The 52 Steps: Week Thirty-Five

"He did this." - Steel

Week Thirty-Five

Previously in 52...

Suicide Squad took a shot at the Black Marvel Family, with unexpected violence being the result, though, frankly, there's a reason they're called the Suicide Squad.

This Week's Key Players

Steel, Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire.

Guest Appearances

Infinity Inc., Lex Luthor, Supernova, a host of former Justice League and Justice Society members (with special appearances by Plastic Man and Offspring!) and, of course, Lobo.


This issue's title was a pun on the classic "Reign of the Supermen" title, which, incidentally, featured the first true appearance of Steel. However, there's another title from a story in the DCU history books that fits this week's issue quite nicely:

"Panic in the Sky"

As New Year's ends and the week begins, all hell breaks loose in Metropolis at the hands of Lex Luthor. That little button Lex had on hand last week? It was the off switch to all the members of his Everyman superpowers project. Hundreds, if not thousands, of heroes, many of whom could fly, suddenly lose all their abilities and come crashing to the earth. Those that couldn't fly? Most of them pretty much exploded or were attacked by their own abilities.

As the chaos ensues, we see that the Infinity Inc. kids are the only ones spared from the madness, and though they can save a few lives, they can't help everyone, causing a lot of growing up on the streets and furthering Natasha's doubts about Lex and his so-called "gift." As the week progresses, we see Natasha putting it all together, despite the lies told to her and the team by Luthor. Following a profession of love for Nat, her boyfriend Jake joins in the cause to bring down Lex. Or does he? See below.

Also on hand in the struggle of metahumans is Metropolis' latest and greatest, Supernova. Knowing Luthor was behind this madness was no help as he rushed to save as many people as he could from an exploding gas main and assorted exploding superhumans. With a whip of his cape, Supernova teleports hundreds of people to safety outside the city.

Later in the week, we see that Metropolis has a huge M.A.S.H unit set up in town for all the wounded metahumans. Here, Titans, JLAers, JSAers, former Outsiders, you name it, all pitch in to help those who were hurt. But it's here that Steel decides its time to take down Luthor once and for all, and he needs the help of Beast Boy and the Titans to pull it off.

Then, in a galaxy far far away, Animal Man, Starfire, Ekron and Adam Strange stand amidst the ruins of the planet Vardu, destroyed by lady Styx and her Stygian Hoard. After discovering the suit of a fallen Green Lantern, the team tries to formulate a plan of attack, but Adam finally figures out something a little more important. Their guide, lobo, hasn't changed one bit. Rather, he's simply taking the three heroes to Lady Styx so he himself can collect the bounty on their heads.

Back-up Feature

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along now, nice and orderly…

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • First off, I think I finally got some idea how Supernova got his powers: He's using a Phantom Zone Projector.
  • Secondly, is that sign outside of Metropolis eerily similar to the classic sign that used to stand outside Smallville, which reminded visitors that the town was home to Superboy? I think so.
  • If someone can tell me how Starfire's uniform can officially defy gravity on every hunk of former planet in the known universe, you win a cookie.
  • I want Lobo vs. Erkon. Admit it, you do, too. That, or I want Animal Man vs. Lobo on a highly populated alien world.
  • Continued from above; Natasha isn't hugging Jake there, kids. She's hugging that favorite imposter, Everyman, who was conspicuously absent from the "testing" Lex did. Most likely, Jake is dead, and Everyman has been taking his place for at least most of this issue, if not longer.
  • But could his feelings for Natalie be true? I doubt it.

Looking Ahead

I'm going to let this one go for now, suffice to say that Infinity Inc. will most likely get their own series following the missing year. After all, why let them keep their powers if they won't get used? Of course, Natasha won't have hers. She'll revolt against Lex, Lex will shut her down, and she'll bust out the new "Steel" duds that John Henry Irons has been working on.

Panel of the Week

Oh, look at that picture on the wall. Why, isn't that Nat, Jake and Everyman? What a coincidence, huh?


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