This week marks the 10th anniversary of the DC weekly series 52. The celebration started Monday with the release of episode 1 of the Podicus Wrecks podcast. During which, I spend 50 minutes discussing the stories within 52 and some thoughts on the series. Yesterday, I recapped The Rise and Fall of Black Adam. The rest of the week, I will be posting more detailed recaps of each of these stories. Today’s story is The Science Squad and World War 3. At least, that seemed like as good a title as any.
Will Magnus keeps visiting with Professor Morrow, who is imprisoned in a place called Haven. One day, Magnus finds that Morrow has been taken from his cell, but left behind a computer code for him. This computer code ends up helping Magnus recreate his Metal Men. Unfortunately, he only had time to recreate Mercury (the only metal that is liquid at room temperature) before he was attacked and kidnapped. Will wakes up on Oolong Island, with all of the mad scientists that gone missing, including Doctor Sivana and T.O. Morrow. They have been given unlimited resources to create weapons for Intergang.
Intergang wants Magnus to create another Plutonium man, but he refuses. Chang Tzu, Egg Man, is not happy with Magnus’ lack of progress, and is informed that he’s on medication to keep him from being manic depressive. Removing the medication would return him to the state of mind he was in when he had initially created the Plutonium man. So, Chang Tzu confiscates his meds, and sends him back to work.
After months of work, The Four Horesmen are revealed, only there are 3 of them. The 4th had been released earlier. Morrow begins to become suspicious of Magnus, based on the metal items he’s been acquiring. Morrow’s suspicions are actually correct, but he doesn’t see Mercury hiding.
Black Adam attacks the scientists, but he is subdued by a device held by Morrow. Chang Tzu broadcasts to the world that he is auctioning off Black Adam. Both the Justice Society of America and The Great Ten from China arrive at Oolong Island. The JSA states that they intend to take Black Adam in. The Great Ten states that the island is property of China, and if the JSA takes any action, then it will be an act of war. Alan Scott tells them that he suspects they’re hiding the fact that Chang Tzu is a member of the Great Ten, and that Chang Tzu was under orders from Beijing to create doomsday weapons to destroy the Black Marvel family.
While this is going on, Chang Tzu asks Will Magnus where his Plutonium Man is. At this point, Magnus reveals that he has recreated his Metal Men, and they attack Chang Tzu. During the distraction, Magnus runs from Chang Tzu. Magnus runs into Morrow, and gives him a teleportation device that he stole from Sivana. This allows Morrow to get off of the island. Chang Tzu finds Magnus, but he fires Lead at him. This cracks open his shell, and after a few more shots from his Particle Wave Ray gun, Magnus kills Chang Tzu. Magnus then lowers the shield protecting the complex, allowing the JSA and Great Ten to come in.
The JSA comes in for Black Adam, and the Great Ten comes in for Chang Tzu. Atom Smasher frees Black Adam, but Black Adam flies off, still wanting revenge. Adam starts fights all over the world, until he finally ends up in China. The Great Ten try to fight him off until they eventually admit that they need help. All of the American heroes that were waiting at the border come in. Led by the JSA, they attack Black Adam. After much futility, Captain Marvel thinks he has a plan. With Zatanna and other magic users casting a binding spell, Captain Marvel gathers all of the power he can, and blasts Black Adam with a lightning bolt. It appears Atom Smasher caught a powerless Black Adam as he fell from the sky, but no one saw it. Captain Marvel says that he couldn’t take Black Adam’s powers away, but he could change the word used to access those powers. Later on, we see Black Adam powerless, trying to figure out what the word is.
The moral here is that even when things look dire, never give up on who you want to be. When things looked at their worst for Will Magnus, and didn’t give in to the despair and fought for who he wanted to be. He didn’t want to be a mad scientist creating doomsday weapons. And it would have been easy to be a mad scientist creating doomsday weapons. He was literally surrounded by mad scientists creating doomsday weapons. But that’s not who he wanted to be. He wanted to be a better person. So, even when things turned against him, he set himself about the business of doing what he had to get free. Life had given him lemons, and he was going to make the best lemonade that he could.
Compared that to what Black Adam was still doing, which was the opposite. When life gave Black Adam lemons, he threw them at life’s face, and still went about killing as many people as he could. I really wish I could remember what happened to Black Adam after this. If anyone knows off the top of your head, please let me know.