Comic Book Review: Countdown #48

The Revolution loved the last issue of Countdown. This title has gotten off to a quick start and has been a real blast to read. I’m confident that Countdown #48 will be another quality read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini and Adam Beechen
Penciler: David Lopez
Inker: Don Hillsman and Alvaro Lopez

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

Synopsis: We begin with Black Adam telling Mary Marvel that the fact that she was a Marvel at one time is not going to prevent him from killing her. Mary tells Adam that she was drawn to the Consulate of Kahndaq. That she was sent her somehow. Possibly for help. That they are both the same. Powerless, alone and scared. However, Adam is still connected and his powers make him strong. Black Adam begins laughing hysterically about his “powers.”

We cut to Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet getting chewed out by Perry White for not returning from Arkham Asylum with a story. Suddenly, a large cloud appears in the sky and starts shooting energy blasts into the buildings of Metropolis. Jimmy notifies Superman with his watch and then runs outside to take some pictures of the event. Jimmy sees two bystanders about to get hit by debris and wishes that he could save them, but he doesn’t know how he could.

We shift to the Teen Titans assembled at Duela Dent’s gravestone. Donna Troy, Cyborg, Robin and Batgirl are present. Suddenly, Jason Todd appears on the scene and talks with Donna Troy. Jason fills Donna in on what happened with Duela and the Monitor. Jason says that Duela wasn’t supposed to be in their reality in the first place. And that neither should he and possibly neither should Donna. Jason says he just wanted to be around Donna who could understand how it feels to be living on borrowed time.

We cut to Karate Kid still imprisoned in the Justice League of America’s satellite headquarters. Karate Kid is talking with Starman. Karate Kid tells Thom that it makes him sad to see Thom so mentally unstable. Karate Kid wonders how all this happened to him. Thom responds that it was the work of Doctor Impossible. That she put the Starro on Karate Kid’s neck and had him operate as Trident. Of course, they don’t know why Doctor Impossible did it.

We shift back to Black Adam and Mary Marvel. Black Adam says his powers are a curse that has cost him everything. Mary counters that Adam’s powers are a gift. Black Adam tells Mary that she seeks death by coming here and making the request of wishing to have her powers restored.

We cut over to Metropolis where we see Jimmy Olsen using super speed powers to grab the innocent bystanders and pull them out of harms way from falling debris. Jimmy doesn’t know how he did what he just did.

Suddenly, Jimmy sees Lightray fall from the sky and create a massive crater once he hits the street. Superman then appears on the scene. Superman wonders who could so badly hurt a New God. Superman tells Jimmy to stay with Lightray and talk to him. Superman says he is going to go investigate the atmosphere and see what is going on.

Lightray grabs Jimmy’s arm. Lightray mumbles “Infinite” several times. Suddenly, there is a bright light that emanates from Lightray and engulfs Jimmy and the entire crater.

We see Superman spotting a figure disappearing from the atmosphere via a Boomtube. Superman streaks back to Jimmy and sees the sphere of light surrounding Lightray and Jimmy. Jimmy steps out of the sphere of light and says that he is okay, but that Lightray is dead. Superman wonders what it means for the universe when a god dies. End of story.

We get another History of the Multiverse backup story. The Monitors discuss how after Barry Allen became the first person to jump dimensions, that Jay Garrick later made the jump from Earth-Two to Earth-One. Then later, Barry Allen and Jay Garrick teamed up on Earth-Two to take on Vandal Savage who had captured the Justice Society of America.

After successfully defeating Vandal Savage, the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America realized that they were a tremendous force for good when teamed up. Unfortunately, villains from both worlds also realized that philosophy as well.

One of the Monitors states that the JLA and JSA’s willingness to work together was a testament to their commitment to justice. The Monitors then comment that the heroes of the JLA and JSA would soon come to know that there wasn’t just two Earths they would assume responsibility for but many, many more. End of issue.

The Good: Countdown #48 was another great read. Dini and Beechen craft a nicely paced issue. We get a good mix of action and drama. This was a well plotted issue. I like how the various scenes are spliced together with quick short cuts between the various scenes. This literary trick creates more tension and excitement in the reader.

Dini and Beechen craft some good dialogue. There is a nice natural flow the dialogue. The characters are also well developed. I know that with Dini in charge of Countdown that we would get a nice commitment to plenty of strong character work. And each character is nicely fleshed out. The dialogue and quality character work give each character their own distinct personality and creates some nice chemistry between the various characters.

I loved the scenes with Mary Marvel and Black Adam. I am completely intrigued by the concept of Mary being the newest member of the Black Adam Family. Dini and Beechen do a nice job with both characters. We get an excellent sense of Mary’s feelings of abandonment and desperation. That Mary has lost her family and her powers and she now feels completely alone and without purpose.

I dig how Mary’s view of Black Adam’s powers being a blessing are contrasted by Black Adam’s view that his powers are a curse. This is a cool touch that shows how Black Adam has come around to Osiris’ view on Black Adam’s powers.

Isis and Black Adam always viewed their powers as a blessing. Osiris viewed Black Adam’s power as a curse. That Black Adam’s powers poison a person’s soul. Black Adam clearly now believes what Osiris was correct and that Black Adam’s powers are a curse that cost him his entire family. I cannot wait to see what Dini has in store for us with this plotline.

The scene with Donna Troy and Jason Todd scene was well done. I’m glad to see Dini continuing to rehabilitate Jason’s character after it was practically ruined by Bruce Jones over in Nightwing during that terrible One Year Later storyline. It was enjoyable to see Jason portrayed as something other than an insane psychopath.

Look, I don’t want to see Jason acting just like Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. I totally dig that Jason has a completely different view and method of how to fight crime. And I like that there is plenty of resentment inside of Jason’s heart for the entire Bat-Family. However, Jason is still deep down inside a hero and not the raving mad lunatic that he had been portrayed over in Nightwing.

It was nice to see some compassion in Jason’s eyes while he talked with Donna. And it was enjoyable to see one of DC’s heroes actually embrace Jason as something other than a villain. Donna treats Jason like an old friend and bears no ill will toward him. And that is a good thing since it appears that Donna and Jason are going to be dealing with the same mystery concerning how they are alive in this reality and what the Monitors have planned for them.

The Karate Kid and Starman scene was well done. It is nice to see these two Pre-Crisis Legionnaires together once again. Dini and Beechen re-introduce Doctor Impossible to the storyline by re-iterating that Doctor Impossible was behind Karate Kid being brainwashed into acting as Trident. So far, we know nothing about Doctor Impossible other than the fact that he appears to be the evil doppelganger of Mr. Miracle of the New Gods.

Since we have the New Gods fully introduced into this storyline with the death of Lightray, I am sure it is only a matter of time before Doctor Impossible makes an appearance. I dig Doctor Impossible’s character and definitely look forward to learning more about him and what his plans are.

The Jimmy Olsen scenes rocked. Jimmy displays another super power in this issue. This time it is super speed. This is a neat nod to when Jimmy Olsen back Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #15 published in 1956 when Jimmy drank a potion produced by Professor Claude and briefly gained super-speed. Jimmy used the codename Speed Demon.

I completely enthralled with this plotline involving Jimmy displaying various super powers. I have no idea where Dini is going with this plotline. I love that Dini has taken the time of effort to research DC’s wonderful history and pluck various stories from the 50’s and 60’s and integrate them into Countdown’s story. It should be interesting to see how many different super powers Jimmy displays and to learn what the reason is for this sudden appearance of super powers.

The scene with Lightray definitely got my attention. It isn’t often that you see a New God getting killed. Dini and Beechen introduce several questions with this scene. Just who is the mystery person with the boom tube? Is that mystery person the individual who killed Lightray? And what was the deal with the sphere of light that Lightray encased himself and Jimmy in? So many questions. I cannot wait to find out the answers.

This was absolutely a fantastic hook ending. This final scene left the reader with several new questions and extremely excited for the next issue.

I have to give credit to Beechen. I killed him over on Teen Titans with the uninspired Titans East story arc. So, I should praise him when he does a good job. I thought Dini brought the best out in Beechen and he delivered a well done issue in Countdown #48.

I enjoyed the History of the Multiverse back up story. DC continues to educate newer fans about the wonderful and rich history of the DCU. I love that DC is taking this opportunity to use these back up stories as history lessons that will pique the interest of newer readers about DC’s past. These back up stories show newer readers just how deep and colorful the Multiverse truly is. Hopefully, this will generate more excitement in newer readers and give them an appreciation for all the intricate aspects of the DCU.

Lopez supplied plenty of solid artwork. It is nice to see DC make more of an effort to provide quality artwork on Countdown. I felt that DC really didn’t make much effort to provide solid art in each and every issue of 52.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Countdown #48 is another great read. I am having a blast reading this title. Right now, DC has done what I would have thought was totally impossible just two years ago and that is to make me think DC is actually doing a better job than Marvel. For me, DC’s 52 and Countdown storylines have absolutely crushed Marvel’s Civil War and The Initiative storylines. I definitely recommend giving Countdown a try.

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