Thank god that we are finally approaching the end to this disappointing title. Countdown to Final Crisis #3 will probably continue the tradition of less than impressive reads. If anything, at least a Superman versus Darkseid brawl should provide for some entertainment. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writers: Paul Dini, Sean McKeever & Keith Giffen
Art: Freddie Williams II
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Donna, Kyle and Forager at the Hall of Justice informing Red Arrow that Mary Marvel and Darkseid have Jimmy Olsen and that Darkseid is going to kill Jimmy. Donna and Kyle tell Red Arrow to call in the big guns and that Forager will track down Jimmy’s current location.
We cut to Darkseid, Mary and Jimmy outside of Metropolis. Mary screams to Jimmy that “this is the part where Darkseid tears open your ribcage and beats the living hell outta your vital organs.” (Really, this is the dialogue that Mary is now spouting out?)
Superman appears on the scene along with Kyle, Donna and Forager. Superman punches Darkseid and then comments that Mary could use a better role model. Superman and Darkseid engage in a titanic brawl. Superman vows to put Darkseid down once and for all.
During the fight, Jimmy comments that Darkseid has shut off his powers and that Jimmy is now totally helpless. Darkseid and Superman go back and forth in their brawl until Darkseid decides that he has grown tired of this fight. Darkseid then zaps Jimmy and causes Jimmy’s powers to kick back in.
Jimmy then begins to glow with green Kryptonite. Superman crumbles to the ground. Jimmy is horrified and exclaims that Darkseid is controlling him. That Jimmy has absolutely no control over his powers. Darkseid tells Jimmy that he can now watch his best friend die.
We cut to inside of Jimmy Olsen’s body where we see the Atom. Ray thinks that he has to figure out a way to shut down Darkseid’s control over Jimmy.
We shift back to a gloating Darkseid watching Black Mary fight and being so impressed with her that he thinks that when the Fifth World dawns that he may allow Black Mary to live. Black Mary takes on Donna and Kyle and proceeds to knock out Kyle and then use Kyle’s body to absolutely beat Donna senseless.
We cut back to Ray inside of Jimmy and unable to make sense of Darkseid’s virus that has been installed inside of Jimmy in order to control him. Therefore, the Atom resorts to “Gardner’s Law” that says when in doubt…break things. The Atom tears up the device controlling Jimmy. The Atom is suddenly swarmed by tiny metal bugs that appear to Apokoliptian anti-bodies. The Atom is overwhelmed as he prays that what he did worked and that it wasn’t too little too late.
We zip back to outside of Jimmy where he suddenly begins to grow to a massive size. Darkseid cries out that this cannot be happening. That Jimmy was his to control. A massive hulked up Jimmy towers over Darkseid and says that if Darkseid wants his powers so badly then come and get them. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story about the origin of Amazo. End of issue.
The Good: Countdown to Final Crisis #3 was a slightly better than average read. This issue actually has an enjoyable flow to it and is nicely paced. This issue was tightly plotted and moves with intensity and a purpose. If only we could have gotten more issues as well paced and plotted as this one.
Countdown to Final Crisis #3 offers plenty of adrenaline pumping action with the massive brawl between Superman and Darkseid. And, while I despise with all my heart Black Mary’s character, I have to admit that she certainly kicks tons of ass in this issue. I have to sheepishly confess that I enjoyed watching Mary knock out Kyle and then use him like a baseball bat to beat Donna into the ground.
I loved that the Atom got to play the big hero and save Superman and Jimmy Olsen. I got a chuckle out of the genius Ray Palmer resorting to the Gardner Rule to solve the situation. I always enjoy it whenever Ray gets to save the day and show what a classic hero he is.
I enjoyed the hook ending that Dini ends this issue with. We get a seriously “Hulked” up Jimmy Olsen ready to lay a serious smackdown on Darkseid. It looks like we are going to be in store for yet another enjoyable fight in the next issue.
Freddie Williams II provides plenty of solid artwork. Williams may never blow me away with his work, but he always delivers a quality looking issue. And there is something to be said for being dependable.
The Bad: The dialogue on Countdown to Final Crisis #3 is just atrocious. This has been one of the most glaring weaknesses of this title since the beginning. But, let’s cut to the chase of what I truly despised about this issue. I’m talking about the handling of Mary Marvel’s character.
I hate like poison what DC has done to Mary Marvel. Mary has been reduced to nothing more than a cackling evil lackey of Darkseid. Even though Dini and company had Mary claim at the end of last issue that the power is not evil that it was all Eclipso it is clear that Mary has gone from good to insanely evil in just one day. This is a ridiculously radical and drastic character change lacking any explanation, foundation or logic.
And you have to look no further than Mary’s dialogue which is completely and totally cringe inducing. It is awful. Mary talks exactly like Superman-Prime. Basically, Mary is now merely the female equivalent of Superman-Prime. I can only conclude that Didio felt that there was a need for DC to have another powerful bad guy to add to the roster of villains like Superman-Prime for Final Crisis. And the decision was made to make the new monster villain a female in order to create some balance.
Personally, if Didio really felt the need for a female villain to compliment Superman-Prime then I would have much preferred that Supergirl play this role rather than Mary Marvel. At least it would have made a bit more sense for Supergirl to go down this path given her dark past and connection with Darkseid.
This drastically over the top murderous evil fiend that Mary has morphed into lacks any and all internal logic. In order to pull off a proper heel turn, a sound foundation setting out the appropriate motivation and logic for the heel turn is crucial. That critical element was completely passed over in handling Mary’s sudden villainous turn.
Overall: Countdown to Final Crisis #3 was a slightly better than average read that would have been much more enjoyable if it wasn’t for the horrid handling of Mary’s character and some poor dialogue. At least Countdown to Final Crisis #3 will appeal to fans who enjoy a good old fashioned brawl between two heavyweights in Darkseid and Superman. The one thing that really sticks in my mind as we race to the end of Countdown to Final Crisis is that this story could have been such an enjoyable and intense read if DC had made this a 12 issue mini-series.