Start your weekend off right - with a short post devoted entirely to people losing their limbs.

*Oh hell. This could turn out really badly, but I’ll probably wind up buying the first issue anyway out of sheer curiosity. That's how you reel in the sales!

52 #3 (of 52)

I’ve been reading over a bunch of comics from the last pair of decades, filling in the gaps of what I've seen. Teri S. Wood's Wandering Star, the early Jim Shooter-supervised Valiant crossover Unity, David Quinn and Tim Vigil's Faust (why yes, I do let my dreams guide me sometimes). That last one proved to be oddly appropriate - in his afterward to the second Faust trade, writer Quinn asks "doesn't Marvel Comics 2002 look more like the original Faust than Marvel Comics 1989?"

52 isn't a Marvel comic, and it's not 2002 anymore, but those words kept ringing through my head as Black Adam seized Terra-Man at the end of this issue and ripped the old boy in half, his soft midsection giving way like a Slim Jim being tugged at both ends by a pair of greedy kids (I can just imagine the 'pop,' though the comic itself assures me it's more of a 'shrrapp'), blood spraying across those blue DCU skies and little nuggets of belly plopping down upon crack reporter Lois Lane and the rest of the assembled media. This stuff ain't even worth a 'Mature Readers' anymore, and you can't get much more 'mainstream' in your contemporary superhero comics than 52.

And that's not even getting to the head squishing - nice little tuft of hair flying in from off-panel, along with the expected eyeball and gobs of brain matter! It takes me back to the first time I saw real red blood in a comic (as opposed to the trickles of black tar that'd sometimes drift out in many superhero books around 1990 - it was in the comics feature in the popular video game magazine GamePro, actually, in which the titular superhero-like hero entered the world of Blaster Master and got his arm torn up good by one of the bosses. Man, if only he'd held down the pause button when he threw his grenade! Honestly, I imagine my nine-year-old self would really have enjoyed Black Adam's antics this issue, and I wasn't much of a mature reader, let me tell you.

As for the rest of this issue, it's decent as ever. Booster's amusing haplessness is starting to wear a bit thin, but it looks like it's all going somewhere pretty soon. The bits with Steel are still kind of dull, and Douglas Wolk has already gotten into some of the apparent continuity gaffes and logical stretches - honestly, the whole thing with Luthor is such a glaring blunder that I can't help but kind of wonder if it's intentionally misleading, though this might just be wishful thinking that ambitious DC's coordination has to be better than it seems, at least when joining vital plot beats from back-to-back major series. But I agree with Douglas that the character interactions are pretty well done, and I think the ongoing mystery is still interesting enough.

I maintain that DC is doing a pretty nice job of keeping less devout readers up to speed on what's necessary to know - Luthor's little speech in the hospital not only succinctly establishes his character for his first appearance in the story, but it neatly deploys some backstory as to what went on with Infinite Crisis. I get the feeling that's also the real point behind that back-up feature, though it's not successful at all in doing anything but vomiting out explanations as Donna Troy stands around in her cosmic disco leotard and looks surprised. Like I said last time, it'll likely be helpful when it's done, and you can read it all at once.

But my inner child is already roaring get back to the disembowelings! It doesn't need this weekly stimulus...