Important characters die, others are not what they appear to be, and Montoya answers the Question.

Title: 52 #41-44

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid.
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Joe Bennett, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Darick Robertson, Alex Sinclair, et al.

Covers by J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair.

Supporting features by Joe Benitez Scott McDaniel, Alex Sinclair, Ethan Van Sciver, Mark Waidet al.

Premise:

  • After additional training in Nanda Parbat and a meeting with Wonder Woman, Renee Montoya seems willing to become the new Question.
  • Adam Strange and Starfire escape desparate circumstances and survive with the aid of the Green Lantern Corps (Sometimes, Mogo socializes). Meanwhile, the aliens restore Buddy Baker to the asteroid on which they found him; he must make his own way home.
  • We discover that Ralph Dibny’s quest has not been what we imagined. Dibny was two steps ahead of his adversaries, and he sends two especially nasty villains to a hellish fate—- eternity with each other– but at the cost of his own life. Of course, a small door is left open for his return
  • Sobek reveals his true form and intentions, and the Four Horsemen created by the mad scientist think-tank rampage through Kahndaq, on behalf of Intergang. Osiris and Isis die, and it seems likely that Black Adam will return to his less peaceable ways.

Origins: Starfire, Green Arrow, and Plastic Man.

High Point

Several plots merge in plausible (well, for a DC comic) ways, and the deaths serve a narrative purpose. For that reason, I’m rather hoping these characters won’t be back, though the Revolving Door of Death never really stops spinning in mainstream comics. In some ways, the demise of these characters, comparatively minor in the DCU but major players in 52, may have at least as much significance as a certain other death of a major player over at Marvel.

We’re all pretty certain he‘ll be back.

Low Point

“I’m not so hungry anymore” plays like a bad punchline, and doesn’t suit the grim mood of the sequence.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6.

Artwork: 4/6. Inconsistencies remain. The attack of the Four Horsemen could have been better-drawn, while Plastic Man’s origin is a visual treat, with echoes of comix past.

Story: 5/6. Each issue focuses on fewer stories now, to the benefit of the series.

Characterization: 4/6. The focused plots allow for stronger characterization, but the characters remain, predictably, comic-book fare.

Emotional response: 5/6.

Flow 6/6. Plot developments in these issues make sense of mysteries from past issues.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, 52 #41-44 receive a score of 32/42.