Thursday, April 26, 2007

Week 51: Ithaca

Since everything's going "back to where it all started" this week--the calendar, the reprise of the "everyone gathering around the big golden statues" scene from the first issue, the return of the Bennett/Jadson art team, the preview of next issue's cover--and since I imagine next week's final post will have a lot of stuff from the issue at hand to chew on, this might be a good time to recapitulate a few points I've covered before, in convenient list format.

That list would be Stuff I Want, As a Reader, From Future Weekly/Event Comics, and How It Relates to 52:

1) 52 has singlehandedly used up the novelty of "the weekly comic." From here on out, if they're going to capture my interest, "event" projects need to be about something--both in terms of their plot and in terms of their theme. Pop quiz: in a sentence, what's 52 about? What's the elevator pitch? "A year without Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman" doesn't actually tell us anything much that's relevant to the story. Is it about the return of the parallel earths? Well, the ending seems to be--but most of the story isn't about that, or even building up to that. Is it about the reintroduction of 30-to-35-year-old Jack Kirby material into the main narrative current of the DCU? That's an effect, not a premise, and a setup for future stories, not a story itself. Civil War was a hair-tearing-out affair in a lot of ways, but it had a specific plot and some larger ideas behind that plot. 52? Not so much, as entertaining as its high points have been.

(Incidentally, I'd like to note for the record that I called the return of the parallel earths half a year ago... although, as I noted, I wasn't the first. And between this week's cover, DiDio's spoiler a while back, and the dialogue in this week's Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes--Booster Gold stealing a "tachyon disrupter rifle" because he's got "fifty-two worlds to save"--it's now obvious that's what's going on. I mean, I might yet eat crow next week. But I don't think I will.)

2) Here's a way 52 has set both a good and a bad example: artistic consistency. J.G. Jones' covers? Amazing, week after week. The trade dress--the cover design, and the ticker on the cover? Also a very nice touch. Giffen's layouts? They served as a unifying and clarifying element. The rest of the interior art? Joltingly inconsistent. There's been no real look and feel for 52, no way in which its appearance and style are its own. If the whole thing had looked like, say, Joe Bennett's issues, that'd have given it more of a flow; if the whole thing had looked more like Giffen's drawings, it could have been a lot more fun to look at.

3) Future weeklies/events need to be much more tightly plotted, start to finish, before the first issue starts rolling. 52, from what I gather, seems to have drifted off in some unexpected directions and then not gotten around to some potentially cool stuff it was going to include (and nine major characters was way too many). The pacing of its second act, in particular, was pretty slack. (Admittedly, the "one week per issue" gimmick kneecapped its capacity for cliffhangers.) Paul Dini has supposedly written a 100-page-plus "bible" for how Countdown and the DCU around it will operate for the next year; that's a good sign.

4) An event comic is effectively one more damn thing to buy, so if it's going to lead continuity, it has to feel like a flagship--which also means it has to be easier to jump onto, at least at the beginning, than any ordinary superhero comic. That's something that Waid's The Brave and the Bold is doing really well right now (the new one made me more interested in the current Blue Beetle than any of the handful of issues of Blue Beetle itself I've read), and that 52 was shaky about at best. It's not something I could hand to friends who read Ultimate Spider-Man or Bone or DMZ or All-Star Superman and say "here, this will all make sense to you by about ten pages in." If you don't know who Mister Mind is, for instance, the big reveal at the end of the penultimate issue of the series makes absolutely no sense.

This seems to be a recurring issue at DC. This week, I read Amazons Attack #1, which I couldn't make head or tail of despite having an M.A. in DC continuity (I hear I should've read Wonder Woman #8 first, but I'm not going back to the store to fill in the blanks of an issue numbered #1)--and whose title (at least), I remembered, was originally going to be one of the pre-Infinite Crisis minis. Memo to the Powers That Be: Just because you've got a piece of intellectual property lying around doesn't mean you have to use it.

5) Similarly, a thing 52 did really well at first, and a related thing it could've done better: the "old vs. new" problem. There are almost 70 years' worth of DC continuity to play with, and one of the most fun things about at least the first half of 52 was its sense of navigating through a huge and wonderful world full of characters and places that have rich, exciting stories behind them. But there's also a tragedy and farce involved in making history repeat itself over and over--recycling and updating franchises until they've worn to transparency. I don't want to see another '80s series revived, even the ones I liked. No Arak, Son of Thunder, no Vigilante, no Nathaniel Dusk, no Cinder and Ashe, no... oh, jeez, virtually every other example I was thinking of has actually already been given its own new series in the last couple of years. I mean, I'd be happy for any of them to appear in passing, but I'd also love event comics to introduce useful characters and concepts to the canon. Toys 52 has introduced (rather than reconfigured) that are still around for other people to use as of One Year Later: Lady Styx (was she a 52 invention or a Starlin invention?), Everyman, Oolong Island, and... can that really be it?

6) Bonuses. I really liked the two-page origin stories--they were a great little lagniappe for the issues they appeared in--and it's useful to have something to get curious readers up to speed on the tricky continuity of stuff like 52. (Actually, as much as I've enjoyed annotating the obscuro references in this series, I've thought a couple of times that it'd have been great to have issues end with a one- or two-page explanatory text feature, pointing toward particular issues or collections referenced by the story, in lieu of the old Silver Age "editor's notes"...)

7) It has to come out on time, because the point for readers is enjoyment rather than frustration. Full points and an extra high five to 52 for this one.

8) Above all this, "event" comics need to not just fulfill their continuity function but be totally fun and exciting in their own right--every time I get burned, it makes me less interested in picking up the next big crossover. One thing I neglected to mention in so many words last week about the World War III specials was that they were so crummy and joyless they actively annoyed me. What I'm getting, and what I think other people are getting too, isn't "event fatigue" so much as a longing for the hype to pay off in pleasure rather than in tiresome metaplot machinations, and a feeling of being bait-and-switched too often. The thing that drew me to 52 in the first place (and made me even contemplate the insane idea of doing this blog) was the writers' enthusiasm for the energy of their collaboration, and as inconsistent as it's been, there have been parts where they're obviously really getting into it. That pleasure in creation and play is infectious, it's what I liked best about the series, and it's what I want from the projects it's paved the way for.

Giffen Layout Watch: It's like there's a little 3/4-size edition of the Red Tornado, going "39! 39! 39!"

More notes:

Pg. 3: A much milder version of the return of Odysseus--he doesn't have to slaughter the suitors, just comment on Roger's toupée.

Pg. 5: The young boy, of course, isn't going to get named here. And wouldn't be great if Donna didn't immediately assume Diana's hairstyle and body type once she put on the costume?

Pg. 7: John Stewart sighting #1.

Pg. 9: The S******y statue in panel 2 sure looks like it was flown in from a few pages earlier--pixelated, even. But that's a great explanation of Tim's new costume.

Pg. 10: John Stewart sighting #2. The guy moves fast. (Can somebody tell me where Hal Jordan's been through all of this?) So did Mogo actually fly Alan home, as panel 4 suggests? Doesn't he have a gravitational field? (Isn't that exactly the problem Rann was dealing with in The Rann-Thanagar War?) Also: was Adam's blindness for the rest of this storyline something that was supposed to have greater resonance than it did?

Pg. 11: I don't recognize the flame creatures--although they sure seem like the kind of thing that would have menaced Rann back in the Mystery in Space days, and other flame creatures appeared in Diana's series in 1964, and again in the unnameable series in 1968. But the most notable flame creatures in DC history appear briefly in this issue's backup: the fire giants of Appellax, who first appeared in the original origin of the Justice League. (Barry Allen uses the technique Adam suggests to deal with his giant.) And can anybody ID the other Green Lantern?

Pg. 14: I was wrong: two pages was exactly the amount of space it took to wrap this plot thread up satisfactorily.

Pg. 15: Those aliens look like a cross between this guy and this guy, with a little Apokoliptic squiggle on their shirts, to boot. Might as well have just been wearing T-shirts that said "Kirby Is Coming!"

Pg. 19: Some kind of atavistic comics-reader species-memory makes me think that this X-Treem '90s version of Mr. Mind must be a visual riff on the revelation of the big bad Mr. Mind as the bespectacled worm in the original "Monster Society of Evil" serial back in the '40s. (And, like Sobek, he's hungry--the return of the devouring meme I mentioned a while ago.) But I have no idea--that stuff hasn't been in print in sixty years. Kind of a problem for a source of allusions, when you think about it.

Pg. 20: Interesting that Rip says "lose" rather than "die"--there's some larger cause they're working for.

The Origin of the Justice League of America: Those are some big, toothy smiles. Retconned to be part of the origin: Black Canary, which is only fair, since she was removed from the redrawn cover of JLA #21 a few weeks ago. Re-retconned to be part of the origin again: Wonder Woman!

If there's something you'd like to see me talk about here next week, get your requests in now, and I'll see what I can do--!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Week 50: As Safe as Safe Can Be

Everybody's talking 'bout World War III, I see. But really: doesn't this look more exciting? Or this? Or this?

On reflection, it doesn't even make sense why Black Adam is doing what he's doing for the better part of this issue. Having destroyed Bialya while the rest of the world twiddled their thumbs, he finds out that the Horsemen were built on Oolong Island under orders from the Chinese government. (This leaves open the question of why the Chinese government would want to piss him off.) So, of course... he smashes up Sydney, Pisa, Paris and Cairo before he gets around to heading toward China. This from the guy who lectures Father Time about having not violated the borders of the U.S. (immediately before ripping his face off). Then the Chinese government not only refuses aid from the international superhero community, but threatens to launch nukes at the home countries of anyone who provides assistance. Not even Pyongyang is that crazy.

Finally, the heroes come in over the Great Wall, and as nice as it is to see three of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers--the Manhattan Guardian? For that matter, Green Arrow and Arsenal? Not that they're not good in a fight, but... not this kind of fight. Back at the Rock of Eternity, we find out that the Egyptian gods are dicks, and that Zatara, despite having had a statue dropped on him on day 5 and requiring "urgent medical attention," is hanging out with other magic types, looking just fine.

At least you can sort of hear the "1812 Overture" in the background of this issue--there's a dramatic arc to it. The WWIII specials, on the other hand, feel thoroughly superfluous, and obviously tacked onto 52 after the fact--as far as I can tell, the Aquaman plot in particular makes no pretense of being attached to the Black Adam storyline at all, it just kind of happens over the course of a few pages, and the J'onn J'onzz material (he sits around and angsts; then his head changes shape) totally fails to proceed from his appearance in Week 24.

For those who didn't read the WWIII specials, here's the stuff with bearing on 52: Firestorm and Cyborg got un-merged because Prof. Stein used a JLA transporter to separate them; the Spectre's sitting this one out; and Amanda Waller's plan to send a lot of Very Bad People to fight Adam seems to have gone by the wayside as she's recruiting the likes of the Bronze Tiger, who of course killed the previous Batwoman and AH CRAP MY HEAD HURTS AGAIN. Casualties of the war include Terra and Young Frankenstein. That's it. Plus a lot of unnamed bystanders, of course. The fourth issue ends as I suspect a lot of DC stories that don't have a dramatically satisfying ending are going to for the next year or so: with the Monitors standing around looking very serious.

The fundamental problem with the specials is that WWIII, outside of 52, isn't really a story. It ties into part of the climactic action of 52, but it doesn't even resolve very much that has to do with the mother series: add four more issues of Adam dismembering people and smashing famous architecture between pages 1 and 22, or delete everything from the Bialya massacre until Billy uses the wisdom of Solomon to come up with his "admin password override" routine, and it would have exactly the same effect. (The big fight doesn't seem to relate at all to the other threads of 52, the Booster/Steel/Natasha cameo aside.) The WWIII specials are palpably desperate to get their One Year Later exposition out of the way. And I believe it's already been strongly hinted that nobody but the heroes even remembers the war, which kind of lessens its dramatic impact as a setup for future stories.

In the IC-to-OYL timeline department: this week's Nightwing Annual, besides having more dick jokes than that infamous Joker-boner story, implies that there's at least a month, and I'd guess significantly more, between the final fight in Infinite Crisis and the scene where Bruce, Dick and Tim head off on their ocean trip. And neither that issue nor the WWIII specials make it clear whether the Nightwing we've seen in 52 is Dick or Jason; perhaps the next Batman will clear things up a little.

Giffen Layout Watch: Holding steady at Week 39.

More notes:

Pg. 1: Well, good riddance to the Great Pyramid--I hear Vandal Savage ordered that thing to be built anyway.

Pg. 3: You can tell Adam's not in his right mind, because he's got no eyeballs.

Pg. 4: The Leaning Tower of Pisa gave Superman trouble here and again here, it's also prominent in the aforementioned Joker-boner story, and there must be half a dozen Mort Weisinger-era covers that feature it, but I can't call any to mind.

Pg. 5: I appreciate Thundermind paraphrasing the Shadow, but to paraphrase Kevitch, karma isn't fruit-bearing, is it?

Pg. 8: The Shaolin Robot's talking in hexagrams, as in the I Ching, which is a nice touch; the lines are usually horizontal, though. Reading right-to-left as top-to-bottom, I get, respectively, hexagram 38, "Opposition/Mirroring"; hexagram 6, "Conflict"; and hexagram 23, "Splitting Apart," all of which are formally appropriate here. And apparently the Great Ten are behind the yeti medallion shenanigans we saw back in Week 32, although if a powerless Ralph can take the yeti down, it's hard to imagine what good August General, Director of G.R.E.A.T.T.E.N., thinks it's going to do against Adam.

Pg. 9: Viz.

Pg. 14: Hooray for expository dialogue!

Pg. 20: And he's been caught by the hand of... somebody with giant hands. Again with the giant hands!

Pg. 22: Best scene this issue... and it'd be a lot more powerful if the same idea hadn't already been done here and a couple of months ago here.

Pg. 23: I see Prof. Morrow was able to take delivery on his auction purchase in spite of everything.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Week 49: Of Course You Realize

Ah, if only this issue were as good as its cover. "Eve of Destruction" has the right hint of not-there-yet-folks anticipation--although "Dawn of Correction" might be more like it. Despite the goofy Magnus action, this is really a week of moving pieces into place: Adam in a general snit, the Plutonium Man in play, the remaining members (I hadn't thought there were any, but there you go) of Infinity Inc. II cheerfully lining up for their inevitable slaughter next week.

Adam's out for revenge on the people who "orchestrated the murder" of his wife and brother-in-law; that might be the Chinese government, or it might just be Chang Tzu, or, if you go up a level or two, it might be Intergang (whose boss already took one in the back last week) or Darkseid et al. So why he's going after whoever it is he's going after is unclear. Or, rather, it's perfectly clear: there has to be a big fight with everybody against Adam, after he's had six days or so to regroup. But has it occurred to anyone to consider why "they" might want a war?

Also: Glad to see the prophecy of "dead by Lead" fulfilled, but that's one dangling plot thread down and... quite a few to go. 82 pages left to wrap it all up! (As others have noted, the cover of Checkmate #15 suggests that he's been de-Humpty Dumptified, too.) Really, even beyond all the little danglers, there are some elements of this series that desperately require dramatic closure--the Booster/Rip Hunter/Daniel Carter plot, the Adam/Kory plot and the Buddy/yellow aliens plot, most notably, each of which seems to demand a solid issue worth of exploration--and given that next week is Kaboom Unlimited, it's starting to feel like any kind of wrap-up those stories get is going to be compressed into two or three pages of exposition, tops. I'd also like to see some kind of extended coda for the Ralph plot and another one for the Montoya/Question plot, but at this point I'm suspecting that a Darick Robertson issue apiece was all we're going to get.

Not much else to say this week, and I'm sure there'll be a lot to talk about next week, so I'll keep it short. Also, I've got Death Note vol. 11 sitting here waiting for me to finish this post, and I know I've talked about it before, but the OMIGOD I NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT factor of that series is off the charts. Light Yagami's got a little in common with Black Adam, come to think of it: he's scary as hell, very few people oppose him and live, and he believes himself to be not only inarguably in the right but personally in charge of creating a better world. He's a lot smarter than Adam, though.

Giffen Layout Watch: will we ever move past Week 39?

More notes:

The caption on the cover: "Mini-Metal Men Missiles" is a reference to this issue, cleverly enough. And, in fact, DC's first (and, I believe, only) James Bond comic was this one--published one month earlier! "But you haven't another moment"--you just don't see diction like that on comic book covers any more.

Pg. 1: I'm not sure we've seen "hypno-goggles" before at DC, other than in ads in the '60s. They seem like more a Marvel thing. (Q. Why not X-ray specs? A. It's Power Girl; what's left to the imagination?) (Q. for real: do we know who this guy is?)

Pg. 4: I hate to say it, but Chang Tzu is right: it is easy to see why Magnus's colleagues thought his ideas were atrocious. You know, if you have lead present in your body, it's not going to represent a "stubborn refusal to quit." What he's describing here is actually fairly close to the "pathetic fallacy" (not the one in here).

Pg. 5: And the monitors would certainly have shown e.g. the little Metal Men who've been hanging around the lab.

Pg. 7: Nice touch of science, but it'd have to be a pretty high room temperature for cesium, francium, gallium and rubidium to melt--the lowest melting point among them is francium's 300 degrees Kelvin, which is 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, Oolong Island is pretty tropical.

Pg. 9: I thought there was something funky about the numbering of the Ten. Let's see. Accomplished Perfect Physician, August General in Iron, Celestial Archer, Ghost Fox Killer, Immortal Bald-Man-in-Armor Man in Darkness, Mother of Champions, Raekwon the Chef, Seven Deadly Brothers, Socialist Red Guardsman, Thundermind. And the Shaolin Robots seem to be their enemies, although it was clever to include a sketch of them with the original Nine.

Pg. 10: A "particle wave pistol" isn't something that generally exists outside of a few games, but it's a cute concept, playing on the old wave/particle duality routine in physics--especially the "I have no idea what it might do to you" bit a few pages later. Also: Omnibot. The only other reference to something of that name at DC I can find was actually a few months ago in this issue, which involved Booster Gold and an unusual metal...

Pg. 12: Thoughtful of Sivana to put Adam's boot back on after doing his work with the "thunder pliers."

Pg. 13: Alan's eyes shining green through the eyepatch?

Pg. 20: I guess World's Finest really struck it rich with those "artistic nudes,", since they now seem to be a hardcover periodical--not many of those around other than Acme Novelty Library these days.

The Origin of the Justice Society of America: Just as promised, Don Kramer gets to wow us in 52! Technically. Interesting that this seems to tease what happens next issue--although we already knew that from the new JSA #1. But Wildcat grabbing Adam's arm? Has he gotten bored of his limbs? The big image on page 1 is, of course, homaging this cover, with Jay taking the place of the perpetually continuity-indeterminate Black Canary. I'm amused that, in the final image, Alan Scott and Jay Garrick seem to be going by "Alan Scott" and "Jay Garrick," though.

And one detail that makes me very happy from the thumbnail of next week's cover: could that be Ystin?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Week 48: Unspoiled Monsters

I guess this issue's cover is the closest we're going to get to Anarky after all (and by proxy as close as we're going to get to the Haunted Tank). Too bad. But this really is one of the best covers of the series, maybe the best--although, when the solicitation came out, I imagined the Question starting some kind of grand cultural movement, or maybe even becoming a widespread meme.

What's actually happening here seems to be exactly the reverse: Montoya running up against the crime cult's menagerie, and putting on the Question mask for reasons that make thematic sense rather than plot-type sense. (I'm also wondering how Mannheim's obsession with prophecy ties in with his declaration that "the questions have not yet been answered" back in Week 28: do we understand the questions in question?) (And speaking of the lower-case q's, for some reason the title "Asked and Answered" initially made me think of Truman Capote's "literary sasquatch" Answered Prayers--maybe it was the cathedral setting and Kate's high-society background that pointed me in that direction.)

Mannheim was previously (apparently) killed in this issue back in 1992, and seems to be not terribly dead in this One Year Later issue--so perhaps the cult of Cain is the true cult of resurrection. Still, his all-consuming obsession with the Law That Is No Law, and the fact that it leads to his destruction, mirrors something I've been noticing about 52 in general: it's moved from being suffused with the minutiae of old DC continuity to sweeping away those details and references as we approach the end of the series. That might have to do with deadline pressure, but it might also say something about readers' endlessly troublesome relationship to the DC Universe canon.

Time (and perhaps Hypertime) doesn't just determine the comics stories of lasting artistic value--it determines which ones are true (in the sense of their truth value within the fictional universe) and important, which ones are of no consequence, and which are actively apocryphal (Max Lord the cyborg). There are so many damn stories about Darkseid alone--and even glancing at that list I know it omits a couple of significant ones--that it's no longer clear what he wants or how he might accomplish it or what exactly is up with the Anti-Life Equation, and I imagine that stuff is going to have to be made very clear very soon. (Speaking of stories about prophecies going unfulfilled, The Hunger Dogs is a persistent problem, since Kirby's work is by definition in continuity for Fourth World stuff, but...) I fearfully imagine, at an extreme, some kind of continuity synod, going through the old volumes and deciding which ones stay in the canon and which go; that's exactly the kind of thing Hypertime was meant to get around, and the same function is served in a different way by the very soft reboot of Superboy punching the universe (and its Marvel equivalent, the double reboot in House of M).

Also, as much as I enjoy dissecting the intricacies of continuity... well, speaking of Jewish holidays, this week is Passover, and a story about Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg puts it nicely. Somebody asked him: "Is not the liturgical poet who first writes that clay vessels in which leaven was cooked must be broken before Passover, and then states that they may be stored away in wooden sheds, guilty of a contradiction?" And he replied: "It is poetic liberty to state together two contradictory propositions."

Giffen Layout Watch: still stuck at Week 39.

More notes:

Pg. 3: Is hell really where sins are "indulged with abandon"? I thought just the opposite. And have we seen the "infernal device" in the last panel before? The Charlie Brown zig-zag on the back is rather Apokoliptic, but the screw on the front reminds me of the Mole Machine, and even more of the spelunking gizmo Klarion is driving in the final panel of his Seven Soldiers miniseries.

Pg. 5: The return of Suicide Squid! I guess the first panel is supposed to quell the "of course the prophecy's about Cassandra Cain" speculation that various people (including me) have indulged in, although I have to wonder how Batwoman would know the background on the prophecy.

Pg. 8: Is the color on this page (and pp. 16-17) weird in other people's copies too? "The shiv, the gat and the red rock"--the rock is Cain's rock, but "shiv" and "gat" are peculiarly 1920s-ish slang. ("Gat" in particular is derived from "Gatling gun," and those didn't exist until the 1860s; is the Crime Bible supposed to be older than that? I suppose if it namedrops John Wayne Gacy, as we saw last week, it's of fairly recent vintage.)

Pg. 10: Fire pits are a prominent feature of Apokolips, of course. "Baby powder and cardamom": a very good detail.

Pg. 12: Ridge-Ferrick again. Those guys get around. Reminds me a little of how, for a few years, most of the construction projects I saw had signs crediting a company called "Da Costa Demolition." And Montoya is a lapsed Catholic, of course.

Pg. 14: "Anointing the frail with his claret" is the most notable bit of portmanteau diction I've seen in a while. "Claret" meaning blood dates back at least a couple of centuries; while looking it up, I stumbled upon this wildly entertaining 1736 dictionary of "thieving slang." "Frail," meaning woman, appears to have been recorded in 1908. (And while we're at it, "wet work" seems to date from the Cold War.) Would anyone care to add some vowels to "Hrfk! Mngmnklly!" (or the later "Mrrhnn")? The comma after "escape" in the final panel is the only thing I've found in this issue that eluded Rucka's proofread...

Pg. 15: "The vile book" as opposed to the "Good" one!

Pg. 19: I'm not sure if I've got the choreography straight here, but it looks like Kate has killed (or "killed") Mannheim by throwing the knife into his back so hard it's penetrated all the way up to the hilt. Dot iss badass, as the mad scientists say, and I realize that Identity Crisis also asked us to believe that a grossly out-of-shape man who'd just been shot in the chest could hurl a boomerang hard enough to pierce someone else's heart, so it's not totally unprecedented in the DCU, as opposed to the world of familiar biology and physics. But at least that was a boomerang--something with balance that's meant to be thrown. I can't tell how far Batwoman is from Mannheim in this scene, but I'm guessing it's less than ten feet, and she's doing a straight throw. Even so, that ceremonial sacrificial knife looks like it's really not balanced for throwing--it'd probably rotate some--not to mention that she's just pulled it out of her own heart, which would probably affect the force she could get on the throw. (I'd probably object less if the scene were staged such that she just stabbed Mannheim directly, continuing to put force into the knife after it met resistance from his coat and body.) Looking forward to seeing what Polite Dissent has to say about this one.

Pg. 20: And the bat flies up into the smoke. Well, maybe that Batwoman story in the Infinite Hanukkah special happened during the 52 year...

Pg. 21: We get a page 21 this week! (And we get pages 21-40 in Week 52!) Perhaps Sivana got his dental ideas about Adam from looking at Egg Fu's own teeth. Yikes.

The Origin of the Birds of Prey: A solid condensation of about a zillion comics. Maybe it's a retcon that "the Birds of Prey" was the name of Barbara's organization from the get-go (and maybe not), but I was always fond of the idea that "Birds of Prey" was the name of the series, not the name of the team.

Next week: a special late edition of 52 Pickup, most likely! Don't be surprised, anyway.