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52 Volume Three by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Keith Giffin

1/8/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy 52 Volume Three in the USA - or Buy 52 Volume Three in the UK

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pub: DC Comics. 403 page graphic novel softcover. Price: $19.99 (US), $23.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4012--1443-2.

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Now where were? With the absence of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, not only is the DC Earth in need of some serious help but other parts of the DC galaxy as well. If it isn't Ralph Dibny looking for someone to restore his dead wife to life, hardly an impossible thing in this reality, then its Renee Montoya trying to keep the terminally ill Vic 'Charlie' Sage aka The Question alive into the new year. If it isn't the stranded Adam Strange, Starfire and Animal Man trying to get back to the Earth with the help of that ever so nice priest Lobo, who's taken to religion, then it's a certain Lex Luthor using his Everyman Project to bestow super-powers on anyone and neatly pulling the plug simply because it's in his plan that he can. Even the Black Adam Family trying to prove that they aren't as they are painted are having problems even when they are honest. I'll keep quiet as to what Rip Hunter and Supernova are up to, cos it's a secret. Did I mention that Dr. Magnus is having to create a Plutonium Man for an evil scientist group? Out of all this chaos, one has to hope some sort of order is rising out of all of this.

The oddest thing about reading this book collection is how modern comicbook readers could read a weekly instalment without having to go back over the early issues to remind themselves where they were going. Granted its only last year that I read the opening two instalments and the nice publicist at DC has given me the last two volumes to see what happened next. Fortunately, with my kind of memory, picking up the threads wasn't too difficult but you're going to need all four volumes to see where this story is leading. It is a lot easier to read in this format. It must have been an agonising wait for comicbook readers buying an issue a week.

Between each instalment there is some creative writer insight into how things were modified and made to work that shows how it was created and the inception design to the final product to see how much you were paying attention to the art. One thing that can't be denied is how much effort was put into this story. Equally, that although different writers were overall responsible for different plot threads, they weren't afraid to mix it when another author's strengths were better than their own.

Now comes the difficult part, how do I rate the story. Let's reserve judgement until I read the fourth volume and find out how all these elements are going to pull together. They all need help and I don't think Lex Luthor is out for anyone's interests but his own. 'til later.

GF Willmetts

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