I hope no one minds me doing this. In a series like this, I for one like seeing a blow-by-blow accounting of the details, because every little bit seems to be point to something else.
Anyhoo … Here goes with the spoiler alerts!
SPOILER WARNING, I’M ABOUT TO REVEAL THE DETAILS OF “52” No. 5.
WEEK 5, DAY 1
Ellen Baker, Animal Man‘s wife, is outside her home. She’s hanging up a banner that says “Welcome Home Our Hero.” She’s talking with their daughter, who’s afraid that AM might not be coming home after all.
Out of the sky comes the now one-eyed Sentinel. He’s coming to give her his regrets. Ellen seems so well in tune with the super-heroing lifestyle, because she makes Sentinel clarify that Buddy Baker is only missing. No one saw him die, so she decides quite matter-of-factly that Buddy is probably still alive.
In Metropolis, news of an announcement by Lex Luthor is all over the place. Luthor claims to have isolated the metagene, and now hopes to allow every person an opportunity to be a super-powered being. “It eans we no longer have to trust our safety to the privileged elite, the accidental few.”
Among those listening to the announce ment are Renee Montoya, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Booster Gold.
Meanwhile, Steel, or at least someone posing as Steel (I’ll get to that in a second), is donning the Steel armor. He then heads over to Saint Camillus, a hospital that serves metahumans. Also present is Dr. Mid-Nite and Sentinel.
Among the patients at the hospital are the now-giant Hawkgirl, a black guy in a top hat, Cyborg and Firestorm.
It seems that in the Zeta Beam teleportation that Cyborg and Firestorm were melded together into a freaky, sideshow like amalgamation. (If you’ve been reading Firestorm — which has been really good — and Teen Titans, you’ll know that both are OK now.)
Another patient is Titans affliate, Mal Duncan, who has somehow been infused with the “speaker apparatus” that once belonged to Red Tornado. It seems that Mal isn’t doing to well, and his body is regjecting the cybernetic parts now linked to him.
Sentinel talks about what happened in space. When the group fighting the Rann-Thanagar War healed the rift in space, they were bombarded with energy. They needed to escape, so Adam Strange helped Mal Duncan (who goes by the various names, including Vox, Hornblower and Herald) open up a portal, but something went wrong. When the Zeta Beam arrived, it was splintered and caused havoc on the team. It blew apart Red Tornado, it fused Firestorm and Cybrog. It froze Duncan’s blood. And Sentinel lost an eye.
As he talks about it, Sentinel reveals that he actually lost two eyes, but one was mysteriously replaced.
In a side moment, Dr. Mid-Nite asks Steel about why he’s wearing a costume. Steel stumbles for a moment with an explanation, as if he’s hiding something.
Suddenly, Mal Duncan goes into cardiac arrest. He seizes up . At the same time, the giant-sized Hawkgirl does the same. Steel hooks into a breaker box and delivers a massive shock to Duncan.
Duncan seems to recover. He sits up, and a voice comes from the Red Tornado speaker box. “It’s coming! 52! 52!” the box says, and then Mal collapses.
Meanwhile, in Gotham, Maggie Sawyer pays Renee Montoya a visit. Sawyer tells Montoya to watch out and be careful. She warns Montoya not to be acting like a private investigator without having a license to do so. As Sawyer leaves, Montoya reveals that she still has the alien pistol she found in the warehouse.
WEEK 5, DAY 7
Floating in space, we see the Red Tornado’s hand. It’s near a planet that’s about to be bombarded with several meteors. On that planet, are the relatively safe Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange.
Baker has a feeling that as soon as nightfall comes, they’ll be trouble.
Meanwhile, Strange is busy trying to repair their ship. The problem is that he, like Sentinel, had his eyes removed during the incident in space.
And in the forest of this alien planet, something is indeed watching the group.
This issue was a bit different than the previous issues. Earlier, it looked like “52’s” main cast was Booster Gold, Steel, Montoya, Ralph Dibny, Black Adam and the Question. With this issue, it appears to throw a few more in the mix, namely Adam Strange, Animal Man, Starfire and Mal Duncan.
I was completely amused by Ellen Baker’s reaction to Sentinel. She’s the wife of a superhero. Superheroes die all the time. Likewise, they come back all the time. She doesn’t even look slightly worried.
Granted, I’m just guessing about this, since this last group only just now started to appear. But given that, at the very least, Strange and Animal Man had prominent appearances in issue No. 1, I’m expecting to see a lot more of them.
I get the idea the person in the Steel costume isn’t John Henry Irons. In fact, I suspect it’s actually Lex Luthor, because we see that the person putting on the Steel outfit is watching Lex Luthor’s broadcast and this person is also bald. Who knows, maybe it is Steel, but the “stuff” that overtook him last issue is causing him to act strangely.
Speaking of acting strangely, as pointed out over at the Captain Comics web site, since when is John Henry Irons a medical doctor? Very curious.
And what happened to Hawkgirl? Is this something that’s been addressed in her comic or in Rann-Thanagar War? How’d she turn out to be 25 feet tall?
And lastly, why are so many of the heroes losing their eyes?
52 No. 5 (June 7, 2006)
“Stars in their Courses”
Written by: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid.
Art by: Keith Giffen and Chris Batista.
Three out of Four Stars (It was two, but Ellen Baker gets a star of her own.)