52! Week Forty-One

By Johns, Morrison, Rucka, Waid, Giffen, Camuncoli, Ramos, Sinclair, Leigh, 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

“Miracles & Wonders”

Week 41, Day 1

Adam Strange and Starfire are attacked by bounty hunter Meklon, and their ship is severely damaged. However, they are able to defeat Meklon and continue on their journey home.

Week 41, Day 2

Renee Montoya returns from meditating with mountain monks. After sparring briefly in an ice cave, Richard Dragon challenges her to “deal with who you are … so you can see who you can be”. She tells him that she can’t and runs off.

Week 41, Day 3

Ralph Dibny visits Haven Correctional Facility to visit an inmate. He bargains with the director to let him see an inmate by telling him the way that Doctor Morrow escaped was teleportation microcircuitry embedded in the security cameras.

Ralph then talks to Professor Milo, revealing that he knows Milo has smuggled the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath as part of his wheelchair. Ralph rips the wheel off, causing Milo to fall. Haven’s director bursts in, calling for Security. It’s then that Ralph realizes that Milo had not been faking paralysis as he thought, and then the Helmet of Fate transports Ralph, with the Wheel, away from Haven.

Week 41, Day 5

Renee has a conversation with Diana, who is in Nanda Parbat to meet with someone who will help her “start a new life, I suppose…”. Diana tells her,

You are looking for reason, and you are looking for it without. But the only reason you will find will be the reason you bring to the experience … and that can only come from looking within.

Later, Renee sits in an ice cave with a lit candle and a contented look. When the flame goes out, the smoke forms into a question mark.

Week 41, Day 7

Adam is despairing as his and Starfire’s ship is tumbling into a K-type star. Starfire, who was injured by Meklon earlier, threatens Adam, inspiring him to try something. Then  Green Lanterns Opto309V and Mogo arrive, saving them.

Thoughts

Another nice cover tying into Renee’s ice cave and the other events of the issue. Plus, there’s the connection to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave at work here, with Renee no longer trapped in the prison of her own making.

Well, it’s about time Renee accepts who she has been since Charlie got sick. Now what will she do as the Question? Her encounter with Wonder Woman was completely unexpected, and honestly, I didn’t realize it was Diana at first. This marks the first time we see the third part of the Trinity as we head into the last part of the series. Given what transpired with Wonder Woman previous to 52, and why she’s in Nanda Parbat, Diana’s journey during this time is the most relevant and interesting over the men — it makes me want to read Wonder Woman comic books from this time to see how it was dealt with in her title (or was it?).

Ralph just sinks lower and lower. In his drive to bring back his wife, he is losing bits and pieces of his humanity along the way. If Sue could see him now, she’d be ashamed.

The Origin of Starfire

By Waid, Benitez, Sinclair, Leigh, Richards, Schaefer, and Siglain

It’s mentioned that her closest bond is with Dick Grayson, “the only Titan accustomed to having a partner that intimidating”. That’s fascinating if you consider how Starfire has been depicted during the years leading up to and after 52 and is very different from how she was shown originally, but still no less intimidating.

52! Week Twelve

By Johns, Morrison, Rucka, Waid, Giffen, Barrows, Stull, Lanham, Baron, Jones, Richards, and Wacker. 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 15 years later. I plan to post once a week about each issue. To read previous posts, click the link (52!).

Synopsis

“Mighty”

Week 12, Day 1

Gotham City: Maggie Sawyer chastises Renee for her involvement in the Ridge-Ferrick Holding building. Later, Renee waits for Charlie to “wake up” from his meditation so that they can follow up on their only lead. Charlie tells Renee that she wins and that they are going to Khandaq.

Khandaq: Black Adam changes the course of a river to help a village, and he and Adrianna discuss Adam’s responsibilities. Later, Adam takes Adrianna to the Rock of Eternity.

Rock of Eternity: Black Adam introduces Adrianna to Captain Marvel, who is having trouble adjusting to his responsibility as the new Shazam. When Marvel asks why they are visiting, Adam announces that he wants to invite Adrianna to the Marvel family.

Philadelphia: Ralph confronts Cassie about what the Cult of Conner stole from his storage locker. When she tells Ralph they took Sue’s clothes and his wedding ring in an effort to resurrect Sue, Ralph tells her, “Let me help.”

Rock of Eternity: Adam explains that he wants to give a magical scarab containing the powers of Egypt’s most powerful goddess, Isis, to Adrianna. Marvel, through the wisdom of Solomon, sees that she is worthy, but Adrianna worries about the power corrupting her. In the end, she acquiesces, saying the magical phrase “I am Isis!”. She then tells Adam that she will join his mission … after they find her brother.

Thoughts

I love this cover! The contrasting black and white colors between the costumes and flag with that subdued, sepia-like background really make the characters pop. It also foreshadows the relationship between Black Adam and Adrianna.

Originally a Filmation character in the self-titled Isis show and part of the Shazam/Isis Hour on Saturday mornings from 1975-1977 (and then rerun during the 1977-1978 season), Isis makes her DCU debut, and the powers that be paid homage to the show in the following ways:

  • The title of this issue, “Mighty”, is a play on what the television character, Andrea Thomas, would say to transform into Isis (“Oh, Mighty Isis!”), which sounds so much more like an incantation or conjuration than “I am Isis!”.
  • Adrianna Tomaz (from 52) vs Andrea Thomas (from Isis)
  • Hatshepsut is the Egyption queen in both versions of the character
  • The costumes are similar, though Adrianna’s shows a lot more skin

Black Adam’s (and now Isis’) story continues to be the one that intrigues me the most. Unfortunately, I know how this ends up, thus diluting the character growth potential. Adjacent to this is the situation with Captain Marvel and his position as protector of the Rock of Eternity. I’d forgotten about this turn of events and the impact on the good Captain, but it does make for a somewhat comitragical scene with manic Billy. However, I can’t say that I like this development, though at least now we know why Black Adam didn’t transform when he said “Shazam” in a previous issue.

I love when Ralph tells Cassie that people confuse him for his stretchy counterpart, but “[Plastic Man’s] the clown … Elongated Man is the detective”. Also, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to help bring back a loved one?

The Origin of Wonder Woman

by Waid, Hughes, Martin, Napolitano, Richards, Wacker, with special thanks to Chiarello

Interesting that they start out with Wonder Woman’s origin because 52 was supposed to be about the DCU without the Big 3’s presence. Perhaps it was to coincide with volume 3 of her series that had debuted the previous month.

I like the version of this character as summarized by these two pages, and the Adam Hughes art is nice to look at, mostly.

The Gutters: Is it 2021 Yet?!

Direct Download (46:54)

Recorded January 17, 2021

In this episode of The Gutters, my audio journal, I talk about:

  • The coup attempt
  • What we did over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays
  • I have a new grandson!
  • My last (I hope!) health update
  • What we’ve been watching and the podcasts I’ve been listening to

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, and visit longboxreview.com.

Happy new year to you and yours. Be safe. Thanks for listening!

Wonder Woman #75

Direct Download (54:51)

WW 750

Suffering Sappho! This episode I discuss the stories, pinups, and other items in Wonder Woman #750!

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!

Links:

LBR X Retrosode 1: Batman #700, Superman #700, and Wonder Woman #600

Direct Download (15:14)

LBR X logo 1400

2020 is the 10th anniversary of the Longbox Review podcast, and to celebrate, I am spotlighting 10 episodes from the archive. This is a rebroadcast of episode 1 where I talked about Batman #700, Superman #700, and Wonder Woman #600.

Thank you for supporting the podcast over these 10 years.