Comic Book Review: Countdown #32

Last issue continued the downward trend of this title. Countdown has been a rather disappointing read with no real sign of things turning around anytime soon. We are now 20 issues into this title and that is certainly long enough to give a fair prognosis of how strong of a read we can expect from this title. Countdown should be a much more entertaining read than it is at this point. Is it possible that Countdown #32 will buck the trend and deliver a quality read? Let’s do this review and find out.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini & Tony Bedard
Penciler: Al Barrionuevo
Inker: Art Thibert

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Mary Marvel agreeing to give Klarion a tiny fraction of her magic powers in return for Klarion agreeing to help Mary master the forces inside of her. Unfortunately, once Klarion grabs Mary’s hand it turns out to be a trick and he says that he is now going to drain Mary of all her powers. Mary breaks free and blasts Klarion which knocks him out. Mary then flies off. Eclipso’s voice resonates in Mary’s head and tells Mary to come meet with Eclipso since only Eclipso can offer Mary the help that she is so desperately seeking.

We cut to Piper regaining consciousness and seeing the mummy in front of him and Trickster. Piper takes out his pipe, but before he can do anything Flash appears out of nowhere and calls off the mummy. Flash then confiscates Trickster’s bag of tricks and Piper’s pipe. Flash says he will be back to get them after the wedding is over. Flash warns the Rogues that Hassan the mummy will remain on guard outside of their hotel room.

The two Rogues decide that they can’t just wait in the hotel while Deathstroke and his bad friends arrive at the wedding scene and cause a huge fight and then have Zatanna come back to the hotel and perform a mind wipe on them. So, Piper uses the telephone keypad to play some musical notes that makes Hassan the mummy fall asleep. The two Rogues then run out of the hotel.

We shift to Jimmy Olsen arriving at Cadmus Labs. Jimmy is greeted by a young perky scientist named Serling Roquette who is the head of Genetics at Project Cadmus. Jimmy says that he tried to be a hero because he wanted to finally sit at the same table as all the great heroes who he has admired so much. That Jimmy didn’t want to sit on the sideline anymore.

We slide over to the strip bar where Black Canary’s bachelorette party is in full swing. We see Supergirl and Wonder Girl trying to sneak some alcoholic drinks. Unfortunately, the watchful eye of Zatanna turns their drinks into ginger ale.

Suddenly, our two loveable rogues bust into the building and realize that they have stumbled onto the wrong party. Hassan the mummy is in hot pursuit and is immediately attacked by Big Barda who was bored with the party. (Big Barda doesn’t like looking at ass. She enjoys kicking ass.)

Zatanna turns Hassan back to dust. Meanwhile, our two Rogues use the distraction to sneak out of the strip club and steal some keys to a Porsche from the valet stand. As they drive off, Piper gleefully talks about the male strippers in the club. Trickster is doing his best to forget what he just saw.

We hop to Moscow on Earth-30. Our heroes are travelling in a green time sphere created by Kyle Rayner and powered by “Bob” the Monitor. Evidently, the other Monitors are using their powers to try and buffet our adventurers off course so they won’t be able to locate Ray Palmer’s location in the Multiverse.

Kyle is still angry with Jason for leaving Ryan Choi behind. Jason is sick of Kyle and wants to bash Kyle’s face in. Our heroes then pop over to Metropolis on Earth-3. There they cross paths with the Crime Syndicate.

We then cut to Mary arriving in front of Eclipso. Eclipso tells Mary that they are going to be good friends. End of story.

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

The Good: Countdown #32 was another average read. However, that isn’t to say that there weren’t some bright spots in this issue. As always, Piper and Trickster steal the show. These two Rogues continue to be a funny team. It is hard for the reader to not root for these two loveable losers as they continue on their hard luck journey. It has been entertaining watching these two characters continually jump from the frying pan into the fire. The writers continue to create excellent chemistry between Piper and Trickster as well as plenty of humorous dialogue.

I also enjoyed seeing Donna, Jason, Kyle and “Bob” bopping around the Multiverse. Since I adore the Multiverse, the more that we see of these various multiple Earths the better. Also, I have always been a big fan of the Crime Syndicate. It should be fun watching our heroes mix it up with the members of the Crime Syndicate.

Finally, Dini is using this team of heroes searching for Ray Palmer in the manner that I had hoped for since the beginning. I thought that Dini would use this team’s adventure as a plot device to take the reader on a tour of this new Multiverse. It is too bad that it took Dini twenty issues to get this plotline finally going in the right direction.

I liked the little pissing contest between Jason and Kyle. It provided for some entertaining drama. Especially considering that Donna, the ex-girlfriend of Kyle and current object of desire of Jason is stuck in the middle of these arguments. You know that Kyle is way more powerful than Jason, but man, if Kyle took that power ring off for just one second I’d like to see my boy Jason just wax him.

The artwork in this issue was solid, but it wasn’t the best work I have seen from Barrionuevo. Barrionuevo was inconsistent in this issue. Some panels looked fantastic while others were below average and awkward.

The Bad: Countdown continues to suffer from incredibly slow and plodding plotlines. It becomes clearer with each issue that the plotlines in Countdown were not properly designed to be a weekly title over the course of one year. Also, Countdown continues to suffer from a lack of internal continuity as all of these plotlines seem terribly disjointed and mix mashed with each other.

The Mary Marvel scenes were rather uninteresting and predictable. The reader knew that Klarion was lying about wanting to help Mary. I was just glad to finally see the inevitable meeting between that wife murdering bitch Jean Loring and Mary finally taking place.

This meeting between Eclipso and Mary took way too long to happen. Having Mary wander around for twenty issues really bogged down this plotline. Mary Marvel’s plotline has had little direction or excitement for the past several issues. And that is too bad, since at the beginning, this was by far the most intriguing plotline.

This is just another example of how these plotlines are better designed as short individual mini-series rather than ongoing plotlines in a 52 issue weekly title. Hopefully, now that Dini has finally gotten Mary together with Eclipso, this plotline will increase in its pacing and intensity.

Now, even though I have continually praised the misadventures of our two loveable Rogues, I have to admit that this plotline is beginning to get a bit repetitious and stale. While the witty banter and continual bungling of these two character constantly bouncing from sticky situation to even stickier situation has been entertaining, this plotline is quickly losing any point or direction. Dini needs to provide some real progress and purpose to this plotline soon.

The bachelorette party scene was largely pointless and nothing more than pure fluff. I imagine that it was just a way to try tie into all the various special Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding issues that are coming out in hopes that the reader will be enticed into purchasing those issue.

The Jimmy Olsen scene was mostly useless and incredibly quick. Jimmy Olsen’s plotline is similar to Mary Marvel’s plotline in that it started out hot and was very entertaining, but it has seriously cooled over the past several issues as the pacing continues to get slower and slower.

Overall: Countdown #32 was simply an average read. And the reality is that an average read is pretty much all I can expect to get on this title. Now that we are twenty issues into this title and are getting close to the halfway point, it is safe to say that the chances of Countdown suddenly turning into a story as hot as 52 are pretty slim. I still say save your money and purchase Countdown when it is released as a trade paperback. The pacing may actually seem better when in trade paperback form.

1 thought on “Comic Book Review: Countdown #32

  1. “We see Supergirl and Wonder Girl trying to sneak some alcoholic drinks. Unfortunately, the watchful eye of Zatanna turns their drinks into ginger ale.”

    Pish Posh I say. If youre old enough to fly into space and fight bird demons or what not, you’r old enough to have a beer. FOr supergirl, what is the legal age on Kryton?

    “We slide over to the strip bar where Black Canary’s bachelorette party is in full swing.”

    Granted, I’m a bit of a prude, but I’ve read four issues this month that deal with Black Cannery’s bachlorette party. While some heros do indeed go for that sort of stuff, it’s not in chracter for a lot of them to do that sort of thing.

    “Kyle is still angry with Jason for leaving Ryan Choi behind.”

    It was kind of jerky thing to do. What about that whole hero’s “leave no man behind” thing. It seems out of chracter for them not to check into it. Bob’s whole “It’s his own destiny thing” sort of sounds like “It’s not my problem.” I would like to see the hero’s acting more heroically. I mean, he did risk his life to go with them and all. Also, it raises two questions.

    1) Without him, how can they get back to normal sizes, It seems like they are kind of stuck.

    2) Sense they did get back to normal sizes, how on earth did that happen?

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