The mysteries grow as the weeks pass.

Title: 52 #17-20

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid.

Artists: Marlo Alquiza, Chris Batista, Eddy Barrows, Joe Bennet, Keith Giffen, Alex Sinclair, et al.

Covers by J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair.

Supporting features by Joe Bennett, Brian Bolland, Keith Giffen, Kevin Nowlan, Mark Waid, et al.

Premise:

Team Luthor makes its debut. The new heroes prove a qualified success as we begin to see that, just maybe, there is a dark side to the bald man’s plan.

Out in space, the lost heroes encounter the most unlikely of saviors: Lobo. DC’s most anti antihero has turned his back on violence. He’s become a sort of Space Pope of an interplanetary church and the protector of a group of alien refugees. The space-lost heroes’ attempts to assist inadvertently draw down a more serious danger than they’ve yet faced.

A badly-damaged Red Tornado regains consciousness in the Australian Outback.

Detective Chimp and the rest of the newly-revealed (but apparently long-established) “Croatoan” society find the Helmet of Fate in the House of Mystery. Ralph Dibny communes with the helmet. Is he receiving a special message, or has he not yet recovered his sanity?

We receive conflicting clues regarding Supernova’s identity.

Montoya, the Question, Black Adam, and Isis join forces against Intergang– after a brief sexual interlude.

Booster Gold’s funeral proves a less-than-stellar event, but Skeets detects an ancestor of Booster’s among the small crowd. This plot takes a turn for the bizarre when Skeets and great-grandfather2 return to Rip Hunter’s lair.

Origins: Lobo, the Question, Animal Man, and Adam Strange

High Point

Issue #18 features a number of impressive comic-book moments. Detective Chimp and the other Croatoans at the House of Mystery features good, atmospheric artwork and a sense of the genre’s history. I hope we will soon see more of this plot. I’m not certain I like the new direction suggested for Ralph Dibny, but it’s original. Of course, he’s taken a few new directions already in this series.

The developments in #18 and 19 concerning Booster Gold show promise. As with much of the series, my response will depend on how the writers resolve the mysteries they’ve created.

Low Point

I really didn’t want to see Lobo in this story. He works as the gag character he originally was, and I suppose he can work on his own. When he appears center stage in the DC Universe, he doesn’t work.

I can buy, say, a Detective Chimp because he doesn’t clash with my ability to involve myself, at some level, with the story. Comix are all about elastic realities and oddball characters. But it’s difficult to pretend I care about the fate of characters when, a panel later, I’m supposed to guffaw over a hyperbolic space biker who has committed genocide.

The Scores

Originality: 4/6. Some of the twists the average reader can see coming; others take the story in unexpected directions.

If you seek my reasoning on the remaining scores, see every previous review of 52.

Artwork: 4/6.

Story: 4/6.

Characterization: 4/6.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Flow 5/6.

Overall: 4/6

In total, 52 #17-20 receive a score of 29/42.

Bonus

Apparently, this page was proposed for #18 but nixed.

The 52 reviews will continue monthly.

The Timeshredder’s reviews may be found here.