Comic Book Review: Countdown to Final Crisis #6

I can see it. It is right there just beyond my reach. It is the end of Countdown. And it can’t come here soon enough. Last issue of Countdown was terrible. And I’m sure that Countdown #6 will be just as bad. However, there is no way that Countdown #6 could actually be worse than the last issue is there? Let’s hit this review and find out.

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini, Adam Beechen & Keith Giffen
Pencils: Mike Norton
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue is narrated by a Cadmus lab tech as if he were writing in his journal. We see Martian Manhunter being called in to verify that our heroes, now being called “anomalies,” are who they claim to be. Eventually, Atom and Dubblix decide to remove the Morticcocus virus from Karate Kid’s body in order to isolate it and try and fashion a cure.

We cut to a news report about a man who suddenly became like a rabid animal and attacked his wife. A police dog at the scene bit the man. Then the police dog went insane. The police dog’s body was brought to Cadmus labs where it was discovered that the dog had grown human hands.

We see the scientists removing the Morticcocus virus from Karate Kid’s corpse. Suddenly, the virus grows to monstrous size once it hits the air and our heroes rush into the room to battle the monster virus. During the fight the virus burst into dust. Atom ordered Kyle to contain every single particle.

We see Dubblix and Atom realizing that the pre-extraction Morticcocus virus sample was different from the post-extraction Morticcocus virus sample. That the virus had adapted to expand its methods and scope of transmission. That the virus was now an airborne virus. That when the virus burst into dust during the fight that it was in the air for 20 seconds before Kyle could contain it. That was all it took to for the Morticcocus virus to become loose on the world. (Oh, way to go, Kyle.)

We see the first mass outbreak of the virus occur in Gotham. Atom has Kyle go and bring Red Robin to Cadmus Labs. We see Red Robin arguing with the other heroes once he arrives at Cadmus. We see Atom having created a limited number of inoculations against the virus from his own blood. These inoculations were given to heroes like the Flash who had powers that could put out the big fires that the virus stated and do it quickly.

The lab tech narrating the story then makes the realization that the Morticcocus virus is hoping from species to species. That it went from the man in the news report to the police dog. That every living thing on Earth was at danger from this virus. That the virus left behind it an altered genetic code in the victim.

We see a news report where politicians are blaming the virus on terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. We see the first lab tech at Cadmus finally succumb to the virus and attack another lab tech. Atom and Dubblix place the infected lab tech in isolation and examine her. The Atom notices that the tech’s DNA showed traces of genetic coding from nearly all the test animals she interacted with. The Atom began to lose it as he was unable to keep up with the virus’ mutations. (Are you still reading the summary for this pathetic issue? Really? Man, you must be bored at work.)

The Atom then held a meeting with the JLA and the CDC. Evidently, since Karate Kid is from a thousand years in the future, that the virus had 31st century nanites in it. That allowed the virus to mutate ahead of curative measures. That the virus would mutate past the Atom’s inoculations in days. That the virus was already beyond any medical treatment between the present day and the 31st century.

We see the heroes arguing. Hal Jordan wants to take a plan of action that the Atom disagrees with. The lab tech narrating this story decided to leave the lab and go be with his family until the end comes. Una persuades the tech to let her come with him. That with Karate Kid dead that there is nothing left for her here. That she wants to at least do one good thing before she dies. So she wants to help the lab tech find his family out there in the chaos.

We then see Hal Jordan flying off into space looking for interstellar help to their problem. Unfortunately, all Hal was doing was spreading the Morticcocus virus to the rest of the galaxy. (Oh, way to go, Hal.) That the end of everything was night. End of story.

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

Comments
The Good: Countdown #6 was a horrid read. I know I have said this before, but I honestly have no idea how I’m going to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. Hmmm, let me think…c’mon there has to be something. I refuse to be defeated by this issue! Okay, I have something positive to say about Countdown #6. It was nice to see Ray Palmer taking center stage and acting as the leader of our group of “anomalies.” All right, that’s it. That is all I’ve got.

The Bad: Seriously, Countdown #6 was just terrible. This was a slow paced and incredibly boring issue. The use of the lab tech to narrate this entire issue in the form of a journal entry was a terrible way to frame this issue. This passive style of delivering this issue made this boring issue even duller. Having no dialogue at all for the entire issue just made this issue a complete and total chore to read. This is a tough technique to pull off and requires a much stronger story than what we got in Countdown #6.

We learned more about the Morticcocus virus. Unfortunately, I stopped caring about this virus a while ago. Pretty much this entire issue can be summed up by saying that the virus is from the 31st century and therefore ahead of any medical treatment from the present era. That it can hop to species from species and that Hal Jordan is going to spread the virus throughout the universe. So, basically every living creature from every planet is going to die. End of issue. That is about it. Nothing else happens.

And what makes it worse is that none of the new information about the Morticcocus virus actually contributes to the reader’s enjoyment of the story. The few additional wrinkles that we learned in this issue weren’t all that intriguing. We already knew that this virus was incurable and that it can destroy an entire world. This extraneous information about the virus was unnecessary. I already understood that the virus was unstoppable and deadly. I didn’t need that theme repeated to me over and over in various different ways.

The artwork on Countdown #6 was decidedly average which just lends to this issue being even more of a monotonous read.

Overall: This was a pretty short review because there wasn’t much that happened in this issue. Countdown #6 was about as dull a read as you are going to come across. This title is going to drag its half-dead carcass across the finish line for a most unspectacular ending. All I can say is that I am so happy that we only have five more issues left on this title.

5 Comments

  1. I haven’t been reading Countdown (and let me officially thank you for providing the info to keep me from wasting money on it – I appreciate you taking the bullet for me); but did they explain why the virus mutated everyone EXCEPT Karate Kid who did just slowly killed over the course of several months? Or is that just unexplained nonsense like a virus suddenly becoming giant?

  2. I’m a little (read: very) disappointed in the whole reason I was interested in Crisis in the first place: Mary Marvel.

    What kind of crappy non-story was that? And to boot, she’s completely out of the picture?!

    Final Crisis better be phenomenal because the Countdown to Crisis wasn’t.

  3. The virus also comes off as very stupid because basically the Legion of Super Heroes left Val to die in the past and have never explained why they did that. Way to cold if you ask me but that’s just to move the story along. Also makes both Kyle and Hal look like morons since they basically just let the virus go. Give me a break.

  4. was it just me or as the issue progressed were you like i waiting for the lab tech to be revealed as lex luthor

  5. Does anyone else wonder if Brainy actually sent Karate Kid back just for this purpose, to bring about his future? At the end of “Lightning Saga” he said he had who he needed to save “this Earth,” I believe, implying that he may not have been talking about the Earth we normally watch.

    As for why Karate Kid didn’t mutate, I think that this bug carries DNA along from each victim to the next and mixes them, so if KK had been infected by a “clean” sample, it might not have had any other DNA yet to give him.

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