Comic Book Review: Countdown to Final Crisis #20

Countdown to Final Crisis continues to be simply a dreadful read each and every week. It is stunning at how bad this title has become. I have no reason at all to delude myself into thinking that Countdown to Final Crisis #20 is going to be a good read. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini, Adam Beechen & Keith Giffen
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inks: Art Thibert

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Brother Eye’s movement toward Bludhaven escaping the attention of the JLA, the JSA and even the Batman. We see Karate Kid and Una futilely trying to break open the metal box in the lab under Bludhaven. Buddy’s grandson makes the assertion that Karate Kid and Una love each other. Una dispels the notion saying that even if she did love Val, that her two other bodies might not feel the same way. Plus, Val already has a girlfriend.

Brother Eye and his army of OMACs arrive above Bludhaven. Brother Eye uses Bludhaven to create a giant globe out of the city that is now his new form. Brother Eye says that “Eye am Bludhaven. Eye am home.”

We shift to the Bleed where Bob tells the Challengers that Ray Palmer is in the universe of the Monitor that he fought last issue. Bob mentions that the Multiversal anomalies are causing the Monitors to change their appearances and develop individuality that is unprecedented for their kind.

We hop over to Apokolips where Jimmy is in his turtle shell form and is crawling through the maze under the fire pits. Jimmy stumbles across where Forager is being held captive. Jimmy frees her from her shackles. Forager immediately attacks Jimmy yelling that she must kill him and that Jimmy Olsen must die.

We slide to the Quantum Universe, where Monarch is watching the various versions of Batman kill each other in the Arena. Monarch visits one of the versions of Batman who continues to defy him. Monarch says that he will send this Batman back to his Earth where he can try to protect his universe from either Monarch or the forces against Monarch.

Suddenly, the Monarch stares at a computer screen showing the different versions of Green Lantern fighting in the arena. Monarch is stunned and utters “What is this?”

We cut to Piper on the train still shackled to Trickster’s corpse. Piper continues to talk to Trickster as if he were still alive. Piper notes that the train has crossed the border into Mexico. Piper slips out of the train car before a couple of border guards inspect the train. We see Piper carrying Trickster’s body through the desert. Piper collapses to the ground saying that he is very thirsty.

We cut to Eclipso brawling with Black Mary. Eclipso regains control of her gem and blasts Mary with it. Eclipso then says that Mary has no one to blame but herself for her loneliness. Eclipso tells Mary to remember this moment where she drove away the only one left who cared about her. Eclipso then teleports away. Mary curls up on a piece of wreckage floating through space. Mary cries and says that she is all alone.

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

The Good: Imagine that. Countdown to Final Crisis #20 was another lame read. Having said that, I actually did enjoy the Brother Eye scene. I like the romantic tension between Una and Karate Kid. I also like how Una is up front about how there is no chance for them to be involved even if she did want to be with him. Dini emphasizes the fact that each one of Triplicate Girl’s dupes has their own unique personality and that when they are all combined back into her main form, the love that Una harbors for Karate Kid would get subordinated by the feelings of the other two.

I also found the move of Brother Eye taking over Bludhaven to be mildly interesting. Bludhaven has been sitting there without much use since the end of Infinite Crisis. At least now the dead city has a purpose. Brother Eye becoming an entire city is a neat idea and has the potential to provide for a decent story.

The Bad: Countdown to Final Crisis #20 continues the downward trend that has plagued this title for quite some time now. It is stunning at how bad this title has become. It is painfully clear that Dini just didn’t have enough material to support a 52 week title. DC is forcing a square peg in a round hole with Countdown and Dini is compelled to stretch out small and underdeveloped plotlines across 52 issues.

The result is a comic book that’s pacing and plotting that is simply atrocious. The various plotlines stumble around like a blind man in the desert. This has got to be the slowest moving title outside of Bendis’ New Avengers. The reader feels like we are trapped in a moebius strip where we read and re-read the same scenes and dialogue over and over with each issue.

Countdown to Final Crisis is almost completely lacking in a point or purpose. Countdown seems to be a study in just how long a writer can stretch out various plotlines without every actually progressing the story. If Dini has proven one thing on Countdown, it is that he certainly knows how to kill time.

The dialogue in Countdown #20 is pedestrian at best. There is little emotion or flow to the dialogue. All the characters come across with generic personalities. There are no nicely developed three dimensional characters in Countdown. And there is an alarming lack of chemistry between any of the characters. The characters are stiff and one-dimensional. It seems that Dini and the guest writers are simply going through the motions with this title and aren’t trying to infuse the story with any emotion or passion.

The scene with the Challengers was more of the same dialogue that we have gotten over and over ad naseum for the past couple of months. This scene was boring and a complete waste of time and space. This short scene is an excellent example of a pure time waster and space filler.

I also found the Jimmy Olsen scene to be rather slow and boring. It is almost painful how slowly this plotline is progressing. So Forager immediately attacks Jimmy once he frees her. I don’t know what is causing this sudden change in her personality and at this point I don’t really care anymore. This plotline has been so listless that any interest I initially had in this plotline has died.

The scene with Monarch at his arena was average at best. I hate the Monarch’s arena. The arena is the literary tool that most represents Didio’s bloodthirsty desire to “blow shit up” and randomly slaughter characters for no other sake other than wanting to see blood.

The end of the scene is supposed to tease the reader by having the Monarch surprised by the sudden appearance of someone or something. Unfortunately, I could care less about anything that happens in this plotline since Dini has failed to make this plotline anything other than a transparent excuse to slaughter characters.

The Piper plotline is stunningly pointless and slow. Absolutely nothing happens in this issue. The Piper scene was a complete time waster and failed to give this plotline any purpose or direction. Other than being an excuse to kill off Trickster and serve up more blood to the reader, I have no idea what in the world is the point of this plotline.

The Mary Marvel plotline continues to flounder and flail about like a fish out of water. This plotline is going nowhere and it is doing it in a rather slow fashion. And with the end of this scene, the reader is back to where we started with Mary’s plotline. She is alone and hopeless. Yay. I’m so glad we wasted so much time following Mary on this circuitous journey. At this point I have no idea what the point of this plotline is and I have lost any and all interest that I initially had in Mary’s story.

Overall: Countdown to Final Crisis #20 was another dreadful read. This just might be the worst title that is currently on the market. And I’m taking into consideration other pitiful reads like Ghost Rider, Wolverine: Origins and New Avengers. I am truly struggling to find any redeeming qualities to Countdown to Final Crisis. I certainly cannot recommend that anyone waste their money on getting this title.

3 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Countdown to Final Crisis #20

  1. Rokk

    Can I make a suggestion? I love the blog and what you’re doing. But you’re spending waaay too much time on bad reads.

    Read em all, if you must. But perhaps you should only review and critique the quality reads. Save yourself the time and effort in maintaining this blog, which has been taxing you.

    For truly atrocious reads, why not, just rate them, and give a super short crit, and save your energy for the reads you love.

    I personally dont want to read 19 more Countdown reviews- sounds god awful.

  2. Rokk –

    I would definitely consider this another award-winning issue of Countdown. I hope you agree.


    Dan DiDio

  3. Does anyone know which Batman was killed by Red Rain Bats and which is the one being sent home? (The latter looks like the By Gaslight one to me…)

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