Retroactive One-Shot: 52 (Part 2 – The Final 26 Issues)


In Retroactive I’ll take you on a visual comic cover tour of the past covering all the covers for a particular series. This being a Retroactive One-Shot, I’ll be featuring every cover of a single series while choosing my overall favourite cover for each year. Click on the specific logo of the year you want to visit to be instantly taken directly there. The last section is reserved for my Top Picks of the series. Click the logo or travel to the fourth page to view them. This edition will be a little different as I will actually be quoting the cover artist of the series (J.G. Jones) as he discusses each image during his Cover Blog feature which was initially published by Wizard Universe back in 2006/2007.


52: The Third Quarter
52 logo

52: The Fourth Quarter
52 logo

My Favourite Covers




4 thoughts on “Retroactive One-Shot: 52 (Part 2 – The Final 26 Issues)

  1. I really like 52 # 31.
    First of all, in the foreground there are some monstrous men being armed to the teeth: as you know, I love action packed covers, so an image showing FIVE submachine guns has a big chance to get the gold medal from me.
    Secondly, the background is simply awesome. Not only because of the meticulously drawn castles and the gorgeous tone of red used to colour them, but also because of the worried face upon them: it helps creating an even more tense and thrilling atmosphere. I also love how the shadows define the wrinkles upon that face.
    Thirdly, there’s an enticing tagline: the origin of Robin! Batman had a lot of sidekick, so you have to open the book if you want to know to which Robin the cover is referring to… and when a cover makes you want to do that only because of an effective tagline, that really screams GOLD MEDAL.
    As for the 4th quarter, I pick 52 # 40.
    I admit that once again Steel’s presence deeply influenced my choice, but I think I would have chosen this cover even if it showed another character, because it is very beautiful from an aesthetic point of view. I also love that piece of building between us and Steel, because when you look at it you have the illusion that it’s about to fall on us. It takes tons of talent to create this effect.
    The overall bronze medal goes to 52: Volume 1. I love the fact that all the characters have tense facial expressions but Booster Gold, who is about to drink a Coke with a large smile upon his face. I also love the contrast between the warm colours used for the characters upon him and the cool colours used for the rest of the cover: thanks to this artistic choice, Animal Man, Starfire and that third unknown character stand out in a really eye – catching way.

    • “I really like 52 # 31.”
      Another element of this cover that really intrigues me are those large white floating cubes in the sky. What are they? Add that to the odd angle of the scene and you get a mighty good cover.

      And here is a quick synopsis of my feelings of the covers in my Top 10:

      52 #44 – The stark white background accentuates the blood and I love how it ominously forms the visage of Isis. Has she met her end? How will Black Adam react? It is a very intriguing cover for sure.

      52 #29 – Watching the old generation in the form of the JSA walk sadly away from us is a brilliant idea as we tell of their supposed end. Alan Scott breaking down into tears is truly moving and overall it is a very emotional cover as we potentially say goodbye to these characters forever.

      52 #50 – Nothing short of epic. World War III has arrived and I really like the image of Black Adam standing in defiance as the various faces of the heroes who will oppose him litter the sky.

      52 #52 – And here we come full circle from the first cover of the series. Instead of the “Big 3″‘s gear on display we have a memorial for those characters we have lost over the course of this fantastic series in the form of the Question, Isis, and the Elongated Man. The perfect ending image indeed!

      52 #35 – Lex Luthor calmly watching as the heroes drop out of the sky is an indelible image and the tagline of the “Rain of the Supermen” is a nice twisted homage as well.

      52 #40 – Your pick is a great image that utilizes colouring to perfection. It also is a powerful image as we see Steel stand triumphant after knocking the big L of the Luthor Corp building off.

      52 #46 – The black background makes the rest of the image standout that much more while also replicating Black Adam’s outfit. Featuring all the various scientists in the lightning bolt which is striking Adam makes us wonder what part they have to play in the character’s current state of affairs.

      52 #34 – Such a powerful image that takes place in the morgue, a simple toe tag with a big question mark. Has the Question truly met his maker? It encourages us to pick up the issue to find out.

      52 #43 – The depiction of Animal Man is great as is the way J.G. Jones applied the visual of outer space on him. Having a photo of Buddy’s family in the centre clearly illustrates what motivates our hero as well.

      52 #45 – Heroes lay at Black Adam’s feet as he asserts his dominance while sitting on his throne. Terrific imagery for sure.

      On a side note, I agree with you that the cover of the Volume 1 Trade is the best of the four. As for who that third character is, the answer is Adam Strange:

      Thanks for sharing your selections and providing your analysis!

      • “Another element of this cover that really intrigues me are those large white floating cubes in the sky.” Nice catch GothamRogue, that had passed me by! That’s the problem when I see submachine guns (and boobs) on a cover: they attract all my attention, and I miss a lot of details.
        “As for who that third character is, the answer is Adam Strange.” Thanks for letting me know! As you know, most of the DC comics I own are Batman – centric, so there are a lot of characters I don’t know.
        Once again your synopsis made me understand I had completely underestimated some covers, like # 29 and # 35. I also like # 33, # 48 and # 49.
        “Thanks for sharing your selections and providing your analysis!” Thank you as well for your reply! : )

        • I’m glad I could help out both with the info and opening your eyes up to some great covers. Thanks for participating in all the Retroactive One-Shots. When the feature returns I know exactly what series I’m going to showcase next. I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

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