Countdown #35: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

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Do they? Do they really?

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Last issue was all about cliffhangers, so one would expect a lot of resolution this week with a fair smattering of fisticuffs and humor thrown in to boot. Countdown continues to chug along, but is it just spinning its wheels, or is it the little engine that can make it over the mountain?



Challengers from Beyond:
I really thought the villain that took down the Challengers last issue was going to be a Palmer-versed version of Lady Styx. I was kind of correct in that she subscribes to the bug-motif, but she is no Lady Styx. Instead, she’s a powerful wizard who has no problem turning Ryan Choi into a real bug, and brainwashing Bob into following her bidding so she can travel between the various universes.

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I can’t help but laugh at her claims as it reminds me of the demon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer that everyone was afraid of, until it was discovered the demon was a couple of inches high. At some point I see Queen Belthera meeting her demise at the heel of a boot.

Am I worried about Ryan, Donna, and Jason? Nope. Ryan still has his own ongoing series, so you know he’s going to be okay, while Donna and Jason will be hooking up with Kyle Rayner pretty soon too.

The Monitors: The Monitors move from their two-page backup into the main story this issue as they discuss the fate of Kyle.

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The Monitors seem hell-bent on killing the trio as soon as possible, but it is going to be the team-up of the three that will make this story fly.

After reading this issue, I noticed that this is the second chapter in a row where readers don’t have to go diving into the quarter bin, or pillaging the local comic shop for every Showcase Presents on the shelf. It makes me wonder if DC is trying to move the series away from tie-ins to a stand-alone series, or if this is just a fortunate coincidence.

This was also a week that had two other Countdown related issues hit the shelves; Countdown to Adventure #1, and the second follow-up to 52; 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen. While neither issue is much to write home about – Countdown to Adventure was just as the name implied; adventure must be coming, because it wasn’t found in this issue – DC could have tied the three issues together by throwing a page or panel from each of these into Countdown.

Mary Marvel: One of the funny things about cliffhanger moments in the old serials was the next episode had the hero making a miraculous escape at the last minute. Last issue, it was clear that Zatanna was buried under a bunch of rubble, while Mary Marvel was about to bring the smack down. This issue finds Zee free of all debris ready to meet Mary head on. When dark Mary attacks with some dark juju, Zatanna pulls one of those wacky “reflect the magic with a mirror” tricks that work in all the funny pages, but seldom works in real life (believe me I’ve tried). The stunt works, and evil cheerleader Mary is turned back to Mary Batson and flung from the premises.

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From past issues, we know Eclipso has been watching Mary with great interest. This issue she goes so far as to nearly quote Empire Strikes Back with “give into the darkness”, but the big reveal is how close the two are connected. When Mary’s magic backfires, not only does she feel the impact, but it is implied Eclipso gets some feedback too. Interesting…

Jimmy Olsen: No matter how hard Jimmy tries, his plan to get into the JLA doesn’t go exactly as planned. We’ve already learned that unless someone is unleashing their full power with the intent to kill, Jimmy’s powers don’t work. It happened when Robin gave Jimmy a shiner, and it happened again when the JLA pulled their punches during Jimmy’s tryout.

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For a time I was pretty excited about Mr. Action, and hoped we could see him stick around for a bit, but once again, I’m starting to wish he would just die. And this brings up an interesting question; will Jimmy die trying to prove he is a hero, or will someone get tired of his attitude and just kill him? It’s too bad Batman wasn’t seen in this butt kicking scene, as I’m sure he wouldn’t hold back during the pummeling.

Holly Robinson (not that Holly Robinson): It’s time for Holly to go through Athena’s purification process. Turns out the purification ceremony requires the women of the shelter to don armor and fight it out gladiator style. It’s a pretty good fight sequence as Holly takes down warrior after warrior until only one remains.

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I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out who the funny faced gladiator is.

Karate Kid and Una: Equus grabbed Una in the last issue, hoping to keep Karate Kid at bay. It’s just too bad Equus doesn’t realize Una also has super strength. Another good fight sequence breaks out between Equus and Karate Kid, and I was really surprised when KK ripped his opponents arm off, only to see it grow back a moment later. Val is ultimately successful, causing the mysterious Mister Orr to make his presence known.

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The Good

  • Karate Kid ripping off appendages
  • Holly Robinson enacting her favorite movie scene
  • Jimmy getting the crap kicked out of him

The Bad

  • Missed potential for current tie-ins
  • The issue still spins its wheels in too many places

Reading List

  • It’s another week to give your card a rest, unless of course you have no idea who Kyle Rayner is, then you have your work cut out for you.

This was a pretty rough week for Countdown. It is a three day weekend for me, which generally means I have plenty of time to catch up on my reading. I generally save Countdown for last as it is one of the titles that I enjoy. This week was a little different. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I was torn between some of the cool moments and the fact that many of the scenes were just too short. The issue could have been better by focusing on one of the groups or characters over the other. In the end, I can only give Countdown #35 2.5 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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