Quick, stall while we try and get to the final 10 issues

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There are a couple of good things and a couple of bad things about the site going down over the weekend. The bad is of course the loss of readership, which equates to a loss of potential income. One of the good things is I did have plenty of time to get through the whole back catalog of issue just waiting to be read. The bad thing about reading through my stack of comics was the dread I experienced when picking up issue #28 out Countdown.

countdown28_01.jpgI appreciate what DC is doing, I really do. I like the idea of a weekly comic. I enjoy the premise of reading an ongoing story week-in and week-out. I want to get involved in the character’s lives and experiences, their fears, concerns, joys, and tragedies. Of course in order for all of this to happen the story needs to progress each and every week. Yes, I know there are those that think the events in Countdown are progressing, bur really – a single panel of advancement amid a flurry of panels does not a good issue make. Instead, it equates to 52 weeks of story that can (and probably should) be boiled down into a series of 25 bi-weekly issues that would flow much smoother and allow writers to focus on moving the story along instead of wasting paper and the reader’s money with filler issues. Unfortunately, that is how this issue read.

Jimmy Olsen: Hanging out in abandoned building of the Newsboy Legion, Jimmy is getting his soiled laundry cleaned, all the while hanging out in his underwear in front of a bunch of under aged boys. What I find amazing is Billy Batson lived in absolute squalor before he was granted the power of Shazam, while the Newsboys have just about every gadget and gizmo they need to live comfortably. Are they squatting in this building to save money, or are they really hiding out for some other reason?

Either way the hideout isn’t that secret as the new Forager crashes through the ceiling and absconds with the red-headed photographer. Of all the people in all the world, Forager thinks Jimmy can help. And she does it by telling him Big Barda has been killed.

D’oh. Guess DC should have put a warning sticker on this cover that said “Wait! Don’t read this issue until you’ve read Death of the New Gods #1!” Way to spoil a big reveal DC, way to go.

The bigger issue beyond Barda being dead, is the souls of the slain New Gods are not joining with the Source Wall and the duo need to find out why.

Challengers: I don’t know what the heck is going on with this storyline anymore. While trying to power up to make the jump to the next world, Monarch reveals their hiding place and gives them the ultimatum – Join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. Okay, so Monarch probably hasn’t seen The Day the Earth Stood Still, but the sentiment is there.

Because Jason, Donna, Bob, and Kyle have no desire to join, Monarch rolls out his big guns in the form of the baddies from Earth-3.

Yes, the Crime Society is back having accepted Monarch’s challenge. Not ones to sit back and enjoy the show, Lord Havok and his extremists join in the fray for no other reason than Monarch is treading on their turf.

The end result of several pages of confusing fighting is Forerunner taking Donna Troy down in what appears to be an attempt to kidnap her into joining Monarch’s army. Of course this whole jumping from world to world gathering the army is a set up for the Arena series that will debut in a month or so, maybe, I don’t know. Not sure I care.

Mary Marvel: Shadowpact has been keeping an eye on Mary’s progress to the dark side, and she’s been a real vindictive bitch lately.

Of course there is only one thing that must be done – take Mary down. Either we’re going to see a crossover in the Shadowpact series proper, or the take down is going happen in Countdown. Lord help us if there is a four issue World-War-III-esque tie in to this story line.

Karate Kid and Una: When Brother Eye geared up for a major attack on Karate Kid, Una, Buddy Blank and Buddy’s grandson, the strike is ended quickly when the soon to be Kamandi shows some respect to Brother Eye. Instead of vaporizing everyone, Brother Eye passes along vital info in this MacGuffin story to get Karate Kid and crew to head to the Command-D bunker beneath Bludhaven.

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Sure you will kid, sure you will.

Piper and Trickster: Probably the most interesting story of the week is seeing how the Suicide Squad takes down villains in broad daylight.

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Wow. Way to steal from Men in Black.

While Piper and Trickster are quick to ditch Double Down to save their own hides, one has to question how Trickster is able to cobble together an invisibility generator at a moments notice.

I just don’t buy their get-away this week, but I did enjoy seeing the Squad at work.

Your Reading List

  • Death of the New Gods #1
  • Checkmate #19

The Good

  • Suicide Squad

The Bad

  • Suicide Squad stealing from Men in Black
  • Lots of stalling in this issue

As you’ve probably guessed, there is a lot of stalling in this issue while the company waits a week to release the next issue. The art is good, and while the story is a good intermission, after 24 issues fans should get more in the story, which results in a paltry 1.5 out of 5 Stars for the issue.

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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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5 Comments

  1. eric berry
    October 24, 2007 at 12:39 am — Reply

    I really hope that DC is reading web pages on what people are saying about their series. I am getting tired of DC titles. I got back into collecting with Infinite Crisis. I started there, and went to other series I favored over the years. Now I am taking Teen Titans and Wonder Woman off my pull list. I should have learned after 52 to not go with Countdown. I hope that Final Crisis is not going to be as bad as Countdown. I enjoyed 52 until the end. Towards the end I just wanted the series to hurry up and end. WW III sucked. Countdown is just dying down literally. If Final Crisis is any where near this mess, I will just wait til the trade paper backs come out. It will be less expensive.

  2. October 24, 2007 at 2:15 am — Reply

    What if the New Gods killer is Olsen? He seemed a little over-dramatic at News of the Death…

  3. Scott
    October 24, 2007 at 9:33 am — Reply

    As far as a takedown of Mary Marvel goes, I’d be pretty confident that it will occur in some spin off series or perhaps in the Shadowpact book. Countdown seems to be plodding along as a pointless highlight reel that directs your attention (and shopping dollars) to various other D.C. titles. Jimmy Olsen’s plot leads into the Death of the New Gods, Piper and Trickster is the setup for Salvation Run, Challengers of the Whatever leads into the Search For Ray Plamer one offs, Monarch’s follies will be seen in Countdown: Arena, we get Lord Havok for a bit until the Lord Havok series starts, Holly and Harley tie into Amazons Attack, Eclipso is running around in Countdown to Mystery, etc. etc.

  4. Tecknic
    October 24, 2007 at 8:33 pm — Reply

    Well, it’s somewhat comforting to know that I’m not the only person completely lost by the twisting, turning, unbridled “WhatTheHeckIsGoingOn” of this Countdown thing. I haven’t been a comic buff as long as most of you guys, but it’s really making my head hurt trying to make heads or tails of it all.

  5. Mark I.
    October 25, 2007 at 10:55 am — Reply

    Tecknic, just think of it this way. A comic book continuity is if like every show on a single network occured in the same reality and shared characters, except when the characters appeared on different shows they’d be played by different actors, and sometimes they’d be in New York on Tuesday when they were supposed to have been on Mars Monday thru Thursday and some shows will jump forward a year without addressing obvious issues that occur in shows that depict action week-to-week, and some characters die but they really don’t, and the show’s been on seventy years and no one has aged more than five except some of the children have miraculously aged to their twenties while their parents and mentors still appear to be in their thirties and some of their childhood friends actually still seem to be children. Oh, and the three biggest cities on the East Coast all look exactly like New York except one never gets any sunlight and the other is like NY 2099 and they all have a Statue of Liberty.

    See? EASY!

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