and guest starring General Zod as Superman

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Another week and another trip down the rabbit hole that is the DCU Multiverse. Last week it was all about meeting the Crime Society and the Jokester, this week it’s all about the What Ifs? and mighthavebeens. What do I mean? Take the jump for this week’s review.

Karate Kid and Una: Last time we saw Karate Kid and Una, they had arrived at the doorstep of the original Buddy Blank hoping he would take them to Brother Eye. Turns out the great disaster is known by more than those from the 30th Century.

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countdown30_01.jpgWhat I failed to realize in the last issue, and only found out the other day, is Buddy Blank is the grandfather of Kamandi. Which means we actually saw Kamandi playing in the yard when Karate Kid and Una approached last issue. Cool!

Of course OMAC (One-Man Army Corps) was created by Jack Kirby, and seeing how the New Gods are on the way out, could Buddy be far behind? And if Kamandi is the last boy on Earth, what will be the big fallout in Final Crisis? Grant Morrison has said the first page of Final Crisis will feature Anthro the First Boy and Kamandi the Last Boy on the last page.

Piper and Trickster: There was a lot of fighting going on in The Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special #1, so you’ll have to forgive everyone if you missed Piper and Trickster showing up to the big event and keeping everyone from blowing up.

Say What!?

During the fisticuffs, a television monitor turns on with the Joker toasting the happy couple. Any gift from the Joker can’t be good, and Piper and Trickster put two and two together and figure there’s a big bomb inside.

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Gotta love those sound effects.

The two make their way out of the cave, and jump in a waiting Porsche to make their get-away. It’s too bad Double Down (from the Flash: Iron Heights one-shot) pops up from the backseat and sticks a razor sharp card to Piper’s throat.

Challengers of the Unknown Beyond: Most of this week’s issue is devoted to telling the story of the Challengers of the Unknown Beyond on Earth-15 – or the Earth That Might Have Been. Here, the Challengers meet with the future versions of themselves had events been allowed to play out; Jason would have become Batman, Donna becomes Wonder Woman, and Kyle as the greatest Green Lantern of them all.

There is a great bit of time spent discussing why the Jokester is alive, how Donna should consider not becoming that which everyone believes she should be, and of course some Bat-Dickness from Jason Todd.

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The big surprise of Earth-15 isn’t that the Atom is a hot blonde girl, nor that she and Batman have a thing going, but that Superman isn’t Kal-El.

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Yowza! The good thing is Zod isn’t a bad guy, and he isn’t even needed that much with the other supers doing their thing. While Bob has been trying to explain what the Challengers are doing on Earth-15, Zod has already scanned the entire planet and dropped by to let everyone know Ray Palmer is not here.

We already know the Monitors are messing with Bob’s navigation, which explains why the Challengers aren’t jumping into the right universe. And we’ve seen Ray Palmer marking inhabitants of some Earths with his secret atom symbol (the Jokester has one on his neck). But are the Monitors causing the Challengers to deviate for evil reasons or for good?

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The panel seems to imply that while many of the Monitors agree with Stinky’s way of thinking, there may be some trying to actually help.

Holly Robinson (not that Holly Robinson): The reward for winning the all-girl smack down at the Athenian Women’s Shelter was an all expense paid trip to Themyscria for more training. As Holly and Harley’s boat approaches the island, Athena (who I still think is Granny Goodness) tells the two their first test is to swim to the island through the shark infested waters.

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Think motive here. If Athena/Granny Goodness can’t approach the island by boat, and can only get their by swimming it makes perfect sense to have Holly and Harley do the dirty work by deactivating the security on Themyscria.

Jimmy Olsen: Jimmy’s powers go all haywire, and a portion of him slips down the drain and into the sewer.

The Good

  • Some really great dialogue in this issue
  • Each plot served up just enough info to advance the story

The Bad

  • A lot of standing around on Earth-15
  • There is still a lot of continuity issues popping up between all the tie-in titles

Reading List

  • Supergirl #21 and #22
  • Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special #1
  • The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society
  • Flash: Iron Heights

Overall, this wasn’t a bad issue. There was just enough new stuff to advance the overall plot and keep me interested. Even though I think the general “tripping down the Multiverse” story is going to get boring, I’m hopeful Dini and crew can keep each destination from devolving into a Hey, don’t forget to buy yet another book! That being said, the Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society was a really good read and gives plenty of back story on the Jokester, Duela Dent, and the evil versions of the JSA.

My biggest complaint about this issue isn’t in the semi-self contained story, but rather the huge gaffs that are appearing in every tie-in issue. Scenes are not set up correctly, or information is completely wrong. The appearance of Piper and Trickster at the wedding is a prime example. The other big issue that is going to occur in the next couple of weeks is the Sinestro Corps War coming to Earth. Kyle escaping from Parallax will occur in Green Lantern #26, yet the war hasn’t come to Earth yet. If the Statue of Liberty falls, wouldn’t you think Jason and Donna would have questioned Kyle about the war? If I were to make one suggestion to DC it would be this; but an immediate halt to all your titles, sit down with every editor and writer and make sure you aren’t screwing up current continuity in soon to be released issues. Once that has been taken care of, rearrange your shipping schedule so issues that may reveal what is going on in one title don’t arrive before the conclusion of the story in another. A good example is the events in the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding story where Batman is kidnapped in the JLA Wedding Special, but shows back up in the Green Arrow/Black canary Wedding Special to save the day. It’s not until JLA #13, that shipped a week later, that readers see how Batman escapes. These kinds of things really hamper the enjoyment of the story.

On the other hand, DC did an adequate job of telling a Karate Kid/Una story over in Supergirl without screwing up what happens in Countdown. Even if readers never pick up the tie-in issues, the story of the Kid and Una are not confused by their sudden reappearance in Countdown after being MIA for a week. The Supergirl tie-ins actually enhance the story instead of detract from it.

Major bitching aside, I actually enjoyed this issue. Not every issue has to feature an appearance by every main character. I can go a week or two without seeing Mary Marvel and Eclipso, I can do without some Jimmy for a while, and if Holly Robinson gets eaten by sharks and we never see more from her, I’m okay with that too. Overall, Countdown #30 receives 4 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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9 Comments

  1. October 7, 2007 at 3:17 pm — Reply

    Actually…hate to break it to you, but this IS Major Spoilers…Granny Godness IS Athena. DC played a joke on us by revealing it in the one place where no-one would read it; the last issue of Amazons Attack.

  2. October 7, 2007 at 3:54 pm — Reply

    Well yeah Sal, i’ve mentioned that several times in many other reviews…

  3. October 7, 2007 at 5:09 pm — Reply

    Oh, it was sarcasm? Ouch, sorry…I’ll try not to be so smarmy in future.

  4. kwaku
    October 7, 2007 at 5:36 pm — Reply

    They are the Challengers from Beyond not of the Unknown.

    Jason, Donna, Bob, Ryan left Earth a while back. They first went to the subatomic place with mechanical frogs, then the magical place etc. It is kinda possible that as soon as they left the S-Corps showed up on Earth. Donna and… wouldn’t be aware of what is happening on New Earth. Their part of the story is a few….weeks(?) ahead of everyone. I guess.

  5. Baal
    October 7, 2007 at 5:51 pm — Reply

    My solution to DC’s continuity problem? Get a huge ass white board. Have one staffer in charge of putting on it villains and guest cast for every book by month. Have him tell the editors when there’s a problem. Less expebnsive than yours and would have prevented Doctor Psycho appearing in three books in one month that still doesn’t have any explanation. And no, us coming up with the ‘obvious’ explanations are not good enough. Either DC should go back to unconnected series across their line or explain their increasing fuck ups themselves. Don’t even get me started on no editor wanting to tell Meltzer his Aquaman portrayal being wrong or Dini not making sure two of his stars of Countdown weren’t portrayed as participating in the murder of Bart Allen. Ugh.

  6. davek
    October 7, 2007 at 6:46 pm — Reply

    I read this, and I actually liked the reveal of Zod as that universe’s Superman. Not sure why, but it was certainly an interesting little twist that I didn’t expect that made me smile.

  7. Brent F.
    October 7, 2007 at 10:50 pm — Reply

    I’d like to be the first to label Earth-15 the Earth of Bad Ideas.

  8. October 8, 2007 at 9:09 am — Reply

    I’d like to be the first to label Earth-15 the Earth of Bad Ideas.

    I’m sure you’d LIKE to be, but I can tell ya for free you aren’t. :)

  9. Brent F.
    October 8, 2007 at 12:24 pm — Reply

    Well I’m the first one here to do so. :P

    I bet that’s also the Earth where Breach is Captain Atom and Zauriel is Hawkman.

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