Out for the Count: 0

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Here we are one year, 42 columns and over 60,000 words later and the Countdown has finally come to an end! This is the final (regular) Out for the Count for the time being. I hope this feature has succeeded over the last twelve months in pointing you in the direction of pieces of the Bigger Picture across the DCU that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed and provided some fun continuity background where appropriate. I also hope that when I speculated correctly about story elements it helped to clarify and inform and that when my guesses where horribly wrong (a metatextual element to the Countdown, Tangent Green Lantern on Earth-8 or Max Lord possessing Green Arrow anyone?) it at least gave you a good laugh!

And now for the last time (for the moment anyway...) here’s our final Spoiler Warning: Read no further if you’ve not had your DC fix this week and don’t want to read about key story elements.

Across the DC Universe
(stories this week that may, or may not, tie into the Bigger Picture)

Action Comics #864 is a must-buy prelude to Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds...

Take the first steps towards the Final Crisis in DC Universe #0.

The origin of Hal Jordan and how it ties in with upcoming events in the GL books continues in Green Lantern #30.

The spotlight is on Miss Martian as the Terror Titans run amok in Teen Titans #58.

And Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #8 has the thrilling conclusion of the team’s latest miniseries.

Continuity Corner
(interesting tidbits from this week’s issues!)

The Mystery of the Legion/Superman’s Continuity Conflicts – It will probably come as little surprise to anyone that the Time Trapper is revealed as being behind the events of recent months in Action Comics . We’ve pointed out before, on a number of occasions, that something is not right with Superman’s timeline/continuity (Superman #666, for example, when a demonic entity remembered the Man of Steel’s execution of the Phantom Zone Criminals even though it was no longer a part of continuity). The Time Trapper reveals here that Superman’s timeline is the only one he can never eradicate, no matter how many times he attempts to tear him away from his links with the Legion. Could this constant meddling with the timestream by the Trapper explain all the conflicting continuity points in both Superman and Supergirl’s history over the last year or so?

Batman is also investigating the Mystery of the Legion, reminding Superman of how many versions they have encountered: the original in Justice League of America #148, the post-Zero Hour team in Final Night and his recent encounter with the Threeboot Legion in The Brave and the Bold Vol. 4 #5.

To complicate matters more, the Time Trapper dumps the corpses of Una and Karate Kid (who died in Countdown to Final Crisis) in Gotham for reasons as yet unknown. Batman, Superman and Lightning Lad look to the JSA’s Starman for answers but get the normal gibberish in return (though we can work out from his ramblings that the Time Trapper will start the Legion War, Barry Allen may be back to save the day and that he is apparently aware of Karate Kid’s original pre-Crisis death). Also of note here is the consolidation of Starman continuity with recent events as Thom Kallor adopts the secret identity of Danny Blaine. We know from James Robinson’s Starman series that Kallor/Blaine will die in the 21st Century and one of the temporal images in the Time Trapper’s realm shows Gog grasping a prone looking Starman. Could Starman’s time as a member of the JSA be coming to an end in upcoming issues of Justice Society of America?

Other interesting hints from the Time Trapper’s narration include Jimmy Olsen becoming editor of the Daily Planet, Batman’s death, the birth of New Krypton, the potential return of a Braniac resembling his robotic pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths incarnation and the Trapper recounting his attacks on Superboy’s timeline (including a mention of the infamous Pocket Universe from Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2 #s 37-38 Aug-Sep 87). So what is the significance of the line "I am the Time Trapper. And I deserve better than I have been given." It’s an outside bet, but let’s not forget that in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3 #61 (Sep 94) the identity of this villain was revealed (on that occasion anyway!) as a future Cosmic Boy. (Action Comics #864)

In a teaser for the upcoming Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds we see Superman and various Legionnaires battling what look suspiciously like the Anti-Monitor’s Shadow Demons from the Crisis On Infinite Earths series. (DC Universe #0)

Back in a Flash – Barry Allen appears to have reconstituted himself, lending further credence to the theory that he is the trapped entity from the Lightning Rod Saga in last year's JLA/JSA crossover. And let’s not forget the prediction from the pages of The Flash that Barry would return to help Wally West three times when great danger arose. Third time's the charm? (DC Universe #0)

The Coming Crisis – In a moment of downtime after their latest mission, Uncle Sam tells Black Condor that another major Crisis is coming. He is philosophical about the dark times ahead saying that he’s been around long enough to know "the more things change the more they stay the same." (Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #8)

The Final Crisis is described as "the final chapter in the saga of the multiple Earths". Long-missing JLA villain Libra returns as servant of a new God and reforms a new Secret Society of Super-Villains. (DC Universe #0)

In Blackest Night... – Black Hand is freed and somehow transported to the planet where the Black Power Battery (powered by the captured Anti-Monitor) is stationed. The spectrum’s many different Corps begin their rise... (DC Universe #0)

The Death of the New Gods – The Terror Titans discuss selling the captured Kid Devil to the Dark Side Club. From the villains’ dialogue it would appear the Club is hosting fights between metahumans (a similar enterprise to that of Roulette in JSA perhaps?). The Dark Side Club is presumably the same establishment from the Seven Soldiers event run by Dark Side, the more "human" form of Darkseid. One can’t help wondering now if some of the Fourth World characters in Morrison’s ambitious project were actually appearing chronologically post-The Death of the New Gods. (Teen Titans #58)

"Barry Allen" claims to be the only one who can see the gigantic shadow across the Multiverse and states there was a war in Heaven and evil won (The Death of the New Gods?). In an interesting thematic link there was also a war in Heaven during the original Crisis when the Brujeria used the chaos of the Multiverse’s destruction to launch an attack on the afterlife in Swamp Thing #50. (DC Universe #0)

Amazons Attack! – What appears to be Zeus and Apollo (freshly freed from their captivity at Darkseid's hands) conclude that Wonder Woman’s mission to change the world has been a failure. An army of male "Amazons" wait in the wings to take up where Diana has failed. Elsewhere, super-villains are conspiring against the Amazons including Doctor Poison, Professor Ivo and a new "Red Volcano" android. (DC Universe #0)

That’s a wrap for Out for the Count but not for Broken Frontier’s regular DCU analysis! We’ll be back in two weeks with a new regular feature mixing coverage of your favourite DC books with all the normal speculation, discussion and continuity pointers on each week’s releases that you’ve come to expect from OFTC.

"Change my dear... and it seems not a moment too soon..."

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