(Based on the DC Comic Series)
by Greg Cox
Comic book heroes are by necessity larger than life. The visual identity of the graphic story lends itself to modern myth building as laid out by a particular artist. Whereas a novel will explore the world of the fantastic through the use of pure imagination. For years comic fans have argued the relative value of each element and its importance to the whole. What is more important, the story or the art?
With Greg Cox’s novelization of DC’s mega series, 52, we are given an entirely different interpretation of a once told tale. It is an interpretation I found both insightful and wonderfully entertaining. Having not seen the year long comic series it was based on, I was able to enjoy this book on its merits alone. Thus is my review aimed and not on the comics.
For reasons explained in a previous storyline, the world’s three most famous superheroes, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, have taken a self-imposed leave of absence.
Their sabbatical is public knowledge and the criminal elements of the world seize upon this as a golden opportunity. One such villain, mobster Bruno Mannheim, using stolen alien weapons and black magic, launches a two-fold diabolical scheme. The first is to gain control of
These threats are met and challenged by three very different and unique heroes. Booster Gold, himself a time-traveler from the future, is perfectly suited to take on the enigma plaguing the time continuum. In doing so he encounters a brand new hero calling himself Supernova. At first Booster believes the new mystery man to be an ally, but events soon transpire that lead him to wonder if this new player is really the true menace he is attempting to uncover.
Meanwhile, a former
At the same time, over in Kahdaq, Black Adam, a one-time foe of Captain Marvel, is undergoing tremendous psychological changes. He falls in love with a slave girl who is then transformed into the hero, Isis. Then he and Isis save her brother from the same slavers and the boy is transformed into a junior version of Black Adam, calling himself Osiris. For the first time in his immortal existence, Black Adam believes he has found true happiness. But his joy is short-lived when his new family becomes the target of a group of super-villain scientists under
To his credit, Cox juggles these complex and intertwining plots like so many glass balls, always keeping them moving and spinning at the same time without a single misstep. His handling of each of the many characters in this mega-saga is true to their illustrious backgrounds. He propels the action with an economy of words that I appreciated and what looks like a big book is easily devoured in no time. 52 is a terrific adaptation and stands on its own merits as a powerful tale of good versus evil. In the end, isn’t that what all good superhero adventures are all about?