or “We named you Junior. We named the fish Superman”


I have a feeling issue #26 is where we are really going to see Countdown heat up. For the last couple of issues, Countdown seemed to be stuck, barely moving the story – that is until issue #31 arrived. What’s so special about this issue? Oh where to begin?

Challengers From Beyond: The Challengers have been deposited on Earth-3; you know it is Earth-3 because the cover has a really cool little phased Earth symbol with a 3 on it. I know it is a minor thing, but that little logo could go a long way in future DC tales, and I have a feeing we’re being prepped for the day when we see Action Comics, Batman, JLA, JSA, and the rest of the DC titles taking a peek at adventures on multiple Earths and that symbol is going to tell us what we need to know.

The other hint that we are on Earth-3 is the appearance of the Crime Society.


countdown31_01.jpgWhen they first arrive the four fight the likes of Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, and Power Ring, but it isn’t long before the rest of the team shows up.

There is a lot of good old fashioned fisticuffs as the good guys battle the bad guys, but while all the action is going on Bob disappears, leaving Jason, Kyle, and Donna to fend for themselves. At one point Donna saves Jason from Owlman, and in his own little world Jason sees this as Donna caring for him. I can understand falling for a raven haired beauty and believing she has a thing for you, but fantasy and reality seldom are the same thing – which explains why Charisma Carpenter still hasn’t fallen madly in love with me – and I think this infatuation with Donna is going to come to a head before this series reaches its conclusion. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jason switches teams at some point and joins Monarch and his team for whatever monkey shines they are up to.

Being one man down isn’t a good thing, and when things look their worst, the strangest Earth-3 character comes to their rescue.


The Jokester? Apparently this Earth-3 is not the Earth-3 from either pre or post-Crisis as the only hero on that planet was Alexander Luthor. If the Crime Society is the mirror-verse version of the JSA, then the Jokester is a good guy. He still uses his joke themed weapons made famous in the pages of Batman, but now he’s fighting crime instead of committing it.

Before they can have a proper introduction, Bob “poits” back in, claiming he’s searched the entire realm and came across no trace of Ray Palmer. Instead of continuing to exchange pleasantries with the Crime Society, Bob suggests they exit stage right. As the portal is closing, the Jokester decides he doesn’t want to be offered up to Commissioner Wayne, and promptly jumps through the portal to join the team.

Did anyone spot the problem here? There could potentially be two. The first is the villains of Earth-3 have been named the Crime Society, which I can totally accept, except next week (October 3), the special tie-in issue Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Syndicate. WTF? If this is a mistake, then shame, shame, shame. This is a simple mistake that shouldn’t have been made, especially with solicitations announced months ahead.

The second potential problem is it appears the adventures on Earth-3 are over, so what’s the deal with the stand alone issue? I’m sure this question will be explained next week, but I have to say, if that issue is treated in the same way as Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Wildstorm, then we’re going to have a problem. While one could argue the Wildstorm issue gave us the further adventures of the Challengers, nothing really happened in the issue. Oh sure, fans of Midnighter got to see him kick some Jason Todd ass, but other than that, what happened? Nothing. It was a total waste of paper. The Crime Syndicate issue is going to have to step up the story if DC expects readers to buy all the future tie-in issues.

The Monitors: The Monitors are watching all the fun on their dimensional viewers, and Stinky is not too pleased that yet another anomaly has been allowed to jump universes. He uses this as another reason why all rogue Sliders need to be eliminated.


Monarch: We haven’t been privy to what Monarch has been doing in the Bleed, beyond building his army, and I’m not even sure at this point if he is good, or if he is evil. The moment the Challengers disappear, he, Forerunner and a few shock troops appear and ask the Crime Syndicate to join his army in exchange for giving them the spoils of all universes.

I’m thinking Monarch may have jumped off the deep end once more and is now whacky-in-the-wikky-woo.

Mr. Mxyzptlk: If you have read Superman/Batman, then you know there was a great storyline that features multiple versions of Batman and Superman, including Batzaro, Bizaro, and really hot versions of Batgirl and Supergirl (meeooow). The whole story and multiple heroes were all part of a weird conversation between Joker and Mr. M but now seems to be a factor in Countdown.

While Mxy and his wife Gsptlsnz take their fish Superman on a walk, Mxyzptlk is snatched out of the fifth dimension, leaving a gaping hole in reality.

I find this a very interesting twist in the whole story. With the Joker acting more and more weird, Rip Hunter finding something odd in the time stream, and all sorts of people jumping in and out of the Bleed, I wonder where this little bit of story is going to take us.

Holly Robinson (not that Holly Robinson):
Having won her battle and the favor of Athena, Holly and Harley are off to Paradise Island for additional training. We know all this because Holly is writing a letter to Selina letting her know something isn’t right and she’s on her way to investigate. It’s too bad Selina will never get the letter, for no sooner does she deposit it in the out box, than a pair of mysterious hands tear the letter to shreds. From the bracelets worn, my guess is Athena/Granny Goodness.

Since we know the outcome of Amazons Attack, and we know Paradise Island is essentially abandoned with all the Amazons scattered and mind wiped, I wonder if this is will be the fate of Holly. It seems the Catwoman title is getting a bit of a face lift, with a lot of the extra baggage being ejected, so I wonder if this is an attempt to get rid of Holly in a way that makes sense, without angering all of her fans.

Mary Marvel: Mary is convinced Eclipso is there to take her power, even though Eclipso assures her she has more power than Mary ever will.


Eclipso makes an apparent exit, leaving Mary to deal with a trio of guards who show up wanting to know what a filthy American is doing on private property. Before she can explain, Mary turns them into stone statues. Eclipso returns from the shadows and decides to take Mary to their final destination to examine her powers more closely.

Could that location be Apokolips? There was an interesting turn of events in Countdown to Mystery #1 where Plastic Man meets Eclipso who recounts how she was moved from an orbit around a distant star to Apokolips where she came face to face with Darkseid. It’s revealed the gem used to create Eclipso was actually created by Darkseid his bad self. I seem to also recall that at one time the two had a conversation where it was revealed that each know half of the Anti-Life equation. Darkseid also thinks the imps of the Fifth Dimension know how to control the equation, which may explain why Mr. Mxyzptlk was abducted. And knowing Jimmy Olsen has somehow interfaced or tapped into the source wall, he too may know all there is to know about the formula. In any case, everything is pointing to Darkseid.

Jimmy Olsen: Speaking of Jimmy, Cadmus hooks him up to an analyzer and things just don’t go according to plan.



Karate Kid: While I said the tie-in issues of the Hunt for Ray Palmer may end up being a disappointment, the tie-in story of Karate Kid and Una in the pages of Supergirl was done just right. The entire issue was devoted to the Kid and Una leaving Nebraska, getting set up by Equus, and then duking it out with Supergirl.

The second part of that fight hasn’t dropped yet, but apparently everyone makes it out okay, as Karate Kid and Una show up in the suburbs at the home of Buddy Blank. Thankfully this isn’t the kid from the OYL OMAC, but perhaps the real Buddy from long ago (sans mohawk)?


The Good

  • The Crime Society
  • The Jokester
  • Jimmy gets what Jimmy deserves
  • Mr. M and his wife
  • Stinky getting angry
  • ANUS

The Bad

  • A few potential screw ups with the tie-in issues
  • Holly’s story is pretty much at an end as far as I’m concerned

Reading List

  • Superman/Batman #23
  • Countdown to Mystery #1
  • Countdown to Adventure #1 and #2

I really thought the Jokester and Crime Society story was going to be lame, but nothing does evil super powers better than Earth-3. The quick one and two page updates on characters is nice, even though I think Holly’s story is more or less over now that Amazons Attack has concluded, and I really dig the two-page Joker origin at the end of the issue. With all the ret conning of the Joker’s origin, it’s good to know DC has decided (at least for now) to stick with the Killing Joke origin over the others. Of course that does nothing for the pitiful Batman Confidential storyline that is trying to retell the origin again, although I think it is being done to coincide with a trade release around the same time The Dark Knight hits theaters. The quick writing by Dini and McKeever this issue was very good, and the art continues to improve now that Giffen is back on breakdowns. Overall, Countdown #31 was a step up from the last several issues, earning the title a solid 4 out of 5 Stars.


Parting Shot


About Author

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...


  1. This was the first Countdown issue I’ve really enjoyed. I believe its been said this Crime Syndicate is modelled after the JLA Earth-2 team featured in the story by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly, but I might be mistaken. That could explain the Jokester, as this is not hte same Earth-3 as the one Alexander Luthor was originally from.

    All around though, this was a very solid outing for Countdown and, while I share the concerns with the upcoming Search for Ray issue, I have hopes it will offer a new or more fleshed out experience as McKeever will be handling that issue as well.

    The Monarch thing has me wondering his motives as well. I think he might just be telling them what they want to hear in order to get them to join, but I could be wrong. In the Countdown to Adventure #2 he had Forerunner take out hte entire Nazi JLA team without breaking a sweat to get them to join. Why he didnt do the same here is an odd discrepency. Maybe he figured guile would work on this ‘evil’ Earth compared to the fascist nazi team. Hopefully its not another inconsistency with Countdown though as that could ruin my new found enjoyment with the book.

    Kirk Warren
    The Weekly Crisis

  2. Just a question: I’ve seen others refer to Green Cloud Thingie CSAer as the E-3 Spectre. That does not make sense to me because an opposite version of Spectre would be a good guy now and I kinda figured it was the E-3 Red Tornado. Anyone?

  3. Hehehe – on Earth-3, Black Canary isn’t a white woman dressed in black, she’s a black woman dressed in white.

    Clever, clever, clever.

    Also, the Joker’s colors are inverted – so why isn’t this world’s Power Ring using a yellow ring and why isn’t Green Arrow Red Arrow?

    And just once I’d like to see an Earth-3 version of the Marvel Family. There *is* a cannon anti-Captain Marvel with a red-on-yellow costume in a black cape, but I can’t recall his story.

  4. Except, Jeff, she’s probably called White Canary. And I have no idea about the colous. Earth-3 is the opposites of Earth-1 as thought up off the top of the head – hence Wonder Woman’s counterpart is Superwoman and the Flash gets Johnny Quick.

    I notice, however, that the Society’s Green Arrow has a red arrow and bow…

  5. Mary Marvel KILLED a guy in this issue. I know she’s supposed to be becoming evil…but shouldn’t the first murder be handled with little more angst and not a “oh, that was cool” moment?

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