More tales draw to a close

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We are 41 weeks into DC’s 52, and naturally many of the storylines need to build to a conclusion if we are to get to World War III before May. This week, we get to see more Green Lanterns, see Renee fight a dragon, learn how T.O. Morrow made his escape, and get a brief cameo by one of the big three. I have a much better outlook on 52 this week, and was generally pleased with the results.

Even though the heroes in space have made it past Lady Styx, had some help from Lobo, and are now closer to home, they still have a storm of bounty hunters on their trail. The week begins with Adam Strange and Starfire right in the middle of being attacked by robot reject Molek, who reminds me of IG-88. Adam Strange is pretty upset, and he has a right to be; the bounty hunter crippled their ship – the ship that has brought them from one side of the universe to the other.

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01.jpgAdam is still blind, so it amazes me he is able to take down the bounty hunter without any help. While I don’t buy DC’s reasoning that Adam has been able to deal with his blindness over the year, I will let it slide because it helps explain who his is later in the issue.

During the battle, Kory is wounded quite severely, and to make matters worse, the bounty hunter blows up his own ship up so the duo can’t use it to get home. This leaves them alone and drifting in space with only life support keeping them alive. Dramatic? You bet! Is it the end of their adventurers? Not by a long shot, and I have to give DC kudos for holding off the reveal until the end of the issue, which is simply brilliant.

Day two finds us in Nanda Parbat checking in with Renee Montoya. From her conversation with Professor Aristotle Rodor, she learns Richard Dragon is waiting for her in his ice cave to speak with her. When she arrives, Dragon’s reflection appears in every facet of the cave very much like the final fight scene in Enter the Dragon (coincidence?). Richard and Renee spar as Richard points out exactly what is wrong – she’s running away each time she loses someone close to her.

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An ice cave or spooky place on the planet Dagobah?

Day three dawns on the Haven Correctional Facility, where we find Ralph hoping to meet one of the locked down prisoners. At first, the warden isn’t going to allow it due to Dr. Morrow’s escape from his sealed cell. Even though he is clearly shown drinking from his flask again, Ralph is ever the detective, and a quick glance at the duty roster reveals new cameras had been installed before the breakout, and has he examines the cameras in question, he quickly reveals how Morrow slipped by everyone.

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Dang, first the identity of Supernova, then the escape of Morrow in just a few panels! Ralph Dibny is the world’s greatest detective.

This gives Ralph the in he needs to meet Professor Milo, The Technomancer, a crippled old man confined to a wheelchair. Even though Milo looks extremely pathetic and old, Ralph comes right out and says he’s faking it so he can hide a magical relic in plain site; the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath.

What is the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath used for? According to Wikipedia, the Green Bell of Uthool, the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath and the Red Jar of Calythos are all artifacts that can summon the Demons Three, three demon brothers who at one time ruled the galaxy before being banished by the Timeless One.

The last time we saw Ralph he didn’t seem himself as he willingly gave up his wedding ring to get a link from a mystical chain, and this week finds him knocking a crippled man out of his chair just to yank the wheel off the chair.

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Instead of helping, the Helmet of Fate shows up and the two disappear with the wheel.

If Ralph really is the world’s greatest detective, why hasn’t he figured out he is being manipulated? I mentioned it the last time we saw Ralph, but he just isn’t acting like himself. And it is here that we begin to learn who or what the Helmet of Fate really is.

A lot of comments have been popping up on the Interwebs complaining about the Helmet of Fate series and how it doesn’t appear to mesh with 52. In Helmet of Fate: Detective Chimp, Bill Willingham tells the tale of the Helmet being cast into space by Captain Marvel and spending the better part of the year flying around the universe.

Now, knowing fans jumped all over Willingham over his Shadowpact OYL mistake featuring Superman before Superman returned, many fans say this is another of Willingham’s screw up. But what if Willingham wasn’t wrong this time? What if, instead, he wrote Helmet of Fate: Detective Chimp just to throw people off the scent?

During his journey, the Helmet has taken Ralph to learn of the consequences of dealing with magic, spending a great deal of time telling the story of Felix Faust and how he has duped unsuspecting folk time and time again in order to get them to do his bidding. As it turns out, Faust is one of the villains who have tried to raise the Demons Three throughout the years (Justice League of America #10 – 1962).

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait much longer to find out what is going to happen, as next issue appears to be dedicated to his story. My guess, Ralph is smart enough to know what is going on, and I have a feeling he’s playing the part as the unwitting pawn to get to the deeper mystery. Even though DC claims Ralph is drinking the whiskey, I still think (hope) it is being mixed with Gingold. I’m super excited to find out what is going to happen next week.

Back in Nanda Parbat, Renee finds a woman sitting on a bench and approaches her.

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Nice pickup line Renee, I guess part of what Richard was saying is true, she retreats whenever confronting loss. We saw her do the same thing in Kahndaq when she refused to go to the award ceremony instead staying in bed with another woman.

Let’s get to this mysterious woman for a moment. Who is she waiting for, and why is she in Nanda Parbat?

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Ladies and gentlemen, meet Wonder Woman. Honestly, until someone else pointed this out to me, I had no idea this was Diana Prince, but going back and rereading these panels it is clear it is she. The man she killed is Maxwell Lord, but who is the man she is waiting for? My guess it is Bruce Wayne. In the current, but highly delayed, Wonder Woman it is revealed Bruce Wayne helped her start her new life, so it looks like we might be seeing Bruce make an appearance here sooner or later.

Seeing her pick up line isn’t going to work, the two women actually have a meaningful conversation and Diana actually tells Renee that if she is looking for answers, she’s going to have to look within herself. This is the same thing Charlie has been telling Renee all along, and in order to confront her fears, Renee is going to have to head back to the ice cave.

The week ends where it began once again checking in on the failing space ship drifting slowly toward a red sun. Adam is self deprecating saying he is no hero, just an average man. He even goes so far to tell the still injured Kory how he only brought his wife to Earth once before sending her back home because he was afraid she would fall in love with a more manly man.

If we are to believe Adam has learned to deal with his blindness enough to fight in space, navigate ships, and walk around without running into things, then he is no mere man, but someone special.

Even though she is weak and dying, Kory gives “the speech”. We’ve seen “the speech” in hundreds of movies, but it works and kicks Adam in his butt enough to get up and try to fix the ship.

As he moves to the back of the ship, a planet appears out of nowhere. Yes, an entire planet. Adam is able to crash land the ship into a lake while one of the two Green Lanterns moves in to fish them out.

Two Green Lanterns? There appears to be only one.

True, until you move the camera back for an extreme wide shot.

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Talk about bringing in obscure characters. Mogo is indeed a sentient planet that is a member of the Green Lantern Corp. If you want to learn more about Mogo, Scans Daily has everything here.

The Good

  • Ralph is being played by someone not Fate
  • Renee gets her butt kicked in a good way
  • Adam Strange and Kory are about to make it home

The Bad

  • Gee, it would have been nicer to see Wonder Woman a bit more than this brief cameo

Not much in the Bad list this week. I genuinely enjoyed reading this issue, and even though it had a lot of references to Empire Strikes Back, it was still an enjoyable read. Unlike the previous two weeks, this week features characters and story lines I actually care about. There wasn’t a single moment that seemed like a waste of space or time, earning this issue a solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. Matthew Peterson
    February 18, 2007 at 8:56 pm — Reply

    Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast? Uh oh…

    I like your supposition about the Helmet, and think it makes perfect sense. I would have also liked for them to give me a hint about Diana, as I did not recognize her at all, and only “got” that scene when you connected the dots for me.

  2. norbert
    February 24, 2007 at 10:33 am — Reply

    The entire stygian thing reminds me of the plot necromongers from The chronicals of riddick movie.

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