam rebuffs their compassion and they leave.

Renee Montoya speaks with Adam, letting him know that Charlie has died and to offer he aid. Black Adam does not take kindly to her “pity” and bids her to go home as he leaves for Bialya.

Week 45, Day 4

Bialya. The Horseman who is Death has taken refuge in Bialya, and the country’s president pleads with Bruno Mannheim for help against Black Adam. Mannheim informs the President that he needs to deal with the situation on Oolong Island and it was “Nice knowin’ ya”.

It is then that Black Adam arrives and kills the President. He begins his assault on the country. Across the world, Black Adam’s actions and potential responses are discussed. Amanda Waller ponders needing 100 members of the Suicide Squad to go up against Black Adam, but Atom Smasher refuses to participate further.

Week 45, Day 5

Bialya. Black Adam continues his swath of destruction. He sees a flower in a pool of blood and cries. Then he is attacked by Bialyans and demands to know where Death is.

Week 45, Day 6

The Great Wall of China. The Great Ten discuss needing to deal with Black Adam should the security of China be threatened.

Death finally confronts Black Adam, telling him that his murdering of Bialya’s people have made it stronger. But Black Adam uses the magic lightning to weaken Death. He tells it, “You are going to answer every question I ask. Then … I am going to spend the rest of the night slowly ending your life”.

Week 45, Day 7

Oolong Island. Veronica Cale asks Sivana, “What happens when he finds out who sent the Four Horsemen into Kahndaq…?” Sivana tells her, as the alarm klaxon sounds, “I’ve been waiting for this for a long, long time. The Black Marvel himself, at my mercy! Bring him on!!”

Thoughts

The inevitable happens: Black Adam on a rampage, and apparently it was all part of Sivana’s plan? At least I got a bit of Dr. Cale’s reaction to this — a pity she wasn’t smart enough to foresee this outcome?

Renee has come a long way over the course of this series. She knows the pain Adam is in and offers her help, which, of course, he does not take kindly to. But even threatened with death, Renee is sympathetic, telling him, “Isis was my friend”. This was the best scene in the issue.

There’s a lot of talk about what to do about Black Adam, but not a whole lot of doing by governments or superheroes. If this was America being attacked, I doubt there would be this delay. And Adam’s slaughter of Bialya’s people is just so inhumane. At one point, he sees a vision of Isis telling him to avenge her and Osiris and he continues his destruction (one of the Oolong scientists states, “He sterilized the Earth!”), but given all of the manipulation thus far, I have to wonder if that was really just grief or an outside force spurring him on? I clearly want to be on his side, that his vengeance is righteous, but given the scale of murder and destruction, the architects of this story clearly do not want us feeling sympathy for him. It does make me want to know the outcome to this — obviously, Black Adam continues long after this series, so is he captured, does he retreat, or …? And what is the impact in regards to superhumans and their involvement in humanity’s affairs after this? I guess I’ll have to reread World War III….

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