Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Thirty Eight

52: Week Thirty Eight

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 24, 2007

Cover date: January 24, 2007


Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Penciller: Joe Bennet (breakdowns by Keith Giffen)
Inker: Jadson
Cover: J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair

"The Origin of Red Tornado"
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Phil Jeminez
Inker: Ted Lanning

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge

Week 38, Day 01 HIMALAYAS

In the back of a military truck on a snow-covered trail, Renee Montoya administers another morphene injection to Charlie, whose lung cancer continues to ravage his body. She tries with no success to communicate with the other Tibetans in the vehicle as to where to find Nanda Pardat. When they stop in the nearest town for the night, in a motel room, Charlie thinks Renee is trying to poison him and refuses to eat, calling her a stupid girl.


At sunset, on the shipping docks, Dr. Magnus comes out to claim the lead shielding, baked beans, and, if no one's using them, the 300 thermometers which a scientist ordered due to personal illness caused by his crack addiction courtesy of Dr. Death. Magnus, with an open can of beans, returns to his lab to find Prof. Morrow looking over his work. Morrow refuses the cold can but is pleased Magnus' contribution to the "war effort" is showing progress. Magnus is rebuilding the Plutonium Man because he wants to correct the problems the first one had due to his mental illness. Magnus admits that his mind has greatly expanded with ideas since taken off his medication, but is still pondering what this war effort is being aimed at. Morrow avoids the question and says he only came by to see if Magnus still planned on attending the viewing of "the ride of the Four Horsemen." Morrow describes them as "the unification of science and religion in the form of unstoppable death machines."

Later, in another section of the complex, Chang Tzu reads Book 10 from the Bible of Crime for dramatic effect. In attendance are Magnus, Morrow, Dr. Sivana, Dr. Cyclops, and a Blonde Female scientist whose nose won't stop bleeding. The metal chamber rises as, through the "Rise of Apokalips" scriptures, Chang Tzu introduces three of the Four Horsemen: Roggra from the Age of War, Zorrm from the Age of Fevers, and Azraeuz from the Age of Death. Two of these monstrosities utter the words "Blaak Ah-dumm". The fourth Horseman, (the Hunger Lord Yuurd) has already ridden ahead according to Morrow. The blonde is horrified at what this so-called Science Squad has unleashed.

Day 03

With only seven needles left in the medical box, Renee drags Charlie by dog sled up the treacherous tundra of the snow-covered peaks. Charlie continues to ramble and struggle to breathe. Among his babble he taunts her and utters the word "butterflies."

Day 04

They reach the next city. At night she administers another needle, all the while doubting her own ability and noticing there are only six needles left. She internally swears she won't lose another partner. Again Renee tries to obtain directions to Nanda Pardat but again the language barrier gets in the way. She thinks to herself "I'm afraid of who I'll become without you."


In the laboratory at Steelworks, Dr. John Henry Irons runs scans on one of the dead Everyman metahumans while Gabe looks at the cover page of the Daily Star entitled "Rain of the Superman". He's taking it personal because the dead individual was someone he knew. His name was Brian and he was in the same rotation in the Everyman project as Gabe was. "That bald bastard", as Gabe calls Lex, gave him magnetic abilities, and, as Dr. Mid-Nite explains, he tried to hold up a collapsing metal beam when his powers cut out on him in midair. Kala believes it was residual magnetic energy that held it up, but Mid-Nite argues "Or a desire to save lives. The power of faith can't be underestimated, Kala. Even by a scientist." Irons refuses to take direct action against the complex due to lack of information as to whether or not Luthor can affect powers not granted by the Everyman Project. Beast Boy believes that's his ultimate goal. Suddenly, a mechanical gold dragonfly with Natasha's voice. She says she built it due to the phone taps and the constant surveillance of Infinity Inc members. Over a provided video projection, Nat shares her fears and concerns regarding Lex, and reveals there's a hidden room off his office to which only he has the key. She's going to try and get inside. Irons wants her to leave instead, but she refuses because "too many people died because of...of this." Nat swears Lex won't catch her and says goodbye to her uncle just as, on her end of the line, three metahumans come down the hallway.

Day 05

As she injects Charlie with the last morphene-filled needle, Renee can't help but hate the noise her partner's making as he struggles to breathe. Still, she assures him they're almost at Nanda Pardat, while in reality she has no clue as to how close it is.

Day 06

The blizzard gets worse, as does the noise Charlie makes. Renee finally collapses, enraged, and tells him to shut up. She swallows her rage and, to keep Charlie warm, pulls out his Question mask and drapes it over his face. She picks the reins back up and continues forward. However, the doubt is starting to set in, as she has no clue where they are. The snowstorm's intensity is so great she can't see a clear direction. She slips on the snow and the sled topples over. She turns him over to find a growing red blotch seeping into the mask. She finally starts to cry when Charlie says "You never answered my question." He pulls the mask off, saying it's hard to breathe already. Asked what she thinks she's doing, Renee reminds him she's trying to get them both to Nanda Pardat to save his life. He reminds her she can't and she has to accept that. She embraces him saying she can't lose him because she doesn't know who she is without Charlie. Charlie points out "It's a trick question, Renee...not who you are *kaff*...but who are you going to become?" Suddenly, while she fits him back on the sled, the snow stops, and the ancient city of Nanda Pardat is revealed. As a priest comes out, Charlie adds, "Time to a butterfly."

"The Origin of Red Tornado"
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Phil Jeminez
Inker: Ted Lanning

To protect himself from his enemies, inventor Prof. Thomas Oscar Morrow, through sampling future technology, invents an android designed to infiltrate both the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America and destroy them from within. However, Morrow failed to foresee how hungry this machine would be for a soul. After possession by the alien elemental Ulthoon, the Red Tornado gained self-actualization and abandoned his murderous programming, choosing instead to become a true member of the League and embrace his newfound morality. With Batman's help, the Tornado established a human identity - John Smith - and fell in love with a single mother and daughter, both seeing the humanity beneath the hardware. Recently bonded with a human body after years of replacement models, John Smith's transition has been completed.

5Main Story - 5: For me the triangular setup of this issue works, but the main draw is Montoya and Charlie's journey. Both have been the underdogs of the DC Universe and that treacherous, directionless climb through the mountains accentuates their character. Renee shows her metal by her determination and relentless pursuit of a cure for her partner. If she was not a lesbian, I could definitely see these two getting beyond partnership and friendship. As it stands, however, Charlie's last comments proves my theory: he intends for Renee to replace him as The Question. As to whether this plan will follow through, we'll all have to stay tuned.

The Four Horsemen of Apokalips unveiling is lacking somewhat. I do like that Dr. Magnus is becoming unhinged after losing the meds, but this pseudo Bible of Crime angle doesn't really stand out as much as it would have if it'd been from actual scriptures. However, I am interested in how they'll fare against their obvious target: Black Adam.

The developing Infinity Inc controversy is finally picking up speed. However, I've found an incongruity in the storyline, dating back to the updated Steel origin courtesy of Waid. In this origin the recent development of his character features him blessed with the ability to coat himself in organic steel skin and change back. This doesn't keep instep with the Everyman abilities being temporary. However, there's always the case that John found a way to keep his powers. Still I don't think he'd bother with the effort in light of the circumstances.

All in all we're all gearing up for a possible new Question, the inevitable onslaught on Lexcorp Towers, and a brawl between the Horsemen and the Black Adam Family. Can't wait to see it pan out.

5Art - 5: Though Griffen's breakdowns still need work, Joe Bennett never fails to deliver. His mountain landscapes and depictions of the blizzard were fantastic. His depictions of a frost-bitten Renee and a half-dead Charlie are fantastic, accentuated by good inking and color work. His designs of the Horsemen are excellent, as are the female characters. An overall spectacular display of visual storytelling.

5Back-Up Story - 5: As far as I can see, Waid hits the mark by focusing on the main developments in this character as well as pays attention to the recent change in Red Tornado addressed in the relaunched JLA.

5Back-Up Art - 5: All I can say is great work, Jimenez.

4Cover Art - 4: This cover is decietful because it pays attention to only a minor development. This image should have been reserved for the Horsemen's confrontation with Black Adam. Though dazzling, they should've concentrated on Renee and Charlie's journey to Nanda Parbat.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2007

February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2007.