It’s about %$*&#@ time!

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Yes, I know. If I could go back in time knowing everything that I know now, the first thing I would do is make sure my full dance card had a spot open for Countdown reviews. The second would be “accidentally” meeting Charisma Carpenter and having her fall madly in love with yours truly. But that’s a fantasy fulfillment story for another blog…

I figure if DC can muck around with release schedules, why should a “slight” delay in Countdown reviews be any different?

Anyhoo, let’s check in on the heroes and anti-heroes, the wicked and vile, and happy go lucky.

Piper and Trickster: Poison Ivy and Deathstroke really don’t like party crashers, especially when they are known associates of the Flash, and are currently on the run for killing Bart Allen. In the opening pages of the issue, we discover the two have taken quite a beating and have been hung out to dry for someone more ruthless.

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countdown34_01.jpgBut it isn’t Batman they should be worried about, faster than you can say Lightning Saga, Flash is on the scene, snatching the two murderers from Ivy’s vines, and depositing them halfway around the world to Bart’s grave. There, they attempt to explain that they really had nothing to do with Bart’s death, but instead were trying to infiltrate the group to gain intelligence – something these two Brainiacs seem rather short on.

Besides uncovering a plot to hijack the Griffith Park Observatory and kill the then Flash, these two – totally off panel mind you, and taking place during the final pages of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, Piper and Trickster discover a plan by the villain community to crash Ollie and Dinah’s wedding.

Flash doesn’t buy any of it.

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Seriously, we know Wally West isn’t a killer, no matter how much time he spent in a galaxy far, far, away…

With the Wedding Crasher revelation, I suddenly have lost all interest in Piper and Trickster. All of this tripping through the Gotham underground, and the payoff is “Hey Kids, don’t forget to buy the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special”? I don’t mind the tie-ins and crossovers, but when it is done like this it is enough to make me want to skip writing a review of this series for a couple of weeks… right… moving along.

As I write this review, I honestly have not read Countdown #33, so I have no idea if this is the end of the Rouges Roundup, or if it will lead us to Salvation Run and Gotham Underground. Here’s hoping our chains haven’t been yanked in the same fashion as the electric shackles Piper and Trickster are wearing.

Challengers From Beyond: Last time we checked in on Donna, Ryan, Jason, and Bob, they had been captured by the evil bug queen. Bob is still under the bug ladies spell, while Donna and Jason are imprisoned in some magical spell.

While most of the storylines in this issue were done really well, I had to scratch my head and say, “Huh?” at the apparent jump cut in story telling. Examine these three sequential panels and see if you can find the missing action.

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How the hell did Donna and Jason escape? I honestly think I’m missing a page. If I’m not, then the issue has suddenly turned into a grind house film with whole reels of the story missing. Considering Countdown’s track record lately, this might actually be a good thing.

Bug Queen commands Bob to create a portal out of the Palmerverse, but a quick punch to the kisser by Donna sends the witch on her way. But it’s never that simple in comics is it? If it were, Captain America would have died on one page and drinking hot cocoa by the end of Captain America #25. Batman would have had his back broken and mended in a few pages, and Superman and Wonder Woman would be able to get the correct issues out on time. As expected Queenie grabs Donna’s hair in an attempt to pull her in too.

I probably should have mentioned you shouldn’t read All New Atom #15 before this issue. And if you don’t want Kyle Rayner’s fate in the Sinestro Corps War spoiled, you REALLY don’t want to read the issue.

You’ve been warned.

Holly Robinson (not THAT Holly Robinson):
Last time we saw Holly, she was decked out in gladiator garb and fighting a bunch of other warriors. It comes as no surprise then, when the final two warriors turn out to be Holly and the gold warrior – who turns out to be Harley Quinn – just like I suspected.

The prize for beating the crap out of women?

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Since we know the surprise ending of Amazons Attack, and knowing “Athena” is overseeing the battle royale, my guess is Harley and Holly aren’t going to see paradise anytime soon, but rather the Parademon end of Apokolips as one of Granny Goodness’ Furries.

Karate Kid and Una: Mister Orr thinks the ailment affecting Karate Kid may be a strain of the OMAC virus.

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Like a Rambaldi artifact, Orr sends the two on their merry way looking for one Buddy Blank. How did Orr know where to send Karate Kid?

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Desaad plays HeroClix too! With the Amazons out of the way, Darkseid prepping an army of Parademons, and Desaad checking out his new Justice League Booster Pack, it looks like certain New Gods will be pulling a lot of strings in the coming crisis before meeting their demise.

Mary Marvel: Instead of moping around outside Zatanna’s house, Mary decides a trip to a magical square in China is in order. There she runs into Klarion and his cat Fecal – two of my least favorite characters ever coughed up in a DC bullpen meeting. And before my email box gets flooded with people who are standing up for that stupid cat, yes I know his name isn’t Fecal, and I should point out I’m a cat lover. That should show how much I dislike these characters.

Mary is in this mystic land to learn a few new tricks. Seems magic is as addicting as crack these days, and Mary is eager to get her fix. Unfortunately, getting a taste of something new is never cheap.

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Is there really a new age of magic in the DCU? With all the familiar Chinese mystical and magical folk floating around, it looks like the new age is the same as the old age.

Jimmy Olsen:
The JLA promised they’d try and help Jimmy figure out his powers, so they immediately dumped him on John Henry Irons, who seems to have no problem hooking a weird kid up to a bunch of electrical devices.

Unlike other manifestations of Jimmy’s Silver Age Powers, it is nice to see the Super Brain of Jimmy Olsen appear in Countdown in a way that makes sense. Unfortunately for Jimmy, it looks like he has the answers to everything trapped in that noggin of his.

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Wow. The Source Wall dream Jimmy had months ago is starting to come in to play, and it looks like Jimmy has the secret of the Multiverse, and most likely the Anti-Life equation trapped in his little head.

Is Jimmy Olsen going to die to save the Multiverse?

The Good

  • Batman’s Dickness Level is surprisingly low
  • Giant brain Jimmy
  • Jimmy is the Anti-Life Equation
  • HeroClix!


The Bad

  • I really don’t want Piper and Trickster to be the opening act for the Canary/Arrow wedding
  • Klarion and Fecal
  • The MacGuffin of the week for Karate Kid and Una

I’ve had plenty of time to ponder this issue. On the plus side the story is moving along at an appropriate pace. As far as negatives go, Countdown is really suffering from the tie-in blues. With all the “big events” happening in the DCU, and an apparent lack of coordination between all of them, Countdown, in my opinion is no longer the backbone of the DCU, but rather a book that has some on-going stories and characters you can enjoy, but requires a long pull-list to fully understand. I’m really disappointed in Countdown #34, giving it a lowly 2 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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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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3 Comments

  1. Peter
    September 20, 2007 at 12:23 am — Reply

    I know this isn’t the appropriate place for this comment, but did anyone else notice that in the “Countdown” teaser (with the crumbled Darkseid statue, which we’ve seen before) DC has included this week, “Kingdom Come” Supes has the Atom brand on his hand that Surge has from the “The Search for Ray Palmer – Wildstorm”, which Surge says Ray marked some of them “…speedsters especially… …left a trail…and then he left”. Also, one of the other two Supermen (Supeses?), is Hank Henshaw from “Sinestro Corps War”… just wondering what others may think of this…

  2. September 20, 2007 at 8:03 am — Reply

    I know this isn’t the appropriate place for this comment, but did anyone else notice that in the “Countdown” teaser (with the crumbled Darkseid statue, which we’ve seen before) DC has included this week, “Kingdom Come” Supes has the Atom brand on his hand that Surge has from the “The Search for Ray Palmer – Wildstorm”, which Surge says Ray marked some of them “…speedsters especially… …left a trail…and then he left”. Also, one of the other two Supermen (Supeses?), is Hank Henshaw from “Sinestro Corps War”… just wondering what others may think of this…

    As that was the Teaser, I’d more regard it as symbolism that KC Supes’ world is where Palmer rests. Also, Henshaw is probably there to signify the Sinestro Corps attack, as Kyle and the beheaded Statue of Liberty were in the first Teaser.

  3. Brent F.
    September 20, 2007 at 11:48 am — Reply

    From what I’ve read about the new universes as stated by Morrison and Ross, the new Kingdom Come universe differs from the graphic novel story in that the nuclear missiles were never launched and the war spread across the country.

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