The 52 Steps: Week Twenty-Four

"Sorry Mr. Arrow… no, I don't know what 'fifty-two' is either." - Firestorm

Week Twenty-four

Previously in 52...

We got to see where all the mad scientists have gone and just how much fun they're having. We also saw the arrival of a new hero in Osiris and learned a little bit more about Intergang in Kahndaq.

This Week's Key Players

Black Adam and Ralph Dibny makes a momentary appearance.

Guest appearances

Isis, Osiris, the Chinese metas, Green Arrow, Firestorm, Fireawk, Bulleteer, Ambush Bug, Super-Chief, Skeets, the Helm of Fate and, yes, the Martian Manhunter.


Let's pick up where we left off last week, shall we? Since Black Adam and family were on their way to China, that seems like a logical starting point, especially since, on day three, their arrival draws out the big guns from the Chinese army. No blows come out of the confrontation, though, as Adam tells the Chinese that he's no longer going to execute meta human criminals. That doesn't change his other feelings, mind you, but the calming effect of Isis has changed his mind to the whole "rip their arms off" way of dealing with problems. Peace is, for now, the name of the game.

The real result? The world is suspicious, and Amanda Waller has decided to stick her nose in where it shouldn't be once again. This time, it's going to draw a new Checkmate into the fold under U.N. command, as well as a new Suicide Squad, picked and led by Atom Smasher, into Kahndaq (see predictions below).

The resurgence of Checkmate throws the serious monkey wrench into the works of the Martian Manhunter, who has been gone these last few months assuming various human guises and guiding political pressure towards Checkmate, going so far as to become an advisor to the President of the United States and convincing him to disband Checkmate. All of his work was in the hopes of honoring Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, and now, it's all for naught.

The cover story, though, is all about the "New JLA." Yeah, those schlubs on the cover really thought they should be calling themselves the JLA. Firestorm is leading the gathering of heroes, influenced by the spotlight-hungry Firehawk. They attempted to get Green Arrow to join up, though he simply told Firestorm that he'd be by to collect the JLA communicator next week (this is the start of Ollie's run for mayor, by the way).

Undaunted, the new *cough choke* JLA hit the streets in an effort to save Metropolis from what look to be phantom pirates. Hey, it's Ambush big, Firestorm, Super-Chief, Firehawk and the Bulleteer! What could possibly go wrong?

Yup. Everything.

While the team does seem to be doing at least marginally well to start, the introduction of more Lex Luthor metahumans really screws the game up and the heroes start tripping over each other. To add more insult to injury, Skeets is the man, er, robot behind the invasion of the pirates. He tells Firestorm that he's trying to draw someone powerful out, and, since it's not working, it's time to up the ante. With that, he pastes Firestorm like a third grader with a glue fetish and goes postal, killing everyone in sight with a variety of freaky death beams and temporal anamolies. While the bulk of the JLA survives, the new metas are butchered, and Super-Chief gets killed, as well.

The JLA disbands in the wake of the slaughter, and Super-Chief meets a great Shaman on the other side of the void, a shaman that uses the chief to teach Ralph Dibny the price of magic.

Following that most impressive issue is the origin of Booster Gold, as told by Mark Waid and Dan Jurgens, of course. Wait, isn't he the dead guy? Booster, I mean, not Dan.

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • Allright, lets deal with the elephant in the corner: Poledancer? E.S. Pete? Oh, it hurts. It hurts almost as bad as this new JLA. And don't even get me rolling on Immortal-Bald-Man-in-Armor. He sounds like he belongs in the Chinese metahuman program.
  • And while we're there, lets talk the JLA. It almost seemed like a good idea, didn't it? No? Yeah, you're probably right.
  • I do like Bulleteer, though not having read the Morrison mini, I reserve the right to be wrong. However, all I want to do when I see her is shout, "Fire me, boy!" Seriously, Grant, can we get her a cannon to fire herself out of?
  • Seems like the writers went to an awful lot of work just to ice Super-Chief so easily, huh? Dumb name, but it could have been pretty cool to have him around at least a little bit longer.
  • Combine the above two comments: who was hoping for a "fastball special" variant from the Chief and Bulleteer? Anyone? Man, that would have been awesome.
  • When you get down to it, with all that the Martian Manhunter did in just six months, it's a little scary to think that he might go rogue someday.
  • I smell a beat down in Osiris' future, no matter how reformed Black Adam is.
  • Ah, Amanda Waller. How have I lived without your machinations so far in this book? Easily, I might say.
  • Atom Smasher returns, it seems.
  • Looks like Skeets got himself an upgrade. Damn.


So we know for a fact that the new Suicide Squad's mission into Kahndaq is doomed with a big fat capital "D" (see recent issues of "Checkmate"). The interesting thing will be to see if Atom Smasher makes it out alive or not, since he's not actually much of a villain.

And is this really the last of the Super-Chief? I say it was too much work to have brought him back, unless he was brought back solely so his magic could be given to Ralph Dibny for some nefarious purpose.

Rip Hunter, where are you?!?!

The Daily Planet

Lots of fun stuff, including an excerpt from "Infinite Crisis: The Novel" and a few new articles about the missing year, as told by those living it, all at www.52thecomic.com.

Panel of the Week

A moment of silence, please, for all our fallen friends, though I admit I missed a few of their passings along the way.


PREVIEW: Superman Smashes the Klan #1

More in Comics