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52 Week #4 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Dances With Monsters

Renee Montoya and The Question do their thing, work is done to find the missing heroes-in-space, Booster and Fire discuss Booster’s current attitude and actions, John Irons contemplates what Steel means, and Ralph speaks with Cassie and her ‘cult.’

52week04Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Jack Jadson
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editors: Jann Jones & Harvey Richards
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

History of the DCU Part 3
Story & Layouts: Dan Jurgens
Finishes: Art Thibert
Colors: Guy Major & Jeromy Cox
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Edits: Berganza, Cohen & Schaefer

This issue fills us in on the fourth week of the first month following the conclusion to Infinite Crisis. Several of the core plotlines are at least touched on in this issue. Renee Montoya finds herself entirely bored and frustrated at a pointless surveillance job–a job that keeps getting interrupted by The Question.

Some astronauts–I think they’re astronauts–get a glimpse of hope at finding the heroes lost in space during the crisis. Additionally, Booster and Fire discuss the way Booster’s going about his hero-ing, as Fire comments on Booster’s initial reaction to the loss of Ted last year.
Ralph Dibny speaks with Cassie and her ‘cult’ as she’s promised him answers and the possibility of seeing a certain lost loved one. The final plot touched on this issue is John Henry Irons as he contemplates what he’s done by having rushed into the hero gig without thinking–what creating Steel has done in his life and others’ as well–and leads us into what might be a bit of a change for the character.

In a way, it feels like there’s not a LOT that happens in this issue–but with no less than five simultaneous, ongoing stories all being told, that’s to be expected. The scene transitions feel a bit choppy–not entirely interruptive, but at least a couple times I found myself flipping back a page to see what day I was on, and then was surprised when the main story ended, not having registered that it was the end of the week. In a sense, it might be fairly easy to be taken out of the story considering the week ends ‘conveniently’ at a cliffhanger.

Despite the aforementioned choppiness, I didn’t feel like I was reading multiple stories by distinct writers–which I feel is a good thing, given that this is overall a singular story of the events ocurring during the "missing year." The writing in and of itself is good, and conveys the sort of slice-of-life scenes of these characters.

The artwork is good–nothing much negative to say about it, really. Visually, characters are all recognizeable and distinct, and I didn’t catch myself at any scenes wondering who a character was because of artistic interpretations of familiar characters. The art may not be singularly distinct and recognizeable specifically (the way, say, Alex Ross artwork might be)–but it is clear and clean, and gets across what needs to be conveyed visually in the story, and that is the main concern.

The only story point that really jumped out at me offhand was Steel’s–I’m not certain, but I think we’re seeing where his history has been modified somewhat, possibly undoing stuff from several years ago. And frankly, I’m ok with such modification, as I wasn’t thrilled with said events as they originally unfolded at the end of Superman: The Man of Steel.

The backup I’m not as thrilled with. This week’s four-pager informs us (yet again?) that Donna Troy remembers and/or has access to memories and knowledge of the multiverse, pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths as well as post-, and everything up to present. We’re reminded THAT there was a multiverse, that there was a crisis, and that sacrifices were made that rocked everyone deeply. For this reader, at least, it feels like nothing new that wasn’t covered in Infinite Crisis. Additionally, it feels like the framing of this history is a bit of a detraction, robbing the history/story of precious panels to keep reminding us of Donna Troy (but then, perhaps that comes from my envisioning it as a singular story, how it will read when all the chapters are read back-to-back rather than a week apart?)

Taken as a whole, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of this format. While it’s not perfect (and I can’t quite put my finger on anything that WOULD make it perfect), I’m enjoying it thus far. Of course, 4 issues down leaves us with another 48 issues to go… This ride’s just beginning, and DC‘s got me hooked for the present.

Ratings:

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

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The Question #37 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 2/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Final Crisis: Revelations #5 [Review]

Final Crisis: Revelations part five

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Lettering: John J. Hill
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Tan, Glapion & Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

As the Radiant fades, Renee and the Huntress decide to make their stand against Cain (Vandal Savage). While they fight Anti-Life posessed Gothamites, Crispus Allen finds that he is dead again, and faced with a “choice” of involvement with the Spectre. Taking a huge risk and willing to sacrifice all, Renee’s gambit pays off, with deep ramifications.

I have no complaints with the art on this issue–it fits perfectly with the story, with some very nice panels that particularly stand out–particularly Crispus and the Spear. I wouldn’t suggest picking this up for the art alone…but the art is definitely a bonus point to the issue’s story.

The story comes to a rather satisfactory conclusion. With forces like Cain and the Spectre at odds, and the introduction/development of the Radiant character, and stuff that’s apparently been built up since 52 with Renee as the new Question and Crispus as the Spectre’s host since Infinite Crisis, this has made for a great ride that moves these stories forward and really serves to cap stuff off, solidifying characters’ places in the DCU.

As a mini-series, it would seem pointless to jump in with a 5th/final issue–if you’ve already been following the series, don’t skip this issue. If you missed the series, this one is certainly worth getting as a collected volume! (This series FELT to me like it has more importance for its characters than the core Final Crisis series did for the DCU as a whole.)

Very much recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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