Saturday, January 7, 2012
FIFTY TWO(DC, 2006): Lessons in Continuity
This was a tough ask, 52 volumes representing 52 weeks of the year. A huge project ably managed by Dan Didio(with the vision of Grant Morrison supporting him), quite a roller-coaster comic book event. In a nutshell, the Holy Trinity of Super Man, Batman & Wonder Woman is missing, and a whole lot of young blood fills in their shoes. There are 5-6 parallel story-arcs(Booster Gold/Rip Hunter/Skeets/time-travel, Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man/Sorcery/helmet/Doctor Fate, Black Adam’s revenge track, Lex Luthor & the Everyman Project, The Question/Renee Montoya/Nanda Parbat spiritual track, Politics/Bialya/personal vs political revenge/JSA track etc.), and there is significant amount of science fiction rolled up into tremendous amount of time spent on action.
On the whole, the series is worth the effort. I loved the tongue-in-cheek tone and frequent in-jokes about ‘fifty two’. The series does well to entertain within the multiverse theme, offering a variety of well-written characters, like Lobo(space-cowboy), Booster Gold, Black Adam, Steel, Metal Men, Martian Manhunter, Question etc. and is concept-heavy yet provides great comic fun through its world-weary themes of capitalist paranoia, spiritual awakening and political sabotage. There are groups abound(JSA, Suicide Squad, Infinity, Inc., Teen Titans, GL Corps, Birds of Prey), all of which come in focus together towards the conclusive ‘World War III’ with Black Adam. This is specifically the part where the series pulls its efforts together brilliantly, the action is well-executed and the complexity just goes higher and higher. This was one of my favorite moments from the series, others being ‘skyfall’, Lobo’s space adventures and wry one-liners, Booster’s self-aware commentary/relationship with Skeets, and some mind-mending sci-fi sequences I only wish my mind could process at the speed of Flash.
A word about the WWIII Saga, this is essentially 2 books, but is broken down in 5 parts. The story focuses extensively on Martial Manhunter pulling his forces together against the havoc declared by Black Adam and is done by a different team than the previous parts (Keith Champagne/John Ostrander/Pat Oliffe/Drew Geraci/Andy Smith). Though the team is new, the WWIII arc concludes the series brilliantly, a little tough to approach but well rewarding.
I am aware that there are Fifty-Two companions, pre-reads and after-reads(aftermath) and will be approaching them in due time.
DC crossover/crisis events Timeline
Next on my multiverse wishlist(in no particular order):
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The New 52