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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

52: Week Forty Two

52: Week Forty Two

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 21, 2007

Cover date: February 21, 2007

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

"The Origin of Green Arrow"
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Inker: Scott McDaniel

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Week 42, Day 2

Renee Montoya continues her meditation in the caves of Nanda Parbat.

Week 42, Day 3

Inside the Tower of Fate in Salem, Massachusetts Ralph Dibny and the Helmet of Fate put the finishing touches on the spell that will allow Ralph to once again be with his late wife. After donning the Helmet Ralph puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger.

The Helmet flies off and Felix Faust assumes his true form asking how Ralph knew it was him. Ralph proceeds to explain that he had concluded that whoever the Helmet of Fate really was had to be lying about how Tim Trench died because when Croatoans brought the Helmet to him the first thing he did was look for prints. From there Ralph slowly put everything together.

Faust tries to run, but is knocked down and begs for Ralph not to shoot him. Ralph reveals that what he is holding isn't a hand gun but is rather a wishing gun from an old case. Faust confesses that the vision of him in hell was true but that Neron had given him an out. Faust could trade power for a soul that is pure and strong at its moment of greatest despair. Faust chose Ralph. The revelations continue as Ralph explains that from the very beginning he wasn't caught in Faust's spell but rather that Faust was caught in his.

Neron arrives to collect Faust but Ralph contends that Faust belongs to him. This amuses Neron who believes that Ralph wants to trade Faust for his wife's resurrection. Ralph admits that he had thought about it but in the end he had changed his wish. Neron grows tired of the confrontation and concludes that their transaction is complete. He causes the ring to fly across the room and pierce Ralph's chest. Ralph smiles and as he slips away he is satisfied that he finally got Neron. Neron realizes that Ralph's wish wasn't to die and that thanks to the binding spells Faust and Ralph had cast he and Faust are trapped there for eternity.

Week 42, Day 7

Fire visits Sue's grave and tries to contact Ralph. She sees the ring on Sue's tombstone and knows something terrible has happened.

"The Origin of Green Arrow"
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Inker: Scott McDaniel

Oliver Queen was just another spoiled rich playboy until an accident left him stranded on a desert island. The only thing that kept him from starving to death was the prop bow that had been part of his costume at a party on the ship from which he had fallen overboard. Eventually Oliver took down a group of smugglers and returned home with the realization that there was more to life than women and parties. He took the identity of Green Arrow and defended Star City even after losing his fortune. That loss galvanized Oliver into fighting for what many consider left wing causes and protecting the less fortunate. Currently Oliver is serving as the mayor of Star City by day and acting as Green Arrow at night.

5Main Story - 5: Wow, didn't see that coming.

Really. I didn't. I've followed the Ralph Dibny storyline with some interest and have been curious as to how this Helmet of Fate fit with the other Helmet of Fate that has been covered in the series of specials of that name. Once again DC has used the red herring to good effect and produced a mystery that had a satisfying ending.

What made this issue so good was the parlor room scene feel it had. It was so fitting that a mystery involving a detective should end like this. Sure the parlor room in this story was inside the mystical Tower of Fate, but the point was made and made well. The writers laid everything out, told us what the clues were and how all of the pieces fit together with the final twist at the end being that Ralph had been messing with Faust the entire time and the whole thing was an effort to trap Neron inside Fate's Tower.


What this issue also did was highlight one of my favorite aspects of 52 in general and that is the fact that DC has taken the second to third tier characters and given them a chance to shine. Ralph's journey, while not my favorite, has been interesting and certainly brought him up a notch as a character. It took the detective character and ran him through a magical gauntlet on a quest to somehow join his dead wife. In the end the writers reinforced that Ralph is first and foremost a detective and a damn good one at that.

And I always like to see a character like Neron get nailed and Ralph nailed him good.

So besides the neat little two page tease at the beginning with Renee and the epilogue with Fire this issue was all about Ralph and while I liked the Steel/Luthor resolution more on an emotional level this was a very satisfying wrap up to Ralph's part of the series.

4Art - 4: Once again the art fits the story. Darick Robertson work gave the story a moody feel that matched the setting of the piece to near perfection. Robertson may not be as slick as someone like Chris Batista but it served the writing well, which is what is really important, especially with an emotional ending like this. Neron may have looked a little clunky in places but overall I was satisfied with the art this week.

5Back-Up Story - 5: I like Green Arrow, so this origin was very welcome. As usual Waid broke down the essence of the character and gave us just about everything we need to know about where he or she came from and where they are now without getting bogged down in the minutia. Oliver's origin hasn't been mucked with too much over the years outside of the minor tweaking Mike Grell gave him so relating his back story wouldn't be as hard as say, Hawkman.

The only thing I thought was odd was the fact they Waid didn't go into the fact that Oliver had died. Sure the reasoning behind his resurrection was a little complex but I figured it was at least worth a mention.

Ah, in the end it doesn't matter really. Waid gave us what we needed and that's what is really important.

4Back-Up Art - 4: Scott McDaniel did an excellent job with his two pages. There is no question of that. He laid out the various costumes that Oliver has worn and showed the various moods of Oliver Queen from merry adventurer to intense activist.

There is only one problem I had with the art and it has nothing to do with Scott McDaniel or my opinion of his art.

Personally, I would have like to have seen Mike Grell do the art for this one.

Again, this is nothing against McDaniel. He has an interesting style and certainly put a stamp on Green Arrow. I just like Grell's art a little bit more.

5Cover Art - 5: As a piece of art this cover was phenomenal.

As a red herring it worked out nicely too.

Yeah, I liked this cover a lot.

Then again I've liked just about every cover this series has produced, so that shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2007

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