The Revolution has enjoyed Countdown. Evidently, I’m in the minority when it comes to this title. Many people do not like Countdown as much as they enjoyed 52. I’m not too sure why since I find Countdown’s plotlines to be just as fun as 52’s plotlines.
I know there are more tie-in issues with Countdown, but all major events from Civil War to World War Hulk come with tons of tie-in issues. I just choose not to buy them. The fact that I don’t get the tie-in issues hasn’t impacted my enjoyment of Countdown. I’m sure that Countdown #41 will be another solid read. Let’s do this review.
Writers: Paul Dini and Adam Beechen
Artist: Denis Calero
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 Trickster and Piper falling from the sky. Luckily, Piper grabbed a backpack on their way out of the plane. Inside of it are all of Trickster and Piper’s gadgets. Trickster grabs his rocket boots. Trickster puts on one and Piper puts on the other. They manage to slow their descent just enough that they land in the harbor outside the city they were flying over without injuring themselves.
We cut to Jimmy Olsen modeling his cheesy homemade super hero costume. Jimmy’s codename is “Mr. Action.” Jimmy then notices he is late for work and thinks what a pain secret identities are.
We hop to the Daily Planet building where the air conditioner is not working. Lois and Clark complain about how hot it is. We see Jimmy in a full suit and bowtie. Lois and Clark comment on how Jimmy must be dying of heat in his suit. Jimmy thinks to himself that he never knew how uncomfortable it was to wear a costume under his clothes. Again, he thinks was a pain secret identities are.
We slide over to Mary Marvel in Gotham City sitting on a rooftop of a building by herself. Mary thinks how ever since she got Black Adam’s powers that she has lost control over herself. She wonders what she is becoming. Mary thinks that the Riddler may have been right that she needs a mentor. We then see a mysterious figure watching Mary through a dark gem. The figure says that Mary and power and is lost and that makes her a perfect.
We cut to the new Atom, Donna, Jason and the Monitor making their way to the Palmerverse. Donna and Jason thank the Monitor for all his help he has given them. They then ask the Monitor what is his name. The Monitor is cold and unemotional and says he is simply doing his job and his name and any gratitude to him is irrelevant. Jason retorts that he is going to call the Monitor “Bob” from now on. The Monitor says that if calling him “Bob” will help simplify matters then they can do so.
Our heroes then arrive in a jungle in the Palmerverse. They are immediately met by tribal warriors riding cybernetic frogs.
We shift to the two rogues pulling themselves out of the water and realize that they are now in Gotham City. Piper panics that they are in real trouble being in Gotham. Trickster tells Piper to relax. That Trickster knows someone in Gotham who can help them. We see the two rogues run past a giant poster for the Penguin’s club the Iceberg Lounge.
We hop over to the Athenian Women’s shelter in Gotham City where Holly Robinson and Harley Quinn are watching the news of the Amazons’ attack on Washington DC and the breaking news that Supergirl and Wonder Girl caused Air Force One to crash and that the President is now missing.
Holly says that this is going to cause a massive mob to congregate outside of the Athenian Women’s shelter. That they are in real trouble. Harley keeps the blind faith that the power of Athena will protect them all. Holly and Harley then look outside the window and see a massive angry mob assembled outside the gates of the women’s shelter.
We zip over to the Fortress of Solitude where we see the Legion of Super Heroes leaving out time and going back home. This is the scene we got over in Justice League of America #10. Sensor Girl tells Karate Kid that Brainiac 5 wants him to stay. That Brainiac 5 has another mission for Karate Kid.
We then see Triplicate Girl step forward and tell Karate Kid that she is staying with him. We then learn that it is actually just one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies name Una. Karate Kid asks Una if she knows what the mission is. Una replies that she has some ideas, but they need to get going because they have a very long journey ahead of them. End of issue.
We get a History of the Multiverse back-up story. We get a quick review of the events of 52. We get a nice shot of some of the inhabitants of the various multiple Earths including the Earth with all the Charlton characters. There we see the real Question! Yeah! Take that Montoya, you poser. We also see the Wildstorm Earth, the Elseworlds Earth, the Shazam Earth, the Crime Syndicate Earth, Earth-2 and Earth-X with the Freedom Fighters alive and well! End of issue.
The Good: Countdown #41 was an average read. This story wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t anything special. I do like how Dini and Beechen transition smoothly between all the various plotlines. Dini and Beechen also give us some solid dialogue. There is pretty good chemistry between the various characters.
I liked the scene with Jason, Donna and the Monitor. Jason deciding to name the Monitor “Bob” was humorous and provided some much needed levity to what has been a rather serious plotline. Our heroes’ arrival at the Palmerverse made me excited for their adventure through that world. It has been a long time since we have seen Ray and I cannot wait to find out what the real Atom has been up to for the past couple of years.
I really dig Trickster and Piper and I love the excellent chemistry that the writing team has cultivated between these two Rogues. Any scene with Trickster and Piper is usually entertaining. It is interesting to see how these Rogues are panicking now that they have become some of the most wanted villains in the DCU.
Dini teases the reader with the imminent appearance of the Penguin as the person in Gotham that the Trickster claims can help him and Piper. Dini has done a good job with Penguin over in Detective Comics so I look forward to the Penguin’s appearance in Countdown. Penguin is supposedly a reformed criminal so I’m curious to see how he will react to having two of the most wanted men in the DCU arriving at his club and seeking sanctuary.
The Mary Marvel scene was short but did its job of laying the foundation for the appearance of Eclipso. Mary is cognizant of the change going on inside of her and seeking a mentor makes perfect sense. And Eclipso is just the person who would want to prey on someone like Mary.
The Jimmy Olsen scene was some nice comic relief in this issue. Jimmy’s referring to what a pain secret identities are is classic. Jimmy’s codename of “Mr. Action” is an appropriately cheesy Silver Age codename and just the kind of name that I would expect Jimmy to pick.
Obviously, I enjoyed the scene involving the Legionnaires. We finally learn the identity of the mysterious teammate that we saw appear at the end of Justice League of America #10. It is none other than Una, one of Triplicate Girls dupes. I’m actually rather surprised by this choice. Triplicate Girl’s asset is that she can turn into three girls and overwhelm a single villain.
However, Una is a single dupe and is basically just a normal girl. I don’t know how much help she will be to Karate Kid. If anything, she just might slow Karate Kid down and only serve as a liability on this mission. I’d imagine that Karate Kid would probably be more effective by himself.
Denis Calero’s artwork is average. This isn’t the best artwork that I have seen from him. I definitely enjoyed Calero’s artwork more on X-Factor. Calero’s style of art is a much better match for a dark and moody title like X-Factor than it is for a title like Countdown.
The Bad: I continue to find the Holly Robinson plotline involving Harley Quinn and the Women’s Center to be totally and completely uninteresting. At least the writing team has finally shown that the American public doesn’t take kindly to a women’s center run by the Amazons existing in major American cities while the same Amazons are laying waste to Washington D.C. I don’t know where Dini is going with this plotline and I’m not too sure that he will ever get me interested in it at all.
I know that Countdown is a weekly title so its pace will be slower than that of a monthly title. However, this storyline is really moving slowly. It feels like the various plotlines are slammed in neutral. I feel like I keep reading the same issue over and over again as the past couple of issues really have failed to progress any of the various plotlines. We simply keep getting the same dialogue and the same discussions about the various plotlines.
The writing team seems to be in a bit of a rut as they just continually re-hash the same discussions over and over. How many times do we need to discuss how great the Athenian Women’s Center is? How many times do we need to discuss how imperative it is to find Ray Palmer and how dangerous the mission will be? How many times do we need to see Jimmy debating how to become a super hero? There has been a lack of progress on almost all the plotlines over the past couple of issues.
52 didn’t move at a blisteringly fast pace, but it seemed to nurture the various plotlines along at a measure pace without seeming repetitious. Plus, 52 managed to answer at least a question or two each issue that in turn sprouted a new question or two per issue. Countdown hasn’t been able to the same up to this point.
Overall: Countdown #41 was a rather average read. This title has seemed to lose some of its momentum over the past couple of issues. I continue to have faith in Dini and I still believe that he can get this title back on track and moving with direction and purpose. However, I will now officially concede that Countdown is currently failing to match the quality of writing that we got over in 52.