Week Thirty-Eight

“The Horsemen have come! The end is near!” So says the ticker on the cover of this week’s issue of “52.” We’re only shown three of the Four Horsemen, the harbingers of the apocalypse, as foretold in the Book of Crime, as built by Intergang’s group of captive mad scientists on Oolong Island. The fourth horseman, the Hunger-Lord, rode out before the others. They’re big, threatening, angry, unstoppable, and the first words from their mouths are, “Black Adam.” This is not good.
Back in Metropolis, Natasha Irons has finally, as we’ve seen, come to terms with the fact that Luthor’s a crooked bad-guy, and she’s decided to serve as a mole to show her uncle, John Henry Irons, exactly what’s going on behind closed doors at Luthor’s headquarters.

The main focus of this issue, however, is squarely on Renee Montoya and the Question. She’s trudging through snowy mountain ranges, in an attempt to get the Question back to Nanda Parbat, so that, through some form of miracle, he can survive. It’s bleak; it’s cold; it’s lonely; and, in the end, I think we’ve seen the last of the Question. His body, having been drug bloodily through the snow, leaves a trail in the form of a question mark, and, in a reference to his first words spoken in Week One, he tells Renee that it was a trick question. Not who are you, but who are you going to become? Time to change, like a butterfly. At the gates of Nanda Parbat, amidst the swirling snow, as he weakly utters those last words, “Like a butterfly,” the issue closes.

It’s powerful. I know that most of this issue focuses on Renee dragging the Question through the mountains, talking to herself, with very little to say, with very little exposition or action, but, for some reason, it works for me. The Question deserves a private place to live out his last breaths, and, not only does this issue serve that purpose, but it also goes to show what extremes Montoya’s willing to go to in order to fulfill her mission.

As for the Four Horsemen, well, I am certainly looking forward to the inevitable confrontation between them and Black Adam. I really hope he makes it out of the scuffle alive, but I have no doubt that it’ll be some non-stop bad-assery even if he doesn’t.

See ya in seven.