Though this is a week late, and the review for the next episode will soon be following, I decided that I would uphold my end of the bargain and review Countdown to Final Crisis #3. Mainly, because I want to provide ~wyntermute~ with another review that isn’t 5/5, but also because I said I would review the last 5 issues (assuming that there is a 0 issue).

countdown_03.jpgThough this issue was better than its immediate predecessor, it still wasn’t up to the quality we would want from a series about to go ‘Crisis.’

This issue is pretty much Superman versus Darkseid, which is just as well considering that Jimmy Olsen has been one of the main characters throughout Countdown, yet big red-and-blue has been mysteriously absent from his life.

For a kid who has a watch/whistle/whatever that Superman can tune in on within a heartbeat, it has always been a bit confusing why Olsen never got the sort of help he was used too. Sure, he probably wants to be a man and independent, but…

My main issue with this comic is – once again – Mary Marvel. It seems like the writers – Sean McKeever and Paul Dini headline this issue – have simply forced Mary’s hand to be evil, so that she can play whatever part in the Crisis they have set out for her. It makes no sense that Mary Marvel has gone dark, and that none of the others have come to help her – no matter how busy they are.

Speaking of Superman and Mary Marvel, there is a similar discrepancy in the art between the two, as there is in their storylines in this issue.

Superman is drawn really well by Freddie Williams II, with some nice strong lines in the face, that don’t overextend the character. Superman has always been a simple guy – he’s the corn fed boy scout of the superhero genre – and he’s drawn thusly in this comic. Detail has gone in to the costume that he’s wearing – though it is a little too reminiscent of the Batman & Robin bat-suit – with suitable touches added, such as the belt loops.

Mary Marvel on the other hand looks like my cat humanized and cartoonized. I know that doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but it is the best way I can describe the “Fair enough!” panel.

One plus is that she uses Kyle Rainer like a mallet to take out Donna Troy. Now I’m as big a fan of Donna as the next person, but Kyle … let’s just say it’s nice to see him being useful for once.

The comic ends with – as it should – some fantastic Atom involvement. I’m a big fan of Ray Palmer, and it was nice to know that he hadn’t just vamoosed again. He not only showed that he was a hero, but he also showed his smarts by realizing who would be targeted.

The comic ends on a suitably mediocre point to match the issues overall mediocrity, yet it still makes me want to read next week’s issue, which, yes, I’ll be reading and reviewing in moments.

Countdown is not something you will want to get in to right now, as it is far too late. And I have no doubt that before Final Crisis comes out there will be a book suitably summing up everything that has happened (otherwise, just check out Wikipedia). Still, for those of us reading week to week, it might get better… it has to, right?

Issue number 3 get’s 3 out of 5 (or, to be really picky, 2 out of 5 for story and 3 out of 5 for art). In other words… meh! (Editor’s Note: Averaging the art and story ratings would lead to a 2.5 rating)


Editor: And, as promised, here’s Countdown #2 in your Major Spoilers Review Double Feature.

Countdown #2

Countdown2.jpgIn what was seemingly a cross between climactic-battle and overloaded “gotta fill you in on the last 50 issues” prose, Countdown #2 was pretty much exactly what we expected it would be. It had its good, which was thoroughly outweighed by the bad, yet still managed to keep me interested for Final Crisis.

That Grant Morrison has got the reigns for Final Crisis helps relieve the fear that it’ll blow as much as Countdown has.

From the front cover I feared that this issue would be a variation on a Spider-man book, as that is exactly what Jimmy Olsen seemed to have turned in to. He appeared to have been transported directly from Spider-man’s villains, made of a cross between The Hulk and The Lizard.

That being said, five pages in and Olsen was taken out of the picture, so I remained relatively happy.

I feel like I could nitpick something on every page of this book. Page three saw Kyle Rainer apparently carrying a ball of floating people – which, from memory, is not something that’s entirely realistic. And sure, having a green magic ring that does whatever you imagine isn’t the pinnacle of realism, but you understand what I mean; there are upside down people, just… floating, up the top!

Page four Jimmy Olsen smashes Darkseid with part of a bridge – seemingly in an entire turnaround of Olsen’s feelings about the safety of others.

Thankfully, at this point, Ray Palmer steps in and saves the day. As I said a few moments ago, or last issue, whatever; I love Ray Palmer. I’m looking forward to the resolution of Final Crisis, simply so that he’ll get a book for himself; of course, he could pull a Barry Allen, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The ensuing cosmic battle between Darkseid and the newly arrived Orion once again fills me with confusion. Instead of trying to save the people around about, Donna Troy, Kyle Rainer, Superman and the Flash, are happy just watching. It seems in total contradiction to the first page of the book, where Wally West is “waytoobusysavinglives.”

Scott Kolins art frustrated me just as much as did the storyline. I refer back to the Spider-man comment above, because Jimmy Olsen on the second page looks like he’s been drawn as a Marvel character. I’m not sure if I can quantify just what a Marvel character looks like compared to a DC character; but it just feels… wrong.

The big floating ball of people notwithstanding, everything seemed really … dirty. Orion’s entry, Darkseid, the JLA; everything seemed very rushed, dirty and misshapen.

We’ve got one issue of Countdown left, to be followed by Issue #0, which is going to be retitled as DC Universe #0. We’ve also got teaser art for Final Crisis, showing Hal Jordan as drawn by J.G. Jones, who I love! Countdown’s lackluster performance cannot diminish my excitement for Final Crisis, no matter how hard it tries.

Countdown #2 get’s 2 out of 5 for the story – I liked the death, it seemed appropriately massive – and 3 out of 5 for the art. (Editor’s Note: Again, averaging the two leads to a 2.5 Star Rating.)


The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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  1. DrStrangeCubicle
    April 17, 2008 at 3:38 pm — Reply

    That Darkseid’s story came down to a fight with Orion was good, in my opinion, as it makes for an epic fight and the “proper” end to the story of the 4th World. That being said, I think it was really poorly executed here (i.e. Orion’s not been involved in Countdown at all, it doesn’t reference Death of the New Gods, bad dialogue, etc.).

    DC would have been better off making *this* the epic end of an apocalyptic battle in Death of the New Gods and/or incorporating that into Countdown better while dropping some of the less needed plots.

  2. shamon
    April 18, 2008 at 3:23 am — Reply

    The great darkness saga this ties into one of the best legion stories you should spotlight this .

  3. MikeM
    April 18, 2008 at 9:02 am — Reply

    It seems to me that Death of the New Gods should have just been a side story in Countdown, as both as separate entities were lackluster and very sparse.

    Oh, and Josh, fear not – Ray’s already been confirmed in an interview with James Robinson that he will be a character in his new “Justice League” book. Robinson said he won’t necessarily be the Atom at first (I’m thinking Hank Pym, Adventurer!) but I’m happy he’s under capable hands. I haven’t seen Ray written well for a looong time, I guess since Morrison and Waid’s JLA book.

    And thank God Major Spoiler sis back. Missed you guys.

  4. ~wyntermute~
    April 18, 2008 at 3:38 pm — Reply

    Does making the tease count like “first post” or something? B-) But seriously, don’t just do it to spite, or in spite of, me.. My whole point in mentioning that was just to kinda (indirectly and unclearly I think, so my bad on that end) indicate that it’s possible to still “really like” something and not give it 5/5, since very few things are perfect as they are. It’s like how teachers used to (I dunno if it’s still done this way, but hey) not hand out A+ grades to EVERYBODY — even though we’re all precious, wonderful, and uniquely valuable little snowflakes of humanity. :D

    Oh, and I didn’t read the review yet, but that’s nothing against you. It’s just that I’ve spent most of the Countdown run reading the issues before anything else (since I didn’t get to read 52 before most of it was done & discussed), and – despite the worth or lack thereof – I’m trying to stay spoiler-free. :) I just figured I’d give you credit for “Not-Fiving” something, and explain my rationale behind the Sub-Cinqo Crusade. Hopefully I’ve done both without inducing any ill will (or boring the $#!+ out of people). This is just the intarwubs, after all, and I hate when it causes stress. B-)

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