The 52 Steps: Week Twenty

"Great Triple One, forgive my inadvertent cursin'…" - Lobo

Week Twenty

Previously in 52...

Lobo explained his newfound religion, Wonder Girl made a move on a new hero, and Skeets locked Dan Carter away in a time vortex in Rip Hunter's lab.

This Week's Key Players

Animal Man, Adam Strange and Starfire, Steel

Guest appearances

Lobo, Supernova


We start Week 20 with a trip to Gotham, as reports of a new hero filter down through the news, tales of someone taking down the city's baddies. At the same time, Supernova pays a visit to The Batcave, checking out mementos of Batman's previous victories. Among the trophies: Lex Luthor's multi-Kryptonite gauntlet.

Back in Metropolis, Steel involves himself in a building fire, holding up the collapsing structure as the firefighters save everyone inside. With everyone safe, Steel lets the building fall, striding out to be hosed down by the department, his newfound skin glowing red with heat. As he recovers, his doctor friend Kala catches up with him, explaining what she discovered in the metagene samples she's been working with: Luthor built an off-switch into the genetic reprogramming, allowing him to steal the powers that he's given out with the potential snap of his fingers.

The reaches of deep space are the last stop for the week, as Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange look on while Lobo tries to placate his flock with promises of aid as soon as he and the heroes reach civilized space. As he makes that attempt, an interstellar carrion flock comes and starts to slaughter Lobo's refugee faithful. The heroes try to stop the flock, Adam with the spaceship, Animal Man summoning weird powers from alien parasites and Starfire summoning the power of the Emerald Eye. Unfortunately, that's a big mistake, because as the heroes make their escape with Lobo, he reveals that the use of the eye was simply a signal to Ekron, the original owner of the eye. Farther out in space, Ekron comes to reclaim what is his.

In the back, we've got the history of Adam Strange, as told by Mark Waid and Kevin Nowlan.

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • Erkon kinda looks like a deformed Braniac ship, huh?
  • I'm still simply stunned by "Archbishop Lobo." This can't last.
  • So, if Steel wants to go up against Luthor with his newfound powers, he'd better recheck that thought. Lex Luthor giveth, and Lex taketh away, apparently.
  • Supernova looks awfully enthralled by Luthor's gauntlet. Some folks are thinking that Supernova is Superboy, and this looks like more grist for that mill, but I still have my doubts.

Crisis Continuity with Brian Eason

This week we're not looking at a who, we're looking at a "what": The Emerald Eye of Ekron. For the uninitiated, that would be the big green eyeball that Lobo's been hoarding in the box. To learn the mysterious past of the Eye, we have to travel to the future, 1000 years to be exact, to the year 2967 and the Legion of Superheroes.

The eye first appeared in the company of a green-haired beauty named the Emerald Empress in the pages of "Adventure Comics" #352 (January 1962). In her first appearance Empress Sarya of the planet Venegar was recruited by Superboy and the Legion to battle the Sun-Eater. The Empress had no powers except total mental control over a "mystical" orb called the "Emerald Eye of Ekron."

The eye was described as a sphere of "nearly unlimited power" that she discovers hidden in crypt built by "the long-dead Ekron civilization." It was with the Eye that she made herself the tyrannical Empress of her home world.

As for specifics, the eye could fly (carrying the Empress with it), emit energy blasts, allow the Empress to survive in space and constant exposure to the Eye made Sarya super-human.

When she was exiled by her home world, Sarya sought the company of other villains to raise an army to retake her world and was a founding member of the Fatal Five, going on to trouble the Legion for years to come.

The first Emerald Empress was killed when Sensor Girl used an illusion to hide her presence from the Eye. Sarya then withered and died of extreme old age. As she died, the Empress expressed her happiness at being freed from the Eye.

The second Emerald Empress appeared in "Legionnaires" #2 (May 1992). Cera Kesh fell under the influence of the Eye and joined the Fatal Five. Now, here comes the interesting part: At the same time a fellow named Leland McCauley found a second eye and tried to make a second Empress. Instead, the second Empress was killed by Cera, who gained control of both eyes.

After "Zero Hour," the Legion was rebooted and the Empress and the Eye seemed to be two separate entities, say goodbye to the Empress now. Bye-bye.

The Eye was next discovered by a Legionnaire, Kenetix, and later took control of Shrinking Violet (another Legionnaire). Violet, innocently, wished that all of the Legionnaires would be granted their heart's desire. Unfortunately for Leviathan (whom Vi had a crush on) he wished for a heroic death and the Eye arranged that for him. Before it was over, Violet had remade the Earth and the Legionnaires in the Eye's image. The Eye later was used to send half of the Legion to the 20th century.

The Eye appeared briefly in the pages of "L.E.G.I.O.N" when it took control of Garryn Bek and his wife during the 20th century.

It has also been established that the powerful wizard Mordru once controlled the Eye.

The Emerald... uhmm… headbone of Ekron is something new and it appears that it will be losing that other eye sometime in the future. In the present Legion continuity we have not seen the Eye, but in the Titans/Legion team-up (written by "52" author Geoff Johns) we did see a veritable army of Fatal Fives appear giving the impression that the Emerald Empress is indeed a part of the future of the DCU.

Whew... I sure am glad it didn't urn out to be Alan's Scott's missing eyeball.


First, just to take note, the vigilate that's spoken of on Page One is obviously Harvey Dent, left to protect Gotham while Batman was away for the missing year. Also just to note, this week's issue of "Checkmate" noted that Suicide Squad made a move on Kahndaq during the missing year at the lead of Amanda Waller. I look forward to this confrontation, as I imagine it'll take place while The Question and Renee Montoya are still teamed up with Black Adam and Isis.

The Daily Planet

An editorial about Steel highlights the latest updates on www.52thecomic.com.

Panel of the Week (w/ special thanks to Augie De Blieck, Jr. on scanner duty this week!)

Dude, you fugly.


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