Comic Book Review: Countdown to Final Crisis #7

There are only a handful of issues left on Countdown to Final Crisis. That is about the most positive thing I can say about this comic book. For my own sanity, this title will mercifully be at an end soon and I can cease chronicling this story for the benefit of others. Last issue of Countdown to Final Crisis was disappointing and I see no reason to think that we are going to get a quality read with Countdown to Final Crisis #7. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini, Adam Beechen & Keith Giffen
Pencils: Tom Derenick
Inks: Wayne Faucher

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Holly and Harley on their way back to Gotham City. They comment how they no longer have their super powers and that it is up to the rest of the heroes to save Karate Kid and the world.

We shift to the Atom, Donna, Kyle and Una taking Karate Kid to the JLA’s Hall of Justice. The Atom states that the JLA’s technology and medical facilities should be enough for him to place Karate Kid in sterile stasis. Then the Atom can work to help use his inoculated blood to synthesize an antibody for the Morticcocus virus.

Once Atom and the other heroes enter the Hall of Justice, Superman, Flash and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan flavor) appear on the scene and call our heroes intruders. The JLA’ers demand to know who the intruders are and why they broke into the Hall of Justice. The JLA’ers don’t recognize Ray, Kyle or Donna.

Firestorm suddenly arrives on the scene and tells the Challengers that something is wrong with this Earth that they are on. Firestorm makes a bright sunburst to distract the JLA’ers while the Atom uses the JLA transporter to teleport the Challengers out of the Hall of Justice.

We cut to our heroes suddenly appearing in the Adirondack Park Preserve in New York. Firestorm yammers on how he doesn’t exist anymore. (Oh, how I wish that were true.) That when he went home, his home was not there. Ray agrees saying that it is obvious that the JLA’ers don’t recognize any of them. However, the Atom says that this is indeed their Earth. It simply appears that someone has erased the knowledge of the Challengers from the minds of the people on Earth.

Una then snaps at Atom yelling that they need to be worried about saving Val. That they have been carrying around Karate Kid like luggage and that the time for talking is over. Atom says that unless they find a facility comparable to what the JLA has then their chances of saving Karate Kid and the world are slim.

Firestorm then suggest using Cadmus’ facilities that they have hidden up in this area. That Professor Stein used to talk about Cadmus’ incredible technology. The Atom agrees and tells Kyle to go and get Holly, Harley and Jason. Our heroes then fly off for the Cadmus lab.

We see our heroes arriving at the Cadmus facility. To their surprise Jimmy Olsen, Forager and the Haires are already there waiting for them. Jimmy says that there is no Habitat. That it is gone. So, Jimmy figured he would come to the Cadmus labs thinking that our heroes would eventually make their way here. (Wow, well that is some seriously convenient plot massaging.)

Suddenly, Kyle arrives with Harley and Holly in tow. Kyle claims that Jason was busy and that Kyle couldn’t get Jason to come with him. Harley is crying because she went to Arkham Asylum to see Joker and he didn’t recognize her. (Huh? Didn’t they split up after he tried to kill her or something? Didn’t she make a big deal about being “over” the Joker.)

Our heroes then enter the Cadmus facility. Suddenly, our heroes are attacked by a horde of four armed creatures. Our heroes start brawling with the creatures. Unfortunately, there are just too many of the creatures for our small band of heroes to handle. So, Jimmy powers up and uses his boom tube powers to transport the creatures out of the facility. (I wonder where Jimmy sent them. The Batcave? I can imagine Jimmy calling up Batman and yelling “You just got punk’d!!”)

Dubblix then walks onto the scene and demands to know why the Challengers have broken into the Cadmus facility. Jimmy immediately recognizes Dubblix. Dubblix comments that he doesn’t know Jimmy, but that Jimmy’s’ thoughts indicate a long period of acquaintance between the two of them.

Una then tells Dubblix that Karate Kid is sick and dying. Dubblix quickly reads Una’s thoughts and then comments how the Morticcocus virus is certainly very interesting. Dubblix then hunches over Karate Kid and comments that he can’t save him since Karate Kid is already dead. (Thanks, Giffen.) End of story.

We then get a two page back-up story about the origin of Bane. End of issue.

The Good: Countdown #7 was such a disappointing read. However, I can still satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. It was fantastic to finally see Ray act like the hero he is rather than a mopey, chump. It was cool to see Ray take charge of this group of heroes and act as the de facto leader. I dig that Dini has all of the other heroes in this story all immediately look to Ray for guidance and direction in this time of crisis. The Atom is a wonderful hero and it is about time that DC stops dumping on his character and actually builds him up.

The artwork on this issue was simply average. It didn’t really do much for me either negatively or positively.

The Bad: The fact is that Countdown #7 was another dreadful read. This title is doomed to end with a complete and total thud. And it is probably only fitting that this massively disappointing title ends in such a fashion.

Countdown #7 was a boring read. Once again, Dini re-treads already well worn ground from the past several issues. Honestly, if I have to get anymore of the same bickering and debating about what to do with Karate Kid and the virus I might go insane. And we certainly got plenty more of that tired dialogue in this issue.

Countdown #7 was a slow, plodding and uneventful issue. Nothing much happens at all. Watching this ending to Countdown unfold is like watching a beaten and broken horse lying in the middle of the desert slowly dying of dehydration.

Once again, the dialogue was incredibly weak. We get way too many cheesy one liners in this issue. Flash’s line when he appears at the Hall of Justice and asks “What’s the crisis?” was just groan inducing. All the characters continue to talk in rather generic exterior voices. The characters lack any distinctive personalities. We have really gotten nothing more than rather uninspired and vanilla takes on these various characters during this entire story.

The flow of Countdown #7 was clunky and disjointed. We lurch from scene to scene in a jarring and discombobulated fashion. This issue reads like Dini is furiously trying to dash to the ending and is just slapping together whatever shoddily constructed issue that he can crank out. You would think with having 52 issues at hand that Dini could have better paced and plotted this story enabling him to craft a more coherently constructed ending.

I have to admit that I still have absolutely no idea why in the world Holly and Harley were on Countdown. I have no idea what their purpose was suppose to be on this title. I mean besides the obvious that Dini has a hard-on for Harley’s character. I was surprised that they already have lost their super powers. Wow, they only had them for a couple of issues and I can’t remember them actually using them for more than a couple of panels. Like many plotlines on Countdown, this was another random and wasted one.

I still could care less about the Morticcocus virus. I find it incredibly lame that Karate Kid was just a simple literary device to introduce this virus and set up the “climactic” ending to this title. What a pathetic purpose for Val being on this title. And what a total waste of a great character.

And why exactly did Brainiac 5 tell Val to stay behind? What was his mission? To be cannon fodder? To introduce the Morticcocus virus to the universe and cause the Great Disaster? Talk about a terribly handled plotline that left so much dangling and unaddressed.

And of course, we all know it is somehow going to come down to Ray having to sacrifice himself in order to use the antibody to the Morticcocus virus that is inside of him so that the world can be saved. That is so disappointing. In January, 2008, the All New Atom #19 posted a pathetic sales number of just 13,850 copies. That is definitely at the point where titles get cancelled. It is clear that the new Atom has failed to generate much interest. Maybe DC feels that if they slaughter off Ray Palmer that fans will have no choice but to embrace and accept the “all new” Atom.

Overall: Countdown #7 was just a dreadful read. This title is dying such a slow and ugly death as it limps toward the end of the story. Seriously, I cannot wait for this title to be over so I can stop having to journal this event. And I am even happier that Grant Morrison has gone on record stating that his Final Crisis doesn’t really have that much to do with Countdown to Final Crisis. Thank you, Grant. Thank you.