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52 Week #52 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: A Year in the Life

Booster and Rip Hunter vs. an evolved Mr. Mind for the fate of the multiverse!

52week52Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Mike McKone, Justiniano, Eddy Barrows, Chris Batista, Pat Olliffe, and Darick Robertson
Inks: Andy Lanning, Walden Wong, Rodney Ramos, Drew Geraci, Darick Robertson
Colors: Alex Sinclair, David Baron and Hi-Fi
Letters: Ken Lopez
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Editor Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Michael Siglain
Special Thanks to: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue is almost stand-alone, in a way. It tells the story of Booster, Rip, & Co. as they battle Mr. Mind, who has evolved and emerged, ready to feed on the multiverse created at the end of Infinite Crisis…a task they’ve apparently been working at for awhile. We’re shown some decent detail as to the nature of the multiverse and its origins, and while I’ve not been following any of the One Year Later books that have mentioned it in any way, it seems a good explanation of things to me, for now.

This issue employs quite the artisitic team, and while it might seem like some scramble to get extra pages in this issue, the story itself provides great contextualization and use of the multiple artists. I enjoyed the shifts in art…and the overall visual tone of this issue was on par with–if not surpassing–the usual…a fine finish that I hold no complaint with.

Story-wise, one can go a couple directions. Plenty of action, though with a fair amount of time-travel and looks to different points of plans that were set in motion previously, this issue lacked a concrete feel of being set in the final week, feeling instead like a special issue chronicling an "untold tale" of a "lost week" or some such. On the other hand, with the other core storylines having wrapped up the last couple months, this was the biggest "loose thread," and a LOT was crammed in, even with 40 pages, detailing its conclusion.

All in all, we get a number of cool moments–and an obvious if unexpected reunion of sorts–with events either tying back to the first issue of this series, or evoking some SERIOUS deja vu. It answers some questions, while leaving other newer questions (no pun intended), and provides what I consider some good, solid comic-book closure. That is, the stories conclude…but the door is in no way slammed shut on things.

Obviously, if you’ve followed the series all that far, there’s no reason NOT to get this issue (those extra pages? Same cover price, even!). And heck, even if you haven’t followed this series all that closely…there’s stuff in this issue that looks like it’ll have some solid repercussions in the months to come throughout the DCU (as well as some explanation given to the nature of the apparent multiverse that’s been brought back), so wouldn’t be a bad issue to nab as a single, even if some smaller moments/subtleties are lost for not having read the series as a whole.

A solid ending to a solid series…

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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Doom Patrol #4 [Review]

Dead Reckoning; The Coming of…The Clique!

DOOM PATROL
Writer: Keith Giffen
Penciller: Justiniano
Inker: Livesay
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Guy Major
Cover: Justiniano, Andrew Mangum, Guy Major
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein

METAL MEN
Plot: Keith Giffen
Dialogue: J.M. Dematteis
Art: Kevin Maguire
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein

It took me 3 attempts to make it all the way through this issue. The first two, I got hung up in the main feature. At the third attempt I managed to get through the main feature, and then all the way through the co-feature with no trouble at all.

I’m not entirely sure what was going on in the main story. To my knowledge all the characters are new to me–none of them rang any bells for me. We’re introduced to a bunch of characters contextually, though to be honest–I’m not sure if those are characters that are part of the current book, or references to the previous incarnation of this title, or what.

But as standard in Blackest Night comics so far, we see dead rise to elicit emotional response from the living, the aim being to ripen a heart with strong emotion before the subject is killed to power up the Black Lanterns.

The art’s quite good, to keep it simple. Though I’m unfamiliar with the characters, there’s no trouble telling them apart nor in following the action. And nothing to the visual style gave me any pause to contemplate quality.

The story itself was not enjoyable for me. I was not interested in the concept of this Doom Patrol before, and I’m not now after reading this issue. That’s not to say the story itself is bad–it’s not–but it doesn’t appeal to me.

This reminds me a bit of my early days in reading X-Men comics: being entirely unfamiliar with the characters and having no real sense of continuity, who characters were, and so on. While the story structure seems good, it just doesn’t interest me. However, for sake of following the entire Blackest Night event, I still intend to pick up the next issue.

If Doom Patrol’s your thing, this’ll be well worthwhile I think. If not…it doesn’t seem like it’s going to–from this issue, at least–add much to the Blackest Night event. Moreso the other way around–the event’s inserting something into this title’s story.

The Metal Men co-feature has nothing to do with Blackest Night, and seems quite timeless. A group of “female” robots have been activated by an arrogant creator seeking to outdo Magnus’ Metal Men. These girlbots proclaim themselves The Clique, and stir up trouble that gets the Metal Men involved (though they were quite happy enough to begin with, shopping with Magnus for a birthday present to give Tina–aka Platinum.)

I’m somewhat familiar with Magnus from 52, as well as the Metal Men from same as well as elsewhere around the DCU. They’re hardly my favorite characters; basically a take ’em or leave ’em situation. However, something about this story kept a sense of fun about things with some goofiness and the fantastic.

I was more engaged by this story than the Doom Patrol, and while I find The Clique to be a stupid/stereotypical element, it still works overall.

As a whole, I’m not entirely satisfied with the purchase as just a comic. In addition to simply being a Blackest Night crossover issue–the first tie-in of the event that’s not a Green Lantern book or mini-series–this issue is the first of several that are part of DC’s “ring promotion,” wherein retailers could order a bag of rings for every X number of copies of this issue they ordered. This issue came with a Yellow Ring. My inner fanboy was almost giddy at receiving the ring at no additonal cost–and for sheer enjoyment of starting a collection of the colored rings, this issue was more than worth its cover price to me.

Doom Patrol
Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10

Metal Men
Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10

Whole: 6/10

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