All roads lead to Apokolips

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Once again we are faced with a new installment of Countdown. But unlike last week’s issue that was full of half-steps and little progression, this week actually has some interesting progressions that move the story forward. It’s just too bad the issue slips back into its old habit of revealing the ending right on the cover.

cover.jpgTitle: Countdown #27
Writers: Paul Dini with Sean McKeever
Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Carlos Magno
Inks: Rodney Ramos
Colors: Pete Pantazis

Jimmy Olsen: The conversation between Jimmy Olsen and Forager has moved from the rooftop of the Daily Planet to the storage room, where Forager continues to plead the case that Olsen needs to help solve the problem of the missing souls instead of who is killing New Gods. I’m not a big reader of the Superman related titles (save for the Superman/Batman and Supergirl issues), but I never knew Jimmy set up a full fledged office in the closet as referenced by the desk and computer set up seen in the panel.

It is also interesting that this Forager is able to bring forth a Boom Tube from her hands without the aid of a Mother Box. My guess is the duo is traveling to New Genesis.

The final tid-bit was the reference to the creation of the Fifth World. We already have the new age of magic, and the Fourth World is currently marked for death, so is the Fifth World an out for DC to bring about the next generation of New Gods?

Karate Kid and Una: Another nice crumb thrown out this week was the team of Buddy Blank, his grandson, Karate Kid and Una traveling to the Bludhaven to find out just what is inside the Command-D bunker. The crumb isn’t that Dr. Blank decided to bring his yet unnamed grandson with them on this dangerous journey to a land contaminated with the waste of Chemo, but the implication that Bluhaven is crawling with all sorts of little beasties you can’t see with the naked eye.

If the events reported on Final Crisis are true, and we do see Kamandi emerge at the end, could the beings in Bludhaven evolve into something that resembles Earth’s End, thus putting Kamandi’s adventures squarely in the current timeline instead of the far future?

Challengers: I don’t care about the Challengers, I don’t care about what Earth they are on. I don’t care that the fight between the Crime Society, Lord Havok, Monarch, Forerunner, and the Challengers continues this issue. Does it surprise me that Jason Todd took a knife out and filleted one of the Extremists? Not at all.

Remember Jason Todd came back to life as a killer. Just because he has the hots for Donna Troy doesn’t mean he has changed his spots. Likewise, when Jason accepts Monarch’s invitation to join his team it’s not a surprise because Jason Todd is looking out for Jason Todd. So imagine my lack of surprise when he grabs Bob’s gun, points it at Donna, and pulls the trigger just to prove his loyalty. Now there is that one panel close up of Jason just before he pulls the trigger that could be telling – if you could read the nonverbal cues from beneath the domino mask. Is Donna dead? I doubt it. Has Jason flipped sides? No. This is merely a ruse to confuse readers and get them looking the other direction.

Mary Marvel: I really expected to see a Shadowpact tie-in issue before seeing Mary and Eclipso battle the team in the Oblivion Bar. What is really troubling is not in the difficulties Shadowpact has battling Mary and Jean (Mary actually calls Eclipso Jean – jeez!), but how did the Pact get the duo to come to the bar in the first place? Finding a demi-god who wiped out an entire country seems to be a real challenge, but sending a “please stop by for drinks” invitation to two notorious baddies is no problem.

I really hated this sequence because there is a huge gap in the story just screaming to be told, yet the solicitation for the next two issues of Shadowpact give no indication to a tie-in, so once again time will be in flux where story telling is concerned.

If I were a betting man, I would put my money that Mary and Eclipso high-tailed it to Apokolips.

Holly Robinson (not that Holly Robinson): Once again another story that is overstaying its welcome is the adventures of the transplants of the Athenian Women’s Shelter. While they’ve survived the trials in the water, no sooner do they catch their breath than the “Amazonians” send wild dogs chasing them across the island. Holly is smart enough to note that the island has become a prison, but I think we can all agree this island is more training center for future Female Furies than a place to train replacement Amazons. This is yet another indicator that while the old New Gods may be killed, new New Gods will take their place.

Trickster and Piper: The best part of this issue is seeing yet another Batman villain make an appearance. But instead of the semi-sane Harvey Dent seen in Face the Face, we get the complete full blown coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs Tommy Lee Jones Harvey Dent, complete with tiger striped suit and purple make-up job being led away by a pair of prison guards.

Batman Rouges Gallery Countdown Checklist

  • Joker – check
  • Penguin – check
  • Riddler – check
  • Clayface – check
  • Two-face – check
  • Hugo Strange
  • Mr. Freeze
  • Poison Ivy – check
  • Harley Quinn – check
  • Man Bat
  • Ra’s al Ghul
  • Scarecrow
  • Killer Croc – check
  • Scarface
  • Bane
  • Mad Hatter

Fortunately for Mr. Dent, Piper and Trickster come to his rescue as he is being led away to be ported to Salvation. Yes, Harvey does pull his flipping the coin trick to decide if he is going to tell them everything he knows about Waller and the Suicide Squad rounding of villains and whisking them away to a prison planet. And yes, even when Hope and Crosby offer to take Dent with them, Harvey flips the coin to decide if they’ll become a trio (the coin is not in his favor this time).

For those looking for the number two in this sequence consider

  • Dual nature of Harvey Dent
  • Each side of the coin played a part in the story
  • Two guards lead Harvey away
  • Two guys rescue Harvey

My first gripe about this story is in how the duo make their escape. If Piper and Trickster were able to use a cloaking device to get into Belle Reve undetected, why oh why must the writers continue to pull the “let’s steal a car and bust out of here Duke Boys style” every single time? It just seems like a gimmick that has been used one too many times.

It’s been said that Piper and Trickster’s journey would intertwine with all the major storylines going on in the DCU and I do have to give credit to the company for keeping their word. However, instead of being the innocent by-standers who witnessing the events, DC could make these guys go from zeroes to heroes by having them actually get involved and make a difference. Remember, at one time they were good guys fighting along side Wally West instead of the bumbling fools they appear to be issue to issue.

The other thing I really like about their appearance this week is the further revealing of the conspiracy of rounding up villains and sending them off to Takron Galtos. It’s been a very cool story that has been popping up here and there throughout the various titles, and for those that have been following the little bits and pieces throughout the year should have a good payoff when Salvation Run actually ships. For those of you that don’t get the significance of Takron Galtos, wait until 2008 when the 50th anniversary of the Legion of Super-Heroes arrives, or just wait until Matthew writes about it in one of his Hero Histories.

The Good

  • I still think the Multiple Earth’s logo is a cool idea
  • Harvey Dent
  • Fury Training
  • The significance Bludhaven will play in Final Crisis
  • The two page backup origin of Harvey Dent is simply beautiful and worth the price of the issue

The Bad

  • Hrm
  • Jason shooting Donna not believable
  • Jimmy Olsen’s office
  • We get it – Piper is gay, Trickster isn’t – enough with the homophobic comments already.

Your Reading List

  • Gotham Underground (which takes place before Countdown #27)

As much as I’m not liking the Challengers storyline right now, and even though it did take up quite a bit of the issue, at the end of the day, I actually liked this issue a great deal. The art is solid, even if it comes off as a bit too dense at times, but it is certainly better than the rushed solid color backgrounds seen in issues past. I like seeing more pieces of the puzzle fall in to place. The little crumbs that move us toward the big picture are certainly better than a story that spins its wheels each week. Now that we are at the halfway point I think we’ll be seeing more bigger picture story revealed, I just wish it would have happened all along. Countdown #27 surpasses the last issue by earning a respectable 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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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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2 Comments

  1. Lostmymind
    October 28, 2007 at 10:17 pm — Reply

    This comic truly is a weekly waste. Here’s to the end of the Dan Dildo era, and the beginning of ORIGINAL DC stories that doesn’t need to rip off a title from a 1985 series to sell books.

  2. October 29, 2007 at 8:15 pm — Reply

    Week after week I check out the reviews on this series, yet I’ve STILL been unable to figure out what the point of this series is…

    Besides just to make quick cash, that is…

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