Four more issues follow.

And World War III.

Title: 52 #45-48

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

Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Keith Giffen, Pat Oliffe, Rodney Ramos, Derick Robertson, Alex Sinclair, et al.

Covers by J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair.

Supporting features by Karl Herschl, Andy Kubert, Nicola Scott, Mark Waidet al.

Premise:

  • Angered by the death of his family, Black Adam wipes out Bialya (killing numerous civilians who had no connection to the terrorist attack) and then turns his attention to Oolong Island. The recently-formed association of mad scientists are not so easily taken.
  • The police arrest Lex Luthor. We learn that in the new, post-Infinite Crisis reality, Business Class Lex is also a scientist, and that he knew Clark Kent when they were young, as depicted in the Silver Age and on Smallville.
  • Natasha politely turns down membership in the Teen Titans, planning instead to work with Steel once more.
  • Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman, all in or near Nanda Parbat, seem poised to return to active duty.
  • Mannheim’s crime syndicate captures Batwoman and threaten Gotham with destruction. Renee Montoya, now the Question, and Nightwing launch a rescue attempt.
  • The Oolong Islanders subdue Black Adam and plan to auction him to the highest bidder.

Origins: Batman1, the Teen Titans, Birds of Prey.

High Point

Although I liked the original Renee Montoya character, she works well as the Question….

Low Point

…although the number of powered-up goons she and Nightwing take in direct attack strains even comic-book credibility.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6. The pieces continue to fall into place but, as they do, the story becomes more conventional. The auctioning of Black Adam is an interesting development.

Artwork: 4/6. This continues to vary issue to issue, and page to page. The covers, as always, have been well-designed with some original approaches to comic art.

Story: 5/6.

Characterization: 4/6. Villains can make the most interesting characters. Dr. Sivana, often treated as a joke, becomes genuinely creepy in a cartoony sort of way. T.O. Morrow provides chilly comic relief. I found the “revenge of the nerds” sequence overplayed, however.

Emotional response: 4/6. From the start, Montoya has been involved in a genuinely intriguing plotline. The human drama works better than the earth-threatening stuff. We know how the latter will turn out, but we cannot be certain about the former.

Flow 5/6.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, 52 #45-48 receives a score of 30/42.

Notes

I may have commented too soon in the discussion of the last review. I hope that Batwoman survives. She’s an interesting character, and if she dies, this series will have had too much of the “Girlfriends in Refrigerators,” what with Sue Dibny’s death in Infinite Crisis and Isis’s death in this series both catalysts for 52 plotlines.

1. Which is good because few comic fans or, indeed, members of the general public are familiar with his origin, as he’s appeared so seldom and in so few media.