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 #750

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.

Breaking Late News: C2E2 Edition

I had planned to have a conversation with Travis (Oddfellowsthoughts on Twitter and YouTube) on the podcast about the comic book news that came out of C2E2 a few weeks ago, but life happens so I am moving the news bits here instead. Hopefully, Travis and I will have future comic con news chats, assuming there will be future comic cons….

C2E2 2020 was the 10th anniversary show. Nearly 100,000 were expected, but I could not confirm any attendance number. C2E2’s own marketing page was advertising attendance of 65,000, but I don’t know how old that information was. What’s interesting  is that C2E2 was happening just as we were getting news that COVID-19, the coronavirus, was developing into a pandemic. How many people were exposed in Chicago…?

Coronavirus concerns postponed Emerald City Comic-Con (ECCC), as well as Wondercon and SXSW. In the Boise, Idaho, area (about 5 hours away from me), two smaller cons (Bordertown and Gem State) cancelled/postponed — I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more of this happening in the near future. Sporting events and movie premiers have been affected. Artists, some of whom depend on comic con income, have instituted online sales of their art (Terry Moore, Jen Bartel, others), while some publishers and creators have been offering free comics online to help us pass the time — I got Postal volume one as a PDF from Top Cow and Jeremy Whitley provided Princeless volume 1. And this weekend, many people are engaging in social distancing (staying home or at least away from crowds), which made for an interesting Saturday on Twitter for me.

Anyway, the Marvel and DC news (there wasn’t much else)!

Hanging by a thread

There will be a new Silk ongoing written by Maurene Goo and art by Takeshi Miyazawa. I like that this is a Korean-American character — we need more representation in the superhero genre. I do find it interesting that Marvel has so many spin-off/legacy characters now. Spider-Man not only has several of these characters running around New York with him, he has a multiverse!

An order of magnitude

There is a planned summer X event from Jonathon Hickman and Tini Howard, X of Swords (the X being Ten in this case). The title “may refer to the ‘Ten of Swords’ Tarot card – which, in the parlance of Tarot fortune telling, indicates abject disaster and ruin.” So, a normal Tuesday for the X-Men, yes?

I wanna rock!

Not to be outdone (like it’s a competition, right?), DC Comics will be serving up an “anti-Crisis” called Dark Nights: Death Metal by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. This is a sequel the Dark Nights: Metal, which is still reverberating around the DCU (much to my chagrin). “It connects all the stuff you’ve read from Crisis on Infinite Earths through Doomsday Clock, and a couple more,” said writer Scott Snyder. As always, Scott is ambitious in scale, but hit or miss on execution for me. Metal was a bit of a dud for me, so I’ll be skipping Death Metal, though the Crisis kid in me is interested in those crisis connections and what the outcome will be. If it’s similar to what came out of MetalJustice League: No Justice and the subsequent Snyder-written run in Justice League  — then no thanks.

Wakanda forever …?

Ta-Nehisi Coates will end his four-year Black Panther run with June’s issue #25. I read the first few issues when Coates first came onto the book and I was underwhelmed, but since it seems he has really developed an interesting story (based on solicitations and general Twitter reactions I’ve read  that I may have to revisit some time.

That’s no Beta Capsule, that’s a spoon!

I’m not sure why I put this down, but Marvel will be publishing an Ultraman limited series by Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom, and Francesco Manna. I watched very little of Ultraman when I was younger, but for some reason I’m still intrigued by the concept (and I know very little about it) after all these years (but not enough to actually buy this). Did you ever watch Ultraman and what did you think about it?

One is the loneliest number …?

Finally, Jim Lee, now sole publisher of DC Comics, talked a bit about the new status quo. As most people know by now, Dan DiDio abruptly departed DC Comics almost a month ago. As far as I know, the reason behind this departure hasn’t been announced (and likely won’t be).Say what you will about DiDio, love or hate him, he oversaw an interesting time at DC Comics, not the least of which was the New 52 line-wide relaunch in 2011. After the news broke, what I saw overwhelmingly on Twitter from the creators who worked for and with Dan was support and gratitude for the man — he must have been doing some things right.

Of course, when changes like this are announced at any major company, there are those who sound the death knell of DC Comics (or comics generally) or even celebrated the downfall of the company (what sad, sad people they are). At his spotlight panel, Lee quashed rumors of Marvel licensing or acquiring DC characters/publishing assets (something that Jim Shooter tried to do years ago as well). About the 5G initiative (purportedly a DiDio plan), Lee said, “our intent is not to do a line-wide reboot that ages up characters and kinda shuffles them off to the side, our focus is to continue what we’ve done best, which is to really create character-driven stories, pairing the right creators on the right characters, organically developing a universe that is inclusive, diverse.” So, there has been a change in the direction (not replacing older characters with younger ones), but the kernel of the generational aspect remains: the March Previews catalog contains the Generation One one-shot solicitation (establishing Wonder Woman as the first superhero, though that was also done in Wonder Woman #750) that appears to be kicking off this new state of the DCU.

Lee also stated “we understand the tradition of DC is NYC-centric stories, North East coast-related, but our goal is to reflect the entire world. And to me, when I look to the future, I hope there’ll be even greater representation behind the camera — people editing, writing, drawing the books“. As I stated with Marvel previously, this is a good and necessary thing. I hope that Lee and Bob Harras and others at DC Comics will make good on this promise.

So, did I miss anything important? Have some thoughts about the news I did spotlight here? Leave a comment below!