Comic Book Review: Countdown to Final Crisis #2

It has been a long arduous road, but we are finally mercifully arriving near the end of Countdown to Final Crisis. I will be shocked if DC can actually pull of an ending to this unremarkable title that I will consider interesting and enjoyable. I dread seeing how Dini and company write Superman-Prime, I mean, Mary Marvel’s character in Countdown to Final Crisis #2. Let’s just go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini, Sean McKeever & Keith Giffen
Artist: Scott Kollins

Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a Kaiju battle as a giant sized reptilian Jimmy Olsen slugs it out with a giant sized Darkseid. They proceed to destroy more buildings and bridges than Gojira in a rage. We cut to inside of Jimmy’s brain where the Atom is searching for whatever device that Darkseid had implanted in Jimmy to gather and store the powers of the dead New Gods. Sure enough, Atom finds the soul battery that stores all of the powers.

We shift back to Darkseid taking out Jimmy. Darkseid is about to kill Jimmy so that the powers will leave Jimmy’s corpse and enter into Darkseid’s body. Then Darkseid can bring about the Fifth World and rule it as its complete master.

Suddenly, the Atom flies out of Jimmy’s ear and Jimmy shrinks back to normal size. Ray holds up the soul battery that has all of the New Gods’ powers. The Atom then crushes the soul battery in front of Darkseid. Darkseid is enraged that the Atom destroyed the soul battery and that all of the powers are now lost to Darkseid.

Darkseid is about to retaliate by blasting the Atom when suddenly a boom tube activates behind Darkseid. Orion arrives on the scene and rages that he is here to kill Darkseid. The father and son engage in a truly titanic battle. Orion tells Superman, Flash, Donna and Kyle to back off. That this is Orion’s fight alone.

Darkseid gets the upper hand and begins blasting away at Orion. Just when you thought Orion was done and Darkseid had won, Orion does his best Hulk Hogan impersonation and comes back with a furious attack. Orion yells that he is willing to die if it means killing Darkseid. Darkseid comments that Orion finally sounds like a son that Darkseid would be proud of. Orion yells that he is nothing like Darkseid.

Orion then punches through Darkseid’s chest and rips out Darkseid’s fiery heart. Darkseid then dies in a fiery explosion.

Orion stumbles off from the fight and is clearly about to die himself. The issue ends with the words “There came a time when the New Gods died…” End of issue.

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

Comments
The Good: I can’t believe it, but I actually enjoyed Countdown to Final Crisis #2. Dini gave us a fast paced issue that was crammed full of action. The story had a pleasant flow to it and even though it was an adrenaline pumping issue, the story never felt rushed or hurried.

I loved the Kaiju battle. I always enjoy it when I get to see two giant monsters slug it out and cause massive collateral damage to a city. The only downside is that no fleshies got squished during this Kaiju battle. I have to admit that for a while there I had a bad feeling that DC was going to let Dini kill off Jimmy Olsen. Since I dig Jimmy I’m glad to see that it appears that he will make it out of Countdown to Final Crisis alive.

I was thrilled to see my boy Ray once again getting to play the big hero as he finds the soul battery and saved Jimmy as well as denies Darskeid the powers of all the dead New Gods. I particularly enjoyed the cocky attitude in which Ray destroys the soul battery right in front of Darkseid’s face. After having to put up with a sobbing, useless and totally ineffective Atom, it was nice to see Ray displaying some attitude and balls.

I’m also glad that in the last issue and in this issue that Ray has played a large role in saving Jimmy and thwarting Darskeid. Ray has been abused for the vast majority of Countdown to Final Crisis. It is nice to see him grab the spotlight in the last two issues and get the glory that he so richly deserves.

I enjoyed the surprising twist of having Orion still alive and appearing just in time to take on his father. Dini delivers an absolutely fantastic brawl between the two New Gods. The fight was well choreographed and had great psychology and drama. The part of the fight where Orion rips out Darkseid’s heart was a powerful scene. It was definitely pretty damn cool to see someone actually kill Darkseid even if it is only temporary since we know that Darkseid is the main bad guy in Final Crisis.

Dini ends Countdown to Final Crisis #2 with a solid ending as all of the New Gods are officially dead. Now that the death of the New Gods plotline is officially over, I’m curious to see what Dini has in store for us with the final issue of Countdown to Final Crisis.

The Bad: Once again, the dialogue was less than impressive. We get plenty more generic dialogue in this issue. Also, I just don’t enjoy Scott Kollins’ artwork. It looks rough, sketchy, rushed and a bit sloppy. This simply wasn’t a pretty looking issue.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed Countdown to Final Crisis #2. Of course, after reading this issue, I remain convinced that Dini could have delivered a highly entertaining story with Countdown to Final Crisis if he had trimmed off the fat consisting of many of the useless plotlines that bogged down this story. Countdown to Final Crisis would have made a great 12 issue series.

6 Comments

  1. Another week,another issue, another comment.Is this what we waited for? Although it seems like an issue where something happens, is thsi it. I agree with you that from the preview, Kolins art looks very rushed.I am a fan and this is not his best work.Grant Morrison has said that the New Gods are never treated like gods , just like other superheroes. I agree. Darkseid is often portrayed as Lex Luthor with his own planet.They probably should not be interwoven with the DCU, but that would be impossible unless they suddenly got hugely popular.I’m glad that I never bought Death of The New Gods because I would have to buy this issue to get the ending.From all of the talk about Final Crisis, it seems like it will not proceed directly out of Countdown but just use some of the set-up established here.I know I am nitpicking , but why would Darkseid use Jimmy Olsen in his plans? Why wouldn’t he pick a character he had no history with,like say Mary Marvel? She suddenly gets her powers back because it is the powers of The New Gods.Yes, I am back seat editing.I also have another MM question, wouldn’t she be free now? Her corruptor is dead. I can also see how she would fit into Final Crisis, but it should have been handled much better.One more week, one more week….

  2. The artwork in this issue was just too ugly. Also, I really do not like this issue as much as you did. It seemed rushed, and I felt that I read through it in five minutes. I would have loved Countdown to have a few issues based on a big brawl between Superman, Olsen and then Orion.

    I just hope Trinity does not disappoint. It better be something special. It seems that the Superman/Batman relationship is heavily focused on in the DCU, when Wonder Woman into that equation is just as interesting. The last time the Supes/Bats/WW relationship was explored in any great detail was in the first issue of Infinite Crisis, before they were attacked by Mongul. I loved the way they fought each other, and the emotions they conveyed. Although, a part of me wants a lot of action for Trinity, I would love to see more character development between these three characters and their relationship with each other. What was great about 52 and Countdown was the focus on B and C list characters, however, now after two years of weekly titles, we can focus on developing those icon characters again, and more importantly their relationships with each other.

  3. No fleshies were injured? In one of the preview images we see Giant Jimmy swinging a piece of a bridge at Darkie, complete with a car flying off of it. Did they explain how Jimmy Olsen didn’t kill a bunch of innocent people during his big battle scene?

  4. For some reason, when I saw Darkseid death I could only think of Obi-Wan’s quote from Star Wars: If you strike me down, I will become more powerful then you can imagine.

    (sorry if I didn’t get the quote exactly right)

  5. I was surprised by the return of Orion in this issue and Darkseid’s subsequent “death”. What in the hell is DC editorial doing? They have a title called “The Death of the New Gods” and they leave Darkseid’s demise to this series. Why am I reading the other series? The “Countdown” brand is a failed endeavor. Here’s hoping that with “Trinity” & “Final Crisis” that DC can get some of the magic that was “52” back.

  6. this was a great issue. the fights were great and i enjoyed the art style. the only thing that is weak is the way this fits with death of the new gods and superman’s regualr books

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