One Comic I Read

*52 Dept: And as the series’ penultimate issue draws to a close, it’s more and more evident that the writing team plans to just hit all the key character moments they feel like hitting, possibly leaving the rest of the series to sort itself out. Heaven knows I've kind of given up on checking earlier issue to see what fits and what doesn't. What was the purpose of Animal Man and the aliens? Besides being an excuse for the drama of Buddy being left in space to resolve?

No idea here - there’s still an extra-sized issue to go, but I don’t think anyone’s going to even try to cover everything. I do suspect there’ll be some sort of wizened/cosmic narration struggling to assure us that all of this stuff ties together thematically, just as I’m sure a Monitor or two will pop in at some point to pitch for DC’s next big Event(s). I mean, come on - next week is 52 #52, followed immediately by Countdown #51 (the series counts down, you see), so it’s unavoidable that there’ll be some connecting fiber between the two, although hopefully the unique chronological state of 52 will prevent the ending of that series from serving as a direct prologue to the next. God willing.

And yet, I enjoyed this issue, probably because I liked the character beats they hit. I also liked the little callback to the Superboy memorial at the beginning of the series, at least in theory, although much of it seemed stuck on continuity cleanup detail (like being made to mop the restaurant floor five minutes before closing), and all the bits with the ‘major’ superheroes only served to remind me of how incomplete their own recurring guest appearances seemed (well, at least Batman’s and Wonder Woman’s). I kind of liked seeing Donna Troy wander out again, and it was kind of funny how she comforted someone else crying instead of standing around blubbering like she did for most of the beginning of the series, although I don’t even think that bit was intentional.

Other things I liked:

1. Lobo’s epilogue! Why? Because this late in the game, with as few pages left as the writing team has, and with so much to resolve, the absolute least necessary thing that could possibly be done would be to devote two entire pages to the crackling resolution to Lobo’s space pilgrimage, but here it fucking is. And I liked it! I liked the goofy joke ending, the row of fish wearing robes. “ENTER UNTO MY PRESENCE, MAIN MAN.” Yeah, if we’re going to burn some space, let’s do it like this!

2. Oh, most of this issue is the resolution to the Lost in Space plot, in case you were wondering. It’s almost certainly the most unreservedly happy of the 52 endings, and probably the most satisfying, since it most effectively illustrates what the characters were struggling for - Animal Man’s bits were probably the sweetest pieces of work in the entire series, actually. Praise to family, praise to friends, much struggling across the distance of space to repay silly favors. Honor. Valor. Lots of traditional values on display. Although the jokes about Starfire’s absurdly over-sexualized costume would have landed a little better if Mrs. Animal Man didn’t look like she’d applied the upper portion of her dress via spray can. I also guess there was some last-minute rearranging of the pages, since she’s quite obviously wearing the same clothes on Day 6 as she was on Day 1, only a different color (nice save in the dialogue regarding Buddy’s costume, though)… or maybe spray-on dresses come in a variety of beautiful colors! Was this a coupon on the 52 homepage?

3. I could practically feel whoever typed the phrase “52 Morrows” trembling at the keyboard, since I expect they’ve been waiting months to get that one out. The final cliffhanger twist maybe isn’t all that surprising, if only by sheer process of elimination, but it did come off fairly well, I thought. Well, one more.