52 Book Two
Reprints 52 #14-26
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Art by Keith Giffen, Dale Eaglesham, Shawn Moll, Joe Bennett, Chris Batista, Eddy Barrows, Patrick Oliffe, Drew Johnson, and Phil Jimenez
Book Two of 52 is all about building out the world of the story without really answering any questions. It’s only the halfway point, so there’s plenty of wandering around to stretch out the narrative. That said, there are great moments, and some plots are much better than others. One thing I’ve tried to do through this second readthrough of the series is trying to determine who wrote what and that has led to some deep internet dives to confirm or deny my assumptions. On the surface, it’s relatively easy to determine the authors of individual plots. Based on subsequent comics Greg Rucka is most definitely writing the Montoya/Question/Batwoman story. Geoff Johns is penning the Black Adam story continuing plot threads he started back in JSA. Grant Morrison is mainly writing the Lost in Space story featuring Adam Strange, Starfire, and Animal Man. I’m reasonably sure Mark Waid is over the Steel/Luthor/Everyman plot.
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JSA by Geoff Johns Book Three
Reprints JSA: All-Stars #1-8, JSA Annual #1, JSA Secret Files and Origins #2, and JSA #26-31
Written by Geoff Johns (with David Goyer)
Art by Sal Velluto, Phil Winslade, Barry Kitson, Mike McKone, Adam DeKraker, Stephen Sadowski, Dave Ross, Wade von Grawbadger, Javier Saltares, Derec Aucoin, Rags Morales, and Peter Snejbjerg
In recent years, Geoff Johns’ writing has taken on a more epic tone with his lengthy runs on Green Lantern & Justice League as well as his place as the main man when it comes to company-wide events (Infinite Crisis, Forever Evil, Rebirth, Doomsday Clock). Twenty years ago he was the man who brought us great character-centered books like Stars and STRIPE & JSA. JSA, in particular, is an excellent example of how good early Johns was. He told stories based on the histories and legacies of his cast but also built new characters from the ground up. The result was something like the best of Claremont’s X-Men run, where personalities were clear and interpersonal conflict was some of the best stuff in the books.
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Since May 2002 there have been seven Spider-Man films released in theaters, not to mention his appearances in Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame. He’s been the star of dozens of animated television series and the star of multiple comic book titles since 1962. With the latest film hitting theaters, I thought I would give the movies my rankings.
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52 Book 1
Reprints 52 #1-13
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Art by Keith Giffen, Joe Bennett, Chris Batista, Ken Lashley, Eddy Barrows, Shawn Moll, and Todd Nauck
After Infinite Crisis, the “holy trinity” of heroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) were written out to deal with a variety of personal struggles. To compensate for this and not wanting sales to dip the month following Infinite Crisis, all ongoing titles were given a banner of “One Year Later.” With this time jump, we got to see what the new status quo was for the marquee title characters. However, this left a year of the DC Universe unknown and to fill that gap in an experimental series was commissioned. 52 ran for fifty-two weeks, telling the story of the lost year in “real-time.” Each issue takes places over the course of a week with text boxes informing the reader about which day of the week it is. Because of this conceit, many stories have to have minor events take place off-panel and get referenced in dialogue. For instance, a new character introduced in around half-way through joins the Teen Titans and fights alongside them for a few months. That all happens out of the reader’s view, and it’s not essential to the core stories being told. It does, however, make sure things feel inconsequential because once 52 wrapped up and because it is focused on lesser tier characters, much of this gets forgotten.
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Reprints Infinite Crisis #1-7
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Ivan Reis, and Joe Bennett
Since Identity Crisis, the DC Universe had been caught up in building momentum towards the 20th-anniversary celebration of their landmark Crisis on Infinite Earths. Through side plots in monthly books and mini-series, everything was building towards this moment. You could arguably go back to Mark Waid’s The Kingdom which teased the return of the Golden Age Superman as hype for this future storyline. Ten years earlier, DC did a similar celebration of Crisis with the Zero Hour event, which I reviewed last summer. The hype for Infinite Crisis far outshines anything Zero Hour did, which stands as a quaint event in terms of breadth. If you didn’t read at least three of the four lead-in mini-series, you could be a bit lost here because issue one jumps right into the fray.
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The OMAC Project
Reprints The OMAC Project #1-6, Special, Wonder Woman #219
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Jesus Saiz
Continuing immediately from the conclusion of Countdown to Infinite Crisis, we find Max Lord, now the head of Checkmate, cleaning up his murder of Blue Beetle. It’s revealed that Lord has control over Brother Eye, a spy satellite built in secret by Batman after he learned about the Justice League’s mindwiping of villains. At some point, off-panel, Lord has turned Brother Eye into a catalyst for OMACs, nanobots that have infected hundreds of thousands of humans and turned them into sleeper agents. The over-arching plan is to use Checkmate and Brother Eye to “take back” power from the growing number of metahumans on Earth. Booster Gold is concerned about his old teammate, Blue Beetle’s disappearance. He works alongside Batman, Fire, and other heroes to get to the bottom of what happened.
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The Rann-Thanagar War
Reprints The Rann-Thanagar War #1-6, Special
Written by Dave Gibbons
Art by Ivan Reis
This probably the least related to the core Infinite Crisis than any of the four Countdown mini-series. It’s a continuation of storylines from the Green Lantern reboot that had just rolled out and an Adam Strange mini-series. As a result, it only has one strong connection that happens in the third act and sort of scuttles the main story, sidetracking into the Infinite Crisis event. This is also one of the least new reader friendly books in the Countdown with plot threads that go back into Geoff Johns’ JSA run involving Hawkman and even further back into Tim Truman’s Hawkworld series of the 1980s. DC Comics can be notoriously dense with its long histories, but here it becomes almost impenetrable.
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