Countdown #43 – A Final Farewell

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Don’t you feel like we’ve been here before?

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It’s not everyday a superhero dies – it’s more of an every other month thing. But one thing is for certain, in the DC Universe, if there is a major crisis looming, it’s a sure bet a Flash is going to die. In the wake of Infinite Crisis, and the repercussions of One Year Later, Bart Allen (aka Impulse, aka Kid Flash II, aka The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive) had a very rough time trying to fill the very big shoes of his grandpa Barry and Uncle Wally – fans didn’t like the disappearance of Wally, and they also didn’t like to see Bart emerge from the speed force fully grown. In the end it was decided – or planned from the beginning if you believe the hype – to kill the latest run and reestablish Wally as the Scarlet Speedster.

countdown43_02.jpgUnfortunately, as great a hero as Bart was (is?), virtually zero attention was given to his funeral in the closing pages of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13. The missing tribute was more than made up for in this week’s Countdown, where heroes, villains, and Keystone City shows up to pay tribute.

Jimmy Olsen is assigned to cover the event at the Daily Planet’s photographer, and through his lens we do get to see the reactions of many of Bart’s closest friends, who react much like we would expect; Jay can’t hold it together, Tim shows he is a true leader, and Cassandra swears revenge on those who killed “her little brother”.

Like some weird take on Huck and Tom, Piper and Trickster are in the audience to pay their respects. I’m not sure what to think of these two and their involvement in Bart’s death. On the one hand they didn’t have a direct hand in Bart’s slaying, but on the other they didn’t overtly try and stop the torture either. Guilty by association is where they seem to fall, although the courts would probably call it accessory to murder.

Upon hearing this, the two decide to beat feet out of the stadium and part ways. Before they can get too far, gunshots ring out and the duo are taken down by Multiplex and Deadshot.

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I’m not sure what Deadshot means by that, the exchange between Trickster and Multiplex implies they only want them to appear to be captured – perhaps the villains taking down other villains shows the supers they are dealing with the crime in hopes of deflecting retaliation.

During the ceremony Tim Drake (aka Robin) plays a recording Bart made quite a while ago as a way of saying goodbye to his fellow team mates. It’s one of those goodbyes you half expect Bart to record, although I found it interesting Bart made references to Kon-El, as if he expected to die before any other member of the Teen Titans.

I don’t really like funeral issues that much ever since I was burned on the whole Death of Superman series from a decade or so ago. If a character died, and stayed dead, I think the comic universe would be that much more rich, but instead, given an amount of time, said character rises from the dead, shrugging off the bits of dirt like nothing happened. Green Arrow, Superman, and Jason Todd are just a few who have come back like nothing happened.

Speaking of Jason Todd, he, Donna Troy, and Monitor Jim are also present at the funeral, where Monitor Jim tells the two they need to embark on a journey to the nanoverse in order to find Ray Palmer. Through the discussion, we do learn Monitor Jim is the Monitor in charge of the New Earth Universe.

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It’s enough to convince Donna and Jason to do everything they can to help.

While Jim the Monitor thinks a three man team can save the Multiverse, Monarch has a different plan. After the events of last issue, Monarch has brought Forerunner to The Bleed (the space between the Multiverse). Here he tells her the entire Forerunner race has been killed off by the Monitors, making her a lone survivor, and the perfect person to lead his army.

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That’s a lot of people inside The Bleed ready to take action. But it doesn’t seem like enough as Monarch tells Forerunner the Monitors are already trying to destroy Earth-34, and they need to be stopped. We also learn the Monitors don’t know what goes on inside The Bleed, and that Monarch is indeed Captain Atom.

I think I’ve also come to the definite conclusion that the Amazons Attack storyline has not yet occurred in Countdown – yet. The first clue is Cassandra appearing at Bart’s funeral. Why is Cassandra at Bart’s funeral? If you have read the latest issues of Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, and Amazons Attack, you know the last thing Cassandra has on her mind at the moment is showing up at a funeral.

The other clue is when we check in with Holly Robinson (not that Holly Robinson), who is still kicking it in one of the Amazonian Women’s Shelters. In Amazons Attack, the President has enacted the McCarran Act that allows the government to round up anyone suspected of colluding with the enemy. Since Holly is still snug and warm inside, we know these events haven’t played out yet. Holly’s story becomes even more interesting when she meets a very interesting character.

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The Good

  • Despite my feelings about funeral episodes, Bart’s funeral is good
  • Harley Quinn
  • Jimmy stepping up
  • Trickster and Piper wanting to clear themselves
  • The trek to the nanoverse begins
  • The Bleed

The Bad

  • Too many funerals

Your Reading List

  • Ion #10
  • Sinestro Corps Special #1
  • Captain Atom: Armageddon
  • Superman/Batman #1 – #6
  • Amazons Attack
  • Teen Titans#48

Like I mentioned last time, Countdown is finally picking up speed and we are getting to some interesting plot points that make each issue worth reading. Instead of jumping all around the DCU, this issue used the funeral of Bart Allen as a way to tie many of the storylines together, making for a better read. If I could really believe characters stay dead in comic books, I’d give this issue a solid 5 stars, but instead, I can only give Countdown #43 4 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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