52! Week Eleven

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 15 years later. I plan to post once a week about each issue. To read previous posts, click the link (52!).

Synopsis

“Batwoman Begins”

Week 11, Night 5: In Washington, DC, Ralph confronts some members of the Cult of Conner, who turn out to be teenagers. He then gets a call that someone has broken into his storage unit in Opal City.

Week 11, Day 6: Charlie and Renee meet with Kate Kane, who provides a lead regarding the warehouse on Kane Street: it’s being leased by Ridge-Ferrick Holding. Later, Charlie helps Renee confront an ugly truth about herself involving her murdered partner. The two break and enter the Ridge-Ferrick Holding building and are captured by Whisper A’Daire and her were-minions. Batwoman appears, taking out the lycanthropes.

Week 11, Night 7: Ralph finds the Cult of Conner symbol painted on his damaged storage unit, and he searches the boxes for what is stolen, which is revealed to be some of Sue’s clothing that the cult members have placed on a dummy.

Thoughts

This was the first issue to not include the title within the issue, so I, and everyone else apparently, used the cover phrase. Batwoman makes her bombastic debut in a four-page fighting sequence. As I mentioned last time, this issue is considered her first appearance, despite her brief appearance in the previous last issue.

Ralph is definitely sliding into the crazy because we see him attacking the Cult members, who turn out to be teenagers. His desperation is obviously mounting, but at least his realization about the cultists’ age snap him out of his fervor.

So how many times must we hear how much Kate and Renee once meant to each other? Hell, Charlie voices it here after we’ve been told over two issues by Renee. Perhaps we’re only getting the repeat in case issue 11 is someone’s first issue of 52? The more interesting thing about Charlie and Renee’s conversation was how Renee hates herself for doing the right thing by not killing her partner’s murderer. How will this get resolved for her?

Whisper A’Daire was a new character to me, but how many red-heads can Renee have a “thing” for (or for her)?

The final scene was funny and disturbing. When Ralph searches the storage unit, you see how many boxes are labeled for Sue’s hats, and there’s a box with a note from Sue telling Ralph to throw it away. Also, does Monaco have some significance to the overall story or just a generic Dibny detail? I like how the artist interspersed the panels of the cultists dressing the dummy while Ralph searched the boxes. The final two panels on the penultimate page were sublime: Ralph views a photo of better times with his wife and the overlapping panel is of a cultist sliding Ralph’s wedding ring onto the Sue dummy’s finger. It almost gave me shiver. So, are the cultists trying to help Ralph or do they have some other (sinister) purpose regarding Sue?

History of the DCU, part 10

by Jurgens, Lanning, Napolitano, Cox, Major, Berganza, Cohen, and Schaefer

The events of Infinite Crisis are summarized and ends with a revelation: instead of Jade dying in space, it was supposed to have been Donna Troy. With this revelation comes a Monitor and a To Be Continued “in the DC universe everywhere”. But were they?

Podcast 134: Retro Review: The Brave and the Bold #182

Direct Download (49:07)

Pulled from the longbox, I talk about one of my favorite issues in my collection: The Brave and the Bold #182 (cover date January 1982).

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, and visit longboxreview.com. Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via Apple podcasts.

Thanks for listening!

Want to know more about the 1982 planetary convergence and the The Jupiter Effecthttp://mentalfloss.com/article/76906/why-some-people-thought-world-might-end-march-10-1982

RandoMonday: Batwoman #29

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Batwoman 29

 

Batwoman #29 by Marc Andreyko (writer), Jason Masters and Jeremy Haun (artists), Guy Major (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer), Darren Shan (asst. editor), Rachel Gluckstern (editor), and Trevor McCarthy (cover)

The issue opens with a flashback to 1929 Gotham (that comes up again later, if memory serves), and then Kate sees a therapist (at the suggestion of Kate’s girlfriend, Maggie). The first meeting doesn’t go well, so Batwoman goes out into the night to work out her issues on her own. This brings her to Maggie’s workplace, where they have a conversation about why Maggie wanted Kate to seek counseling. Kate would rather talk shop, so they discuss the villain de jour, Wolf Spider. That sends Batwoman to Arkham, where she confronts Wolf Spider, but again he gets the better of her, and the issue ends with him releasing a bunch of inmates for Batwoman to deal with.

What a tough row to hoe. I did not envy this creative team coming onto this book after J. H. Williams III left. Batwoman just doesn’t seem like herself to me, in comparison to what came before. While I did find the new antagonist a little interesting, he shouldn’t have had been such a problem for Batwoman based on what I’d read before, unless what they were going for was that Batwoman was too preoccupied to be effective, but, if so, that wasn’t made clear enough to me. Then there’s the art. What do you do when Williams III’s work on the series was, I think, universally loved and you have to follow that? I think Masters and Haun had a Herculean task, and they just fell short. I did like the McCarthy cover–it was evocative of Williams III’s covers–but I really hate it when the cover states something about the story inside that isn’t at all what we read. All in all, this team just wasn’t enough to keep me with the book.

RandoMonday: Batwoman #25

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Batwoman #25 by Marc Andreyko (writer), Trevor McCarthy, Andrea Mutti, Jim Fern, and Pat Olliffe (artists), Jay Leisten and Tom Nguyen (inkers), Guy Major (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer), Darren Shan (assist. editor), Mike Marts (group editor), and Stephane Roux (cover)

This was a Zero Year tie-in, as you can see on the cover. Basically, Kate attends the funeral of Phillip Kane, Bruce Wayne’s and Kate Kane’s uncle. Later, during the blackout of Gotham, Kate decides that she must be able to help by patrolling the streets doing “soldier things”. While on the mean Gotham streets, Kate stops a robbery and sort of meets Maggie Sawyer. It’s a bit ho-hum overall, and the three different art styles don’t help. I do like the design of the cover, however.

Podcast Episode 33: 52 Pickup, Part 1

This time I just talk about some comics. Specifically, I discuss the following DC New 52 family of titles:

  • Justice League
  • Superman
  • Batman

Links:

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (32:05)