It’s a wonder the series is doing as well as it is


Another issue down and the plot thicken. Even against everyone’s predictions Countdown is actually getting better as the series progresses. We’ve confirmed Countdown is leading to the next big event that is Final Crisis, and we’re seeing its cause in these pages (here and all the tie-in issues being forced down our throats).

Without further ado, let’s rundown the major highlights from Countdown #40.

countdown40_01.jpgDonna Troy and Jason Todd: The doomed duo, along with Ryan Choi and Bob the Monitor arrived in the Palmerverse, only to be greeted by an angry horde of Palmerversians. As usually happens when one group of costumed people, meet up with another group of costumed peoples – or in this case, a group of spear-wielding, talking, monkey-men – a fight breaks out before anyone has a chance to say, “Excuse us, it is clear you have better things to do at the moment, but if we might be a bother, have you seen our friend Ray Palmer?”

This isn’t your typical fight sequence, instead there are moments of pure amusement, along with moments where you actually think one or more of the heroes might actually be in trouble. Taking charge, Jason Todd puts a stop to all the nonsense.


As much as I hated seeing Jason return from the dead, and as much as I hated wasting my money phoning in to have him killed all those many years ago, I actually enjoy watching him walk that line between vigilante and hero.

The leader of the monkey-men finally admits they have seen Emo Ray Palmer, but he slunk away looking quite miserable. Where’d he go? Why, another place where anything is possible. Could this be the Bleed that leads to all the other Earths, where everything is indeed possible?

Jimmy Olsen: This week we finally get to see Jimmy don his Mr. Action costume, and put his three known powers (stretchy, spiky, and speedy) to use to bring down criminals.


And like his “super” pal, he too arrives late to the scene after ditching his hero duds in favor of his civvies.

Again, as much as I disliked the Jimmy Olsen as portrayed in the first dozen issues of Countdown, I’m interested to see how far Jimmy will go with his Mr. Action character before his fantasy of being a superhero is dashed.

Mary Marvel: Taking advice from The Riddler, Mary Marvel decides to seek a mentor to help her understand her powers. Instead of looking in Gotham, Mary jumps aboard a cruise ship to talk with Zatanna.

I like Zatanna, I like her a lot. I like her better in the fishnets and top hat than the snake headdress she wore back when she was wiping minds. And it only took Paul Dini a dozen issues to bring another of his favorite characters to the tale.

At one point, a fan heckles Zatanna and we see Mary’s scary side begin to emerge. Fortunately, she is able to keep her anger in check, but her vibes are enough to attract Zatanna’s attention.


Holly Robinson (not That Holly Robinson): Meanwhile, at the Athenian Women’s Shelter, Holly spies Harley telling a mother of a small boy that she isn’t welcome at the shelter and to make haste to another shelter elsewhere in Metropolis. Both the woman and Holly are confused by the mixed message from Women’s Shelter and Harley. The only reason I could think the woman is not welcome is because she has a son – and a young child in a room full of toga clad lasses is probably not a good thing.


Could it be the Athenian Women’s Shelter is not really run by the goddess or the warriors Amazon? Perhaps it is a haven and recruitment center for the Bana? While more of the tale will be revealed in Countdown, we’ll have to wait until the October issue of Detective Comics to find out why Harley Quinn is involved with the Athenians.

Darkseid: We haven’t seen the Great Darkseid since his appearance in the first issue of the series. We don’t get much more information about what is going on with his story except he is a bit melancholy about something.


Okay, so he’s melancholy and a very scary badass you shouldn’t mess with.

It’s too bad we’ve waited all this time to catch a glimpse of the happenings on Apokolips. The only reveal this issue is Darkseid overseeing a new batch of parademons (probably nothing new), while Forager (updated in new gear?) watches on, presumably ready to report back to High Father on New Genesis.

Piper and Trickster: The Penguin is not too pleased to find two very wet, and highly sought after villains hanging out in his office. After all, Oswald Cobblepot has gone legit – or at least as legit as he can since Batman returned and cleaned up crime in Gotham. In exchange for allowing the two rouges refuge for the night, Trickster promises to make it up to Oswald in a big way.

Unfortunately, the Penguin isn’t aware that every inch of his nightclub is being monitored by the Oracle, who wastes not time calling in reinforcements.


Hot damn! We finally get to the The Next Question – aka Renee Montoya make her first appearance since 52. Why Oracle didn’t call in Batman, Robin, or another hero with more experience is confusing, but any chance to see Renee kick some bad guy ass is okay by me.

We know from last issue, villains are being rounded up left and right. And we know from this past weekend’s comic convention in San Diego, that these villains are eventually going to be shot into space, in a Planet Hulk good riddance, hope you don’t kill each other sort of way. Is Renee part of the team tasked with DC villain roundup?

The Good

  • I love the Batman Animated Series image hanging on the wall in the Penguin’s office – it reminds me I have to hang my original up soon
  • Everybody pick a monkey-man and rumble!
  • Even legit, the Penguin can’t resist the chance to make some bank
  • Mr. Action isn’t so dorky after all
  • Mary Marvel really needs a chill pill
  • Darkseid likes to get it on, but doesn’t like pillow talk after
  • Bob in action or rather inaction
  • Jason Todd is one bad mutha – Shut Your Mouth! I’m just talking about Todd…
  • The Next Question
  • Loving those Dodson covers

The Bad

  • If that really is Forager, I do not like the costume change/update
  • Wanted more Darkseid
  • Penguin’s nose has to be a nuisance

I can’t believe how quickly I read through this issue. It was a great read, paced to keep me flipping through the pages without getting bored, and the final panel really had me smiling. Perhaps the first issues were nothing more than freshman fumbling for the new team of writers, artists, and editors, because these last couple of issues have really been good. Not outstanding, but really good reads. For the second issue in a row, I don’t have to give readers and extensive reading list of titles and issues that need to be read in order to understand what is going on (you may have noticed I dropped it this week altogether). Everything is starting to coalesce; act one is over and the fun mystery are kicking in to high gear. If readers hang on to this series, and the DC team continues to crank out issues of this caliber or higher for the next 40 weeks, Countdown is going to be one of those series you will kick yourself for missing out on. Countdown #40 earns a well deserved 4 out of 5 Stars. Keep up the excellent work everyone!


Parting Shot

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. July 30, 2007 at 9:13 pm — Reply

    I know I’m being picky here, but why does Montoya have a bald head with a ponytail? Can’t that thing just cover her face, like it did with The Question? Looks silly.

  2. July 30, 2007 at 9:16 pm — Reply

    More than likely due to the angle, we can’t see her hair pulled back tight into that ponytail. I’m sure her hair is there – otherwise that would be just plain freaky.

  3. Brent F.
    July 30, 2007 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    I’d like to see the Red Hood join up with the Secret Six.

  4. July 30, 2007 at 10:29 pm — Reply

    I assume that is the only image of her in the issue, so you may be right, Stephen. Dear God, I hope you’re right.

  5. Mark I.
    July 30, 2007 at 11:00 pm — Reply

    She needs the hat.

  6. Brent F.
    July 31, 2007 at 12:44 am — Reply

    Why doesn’t her hair change color?

  7. July 31, 2007 at 7:30 am — Reply

    I couldn’t have been more bored. I’ve stopped reading it. I don’t care anymore. If final crisis can some how not suck, I’ll get it in trade.

  8. Hiya
    July 31, 2007 at 10:01 pm — Reply

    It’s all about Monitor Bob and friends, now. Any of you have seen Stinky recently? What’s he up to?

  9. August 1, 2007 at 7:44 am — Reply

    The answer to that Hiya can be found in the four page Monitor back up story each week. For the last 5 issues of so, Stinky has been recounting Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, 52, and yes, he’s even retold the portions of Countdown leading up to the most recent issue, if you can believe that. One thing that did stand out in the last issue was actually matching each Monitor with its world. I’m beginning to believe Stinky is from Earth-3.

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