Week 35: That Most Dangerous of AnimalsSee, here I was, thinking that this was the issue where everything was going to become radically different and the payoff was going to start happening. Instead, we get the "kerplunk" scene we knew we were getting from the end of last issue, Luthor revealing that he's actually kind of a bastard after all, members of Infinity II declaring twice in two pages that it sure is a good thing they still have their powers, and a lost-in-space scene that once again fails to advance that plot. At least Skeets looks to be showing up next issue.
While I'm at it: Does anybody know if the alternate cover for this issue actually exists, and can you point me toward an image? I'm hoping the reporter's sketchbook for week 33 puts in an appearance soon, too.
There's not a lot of thematic forward motion in this issue--but I've been more in James Brown territory than in 52 territory this week as it is. So let's review for a moment what sort of character development we've seen in our nine leads over the course of the first 35 weeks:
WEEK 1: Very emo; prone to dismemberment.
WEEK 35: Ditto, but also enjoys holding hands, long walks.
WEEK 1: Perky, arrogant, avaricious, entirely unlike his Infinite Crisis-era self.
WEEK 35: Crispy, carbonized, offstage.
WEEK 1: Brittle is the opposite of ductile, isn't it?
WEEK 35: Still stuck at the bargaining phase of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's model of grief--and the helmet of Fate is a heck of a bargaining chip. Come to think of it, Kübler-Ross's own story involves a fake clone, a naked "spirit medium" with a turban, some "afterlife entities" hooking up with the bereaved... wait! it's practically Ralph's story!
WEEK 1: Drinking a lot, irritable.
WEEK 35: Mostly just reacting to everything that's happened to her--she's had very few opportunities to act independently of what the whole business with Charlie has required of her. Her story is still her character-formation arc--"what will she become"--and "why her" really is the question, since it still isn't at all clear why Charlie picked her.
WEEK 1: Mysterious.
WEEK 35: Unwell.
WEEK 1: Sullen, hardworking, not getting along at all well with Natasha.
WEEK 35: See above.
WEEK 5: Blind, gruff, running on fumes, largely devoid of personality.
WEEK 35: Ditto.
WEEK 5: Homesick family man.
WEEK 35: Homesick family man who's pretty sure somebody out there likes him.
WEEK 5: Personality-free glyph.
WEEK 35: Personality-free glyph--I think her only flash of personality in the series has been her confrontation with Lobo.
Pg. 2: The title is a reference to the 1992 storyline--also partly drawn by Jurgens--that introduced John Henry Irons, among other things. As J.G. Jones confirms, it was this issue's working title, too...
Pg. 4: One real-world George Calderon translates Tolstoy. Another was "an impulsive, quick-tempered man with a cocaine habit." In any case, this George Calderon seems to have had a less impressive career as Leviathan than the pre-reboot Gim Allon will have... and even if he'd been able to grow, it wouldn't have done much good, thanks to the "Gwen Stacy problem" explained by Secretary of State Kakalios. Also, Lee is probably not this one. Incidentally, my research turned up this useful page, should you ever be presented with revocable superpowers by a former U.S. President.
Pg. 5: Beautiful bit of business there.
Pg. 6: What's Supernova doing chatting with Luthor while people are still falling from the skies? All of Luthor's dialogue from the beginning of the issue to the end of this scene takes about 25 seconds to read--even assuming that George's failed rescue of the woman who does not so much fly as plummet happens simultaneously with Luthor's scene, that the guy in this page's first panel running toward the exit of what looks rather a lot like the Steelworks with body language that all but announces "this looks like a job for--" is not somebody who subsequently has to change into Supermova and get to where Luthor is, and that Dennis called him five seconds after midnight, by the end of the page the remaining plummeters have already been falling for 30 seconds. Basic physics tells us that they've fallen about 4400 meters; that's very high indeed to be up in the air unprotected.
Feel free to correct my physics, incidentally.
Pg. 7: There is indeed a Fifth Avenue in the New Troy borough of Metropolis; the Lexcorp Towers are at the Eastern tip of the borough. But it doesn't look like the Steelworks is very close to them.
Pg. 9: Ami Soon was last seen in Week 7, and seems to have gotten a lot less Asian-looking since then. And regularguy over on the DC boards points out that we've seen the "teleporting the crowd just outside the Metropolis city limits" gambit before.
Pp. 12-13: The return of Dan Jurgens' curious Geo-Force fixation! And the fourth Dr. Light, Kimiyo Hoshi, is the one who can talk about more than one subject--although this page explains the baffling continuity mess that's accrued around her. (And I have to say I really miss the days when Arthur Light was the kind of character one would expect Ty Templeton to draw. While you're at that site, by the way, do spend some time reading Stig's Inferno...)
Pg. 14: I like the Metamorpho-as-oxygen-mask concept. Plus: the return of Offspring! I know Mark Waid has tried to distance himself from The Kingdom, but any comic with Frank Quitely art is A-OK with me. Speaking of which: that new All-Star Superman is just wonderful...
Pg. 18: Hmm: do you think it might just be possible that this is not in fact Jake but Hannibal? Ah, but what on earth would give anyone that idea? Hey, when was the last time anybody saw Hannibal and Jake in the same place...? I don't think we necessarily saw Everyman in the big action scene...
Pg. 19: How many weeks in a row do we need to read the "oh, man, Lady Styx, she's a toughie, and there are only four of us, how the heck are we going to get through this one?" speech? Also, a "Type 2 civilization" on the Kardashev scale is pretty challenging to mess with, and "virtually immune to extinction." Maybe it's a different scale we're dealing with here.
Pg. 20: So Buddy's using Fishy's abilities to survive in the vacuum, but how is Adam doing it?