49- I really like this issue, but it is sandwiched in between issues 48 and 50. Those are two of the best non-DKR issues I have ever read, and that always makes this one feel a little empty in spite of all the great stuff in it.
Nice detail they are mocking the Iwo Jima pose.
There is some dark foreshadowing that Nemesis is helping them with her eventual fate.
A major part of the issue is our heroes gathering their allies and resources to hold off the villains and make their own move. It helps to keep up the suspense that most of what these reserves are doing is dealing with Obsidian’s legions of mind controlled guys keeping the main characters in position for the actual big fights.
A key part with the villains is Mordru’s scene. He reveals he will betray the rest (Obsidian should have seen this coming), and he is taking great pleasure in Sand’s suffering. I guess he is still mad at Wesley and taking it out on him.
Most of the Alex stuff is setting up for Black Reign, and Eclipso really is not important this storyline. Notice that unlike Hourman Wildcat was fine with Alex risking his life. Being a war veteran that should not be surprising, but it also shows his anger at Alex for the deception.
I just want to praise Kirk’s artwork here. Three sad faces, but they are all distinctly different in how emotional they are. Then two panels later Star’s midriff is miscolored suit colored (that just bothers me. Probably because it is now too much blue).
Again we see how great Stargirl is at reading people. She sees through Shade’s tough villain talk and knows he wants to help.
Billy has been wanting to be liked as Billy instead of as Captain Marvel and Stargirl gives him this. She praises his intelligence without needing Solomon (take careful notes Sandberg or whoever decided that) and gives him another kiss. Good day for him.
I really like the detail that star is constantly cradling Alan’s head. She also remembers to try and save Jim Rice reflecting how she wants to save her own father, and I think her horror at hearing Todd killed him reminds her of her past issues with Pat. She is seeing a dark reflection of herself in Todd. I also like that she tries to thank Shade later. Nice detail in her seeing the good in villains.
I just really like that image.
50- I love this issue. On the cover Black Adam and Atom Smasher are there. Was this just to throw readers off who likely saw this before 45 came out? Was it a fake out they would come back when needed?
Obsidian keeps making the case that due to his dark childhood he will ultimately always be evil. Darkness is not destroyable, since it is not something but the absence of something else.
Star and Billy have another moment, and it foreshadows their future problems like her only being attracted to his Billy side. Notice after their breakup she only shows interest in him again after he loses the powers removing that major obstacle they had (and some other stuff he admitted to in Black Adam and Isis). Star and Billy get plenty of sweet panels this issue. It is amazing that she has way more romantic panels with him than her actual canon future husband.
I really like most of the banter the reserve members have.
I might be reading into the Power Girl part too much, but I think it is about accepting what you do not know. In contrast to Obsidian Power Girl knows little about her past, and she just accepts it and breaks the door down knowing they need to be somewhere else at the time. She can avoid the darkness by not focusing on it and keeping her mind elsewhere.
I never noticed this before. Back in issue 46 Mordru took Power Girl’s bait and fought her mano v. mano. Here he does not make the same mistake and just effortlessly blasts her.
Great job at giving Johnny Thunder his role. Instead of being a deus ex machina he prevents Mordru from being the cavalry by temporarily trapping him. It is very helpful but does not solve everything, and I really love how he turns the insults around and smile and hugs Mordru.
Not counting Frank Miller I think Green Lantern vs. Obsidian is my favorite comic fight. Their is the buildup with Flash showing all his pain, many great panels that fill up my Green Lantern folder. The detail that Obsidian prepared a counter to the speech from last fight and instead Green Lantern uses a different one. That hug at the end and his promise to make up for everything.
Also this image is one of my 6 wallpapers.
In Sandman’s heroic scene he calls himself “Sandman.” I think that is the first time he did that. Fittingly he does it right before thinking about how Wesley inspires him.
The giant sized issue is ended by showing us how Mordru will inevitably lose next issue. Thus ends what is probably my 5th favorite comic issue (I presume most people who regularly read my posts can easily guess the top 4).
51- It really is odd to think about this issue. This is the finale yet the pentulimate issue is the one that feels like it, and it is amazing it never feels like a tacked on epilogue but an epic epilogue instead. It is also odd to think that at the time Johns was Goyer’s junior partner. We often call it the Johns-Robinson run when the Johns-Goyer run would be much more accurate.
It saddens me when I see how hated Goyer is in many internet places now thanks to Batman V. Superman. He has done plenty of great work for DC, and this comes from somebody who hates his Dark Knight trilogy.
Since the first few issue a key thing has been Mordru not acknowledging Hector as Dr. Fate. Here he first thinks it is him and finally gives him some minor praise.
Back in issue 48 Hector has to accept his wife is dead. Mordru tries to exploit his previous failure to do so, and now it is confirmed he has accepted her death.
Hector turns his “coward” insults back at him by point out Mordru could never look at his own fate, and we see his pure horror when Hector show him.
After the defeat we get a fakeout for future events.
In the first 51 issues Kobra has been the most overaching villain, and this panel indicates he will stay that way due to his ability to abuse the system. He will be dead in 6 pages when the system is abandoned.
The end of Goyer’s run is so hopeful it feels odd that things are going to get much darker in the next few storylines.
So page 18 seems to be setting up future storylines with Kobra as the main villain, but they are actually making way for the new main villain, Black Adam, as Kobra is killed seeing in horror that his old safety net no longer works against these guys.
A key element of all these issues has been trying the same trick twice fails, because they now know it is coming. Kobra tries the same trick as he did in 45, but this time Brainwave Jr. is there to show he is just bluffing (was he bluffing in 45 too?).
I wish the thanks to Goyer would have come on page 16. It would have been more appropriate with this image
Notice Black Adam kills Atom Smasher’s personal enemy and later Atom Smasher will kill Black Adam’s personal enemy. The brothers who kill for each other stay together I guess.
I know most of the credit goes to Goyer and Johns, but Kirk really balled it out of the park with his art these issues. So much emotion in them.
Did I miss any of your questions in my 1,352 word essay?
My favorite part was my wallpaper image I shared. Love that whole fight.
The characters who shined brightest are Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, and Stargirl. A little below them are Power Girl, Flash, Johnny Thunder, Sandman, and Dr. Mid-Nite.
The only one without cool stuff to do somewhere was Hourman. He is the only one you can cut and nothing is really lost. I do not think that is bad since had big moments in the 30s and will in the late 50s and 60s.
Thank you for staying til the end.