Christmas and the New Year pass in the DC Universe, and heroes fall like snow.

Title: 52 #33-36

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid.
Artists: Marlo Alquiza, Chris Batista, David Baron, Eddy Barrow, Joe Bennet, Keith Giffen, Shawn Moll, Todd Nauck, Tom Nguyen, Alex Sinclair, et al.

Covers by J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair.

Supporting features by Brian Bolland, Adam Hughes, Tom Mandrake, Alex Sinclair, Mark Waidet al.

Premise:

Kathy “Batwoman” Kane and Renee Montoya care for the dying Question. Batwoman allies herself with Nightwing in the fight against Mannheim and Intergang; Montoya makes a desperate gamble to save the Question’s life.

The Black Marvel Family attempt to establish themselves as respectable heroes; an encounter with Suicide Squad, however, tarnishes their name.

Lobo and the space-lost heroes confront Lady Styx.

Many of Luthor’s new heroes lose their powers and fall from the sky; this appears to be part of a deliberate plot by the Big Bald. Steel gains new allies in his investigation of the matter.

Ralph Dibny takes the next step in his quest in 33, and does not appear again in these issues.

We finally locate the missing Rip Hunter, and learn that he has some connection to the mysterious Supernova. Skeets, however, has also found Hunter’s hiding place.

Origins: Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, and Power Girl.

High Point

Issue #33 covers the Holiday Season in the DC Universe and, despite the inaccurate drawing of the Menorah, the issue does a more interesting and entertaining job than DC’s Infinite Holiday Special, released at the end of last year. Luthor plays Santa to people he personally regards as pawns; Kathy Kane reconciles with Renee Montoya. The comic presents a nearly-wordless two-page spread of scenes happy and bittersweet across the DCU. Lois and Clark huddle under the mistletoe, familiar figures exchange gifts, a pregnant Selina Kyle feeds alley cats, the Batcave rests empty, and Steel burns the midnight oil. Related scenes on two worlds frame the whole.

Some seasonal imagery from both #33 and Infinite Holiday appears here, for now.

Low Point

1. Lobo and the space-lost heroes confront Lady Styx. What should be an exciting space-battle features a steal from Star Wars, Lobo’s return to full bastiche mode (with references to a story many readers would place outside of mainstream DC continuity), a hokey declaration of love, and a predictable ending. All of this, presumably, is supposed to be elevated into some kind of tragedy by the apparent death of Animal Man, in a universe where the demise of marketable characters rarely takes.

2. Power Girl’s origin story in #36 reads as though it lacks a page.

The Scores

Originality: 4/6. The Luthor plot has taken my interest, and I remain interested in Montoya and the dying Question, whose story has merged, for the time, with Batwoman’s. Other elements are derivative.

Artwork: 4/6. See any previous review of this series—though #33 and 34, in particular, feature some interesting layout.

Story: 4/6.

Characterization: 4/6. They’ve done the duplicitiously evil Luthor well: it’s effective, if not deep.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Flow 4/6.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, 52 #33-36 receive a score of 29/42.