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!).
Week 47, Day 1
Tim Drake waits outside a cave in Nanda Parbat for Bruce Wayne and is challenged by a monk to solve this riddle:
There’s a goose inside a bottle. … How do you get the goose out without injuring it or breaking the bottle?
Week 47, Day 2
Diana and Tim discuss Bruce’s undertaking of his “spiritual purification”. She tells Tim, “Something vast and grand is happening and it brought us all here. I hope he finds what he’s looking for. And you, Tim”.
In Gotham City, Whisper A’Dair sacrifices a man trying to divine who Batwoman is. Later, she and Bruno Mannheim discuss the failure, and Brother Abbott criticizes Mannheim’s interpretation of the Crime Bible. They fight, and Whisper comes to a realization: the twice-named daughter of Cain can be found because her name is “Cain”.
Week 47, Day 3
Dr. Magnus works on his new Metal Man as he listens to the tortured screams of Black Adam. When he activates the golem’s responsometer, it calls out, “Crush. Raze. Trample.” His mini Metal Men implore him to switch it off.
Week 47, Day 4
Animal Man travels to Space B and converses with the aliens who created and have since upgraded him. They tell him that he can access any “point in space or in time”. To illustrate, they show Buddy a point one month ahead in his personal timeline where Ellen is being comforted by another man.
Week 47, Day 5
Beast Boy can’t believe Natasha has turned down his offer to join the Teen Titans. He discovers that she is joining her uncle’s new Steelworks facility. Dr. Avasti tells John she quit her job at STAR Labs and wants to know if he’s hiring. She then kisses him.
Week 47, Day 6
The Question visits Kate Kane’s apartment to find it in shambles. Nightwing arrives to tell Renee that “they took her. We’re going to get her back.”
Week 47, Day 7
Diana converses with Rama Kushna, asking the deity, “What have I become?” Rama Kushna answers with,
When did you, in all your perfection, ever share the pains mortals feel each day of their lives? Until now. Welcome to the world, Wonder Woman. Here is wisdom.
The monk returns to offer Tim more soup, and Tim wonders if Bruce should have returned by now. He also tells the monk he realized that “there’s only a goose in the bottle because you said so,” to which the monk responds, “You are correct. The goose and the bottle are only words”. Then, Bruce emerges from the cave, smiling.
This is probably my least favorite issue of the series thus far, both in terms of the art and the vignettes. Specifically, the Batman and Wonder Woman segments feel disjointed from the rest of the series, and my major issue with the art is that everybody looks similar, like the artist had one male and female template.
Regardless, there are some interesting things in this issue:
- The dissent in Bruno Mannheim’s organization is interesting (and expected), so I hope we see that play out more.
- I’m more interested in Space B in regards to Animal Man than I am in the issue with “future” Ellen. Does Space B play into what’s coming at the end of this series? Is it played with anywhere after this?
- It was nice to see Natasha’s and John’s story come to a close (I assume), especially given it’s been my least favorite of the series. I was also glad to see John and Dr. Avasti moving on with their relationship.
- What is the “wisdom” that Rama Kushna shows Diana?
The Origin of the Teen Titans
By Waid, Kerschl, Peru, Lopez, Richards, Schaefer, and Siglain
I like how they focused on Cyborg as the central figure of this incarnation of the Teen Titans. What I intensely disliked about the Teen Titans title is the one year jump that occurred during 52. Up to that point, this was one of my favorite titles at the time.