The 52 Steps: Week Twenty-One

Sat, September 30th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Justin Eger, Guest Contributor

"52" Week Twenty-One
"I know. And we had four writers." - Lex Luthor

Week Twenty-One

Previously in 52...
We had a red hot Steel, a cold and empty Batcave and a giant green head hell bent on destroying some folks to get his eye back.

This Week's Key Players
Ralph Dibny and, momentarily, Steel

Guest Appearances
The Helm of Nabu, Red Tornado, Lex Luthor, a variation of the Teen Titans and (it pains me to say this) Infinity, Inc.

Highlights
To get things rolling, we get to see Natasha Irons (or Starlight, as she's called by Luthor) visit the big man to get her speedy, drug-friendly teammate back in the game. Luthor agrees, and this week spends a good deal of time looking at young Eliza Harmon and her fascination with the Flash family, a fascination that drove her to crave for the power of speed as only Luthor could offer it. But it's time someone learned that you can't make a deal with the devil unless you're prepared to get burned.

Natasha takes her new team on the road under the banner of Infinity, Inc., as purchased from the Pemberton Estate by Luthor. The team is facing off against Blockbuster in their first public battle, as finagled by Lex himself, and they handle him with what appears to be flying colors. However, in the background, Lex is calling the shots a lot more than the team would like to believe.

Enter the Teen Titans - or at least a variation of - another object of hero worship for young Eliza. As the clean-up of Blockbuster's rampage begins, the dastardly villain tries to escape and Eliza, in her need to impress the Titans, goes after him by herself. To be honest, she looked like she was doing just fine, too, until Luthor shut off her powers, giving Blockbuster plenty of opportunity to kill her.

The funeral is a sad affair, the scene of yet another tussle between Steel and Natasha, as well as the burial ground for this new league of Titans, as most of the team takes a powder following the ceremony. However, Beast Boy realizes something went wrong, and volunteers to help Steel get some answers.

Somewhere far, far away, Ralph and the Helm are making a journey, and for that they need a gateway to the Underworld, and getting past the Demonguard there was an easy task for a headpiece filled with magical power and a formerly rubber detective that can make some pretty scary threats. Off they go…

Lastly, somewhere in Austrailia, the Red Tornado gets a helping hand, and a new body courtesy of a junkyard.

No back-up feature this week, folks. Your sadness rivals my own.

Justin's Thoughts and Concerns

  • So, yeah, Lex is a right bastard again, all right. Of course, did he ever really stop?

  • And buying the trademark for Infinity, Inc.? That just made me sick to my stomach.

  • Oh, so many jokes I could make about the fill-in Titans, but just saying "Little Barda" makes me feel all dirty.

  • And yet I say it. "Little Barda?" So, is this Big Barda only made teenaged because of the Crisis? Is this Scott and Barda's little girl? Did Scott and Barda ever exist in this reality? Is this just some weird, weird plan of Granny Goodness? With this and the madness of Devilance in space, in the name of Jack Kirby, can we please get a straight answer about the New Gods sometime soon?

  • And another thing: Hot Spot? Judging by his name of Isaiah, I would imagine this is supposed to be Joto from Dan Jurgens' "Titans" of yesteryear.

  • And who is Zachary Zatara supposed to be the son of? Zatanna? Old Man Zatara himself? And I thought that backwards spellcasting wouldn't work anymore because it's a new age of magic…

  • And (lots of those today) go Ralph Dibny for taking up the mantle of "World's Scariest Hero" while Batman is away. Talk about handling negotiations like Jack Bauer.

  • Did your cover have the runner along the bottom that was partially a summary of last week? Mine did.

Crisis Continuity with Brian Eason
This week I've been granted another wonderful opportunity, the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite superteams of all time: Infinity Inc. Huh? Oh no, not the losers that Luthor gave superpowers, the real Infinity Inc.

Infinity Inc. first appeared in March 1984. The book was the brainchild of All-Star Squadron author Roy Thomas and was the first DC book to truly take advantage of something that has made the company famous: legacy. The members of Infinity Inc. were (with few exceptions) the children/grandchildren/inheritors of the great heroes (and villains) of the Golden Age. The original lineup was formed when Silver Scarab (Hector Hall, the son of the golden age Hawkman and Hawkgirl), Fury (Lyta Trevor, daughter of the Golden Age Wonder Woman), Northwind (Norda Cantrell, a half-human half-hawk person) and Nuklon (Albert Rothstein god son of the Golden Age Atom. Al is now known as Atom-Smasher) decided to join the Justice Society and are turned down by their own parents. The quartet are still not willing to give up and they apply again with Jade and Obsidian (Jennie-Lynn Hayden and Todd Rice, both the golden age Green Lantern's children). The Star-Spangled Kid (the golden age one) takes pity on the group and leaves the JSA in order to create a new group. In the end they form Infinity Inc. with Power Girl (the golden age Superman's cousin) and Brainwave, Jr. (the son of the villainous Brainwave).

Over the next 53 issues, the team would add the new Hourman (Rick Tyler), the new Wildcat (Yolanda Montez) and Dr, Midnight (Beth Chapel). Finally there was one member that bears mentioning: Mr. Bones. Bones was a member of Infinity Inc. 's rivals the villainous Helix. Bones was a cigarette smoking, humanoid skeleton with a death touch and a cybernetic leg who always spoke in rhyme -- needless to say, people loved him.

Interestingly enough this would be the time that Crisis on Infinite Earths would begin and this book that was so firmly rooted in DC's Earth 2 continuity was hammered in an attempt to make everything fit. As a result, a lot of readers jumped ship and in the end it signaled the demise of the book.

However, for many of the characters it was not the end. Lyta Trevor-Hall would resurface in the pages of Neil Gaiman's Sandman and would eventually give birth to David, the Lord of Dreams that followed Morpheus. Hector Hall would join Geoff Johns' incarnation of the JSA as the new Dr. Fate alongside Atom-Smasher (formerly Nuklon). Black Adam would go on to form his army to conquer Kandaq with Brainwave (no longer junior) and Northwind. Finally Obsidian would become a regularly appearing character in both JSA and the new Manhunter series. Mr. Bones went on to head the DEO and has regularly appeared all across the DC Universe.

If all of this doesn't have you scouring the used comic bins, for quite a while the book was illustrated by a young rookie artist that liked to experiment with weird panel frames and really long capes. I hear he had some minor success doing the same thing on a book called 'Spawn' or something. That's right, Todd McFarlane drew Infinity Inc. #14-30 and all anyone remembers was the thing he did to Spidey's webs (very sad).

In closing, Grant Morrison loves to take names that aren't being used and re-tread them. Nuklon appears as a member of the new Infinity Inc. as does Skyman (the last identity held by the original star-spangled kid). Look for Infinity Inc to reappear in a more heroic form, possibly with some of the Titans rejects we see in this issue.

Predictions
This week's future-casting is a might limited, so we'll just go with what we know. You could probably score more info about the Titans that should never have been in this week's issue of "Teen Titans," but I'll pass. Personally I was far more interested in the brief discussion of Booster Gold's suit over in "Justice League of America" #2. Aside from that, Brian and I both agree that we should be looking for a new "Infinity, Inc." miniseries in the near future.

Panel of the Week

And that's what I mean when I say you get burned.

Don't forget…

Submissions for our very own "Fill in the Black" contest from Week 17 are coming due. Check the archive for a full list of rules and a chance to get yourself some cool prizes.

Archives
Week Twenty
Week Nineteen
Week Eighteen
Week Seventeen
Week Sixteen
Week Fifteen
Week Fourteen
Week Thirteen
Week Twelve
Week Eleven
Week Ten
Week Nine
Week Eight
Week Seven
Week Six
Week Five
Week Four
Week Three
Week Two
Week One

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