The 52 Steps: Week Forty-Two

Tue, February 27th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Justin Eger, Guest Contributor

"Gotcha." - Ralph Dibny

"52" Week Forty-Two
Week Forty-Two

Previously in 52...

Ralph neared the end of his journey, Renee started to realize what she could become and Mogo the GL planet bailed out our space lost twosome.

This Week's Key Players

Renee Montoya, but mostly, Ralph Dibny.

Guest Appearances

Felix Faust and Neron and Fire.


Aside from Renee Montoya finally figuring out what she can be (hint, it involves not having a face anymore, just like her mentor), this week was all about Ralph Dibny and what could be the final leg of his journey to once again be with Sue.

Note I said be with Sue, not bring her back.

As we progress on our journey, Ralph and the Helm of Fate prepare for the final step in Ralph's quest from inside Dr. Fate's tower, complete with spells of binding to, ostensibly, make sure everything goes okay and keep anything bad from getting out. As Ralph prepares to close the deal, he dons the Helm and draws forth that tagged pistol he's been carrying with him all along, firing a round into the Helm that sits on his own head. The result is striking, as the helm is dislodged and is revealed to be, actually, Felix Faust.

Faust has been masquerading as the Helm all this time in an effort to trap Ralph's soul as a gift for Neron, one of the lords of the underworld. From the moment that Ralph saw the straw Sue move, Faust had been playing him, using the man's own wedding ring to bind himself closer to the desperate detective. Ah, yes, let's not forget that Ralph is a detective, and he'd been on to Faust nearly from the start, even feigning alcoholism (it was Gingold, the stuff that makes Ralph all rubbery, all along).

But, lo and behold, that's not all. Ralph's early attempt at suicide many, many weeks ago was actually the first step in a trap laid for Faust and Neron. The gun was actually a wishing gun, the legacy of Altonio Anselmo, a magician gangster Ralph dealt with in years past. Put in a bullet, make a wish and fire. Ralph, in desperation, wished that he could be with Sue, and the magic of the gun complied, leading him on this merry-go-round of magical mayhem, bringing him to this exact point in time, when Neron comes to collect the soul that's owed to him.

Initially Ralph says he wanted to bargain with Neron, trade Faust for Sue, but Neron refused, and then murders Ralph on the spot, planning to take Faust off to hell with him. But remember those pesky binding spells? That's right, no one in, no one out, not even badass lords of the underworld. Neron and Faust are now eternally bound to Fate's tower, the final part of Ralph's plan, so it seems.

As the week closes, Fire, still looking for Ralph, visits Sue's grave, only to find a wedding band placed atop her headstone.

Back-up Feature

Mark Waid and slammin' Scott McDaniel bring us the Origin of Green Arrow.

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • God, that's a lot to cover. If it doesn't make sense to you, don't feel bad. I'm on my third reading of it and I still get a little confused.
  • Wishing Gun? Wacky, and yet I don't doubt that it's actually a part of DC lore somewhere.
  • If all the binding spells are in place, isn't it likely that Ralph's soul is still trapped in the tower, too? Which leads me to…
  • I wonder what Neron would be willing to trade to get the hell out of Fate's tower, don't you? Perhaps the life and soul of a pretty brunette with a thing for rubbery detectives?

    Looking Ahead

    And thus we have our answer as to how the Helm of Fate could be in two places at once, at least according to the Helm of Fate one-shots that have been dancing around out there. But, as I hinted at above, don't count Ralph out yet.

    Though I wonder if Fire's appearance ties into her current place on the Checkmate roster? Maybe losing another friend is enough to put her into play as someone looking to keep Checkmate from falling into the wrong hands.

    Panel of the Week

    He's really lucky that worked like he planned...

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