The 52 Steps: Week Seventeen

"To learn that Lobo is after you is to know the sudden experience of spontaneous defecation." - From "The Origin of Lobo"

Week Seventeen

Previously in 52...

The royal wedding of Adam and Isis was punctuated by an attempted bombing by Intergang, in turn foiled by Renee Montoya and The Question. The space-lost heroes took off from the planet they had been trapped on.

This Week's Key Players

Animal Man, Adam Strange and Starfire also appear.

Guest Appearances

Luthor's new heroes, Red Tornado and the main man, LOBO!


Seems like we can just make these summaries shorter and shorter lately, huh?

First up, Luthor's new recruits start to dissolve from the inside out, but that's hardly the meat of this weeks story. Rather, we look to space, as Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange try to make it back home.

Trapped in a nasty asteroid field, the trio try to navigate the potential perils, with Starfire running interference on the outside of the ship while Buddy and Strange fly, Adam on the controls and Buddy being his eyes. However, it's a lost cause, and the ship settles down on an asteroid until a better plan comes along. The worst part? The ship has no faster-than-light engine. In the best case, it could be years before the team arrives home, only to have lost even more time thanks to the time dilation effects. The worst case? There's only so much air left in the ship, so it'll be more like six days before they're all dead.

Around day four, the team is confronted by Devilance, who has hunted them down to get his power blade back. As he makes his move on the ship, though, the Pursuer is gutted by the main man himself, Lobo. Starfire attempts to negotiate, and succeeds, though she ends up losing her shirt in the process (literally). For whatever reason, Lobo is willing to help out the trio in return for some help from them.

At the end of the week, Red Tornado wakes up in Australia, mate.

Backup? LOBO, bastiches, compliments of Mark Waid and Keith Giffen.

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • I know I usually pull the opening quote from the actual issue, but the above line was just too damned funny to pass up.
  • So, why's Lobo dressed like a pirate? I never pictured him for a Johnny Depp fan.
  • Church? CHURCH? Lobo in church?! What the hell?! What Church?!
  • Ok, so apparently "renouncing violence" only involves limiting yourself to spontaneous needs to decapitate and eviscerate. Good to know.
  • Starfire handled herself with a mighty restraint, enough to make me think she might end up with the hots for Lobo. It must be the pirate costume.
  • Ok, ok, I'll talk about Luthor's new heroes. Crappy outfits, all around.

Crisis Continuity with Brian Eason

Once again since starting to add my two cents worth I find less that needs to be put into continuity (or to explain why something is related to events of the past). On the other hand, there was an issue full of Lobo that might need an overview. The problem with hands is that there are two of them and basically anyone really interested in Lobo probably knows more about him than I do, so without further ambiguity: Animal Man.

Animal Man (Buddy Baker) was created in September 1965 by writer Dave Wood and artist Carmine Infantino, he first appeared in Strange Adventures #180. For over 20 years Buddy was a footnote character with a weird set of powers that (at least in my opinion) deserved better treatment than he received.

In 1988, however, a (arguably) little known Scottish writer by the name of Grant Morrison decided to try a little revamp in the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Morrison took this cypher of a character and made him an fully realized human character, a sort of "everyman" superhero.

The series touched on a number subjects close to Morrison's heart (animal rights, the ecology, vegetarianism) as well as examining the nature f being human. The author also loved to reference the pre-crisis continuity and the (then) recently destroyed multiverse.

As Morrison's time on the title ran down, the "fourth wall" that separated the comic character and the reader broke down and Buddy discovered that he was a fictional character and met face to face with his creator, Grant Morrison in one of the most beautiful and poignant moments in the series. This event would likely be the religious epiphany Buddy references in this issue of 52.

Finally, and I hesitate to do this, if you've never read the series that brought Animal Man into the DC mainstream, please do yourself a favor and grab the trade paperbacks and pay special attention to what may be the best single comic issue DC ever published in the form of Issue #5, "Coyote Gospel". You'll be happy you did.


With his thoughts on family this issue, this seems like the most appropriate time to note that it looks like Animal Man might be one more casualty of the missing year. In Justice League of America #1 last year, the Big Three make some remarks that hint, to me at least, that Buddy isn't around anymore.

Panel of the Week

Does this even need a comment? Really?

Week 17 Contest

Bet you weren't expecting this one, were you? Well, quite frankly, neither was I. However, the opportunity for hilarity presented itself to us this week with such enthusiasm and excitement, how could I resist? The rules are simple, the above panel is just one of five panels in issue 17 of "52" that lacks dialogue. The word balloons are there, but no words, since it's the vacuum of space. So what was said? Well, boys and girls, you tell me.

On or before October 25, send me an email at the above address entitled "Week 17 Contest," and in the email, give me your name and your home town and state. Also include the missing dialogue between Starfire and Lobo for the five panels mentioned above in the format below:

Panel 1:

Starfire: Whatever.

Lobo: Whatever times two, bastich.

Entrants will be judged by the appropriateness or hilarity of the dialogue they've written, or some combination of the two. The winner will be announced the week following the deadline, and some sort of prize will probably come your way (to be determined, but you can expect some CBR swag at the very least). So get cracking, kiddies. Thanks in advance for playing!

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