Countdown has been a fun title so far. DC continues to impress me with the fact that they have gotten down how to pull off a weekly title without any delays at all. Dini is crafting an interesting storyline with plenty of potential. I’m sure that Countdown #42 should be a pretty good read. Let’s hit this review.
Writers: Paul Dini, Sean McKeever and Tony Bedard
Penciler: Carlos Magno
Inkers: Mark McKenna and Jay Leisten
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Trickster having a nightmare about the Rogues killing Bart Allen. Bart asks Trickster why he would help the Rogues to kill him. Trickster wakes up from his nightmare and finds himself shacked to the Pied Piper. If either Trickster or the Piper try to pull or break free from the shackle then they get an electrical shock. Deadshot informs Trickster and Piper that they are under arrest for the murder of Bart Allen.
We cut to Mary Marvel arriving on a crime scene in Gotham City. The Riddler is already on the scene. Mary immediately grabs Riddler and threatens to beat him up and accuses him of being the cause of the crime. The Riddler explains his new role as a private investigator and how he has reformed his ways and is no longer a criminal.
The Riddler points out the mud at the scene of the crime as being a clue about who committed the burglary. Mary takes Riddler along with her to track down the criminal.
We cut to Holly Robinson and Harley Quinn at the Amazon Women’s Center in Metropolis. Holly is skeptical about Harley claiming to be reformed criminal. Harley says that she has now found her place in the world. Harley is now the Assistant Director of the Metropolis branch. That the Amazons have established these centers for women in all the major cities like Gotham and Keystone. Holly still remains suspicious of Athena’s motives for all this. Holly noted that nothing in life is free.
We shift to Jason Todd, Donna Troy and the Monitor paying a visit to Ryan Choi, the current flavor of the Atom. They convince Ryan to help them search for Ray Palmer, the real Atom. Ryan readily agrees and suits up and then shrinks our party of heroes down to subatomic size in order to search for Ray.
We hop back to Gotham, where Mary Marvel and the Riddler have come to the end of the trail of mud. Riddler notices that it looks more like clay. Suddenly, Clayface appears and attacks Mary from behind. Mary loses her temper and creates a wind tunnel around Clayface which launched Clayface into space. Riddler then recovers the stolen jewels.
Mary then asks Riddler if she was too heavy handed in dealing with Clayface. Mary mentions how ever since she assumed Black Adam’s powers that she doesn’t know her own strength anymore. Riddler tells Mary that she should really consider seeking a mentor who specializes in magic or maybe anger management.
We then see the Batman on top of a rooftop watching Mary and the Riddler. Karate Kid appears behind Batman. Batman tells Karate Kid that people who sneak up on the Batman usually regret it. Karate Kid says that the Legion is leaving to go back to the 31st century and that Karate Kid just wanted to say he is humbly grateful to have fought such a skilled martial artist like Batman.
Batman brushes off Karate Kid and says that he could never beat Batman in a re-match. Karate Kid responds that he wasn’t trying to rub Batman’s nose in it. Karate Kid then says never mind and flies off. Batman mumbles if Karate Kid was expecting a sidekick job.
We zip over to Jimmy Olsen drawing various super hero costumes and identities for himself. Lois sees them and asks Jimmy what he is doing. Jimmy plays it off that he was thinking of submitting a comic strip to Editorial.
We cut back to Trickster and Piper still shackled together. Deadshot mentions how there is no escape for the Trickster. Trickster then says it is time for his back-up plan. The Trickster pulls out a fake tooth with his tongue. The fake tooth has an explosive in it. The Trickster spits it up into the air and it explodes.
Trickster uses the diversion and tells Piper to head with him to the door. Piper and Trickster break open the door and find themselves falling through the sky. Evidently, they were being held captive in a plane. Now the two Rogues are plummeting to their death while shackled to each other. End of issue.
We get a History of the Multiverse back-up story. We get the events of Infinite Crisis and 52. End of issue.
The Good: Countdown #42 was another solid issue. Dini continues to turns out well paced and nicely plotted issues. Dini is taking his time to carefully craft and construct each of the various plotlines. It must be kept in mind that this is a weekly title so it is going to move at a more deliberate pace than a monthly title. Dini understands this and is resisting the urge to hurry along any of the plotlines. Instead, Dini is letting everything unfold in an organic fashion.
The dialogue is pretty good. McKeever is the one who scripted this issue and I found his dialogue to be pretty good. I am not familiar with McKeever’s work, but I do know that he is slated to be the new Teen Titans writer. So, I’m curious about his work and I am glad I’m getting a preview of his stuff on Countdown.
As always, the scenes with hottie Mary Marvel were great. The writing team does a nice job showing how Black Adam’s powers are slowly infecting and warping Mary’s personality. It is only a matter of time before Mary succumbs to the dark nature of Black Adam’s powers. It seems that Mary is targeted for the same treatment that Booster Gold received over in 52. Dini is going to deconstruct Mary and put her through some dark trials of her soul before letting her become reborn as an even better hero than she was before.
The scene between Batman and Karate Kid was perfect. Based on the excellent handling of Batman over on Detective Comics, you know that Dini has a great feel for Batman’s character. This scene was vintage Batman. Batman was his usual sarcastic jerk. We all know that Batman doesn’t play well with other heroes, especially ones who manage to beat Batman in hand to hand combat. Batman is a very proud character and this scene shows that Batman has a large ego. I also liked Batman’s extreme confidence in knowing that Karate Kid would never beat him in a rematch.
I felt bad for Karate Kid who is a great person and truly meant no disrespect to Batman. Karate Kid has a deep sense of honor and unfortunately Batman is too much of a jerk to see it. Also, since Karate Kid stayed behind in our present time to carry out another mission from Brainiac 5, there is the possibility that Batman and Karate Kid will cross paths again. That should prove to be a very entertaining scene. Oh yeah, Batman’s little comment about Karate Kid looking for a sidekick job was classic!
Jimmy Olsen scene wasn’t anything that interesting, but it did serve to show that Jimmy is serious about trying to learn how to consciously manifest and control his powers in his endeavor to become a super hero. Plus, since Lois spied the drawings of Jimmy’s various super hero personas, you know it is only a matter of time before she figures out what is going on with Jimmy.
I continue to be absolutely fascinated by the relationship between Donna and Jason. I just didn’t see these two characters becoming close to each other. But, I have to say that I really am intrigued by the concept of these two characters becoming and item. If anything else, it would drive Dick crazy and provide for some good drama.
Dini officially kicks off the search for Ray Palmer with our heroes enlisting the help of Ryan Choi. I am getting excited for the appearance of Ray Palmer. I have always liked Ray’s character. It has been a long time since we have seen Ray. Unfortunately, I still have this sinking feeling that Ray is being brought back just so he can play the role of the martyr in Countdown.
Of course, I thought the scenes with the Trickster and the Piper were the best. Trickster’s nightmare emphasizes the new role that the Rogues have assumed in the DCU ever since killing Bart Allen. The poor happy go lucky Rogues are going to be living a real life nightmare in the wake of Bart’s death.
Dini delivers a great hook ending in this issue. Trickster also comes off looking pretty bad-assed in this final scene. Like 52, it appears that Countdown will also serve as another opportunity to elevate more D and C-List characters.
I like Magno’s art. He has a pleasant style and delivers a solid looking comic book. I’m not crazy about McKenna’s inks and I think Magno’s pencils would look better if inked by a different inker.
The Bad: I still find the scenes with Holly Robinson to be totally uninteresting. That is partly because I could care less about the Amazons and I’m just not a big fan of Harley Quinn. Maybe Dini can work his magic and get me interested in Holly Robinson’s plot. But, it certainly hasn’t happened up to this point.
Overall: Countdown #42 continues the trend of solid issues each and every week. I know that Countdown has not gotten the sales numbers that 52 garnered. And that is a real shame. I find the various plotlines in Countdown just as good if not even more interesting than those over in 52. And the artwork in Countdown has definitely been superior to the art we got in 52.