Jokester we hardly knew ye


Bounding from universe to universe is bound to wear you out and make you vulnerable to attack. So might swimming in waters infested by mythical beasts, being on the run, and going crazy with power. One might also say reading Countdown week in and week out, complete with jumbled tie-in attempts, is enough to weaken your defenses and make you vulnerable to being brainwashed to believe everything is okay.

Challengers: What’s a Major Havok? That’s the question that popped into my head when Havok and his zoo crew quickly took down Jason, Donna, Bob, and the Jokester and decided to torture them for information. As excited as I got during 52 when B, C, and D-list characters made cameos, having characters that only appeared in a scant few issues might be pushing it just a bit. Especially when these characters are supposed to carry their own six issue mini-series in the coming months.

I’m also disappointed that we didn’t get to see the arrival and major smack down handed to the Challengers by the Extremists, as the issue kicks off with the final blows of the battle. Perhaps this is a page issue thing to keep the meat of the story from being pushed to yet another issue.

As I suspected last issue, there must be some Monitors that don’t want to follow in step with Stinky’s plans to eradicate world jumpers. Having located the Challengers, Stinky gets locked and loaded and jumps to Earth-8. Once again, I have to give kudos to DC for using the multiple Earth symbol with the Earth being visited, and I still believe we are being prepped for a butt load of stories taking place on those Earths sometime in 2009 or 2010.

I don’t know what powers the Extremists have, but one of them must be super smell, because he’s alerted the moment Stinky poits in.

Thinking they are under attack, Lord Havok and the Extremists take the fight to Stinky, and in the confusion the Challengers are freed from the torture device. Both Kyle’s power ring and Bob’s transportation powers are greatly depleted so making a quick exit isn’t possible at the moment. This gives Stinky plenty of time to tell everyone here’s there to put an end to the festivities.

countdown29_01.jpgTo make matters worse, at that very moment Monarch and Forerunner arrive. This gives Stinky the moment he needs to kill the Jokester.


Why the hell did DC even introduce Jokester if they were just going to kill him a couple issues later? To sell a tie-in issue and nothing more? That just sucks balls and is the one thing that had me most irate at this entire issue. Of course getting angry is probably just what DC wants us to be to make sure our hatred of Stinky continues.

Bob builds up just enough juice to teleport the team away to another part of Lord Havok’s castle where they can spy on the Extremists and Monarch’s conversation while they continue to recharge.

Monarch’s plan is just as simple as the one he offered to the Crime Syndicate – join his army and help with his master plan. What that plan is we don’t really know, but it probably has to do with the reboot of the DCU with Monarch as the ruler. Hank Hall may have been rewritten as a good guy, but I have a feeling Extant is slowly reclaiming the once glorious hero.

The whole episode on Earth-8 ends up as one of those Mexican stand-offs where no one wins, yet the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife and serve it up with a side of ice cream.

Karate Kid and Una: Brother Eye is not too happy to find Val and Una in his presence looking to get a quick cure. My bet is it isn’t too happy to see Buddy and his grandson bringing the “Great Disaster” to it.

Contrary to what the cover might lead you to believe, there is not Brother Eye/Karate Kid fight this issue.

Jimmy Olsen: Having solidified, Jimmy Olsen is wandering around the sewers of Metropolis when he stumbles upon the Newsboy Legion. It’s hard to tell which version of the Newsboy Legion this is – with the references to the New Gods it seems to hint that these are the cloned versions of the originals that were rebooted by Jack Kirby in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. But with two of the boys looking significantly older than the other two (and the absence of Flipper Dipper), it makes me wonder if they are something else. With their eagerness to have Jimmy join them, I’m wondering if they are part of Cadmus or are free agents looking to tap into Jimmy’s powers.

Holly Robinson (not that Holly Robinson):
When Holly and the rest of the potential Amazonian warriors jumped into the waters last issue, readers were under the assumption that only sharks infested the waters, but here there be dragons also occupying the space around Themyscira, and it is only through quick thinking only Holly’s part to get the dragons and sharks to turn on each other so everyone can swim to safety.

Trickster and Piper: Having been forced to take on Double Down as part of their fleeing team, the trio find themselves at a restaurant discussing their situation. Double Down is scared because he’s been hearing some disturbing rumors.

Those voices in the van can only be the Suicide Squad sent out to round up criminals to have them banished to another planet. Don’t forget to look for Salvation Run coming soon!

Mary Marvel: Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the worst panel of the week.


God that is some awful art. Mary looks like a transgender who has yet to complete the final operation. I just hate the art in this panel with a passion.

Mary and Eclipso have arrived in a village in Turkey, where the villagers begged her to bring some rain. Mary is definitely on the dark path as she floods the lands with a downpour. When the farmers beg her to stop because the rain is killing their livestock, Mary turns the animals to fish, thus turning the farmers into fishermen.

Her lack of compassion for man is enough to convince Eclipso that Mary is ready for her next lesson. My guess is Eclipso will be taking Mary to meet Granny Goodness real soon and the three will continue the plot to bring down Darkseid and the rest of the New Gods.

I’m throwing out one of my Wild Predictions here, but I believe we’re going to see Granny Goodness as the person behind all the evils befalling the DCU lately, and not Darkseid or another New God.

The Good

  • Lots of fighting on Earth-8
  • The Penguin origin story

The Bad

  • The Lord Havok you thought you knew isn’t the same Lord Havok seen here
  • Jokester’s death
  • Most of the other story lines are just too short

Your Reading List

  • Justice League Quarterly #3
  • Justice League Europe #15
  • Justice League Europe #18
  • Star Spangled Comics #7 – #64
  • Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133
  • Superman Annual #2
  • All-Flash #1
  • Checkmate #18

If anything I am most upset about the death of the Jokester. That incident brought down the entire issue for me. The art is just so-so, with some of the characters looking more like sideshow freaks than normal people. There are certainly some good story points, like Monarch making another appearance, but answers to questions that only lead to more questions tend to make the story linger longer than it should. At the end of the day, I can only give Countdown #29 2 out of 5 Stars.


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. October 13, 2007 at 5:47 pm — Reply

    Hmmm…Is it me, or is Mary concentrating too hard on trying to lick off her bottom lip?

  2. BadBad
    October 13, 2007 at 6:35 pm — Reply

    Based on what happened in 52, alot of characters introduced in Countdown will be cannon-fodder. The moral of the story is – don’t get too attached to anyone in this series unless they are featured in other comics.

    In Infinite Crisis characters like Kole got a single panel meaningless death. In WWIII Terra got a hole punched in her. I think the odds are good that a lot of incidental characters will be biting the big one.

    The only issue I take with this is that we’ll probably have a 52 v.2 and a Countdown v.2 about 5-6 years from now.

  3. October 13, 2007 at 6:51 pm — Reply

    The Extremists were designed to be analogous to Marvel’s biggest heroes. Lord Havok is Doctor Doom, roughly, and Tracer (the one with the feathers and the super senses) is roughly Sabretooth. Doctor Diehard is Magneto, Dream Slayer is Dormmamu, and Gorgon is Doctor Octopus.

  4. October 13, 2007 at 7:17 pm — Reply

    Matthew: regardless, I don’t like them already – especially since they are not the same Extremists found in this week’s reading list. :)

  5. Jerry S.
    October 14, 2007 at 5:17 am — Reply

    the new Extremists’ designs suck. bring back the old JLE Extremists look.

  6. kettch
    October 14, 2007 at 10:30 am — Reply

    I was kinda hoping for the Justifiers/Assembers/Maximums/Avengers-Analogue-of-the-Month make an appearance in this issue. Too bad.

  7. October 14, 2007 at 9:12 pm — Reply

    So I take it that the cover blurb saying Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1 was a tie-in to this Countdown issue was complete B.S.

    While I am continuing to love the characters in the DCU, I am not happy with the whole idea of Countdown nor the direction that the whole DCU has taken. I think I may have to stick to back issues until the Final Crisis.

  8. mosdef
    October 14, 2007 at 11:29 pm — Reply

    um, why is there like a 5 to 1 ratio, when it comes to dc over marvel reviews….why oh why

  9. October 14, 2007 at 11:36 pm — Reply

    mosdef: LOL – that’s funny – I just got an email the other day asking why we reviewed more marvel than DC comics… :P

    Depends on the week, depends on our mood, depends on what we think is worth reviewing, and what we have time for. Sometimes is Marvel, sometimes it’s DC, sometimes it is even someone else all together.

  10. October 14, 2007 at 11:39 pm — Reply

    If you look at the last 15 reviews
    6 – DC
    5- Marvel
    1 – Avatar Press
    1 – Red 5 Comics
    1 – Dark Horse
    1 – Hero History, which really isn’t a review…
    hardly 5:1 ratio

  11. October 14, 2007 at 11:41 pm — Reply

    If you look at the last 15 reviews
    6 – DC
    5- Marvel
    1 – Avatar Press
    1 – Red 5 Comics
    1 – Dark Horse
    1 – Hero History, which really isn’t a review…
    hardly 5:1 ratio

    And even if there were a more unfair ratio, does that mean that we favor DC over Marvel? Nope. Means that Marvel shipped diddly-squat two weeks ago, and that this week wasn’t Marvel-heavy, either. Right now I have 5 Marvels and 3 DC’s in my “to do” list. I’d promise balance, but they don’t SHIP the books in balance, so I just try to do something interesting every day.

  12. mosdef
    October 15, 2007 at 12:48 am — Reply


  13. October 15, 2007 at 8:15 am — Reply

    No worries Mos :D
    And yes, I do have a life sized Batman statue in my comic room, and it looks awesome. would probably get one of Captain America if they had one, but they don’t, so score one for DC :D

  14. October 15, 2007 at 8:17 am — Reply

    I have about 20 DC in my to-do list, but that is only because I’m really really behind…

  15. October 15, 2007 at 12:25 pm — Reply

    What a shame that you couldn’t make your case for bad artwork without equating transgender people with sideshow freaks.

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