Comic Book Review: Countdown #49

The Revolution found Countdown #50 to be a bit of a disappointment after a rather hot debut issue. I’m sure that the writing team will crank up the story a bit with Countdown #49. There are certainly plenty of interesting plotlines already in place. Let’s do this review for Countdown #49.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini and Tony Bedard
Penciler: Carlos Magno
Inker: Jay Leisten

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Killer Croc breaking free and killing a guard. Killer Croc then attacks Jimmy from behind. When Killer Croc tries to slash Jimmy Olsen open, Jimmy bends and elongates his body just like Elongated Man would. Killer Croc is unable to cut Jimmy open. The Arkham Asylum guards then blast Killer Croc with electrical guns and take him down. Jimmy stands there confused and wondering how he managed to survive Killer Croc’s attack.

We cut to a meeting of the Monitors where the Monitor who killed Duela Dent is being charged with breaking protocol. That Monitors do not act on a whim or pursue their own agendas. The accused Monitor responds that any anomaly no matter how small violates the cosmic order. That he took action and expunged Duela.

The accused Monitor states that they have seen what happens when individuals stray form one universe to the next. The accused Monitor asks if another Crisis must occur in order to move them to action. That they should prevent such an event. That there are many loose ends from the last Crisis. That people walk New Earth that should not be there. That they must correct these mistakes. We see on monitor screens Karate Kid, Nightwing, Supergirl, Brainiac 5 and Chameleon Boy.

The accused Monitor then points to Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner and Donna Troy and states that these are three cosmic mistakes just waiting to be corrected. And that it isn’t murder if these creatures shouldn’t be alive in the first place.

We cut to the JLA satellite where Karate Kid is being held captive. Red Arrow asks Karate Kid to tell him why he and his teammates are in the present day era. Karate Kid refuses to answer and claims that the JLA are not heroes since they would lock him up for no reason. The two men trade some verbal barbs and then Red Arrow walks off.

We then shift to a yacht speeding through the Atlantic Ocean. Some old rich guy is on a cell phone transferring money into an unidentified person’s account. The old rich guy then jumps off the speeding yacht in order to commit suicide.

We cut to inside the yacht where Mirror Master, Trickster and Pied Piper are standing. Pied Piper used his flute to make the rich guy jump into the water to his death just after transferring a hundred million dollars into Mirror Master’s account. Trickster has wired the yacht to explode once they leave. Mirror Master confirms that the money is in his count via his laptop. Mirror Master then tells Trickster and Pied Piper that they have passed their test of loyalty.

Pied Piper then uses Mirror Master’s laptop and transfers the money to Pied Piper’s account. Piper says that Mirror Master owes him for killing Piper’s parents. Mirror Master says that they are now even.

We then see Pied Piper and Trickster standing on the deck of the yacht. Trickster tells Piper that he thinks Piper made the fat rich man swim five miles to shore without getting tired. Piper asks Trickster why he doesn’t rat Piper out. Trickster says that if Piper transfers the one hundred million to Trickster’s account then he won’t say anything about what Piper did. Piper transfers the money from the charity that Piper had transferred the money to into the Trickster’s account.

We cut to Gotham City where Mary Marvel is being chased through the streets by some gang members. Mary runs into a building that seems to be drawing her to it. Mary thinks how there is something familiar about this place. That this must have been how Billy felt when he first met the Wizard. Except that this is even scarier.

One of the thugs enters the building and tells Mary that this place has been abandoned since the “ragheads” moved out. Suddenly a shadow figure appears from above and grabs the thug and tears him into little pieces.

Mary thinks how there is a monster in the building. Mary sees dead bodies all around her. The shadowy figure comments that the dead people are drug addicts, squatters and real estate agents. People stupid enough to intrude upon his solitude. The shadowy figure flies toward Mary. It is Black Adam.

Mary cries out that she is Mary Marvel. Black Adam then responds that this day is not a total loss after all. End of story.

We get a back up story about the History of the Multiverse. We learn that there is one Monitor who represents each of the 52 universes. The Monitors meet in the Time stream. They activate the Well of Revelation in order to view the beginning of the Multiverse.

That there was no crossing between the infinite universes until one man appeared who would be the first to cross the gulf between multiple worlds. Barry Allen. The Flash. He transported himself from Earth-One to Earth-Two. There he met Jay Garrick, the Flash for Earth-Two. And with that a handful of people gained knowledge of the Multiverse. End of issue.

The Good: Countdown #49 was a kick-ass issue! Dini and the boys did an excellent job with this issue. Dini and Bedard deliver plenty of good dialogue. The dialogue had a pretty good flow.

Countdown #49 was well paced. It never felt rushed, but it definitely moved quickly. The plotting continues to be well done. It is obvious that Dini has a clear plan in mind and has wasted no time establishing the various major plotlines. I also like that the writers manage to touch on each of these major plotlines with each and every issue. That probably won’t continue through out the entire series, but I dig the balanced attention that the writers are giving each plotline.

The Jimmy Olsen scene was awesome! Elastic Lad is back in action! This was probably my favorite scene. I most definitely was not expecting Jimmy to suddenly display his Elastic Lad powers. Back in Jimmy Olsen #37 in 1959, Jimmy Olsen first made his appearance as Elastic Lad after drinking some alien serum or something like that. As Elastic Lad, Jimmy was made a member of the Legion of Super Heroes and went on several adventures with the Legion of Super Heroes. This of course was the Adventure Comics Era Legion.

Well, it looks like Elastic Lad is back. And with this move, DC brings back a piece of Jimmy Olsen’s Pre-Crisis history. Jimmy’s career as Elastic Lad and memberships in the Legion of Super Heroes was wiped out by the first Crisis. I’m obviously thrilled to see another aspect of the Pre-Crisis DCU making its return.

I am excited to learn more about how Jimmy has gained his Elastic Lad powers. It is clear that even Jimmy doesn’t know what is going on. It appears that Jimmy doesn’t even know that he used his elastic powers to evade Killer Croc’s attack. This is a very cool twist to Jimmy Olsen’s plotline and should make things interesting.

The scene with the Rogues was well done. I’m glad to see that Piper is still a good person. Not only does he not kill the old rich guy, but he had transferred the hundred million dollars to a charity and not his own personal account. That was a nice way to show that Piper’s altruistic side is still alive. And it contrasts Piper with his fellow Rogues in Mirror Master and Trickster who wanted the money in their own personal accounts.

Evidently, the Trickster has returned more to his previous form than Piper. Trickster is one devious fellow and is definitely up to something. I’m curious to learn what Captain Cold’s big plan is. I know that Piper is getting involved to try and foil the Rogues. What I’m wondering is what is the Trickster up to? There has to be something more going on with the Trickster than simply seeing him return to his past criminal form.

The Monitor scene was captivating. We learn that there are 52 Monitors with each one assigned one of the 52 universes. That each Monitor polices his own universe. Now, there is a large split over how to deal with “anomalies” from other universes. I’m curious to see which side ends up prevailing.

We also get several cool teasers concerning some of the anomalies that are running around on New Earth. We see Karate Kid as one of the anomalies. This lends support to the idea that the Levitz Era Legion exists in one of the 52 multiple Earths.

The big three anomalies evidently are Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner and Donna Troy. We know that Donna and Jason have both returned from the dead. Now, what is going on with Kyle I have no idea. I have never been a fan of Kyle and quite honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Monitor blow away Kyle.

I am definitely excited to learn more about why Jason, Kyle and Donna are all anomalies. I really dig Jason and Donna and both characters deserve some much needed attention. I just hope that both of them survive Countdown.

The Mary Marvel scene kicked ass. He’s baaaaaaaack! Black Adam, the stud extraordinaire. Black Adam is even more monstrous than when we last saw him. Black Adam is more animal than man. And of course, you know when Black Adam makes an appearance you are going to get some viciously bloody action.

Mary is definitely in for a tough time. I’m curious to see how Mary gets herself out of this tight situation. Especially considering how after Captain Marvel defeated Black Adam at the end of 52. Black Adam’s grudge against all the members of the Captain Marvel Family is definitely back in a big way. This was definitely a fantastic hook ending and it got me excited for the next issue.

I really enjoyed the back up story dealing with the history of the Mutliverse. I found it much more interesting than the incredibly boring backup stories from 52. This is a genius move on part of DC to try and educate new fans about the long and glorious history of the DCU. Yeah, it takes some effort on the part of newer fans, but it is well worth it.

Look, we don’t just drop history classes in school just because it is tough to expect younger people to understand the long and convoluted history of not just the world, but America itself. You don’t see history teachers saying “You know, let’s just teach history from the Vietnam War up to the present. Everything else is just too much and would be too difficult for students to understand.”

No way. History is cool. History is vitally important. I love that DC is embracing their rich history and making the honest effort to educate new fans about their history and getting them hooked on all the wonderful little details in DC’s past. I think the majority of new readers will really enjoy learning more about DC’s history. It gives everything in the present much more depth and context.

Magno provides some solid artwork. I definately am enjoying the art in Countdown more than the art in 52.

The Bad: So Black Adam has his powers back already, huh? Wow, that didn’t last long did it? I thought that DC would at least milk that plotline for at least a year or so before delivering the grand return of Black Adam. But, instead, DC waits a couple of weeks and gives Black Adam his powers back. I think that was a bit premature and that DC could have really turned that plotline into something a bit more compelling and dramatic that lead into a really impressive return of Black Adam.

The Karate Kid scene did nothing for me. I’m getting enough over in the JLA/JSA crossover that these quick scenes in Countdown aren’t giving me anything that I didn’t already know.

Overall: Countdown #49 was a great read. I am absolutely loving this title. DC has really impressed me with this follow up effort to 52. I didn’t think it was possible, but I believe that I’m going to enjoy Countdown just as much as I did 52.

3 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Countdown #49

  1. Countdown takes place after the Black Adam Mini-series, which begins in August. So, Adam should have his powers.

    Off topic: Other 52 spin offs include Booster Gold (On-going by Geoff Johns) and Countdown to Adventure staring Animal man, Adam Strange, and Starfire.

  2. I think Countdown has been great so far. I’m like you and am wondering why they are giving us this Karate Kid stuff, it must tie in eventually in an important way. But Roy was awesome in that scene with him. WAX OFF! LOL

  3. As far as I know, Rayner would be a anamoly because he wasn’t supposed to exist on Earth-1. It was revealed at some point he was supposed to be the Green Lantern from Earth-8, which is the Earth that all characters created since the original Crisis were supposed to be from. Or something. Sometimes the Multiverse makes my head hurt a little.

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