Tuesday, May 01, 2007

52 Comes to a Close... and Denial Sets In

It hit me like a ton of bricks tonight. Tomorrow I am going to go to my local retailer and pick up the final issue of 52, a series that I find myself incredibly emotionally invested in. After such a long period of being drawn into the tales being told, part of me doesn't want it to end. Sure I know that Countdown is right behind it, but for some reason, 52 has been special.

Maybe because it is the first weekly I have bought and you never forget your first? Hmmm...

Tomorrow will tell the tale. I will walk into the shop and buy my copy of 52 Week 52. Then I will try not to read it so that it doesn't end for me, but in the final judgment I know I will have to just take a look.

I dont' want to be disapointed. I want to be blown away. I feel like that will happen, but I am a bit scared.

Any of the rest of you feeling like this? Or are you relieved? Let's hash this out.

12 comments:

Mark Engblom said...

I started out excited about the series, but shortly after the creepy-cool story with "Wicker Sue Dibney" and the Booster Gold "death", the series really cooled off for me.

I suspect this was about the time Didio and Co. decided to give up on their original vision for the series and just focus on the five or six subplots they'd started. In hindsight, that may have been the most workable solution anyway...but still, it seemed like kind of a let down compared to what was hyped about 52 as some kind of all-encompassing mystery that would blow our minds when it wrapped up.

We're on the cusp of the last issue coming out, and my mind is far from being blown. In fact, it's pretty underwhelmed. All this for...what...a new Question? Another giant superhero battle (WWIII)? A fast-forwarded quickie wrap-up to all of the mysteries from "One Year Later" (WWIII again)?

Add the meandering, disappointing flow of the story to the consistantly underwhelming (or just plain bad) artwork, and I'm pretty unimpressed with the whole thing.

Sure, the fact that they were able to pull off a weekly comic book for an entire year is an impressive feat....but I can't help but wonder if that massive editorial effort might have taken its toll elsewhere, most noteably with DC's almost criminally late and delayed titles like Wonder Woman and the Superman titles. Hello? Iconic flagship characters? Who's driving this bus?

Granted, the reasons for the delays seem unconnected to 52, but maybe not. I think 52 required so much focus and energy from everyone, it may have simply sucked all the oxygen (i.e. editorial wherewithall) out of the DC offices. With so many fires to fight getting out a weekly series, I wonder how much time and energy was left over at the end of the day to address the chronically tardy Wonder Woman and Superman titles.

I don't know...maybe there's no connection at all, but I can't get over the feeling that there might have been.

So...as you can imagine, I'm a little tenative toward Countdown...though glad to see that Paul Dini is at the helm instead of some kind of Golden Boy braintrust (who all seem uncharacteristically quiet about the whole experience these days. Hmmmm).

Shelly said...

This hasn't been my first weekly -- Action Comics Weekly gets that honor -- but it has been the first good one. And Action had separate stories for different characters in each book.

This is my first yearlong story on a weekly schedule. DC promised the goods and they delivered. I knew for the past year there would always be a comic waiting for me. I loved the featured characters. I loved the stories. I loved the soap opera feel. I love this book and I am feeling the pangs of the upcoming farewell.

Countdown will be next and I hope it will be good. But it will be different. There will always only ever be one 52.

52 restore Ralph to glory. 52 made me care about Animal Man. 52 gave me Steel and Natasha. 52 gave me characters I could believe are real.

Carl said...

Welp, I read 52 up to the first 20 or so and then started to get tight on cash saving up for San Diego Con and my job's hours kind of sucked too. But I did read the one with Ralph and I was stunned that it seemed to barely make a ripple in the comics world. I've loved The Elongated Man since I first met him way back in Detective Comics in the '70s. I think it hit me harder then Blue Beetle or any comic book death outside of his wife Sue and Captain America. Sssssssoooooooo, DC really hurt me with 52 and the kind of lame reaction comic fans in total seemed to have.
And I am back on a lukewarm footing with my shop again, so I am going to the midnight Spider-man 3 showing, Free Comic Book Day and Tampa Con.
And yes, that is me as Solomon Grundy vs. Wonder Woman in my new profile picture...

Lisa said...

I have found the series to get better and better as its gone on (other than creating Isis only to destroy her). And I do think that I'll miss it. I havn't had time to read 51, so I will probably read these last two issues together, and I hope they do a good job wrapping some things up. The other unique thing about this series is that DC proved that you can have comics about "lesser known" characters that sells well - every week. I hope that DC won't just ditch all of these new characters we've met over the year. I like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, but I wouldn't mind some stories about Animal Man and The Question either.

Ragtime said...

I disagree with Mark's "All this for what?" point of view. I enjoyed it for the process itself. I feel like a whole lot of people are putting all their eggs in the final issue or three, as if the series will be a success or failure based on the ending.

Well, I love TV series like Cheers and Seinfeld that had horrible endings, and I can love 52 even if the ending fizzles or doesn't have the resolution I was hoping for or kills off the wrong characters, or doesn't produce enough change, or changes too much about my favorite guy.

It kept my interest for a year, and it was always the first one I read. Of course some issues were great, and others felt like filler, and I certainly could have done without Wicker Sue and some other silly story elements.

But, for me, 52 was a success for the process, irrespective of the outcome.

Mark Engblom said...

I guess my main beef centers around the whole series feeling somewhat like a "shell game". In other words, I don't think as much interest would have been generated if it was initially sold as "a series focusing on lesser-known DC characters" as opposed to the big, whopping mystery-slash-significant event angle that 52 was initially presented and hyped as.

I think everyone remembers how thrilling it was to see the "lab scene" at the beginning of the series, as Booser Gold and Skeets seemed to stumble into a mystery that clearly looked huge and conspiritorial. As time went on, this angle just kinda fizzled out as the week-to-week drama of the D-list characters came to the fore.

Now, there's nothing wrong with fleshing out lesser-known characters in and of itself...it just felt a little deceptive when this big huge THING became a much smaller, much more modest venture about midway through.

So, yeah...as a "stunt" (a weekly comic book) it worked out well....but as a coherent, compelling storyline...not so much.

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, did you get 52 for the duration or did you drop it? Just curious, as I have to disagree about the book in general. I really liked the focus on the lesser known characters and was interested to see how their lives would be impacted.

I do have to agree that I would have liked to see more of the "one year later" stuff covered in the book from time to time as I don't think that World War III did the "filling in the gaps" justice. Of course, maybe that would have just diluted the juice of the title. I can't be sure at this point.

You will have to let me know if you pick up Countdown and what you think of it!

Heidi Meeley said...

Shelly, I had forgotten about Action Comics Weekly. Yikes. That was very hit and miss for me back in the day.

52 has definitely delivered in terms of timeliness and emotional impact regarding the key characters. It also gave me a new respect for John Henry and Natasha. I can't wait to see how the new Infinity Inc. series goes. I also learned to love Renee again after being dissatisfied with her endless anger in Gotham Central.

There is so much to be pleased about, and so much to look forward. I think it is a win-win.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, I am glad to hear that things are going better for you at the shop! I will be anxious to see how all those events go for you. Take care of yourself!

I agree that Ralph's fate in this book had me awestruck, but then again, I haven't read week 52 yet, so we shall see!

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, 52 has indeed picked up momentum these last few weeks. I am eager to read week 52 and see how I feel. I was nervous last night, but now that the book is in my hands, I am ready.

Don't work too hard with last weekend being so busy and this weekend also being hectic! Take care!

Heidi Meeley said...

Ragtime, I like how you worded your thoughts. I agree that 52 needs to be regarded as a success regardless of the outcome. That is wisdom. Your comparison of it to the end of popular television shows is apt. I remember when several of my favorite shows would end and it would be a hollow feeling if I didn't remember the ride.

You make excellent points.

Shelly said...

Now that I've read 52 #52 and reviewed it, I can say I definitely think it ended on just the right note. It was a success because it kept me eager for the next issue and a week seemed a long time. I felt like it was a weekly tv series or a daily soap opera. I might not like all the characters or all the episodes, but I love the show, in this case, the comic as a whole.

I was crushed when Sue was killed and while I was very sad to see Ralph die, I think it was for the best. Ralph without Sue was incomplete.

The "mystery" was simply the thread holding it all together, the impetus for the story, the thing that got the whole thing moving. And in the end, we got back to it and the lab scene. I think they pretty much covered everything that needed to be covered.

Damn, I miss it already.