Comic Book Review: Countdown to Final Crisis #12

Countdown continues to surprise me in not completely sucking over the past couple of issues. Now, don’t get me wrong, this title isn’t anything incredible, but at least the past several issues have been serviceable average reads. And for Countdown, that is something impressive. At any rate, let’s hope Dini continues to merge all of these different languishing plotlines into a more unified story for the push to the conclusion of this story. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Countdown to Final Crisis #12.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti & Keith Giffen
Pencils: Jesus Saiz & Tom Derenick
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Red Robin, Donna, Ray Palmer and Kyle arriving on Apokolips. Ray admits that all of his work has been destroyed. Our heroes have no idea why they are on Apokolips.

We cut to Metropolis where Jimmy is taking a shower. He suddenly sees the words “To Apokolips” appear on the shower door. We shift to Paradise Island where we see Mary Marvel as a slave girl serving the Amazons. An Amazon slaps Mary for spilling water on her. (Hey, now! I knew this title would get spicy eventually.) Harley then appears and grabs Mary by the hair and drags her off. Harley pretends to discipline the unruly slave girl while really talking about what Mary has been able to learn while snooping around. (Remember kids, BDSM is always a cool thing as long as it is between consenting adults.) Mary says that Athena is going to be holding a ceremony for the return of the Furies.

We shift back to Apokolips where Desaad mocks Granny Goodness for her devotion to what is clearly a rapidly deteriorating situation. Granny says that Desaad’s lack of faith will be his undoing. Granny transforms back into her Athena form and uses a Boom Tube to go back to Paradise Island.

We see Darkseid and Solomon sitting in front of their chess board. Solomon is losing the chess match. Solomon moves his Mary Marvel chess piece. Darkseid compliments Solomon’s fighting spirit and says it will be interesting to see how Solomon’s gambit plays out.

We zip back to Paradise Island where the huge ceremony is being held for the women who have endured the hard training to become the Female Furies. Athena rants that her new Furies will slaughter any and all countries and people who oppose them. Mary can’t take anymore of the despotic ranting and stands up and calls Athena insane. One of the Furies attacks Mary. Holly intercedes and begins brawling with the Fury. Harley then joins the fight.

Queen Hippolyta then appears at the ceremony and calls out the fake Athena. The two ladies begin battling. Hippolyta cuts Athena’s face. Athena then transforms back into Granny Goodness. Granny fires up a Boom Tube and escapes. Harley then jumps through the Boom Tube so Granny won’t get away with what she has done. We then see Holly and Mary also jump into the Boom Tube to follow Granny. Hippolyta stays behind and tells the assembled ladies that they need to talk.

We cut to Pied Piper in the middle of the desert with Trickster’s severed hand lying next to him. Piper is growing delirious due to a lack of food and water. Suddenly, a Boom Tube portal appears in front of Piper.

We slide over to Bludhaven where Karate Kid is beginning to recover from his illness and is feeling much better. Brother Eye then states that it found a world that is better suited to its prime directive. That Brother Eye will go to this world and assimilate it and make it one with that directive. Brother Eye says that he will honor his creator and will return and place him above all others. We then see Brother Eye fire up a Boom Tube and transport away from Earth. End of story.

We then get a two page back-up story about the origin of Circe. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Countdown to Final Crisis #12 was a slightly better than average read. I’m pretty much neutral on a this issue and that is actually a step in the right direction for this title. The dialogue that we got on this issue wasn’t as groan inducing or as cheesy as much of what we have gotten on this title. However, don’t confuse that statement with me claiming that this dialogue was anything great. It was just standard issue comic book dialogue and that is also a step in the right direction for Countdown.

The pacing and plotting on Countdown to Final Crisis #12 was actually pretty good. Dini finally wrapped up the wretched Holly Robinson plotline for which I am eternally grateful for. The entire fake Athena/Paradise Island boot camp story was unbelievably lame.

The best part of this issue was the plot progression that we got as Dini finally gathers up all the various plotlines that have been twisting in the wind and combines them together. The Darkseid plotline, the Monitor plotline, The Pied Piper plotline, the Jimmy Olsen plotline, the Holly Robinson, the Mary Marvel plotline and the Brother Eye plotline have all been combined as each of the characters all either receive a message to go to Apokolips or actually take a Boom Tube that will take them to Apokolips.

I’m glad that Dini has finally assembled all of these various characters together in order to set the stage for the final act of this story that is to be played out on Apokolips. Hopefully, all of this is a sign that Dini has a wild finish in store for us with the final eleven issues of this title.

I enjoyed the ending to this issue. I dig the concept of Brother Eye absorbing Apokolips in order to carry out his prime directive. And I like that Brother Eye wants to return to Earth to honor his creator, Batman, and place him above all others. Hmm, maybe a Bat-Emperor? This has the potential to be an interesting plot twist.

Countdown to Final Crisis #12 delivers some solid artwork. I’m not crazy about pencils by committee, but Jesus Saiz and Tom Derenick do a good job sharing the penciling chores without stylistically clashing too much.

The Bad: I found the resolution to the Holly Robinson plotline to be horrible executed and terrible rushed. Granny Goodness was defeated far too easily. The showdown between Hippolyta, Holly and Harley versus Granny Goodness and the Furies was rather anti-climactic. And it also made the reader why Hippolyta didn’t do this earlier. I didn’t see any reason why Hippolyta would have waited so long to pull off this attack.

At any rate, this was an appropriately unimpressive ending to what has been an equally dismal plotline. Both the Holly Robinson and the Mary Marvel plotlines have been pathetic reads since the start. And the resolution of both plotlines leaves much to be desired. And neither plotline did anything to grow or flesh out either Holly’s character or Mary’s character. The reader can’t help but feel that both plotlines were pointless and merely served as filler in order to help stretch the already thin Countdown across 52 weeks.

I still find Pied Piper’s plotline to be stunningly pointless. Trickster’s death continues to have no purpose and was clearly done for shock value. Dini will have to have something incredible in store for Piper with this finale or else I will simply chalk up Piper’s plotline as more filler to help fill up 52 issues on this title.

I can’t say that I am a particularly big fan of the revelation that Solomon and Darskeid are engaged in a cosmic game of chess. The concept of everything going on in Countdown simply being the result of a cosmic game of chess between two powerful entities is so lame.

Overall: Countdown to Final Crisis was an average read that at least finally moved along the various plotlines and set the stage for the final act of this story. I have a feeling that Dini is going to be able to pull off a pretty enjoyable ending with these final eleven issues. However, now that we are almost done with Countdown, it is painfully obvious that this story would have been much better served is DC had decided to make it a 12 to 24 issue series. I think it would have been one hell of a good read in that format.

Countdown to Final Crisis #12 makes the perfect jumping on point for new readers as we basically re-set everything and get ready for the grand finale. I would only recommend picking up Countdown at this point if you simply want to get yourself excited and pumped up for the upcoming Final Crisis event.

4 Comments

  1. We cut to Metropolis where Jimmy is taking a shower. He suddenly sees the words “To Apokolips” appear on the shower door.

    I thought he was still on Apokolips making out with Bug chick. What happened with all that?

    An Amazon slaps Mary for spilling water on her.

    So we’ve frogotten about the whole Mary fighting her inner darkness deal? Ok, cool.

    I can’t say that I am a particularly big fan of the revelation that Solomon and Darskeid are engaged in a cosmic game of chess. The concept of everything going on in Countdown simply being the result of a cosmic game of chess between two powerful entities is so lame.

    Lame or brilliant marketing ploy? After all, it’s like an in issue add for heroclix.
    http://www.wizkidsgames.com/heroclix

  2. I’m pretty much with you all the way here. It would have been far better served as a FAR shorter series, and I have great dislike for the “chess game.”

    I picked the series up and continue to read it for Ray Palmer, who so far has played the dazed guy that had to be literally dragged along the whole way.
    They better give me a big finish here!

    That’s a nice call with the Heroclix. I can definitely see a DC chess ad from the 80’s, claiming that you’re in control of the heroes destiny.

    Excellent reviews, as always.

  3. I’m all for Ray not jumping into super-heroic mode the second he’s found and putting out fires left and right, that’s fine. I suppose there are enough middling heroics going on as it is.
    I just don’t see Ray Ray wandering around as the dazed guy. I don’t know if the fine people that put this thing together know it but… he was married to Jean Loring. He lived with a 6 inch alien tribe only to see them firebombed. He’s fought some bad-asses with the JLA. And he was married to Jean Loring.

    Those are just some highlights. I just don’t know if he’s the right guy to “daze” at this point.

    Obviously, my big fear is that they’re setting him up for this big all-life, all-time saving heroic effort where he sacrifices himself for everyone else.

    No thanks. Send Rayner if you must, leave Palmer out of it.

    This is where super interactive chess games could really come in handy.

  4. Granny says that Desaad’s lack of faith will be his undoing.

    Snicker! Suddenly I have this image in my head of Darkseid menacingly hissing to Desaad, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Just remember, the New Gods first appeared six years before Star Wars 🙂

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