Last week in 52: The new JLA, consisting of a new Firestorm, Super-Chief, Bulleteer, Firehawk and Ambush Bug, contact Green Arrow and ask him to join their team, but with little luck. When the team has to go up against an arsenal of villains from different time periods, they discover that evil Skeets is behind the time rift and fail to stop him. Afterwards, the newfound team disbands.
J’onn J’onzz poses a government official in order to infiltrate Washington’s power structure and steer its players into abolishing Checkmate, all in honor of those superheroes who died in battle, most notably Ted Kord/Blue Beetle. However, upon abolishing Checkmate, it gets recertified as a U.N. Agency.
At the Great Wall of China, the Black Marvel Family speak with The Great Ten about maintaining peace in the world, but with the Chinese super-team baffled by Black Adam’s change of heart, a growing conflict begins to develop
**Spoilers after the break**
Week 25 had an interesting title, Liminal Times; the word “liminal” is an adjective “…of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of process…” Within the title alone, Week 25 did a good job of hinting 52’s ultimate fate: a future of 52 parallel earths.
This issue not only served as a good week for 52 fans, but also served as a turning point for the storyline. As the pace began to speed up, readers became more in tune to it heroes and villains, and motives once unseen had now become clear. Week 25 was also one of the first multiple artist issues in 52.
Week 52 begins with Jack Kirby villain, Bruno Mannheim standing in front of a smoky cityscape worthy of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. He tries to make a compromise with Mirage: swear on the Crime Bible and affiliate with Intergang or die. Unfortunately for Mirage, he meets his maker as Manheim gives him a face full of the Crime Bible. But as the master of illusion, I’m surprised that he hasn’t tricked readers and shown up in any comics thereafter.
Mannheim later goes on to kill more Gotham City villains, while the narrator speaks of a “dark angel made of living granite”, being the one to have turned Mannheim into what he is today. For anyone who doesn’t know, that dark angel is none other than Darkseid, or as they call him in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory, Dark Side.
On Halloween, Sabbac causes havoc in a Boston neighborhood as Mary Marvel and Junior attempt to save the parents and children caught in the attack. We have a mother trying to carry her kids to safety – and, is that just me, or is one of them dressed as Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory’s Frankenstein? Just before a crowd of children get squished by Sabbac, The Black Marvel Family save the day with a couple corny pieces of dialogue. “After all that candy, take care of your teeth and eat some apples. They are nature’s toothbrush”. Give me a break, Isis! But oddly enough, lines like that are all the more nostalgic to DC’s earliest fans – DC Comics was never meant to be badass, now was it?
In Elsewhere, Ralph Dibny and the Helm of Fate venture through the Realm of the Damned where Fate gives Dibny a lesson in the costs of magic and sin. Ironically, they journey to a statue of Felix Faust, who, in actuality, is the Helm of Fate. Taking Dibny here may have been Felix’s greatest error, and sealed the deal to Fate’s true identity. He goes on to tell Dibny of Faust’s pathetic journey in life, selling his soul several times throughout the years, and subsequently bargaining it back, but forced to pay more than what he had gained. After sometime nobody wanted his tarnished soul, not Klarion or Charazon (known for his poetry slam with Morpheus in Sandman). Then Dibny is told of Faust’s treacherous bargain with the devil Neron and the price he had to pay, much greater than anything he ever had to suffer. As pathetic as Faust is and always will be, at least he recognizes his own addict’s cycle.
During a Halloween parade in New York City – I wish we had Halloween parades – a couple of Everyman Project rejects attempt to rob a West Wheeler-Nicholson Bank, named after Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (courtesy of Wizard‘s 52 Roundup). Infinity Inc. subdues the villains while spotlighting the group’s latest replacement, Matrix.
On Oolong Island, William Magnus talks to T.O. Morrow about leaving the island. Magnus tells Morrow that he has no inspiration to do anything for Intergang because of his use of antidepressants. This was a bad move on Magnus’s part, but you’d think that because they have a past together Morrow would already know this about him. Elsewhere on Oolong, Mannheim meets with one of DC’s most ridiculous villains (although no longer sporting his Salvador Dali mustache or faux Chinese accent), Egg Fu.
The cover for this Halloween issue of 52 was a great addition. Pay attention to the Helm of Fate being used as a candy bag and the little girl dressed up as The Question.
This was another good week, although I don’t really like having multiple artists for one issue, this seems to be a hit or miss for most people. I did enjoy the future references in Week 25 (i.e. Faust’s introduction; Renee Montoya being the successor to Vic Sage‘s The Question; the rise of the Four Horsemen of the Apokolips); each was justifiable and enjoyable to read – especially when rereading the series. Although 52 was being written weekly, consideration for detail added a lot of girth to this series. Congratulations on a job well done, 27 more issues/reviews to go till the finale!
Stay tuned next week for 52 Week 26 Analysis!