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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Twenty Five

52: Week Twenty Five

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 25, 2006

Cover date: October 25, 2006

"Liminal Times"

Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Joe Bennett, Dale Eaglesham, Phil Jimenez, and Patrick Olliffe
Inker: Ruy Jose, Art Thibert, Andy Lanning, and Drew Geraci

"The Origin of Nightwing"

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: George Perez

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Week twenty-five, day one:

Bruno Mannheim stares over Gotham City, telling Mirage, who's come to see him, to swear on the Crime Bible (carved from the stone that Cain slew Abel with) or die. Mirage dallies, so Mannheim smashes him on the bible.

Later, at a meeting, Mannheim observes a table of half-dead criminals, executed for not going along with his global Intergang plot. He implores them to eat, telling them that Gotham now belongs to him.

Week twenty-five, day three:

Sabbac, King of Devils, stalks the streets attacking children on Halloween.

The junior Marvels battle him, wondering where Billy is.

From seemingly nowhere, the Black Marvel Family comes in, taking Sabbac down for the count and ending the threat. Black Adam and Amon do a lightning strike in the battle, working together.

They haul Sabbac off, wishing the kids happy Halloween. All are impressed.

Ralph Dibny, on his quest through the nether, confronts the sad case of Felix Faust, forever forgotten trying to recover what he desired. Faust is shown harvesting and ultimately being destroyed by an innocent soul he sought to devour.

Duly cautioned, Ralph continues back to the real world to strike a bargain.

In New York, Infinity Inc. stops a crime in progress, showcasing the new attractive female member replacing their fallen comrade.

Disconcerted, Alan Scott meets with Mr. Terrific and talks about the newly forming Checkmate.

Week twenty-five, day four:

On Oolong Island, T. O. Morrow tries to seduce Magnus into making Plutonium. Magnus still refuses.

Mannheim arrives on the island, meeting a Krang/MODOK-like entity calling itself Chang Tzu. Tzu reports that he has a terrible weapon to send to Kahndaq, the "Four Horsemen."

"The Origin of Nightwing"

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: George Perez

The origin takes Dick Grayson from the death of his parents and becoming Robin up through him becoming Nightwing. The last panel has mention of Nightwing's meeting with a Monitor; Grave celestial forces beyond our ken have informed him that his survival in the multiverse's recent crisis was neither expected nor foretold...and that his ultimate fate is yet to be determined.

5Main Story - 5: Still loving 52. Somehow, despite the fact that I rationally should be appalled that Black Adam's being treated in a chummy manner despite being a mass-murderer, I buy and love his redemption story, his new brother, the new family. Did I ever think I'd like Black Adam more than Shazam? No. But currently? Yeah. That's good writing.

I about crapped myself reading this. It wasn't funny as the Ambush Bug stuff last week (hands-down my favorite stuff in the series so far, I love fourth wall meandering), but when Black Adam and the family take this giant, Satan-style demon up out of the street in front of all of these American kids, and Amon turns and says, "Happy Halloween, Judeo-Christians!" it's hilarious on a number of levels. I kind of relate to it because of its raw silliness, basically, but it's also a nice, subtle commentary. I mean, if we were to go to Iraq and save someone as a hero on Ramadan, we'd awkwardly stammer a befitting gesture toward the culture we didn't necessarily understand (on average) and then fly out of there, and it would be equally funny.

It's just a good setup, a good situation, hands-down awesome.

The Morrow stuff still isn't intriguing me, but Mannheim certainly is. That's looking awesome. The Crime Bible, the new pseudo-society...good stuff.

Ralph Dibny's Faustian bargain warning was apt and well-put too. I feel bad for him, I mean, it's in the name... "Faust"ian bargain. But it seems it's where he's going, and I buy it. Strong work.

5Art - 5: A lot of cooks, but it doesn't spoil the broth. Every scene is still incredibly detailed, every action strongly conveyed. There is no break in the flow. It's frankly pretty miraculous given the schedule that things haven't fallen apart in any way. I'm blown away.

5Back-Up Story - 5: Finely crafted, as most of the rest of these origins have been. I'm actually really won over by these, and look forward to the collection.

I missed Nightwing #125, but apparently, a Monitor shows up and tells him that he was supposed to die in the CRISIS, which is interesting, because apparently that's what was going to happen, but Johns went with Superboy instead to up the stakes. The hardcover of Infinite Crisis elaborates on that well.

I like that as a story idea. Nightwing, Ion, and Donna Troy have all been marked for death by the Monitors...and the Monitor lives? Interesting, and it has some great potential to me. Foreboding for an origin, but still neat.

5Back-Up Art - 5: Perez does a good job with his two pages, particularly the evolution to Nightwing and the older picture of Robin. Very strong.

5Cover Art - 5: Alfred E. Neumann-esque, relevant to the issue at hand, poking fun at the subject matter, and hey, subtle with Fate there. I can't honestly think of a string of covers I've liked this well as with this series in a long time. I suppose if you string out the Superman covers for 25 issues you'd have as many, but the rush is just overwhelming. Strong.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2006

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