The account of DC’s missing year finishes with #52.

Only once will spoiler tags will be used in this review. If you read further, expect to learn many things which were revealed in this series.

Title: 52 #49-52

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

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

Covers by J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair.

Supporting features by Don Kramer, Ivan Reis, Mark Waidet al.

Premise:

I told you I do crazy things without my meds.
Dr. Magnus, before killing Chang-Tzu.

  • Skeets hadn’t been corrupted after all; he was possessed by the eclosed Mr. Mind. The alien (surprise) threatens the earth and indeed the entire universe, but comes to a rather ignoble end.
  • Kathy Kane has survived, and a future Batwoman/Question team-up seems likely. Animal Man, Adam Strange, and Starfire make it home; Lobo returns to psycho killer status quo.
  • The Justice Society and the Chinese heroes encounter each other on Oolong Island. Dr. Magnus sends Chang-Tzu the way of Humpty Dumpty. Dr. Sivana escapes.
  • Black Adam breaks free and declares war on the world, resulting in millions of deaths and an unnecessary tie-in series.
  • Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Diana have all returned, but not yet suited up.
  • Meanwhile, Rip Hunter and some second-stringers save the universe—and they alone learn the true significance of 52. During the most recent Crisis, a limited version of the multiverse was born again, consisting of 52 realities.

Origins: The Justice Society and the Justice League.

High Point

Tellingly, the series ends with Kathy Kane and Renee Montoya. Amidst all of the universe-shattering, world-threatening, and mostly predictable comic book fare, this low-level plot proved the most engaging. In a genre where histrionic wish-fulfillment characters and hyperbolic action are commonplace, the most impressive stories are those which invest their fantasy figures with humanity.

Low Point

I expected some loose ends; this series left many. The cliffhanger scene at the Golden Rule Preschool, complete with an enigma hidden from the readers but not the characters, is cheap.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6.

Artwork: 4/6. The covers remain stronger than much of the internal artwork: #50 and 52 have definite poster potential. Each issue delivers some memorable panels. The mixed styles used to illustrate the truth behind “52” is a nice concept which could have been taken further.

Story: 4/6. The story-telling varied in quality, as one might expect when a comic attempts to tell so many stories.

Characterization: 4/6.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Flow 4/6. The writers left too much to the final issue, and the story becomes choppier here than earlier, heavy with exposition. Over the entire run of 52, they generally did an impressive job of establishing continuity among many plot threads.

Overall: 4/6.

In total, 52 #49-52 receives a score of 27/42.