Comic Book Review: Countdown #46

Countdown is officially the DC title that I look forward the most to each and every week. Dini was an excellent choice to head up this project and each issue has delivered quality reads. There is no doubt in my mind that Countdown #46 is going to be another solid issue. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Penciler: Jesus Saiz
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Jimmy telling Lois Lane about his vivid dreams he has been having since Lightray’s death. Jimmy gets a message delivered to him and he gets up suddenly and tells Lois that he has to go.

We cut to Mary Marvel (who is looking insanely hot) in Gotham City. Mary wonders how Teth-Adam could have given up these glorious powers. Mary thinks how her body feels like it is made of living magic. Not just the powers of the Marvel Family, but also those bequeathed to Teth-Adam by Isis.

Mary thinks how the Rock of Eternity was shattered and its pieces scattered all across Gotham. That the fragments in the wrong hands could become dangerous weapons.

Mary arrives on the scene where five women are in a pentagram and using one of the fragments to perform some evil ritual. Suddenly, a demon emerges from the pentagram. The Demon then introduces himself as Pharyngula, the harvester of stillborn souls and that he has been trapped in the Soul of Eternity for a very long time. Pharyngula then attacks Mary.

We shift to Keystone City. Mirror Master and Piper begin arguing and then start brawling with each other. Captain Cold freezes both men and tells them to knock it off. Captain Cold tells them that they have work to do.

We zip to Jimmy Olsen arriving at an address, 666 Suicide Slum, as old to do so in the note he was given. The note directed to Jimmy to go to the address if Jimmy had questions about Lightray’s death. In the building he meets the former servant and counsel to Darkseid, Sleez.

Sleez tells Jimmy that Darkseid can finally be destroyed if Jimmy…then before Sleez can finish the sentence; Sleez yells out that “he” is here. A bright light appears and a voice says “Hello Sleez.” An energy blast then kills Sleez. Jimmy stands there wondering what the hell is going on.

We hop over to Mary Marvel still battling with the demon. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning takes down both Mary and the Demon. The police then arrive on the scene.

We cut to Donna Troy and Jason Todd in Washington, DC. Jason tells Donna that he wants to talk to her about Duela Dent. Jason says that he did some research and that he has discovered that Duela’s killer looked like a Monitor. Donna doesn’t believe it exclaiming that the Monitor is a force for good. That he doesn’t kill. Jason responds that he must have an evil twin then.

Jason tells Donna that they shouldn’t exist in this world and that has earned them a spot on the killer Monitor’s hit list. We see The Monitor’s viewing the conversation between Jason and Donna. The Monitors comments how they have underestimated Jason Todd. The Monitors call upon the Forerunner, a weapon of the Monitor’s to be used in this kind of situation. The Forerunner is already on its way to New Earth.

Suddenly, Donna Troy gets taken out by a blur. The blur then down Jason. The blur then stops moving and we see it is a female alien. She is the Forerunner. End of story.

We get another History of the Multiverse backup story. The Monitors discuss about how certain themes began to emerge as the meetings between Earths-One and Two became more frequent. One of them was Red Tornado of Earth-Two. He gained the trust of the JSA, and Reddy turned on his own creator, T.O. Morrow. Red Tornado became a member of the JSA and that event launched a new phase of inter-universe travel where heroes felt free to transfer their residency from one world to the next.

Dinah Drake, the Black Canary of Earth-Two move permanently from own world to the next. This marked a major shift in the balance between the worlds. Heroes from parallel Earths found it necessary to team up more and more often. New partnerships were forged such as the Seven Soldiers of Victory. And other groups like the Freedom Fighters of Earth X. The Monitors comment that with so many heroes to protect the Multiverse, one would think that it would be a safe place; however the opposite was the truth. End of issue.

The Good: Countdown #46 was another great issue. The writing team delivers a well paced issue. I like the continued use of short scenes that quickly cut to each other. It helps to keep even an issue like this one where not much happens seem like a fast issue.

Countdown #46 was nicely plotted. Dini is taking him time getting all the various plotlines in place and moving them along at a measured pace. Dini knows how to build up an appropriate amount of mystery and suspense with the various plotlines.

The writing team crafts some solid dialogue. The dialogue has a pleasant natural flow that makes this issue an enjoyable read. The writers also continue their quality character work in this issue. It is nice to see fully developed characters dominate the various plotlines.

All of the Mary Marvel scenes were well done. I dig that Mary has not just the power of the Marvel Family that Teth-Adam possessed, but also the power that Isis gave Teth-Adam. Mary has definitely received one serious power upgrade. It should be interesting to see how this new power affects Mary’s psyche.

I also like the Rock of Eternity mission that Mary is on. That the multiple fragments of the Rock of Eternity need to be collected before they fall into the wrong hands. This should provide a nice vehicle to deliver plenty of action scenes.

There is no doubt that something ominous is on the horizon for Mary. She seems far to intoxicated by Teth-Adam’s power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It should be interesting to see if Mary seeks even more magical based power than she already has.

The Jimmy Olsen scenes were pretty cool. It was a short scene, but it definitely presented numerous questions to the reader. Just what is going on with Darkseid? Who was the mysterious person who killed Sleez? Why is Jimmy the person that Sleez is turning to in order to give the knowledge on how to destroy Darkseid? What is Jimmy’s bond with the New Gods? So many great questions. Jimmy’s plotline just may be the most intriguing one of them all. I cannot wait to see what Dini has in store for us.

The scene with Jason Todd and Donna Troy was pretty cool. The writing team manages to create some solid chemistry between Jason and Donna. I dig that even though Donna clearly does not approve of Jason’s tactics, that she still has a soft spot in her heart for the second Robin.

I also liked how this scene continued Dini’s excellent job of rehabbing Jason’s character. This scene pumps up Jason’s character by having the Monitors clearly impressed with Jason’s detective abilities and the fact that they underestimated Jason. This was important to show that while Jason may be a cut below Batman’s level, there is no doubt that Jason is Dick Grayson’s equal.

I also dig that the writing team makes sure to impress upon the reader the fact that Jason is not a traditional hero. That he is a bloodthirsty vigilante. That shows in that Jason has no desire to warn any other heroes that might be targeted by the Monitors since he and Donna have their hands full just taking care of themselves. Also, that Jason easily recognizes the violent Monitor’s mind games in trying to intimidate his prey.

This scene also leads into a nice hook ending with the introduction of the Monitor’s secret weapon: Forerunner. Forerunner appears to be quite the force to be reckoned with. I’m interested to learn more about her character in the upcoming issues. It definitely should be interesting to see how Jason gets himself out of this tough situation.

Jesus Saiz provides the reader with plenty of fine artwork. I dig Saiz’s style of art and he certainly can draw one smoking hot Mary Marvel.

The Bad: The Rogues scene all nothing special. It pretty much read like a filler scene. It was basically wasted space in this issue. I guess the purpose of this scene was merely to drive home the point that Piper and Mirror Master are never going to be able to co-exist with each other. I imagine that we can expect the inevitable showdown between these two characters at some point during Countdown.

Overall: Countdown #46 was another solid read. It wasn’t as exciting as the previous couple of issues, however, we are still early in the story and Dini is taking his time delivering the various plotlines in a measured pace and making sure he has laid a proper foundation for all the different plotlines. Countdown is still an excellent title that is well worth your money.