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Out for the Count: 20

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Death. It’s everywhere in the DCU at the moment. First it was shocking. Then it was relentless. Now it’s just tedious. Not a week goes past without another batch of characters being casually butchered to appease the great god of crossovers. DC take note – if you’re going to rely on so much killing of favorite heroes then let’s see more Birds of Prey #112-takes on the departed and far less of the dreadful approach of Titans East Special #1. On that note here’s our death-filled 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.

Events this week…

In Countdown to Final Crisis #20: Brother Eye and the OMACs bring the Great Disaster one step nearer. Jimmy Olsen’s rescue of Forager doesn’t go to plan. Monarch deals with yet more dissension in the ranks of his potential army. Pied Piper comes to terms with Trickster’s demise and Mary Marvel and Eclipso have a serious falling out...

Elsewhere in the DCU
(stories this week that may, or may not, tie into the Bigger Picture)

The story of Black Adam’s time between 52 and Countdown reaches its penultimate stage in Black Adam: The Dark Age #5.

Chronal conspiracies aplenty in the pages of Booster Gold #5.

Events on Earth-26 reach a head in Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #3. Will Starro emerge victorious?

More death and destruction among the assembled masses in Countdown: Arena #2.

The rough guide to Earth-30 in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Red Son #1.

Tragedy strikes for Ollie Queen’s extended family in Green Arrow and Black Canary #3.

It’s the end of the war in Green Lantern #25 with postscripts in both Green Lantern Corps #19 and Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Ion #1.

Ra’s Al Ghul’s return to the land of the living nears its conclusion in Nightwing #139.

Tensions between the bad guys rise in Salvation Run #2.

See the fallout from the Fall of the Wall in Suicide Squad #4 as a new version of the team debuts and there’s a major revelation about a long-term team member.

The Death of the New Gods continues to be felt in Wonder Girl #4.

Can Hippolyta atone for the Amazon war? Check out Wonder Woman #15 for more on her story.

And our more tangential picks... plenty of reprint classics in Countdown Special: The Atom #1. Earth-50’s crisis continues in Stormwatch:PHD: Armageddon #1 and more retellings of when the New Gods first came to Earth in Superman Confidential #10.

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

The Anomalies – Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew escape disaster on Earth-26 by fleeing in a giant ark to New Earth, making them more of the Monitors’ hated, dimension-hopping anomalies. (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #3)

Amazons Attack – Wonder Woman needs to find a way around Athena/Granny Goodness’s edict forbidding the Amazons to return to Themyscira if she is to save Hippolyta from Captain Nazi’s Society masters. (Wonder Woman #15)

A Crisis in Time? – Lots of clues on Rip Hunter’s blackboard (some of which are further expounded on in their individual sections). However some speculation on the more general ones follows:

"No trophy=Stephanie?" Does Stephanie Brown still live? Is that why there’s no memorial to her in the Batcave? Did Leslie Thompkins fake Steph’s death and is Batman aware of that? It would certainly make far more sense than the nonsensical notion that Thompkins essentially murdered Steph.

"Death of the Supermen" Take your pick. From Prime to the Cyborg to countless Multiversal duplicates there’s certainly enough candidates...

"The Sun Devils will save us all!" – Not the first reference to the heroes of the 1986 DC sci-fi book The Sun Devils on Hunter’s board (see the finale of 52 for more details) .

Ditto for the Wildebeest Society who played a big part in The Titans Hunt arc, also mentioned before on Hunter’s board. "Who will escape the Book of Destiny" references current events in The Brave and the Bold. The Gog scrawling may relate to the building storyline in Justice Society of America and the "ghost detectives" must be Elongated Man and Sue Dibny. Finally it would appear there is a traitor in the JLA. I have no idea what "Steve is watching" could be about though!

On a side note Despero, Ultra-Humanite and Per Degaton are Supernova’s employers. This triumvirate were last seen in the Lightning Saga in JLA and JSA, in what is now looking less and less like a throwaway subplot. (Booster Gold #5)

The Death of the New Gods – The Female Furies’ plan to use Wonder Girl as they seek to elude the New God-Killer hits a snag when Cassie allies herself with Olympian and the Teen Titans (Wonder Girl #4)

Despite what we’ve been told to the contrary, it would appear there are counterparts of the New Gods and Apokolips elsewhere in the Multiverse. The universe of Earth C-Minus is revealed as home to the New Dogs and Barkseid. The New Dogs accidentally send the Zoo Crew to New Earth (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #3)

Salvation Run – Having been canned from Checkmate, Amanda Waller throws herself into her work with the new Suicide Squad. (Suicide Squad #4)

The Joker makes his move when he murders Psimon and takes leadership of the villains stranded on the alien planet. Luthor’s arrival looks set to cause a power struggle. Rick Flag betrays three Suicide Squad members, now decided too erratic to be of use to the team, when he exiles Deadshot, Chemo and Bane to the prison world. (Salvation Run #2)

The Sinestro Corps War – Sinestro reveals that he has already got the victory he was looking for. He was always loyal to the GLC but wanted to push them into accepting the use of lethal force in upholding their ideals.

The rampaging Anti-Monitor makes use of Crisis On Infinite Earths-style anti-matter waves in his attack on Earth before being despatched by Superman Prime. Prime himself is warped into the Multiverse by the Guardians, explaining his recent appearances in Countdown to Final Crisis.

A whole spectrum of different Corps will emerge. Apart from the Green and Yellow Corps we can expect to see the Zamarons’ Violet Corps embodying love, the Red Lanterns representing hate, an Indigo squadron for compassion, Orange for avarice and Sayd and Ganthet begin to form the Blue Corps for hope at issue’s end. The Anti-Monitor appears to be transformed into the Black Lantern in the concluding pages, probably tying into the In the Blackest Night epic advertised for Summer 2009... (Green Lantern #25)

Mongul takes over leadership of the Yellow Corps of fear. (Green Lantern Corps #19)

The Broken Green Arrow – Granny Goodness’s intricate plotting to ensure Black Canary would become the trainer of her new breed of Female Furies is explained this month. Just as Darkseid has been using Eclipso to destroy the super-heroes of Earth from within so was Granny hoping to use Everyman to do the same. Having rescued Ollie from Themyscira tragedy strikes for the Arrow family when Connor is apparently killed by an energy beam from the sky. This beam looks remarkably similar to the weapon that wiped out the entire team in Titans East Special #1. Was Granny behind that massacre as well? (Green Arrow and Black Canary #3)

The Mystery of the Legion – The words ""Lightning Saga(s) strike twice??? 3000+8" can be seen on Rip Hunter’s blackboard. A reference perhaps to the second entity caught in that storyline? (Booster Gold #5)

The Search for Ray Palmer – Bob the Monitor concludes that Ray Palmer is hidden somewhere in the Universe of Earth-12. The Monitor Nix Uotan could only know that Palmer was "living a life of no consequence" if that life will be lived in Uotan’s home reality. (Countdown to Final Crisis #20)

The Ray Palmer of Earth-30 has met New Earth’s Palmer. Our Atom says he is gathering a force to combat the coming threat to the Multiverse. (Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Red Son #1)

Rip Hunter’s blackboard has the words "No Ray Palmer = Disaster" underlining Ray’s importance in seeing off the Great Disaster. (Booster Gold #5)

Monarch’s Machinations – I can’t get my head around the logic of this storyline but Monarch continues to build up his army against the Monitors by having most of the potential recruits slaughter each other in an arena. Because, of course, that makes far more sense than just inducting the lot of them into his forces... (Countdown: Arena #2)

Earthwatch

By my reckoning 35 of the 52 have now been either identified or we’ve met heroes from them...

Earth C-Minus – The home of the JLA (Justa Lotta Animals) is confirmed as part of the 52. Its numerical designation is unknown and, interestingly, denizens of Earth-26 still refer to that reality as Earth-C. (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #3)

Again, many characters from established Earths pop up in Countdown: Arena but we’ll focus on the new Earths identified here:

Earth-6 – Ray Palmer became the Ray on this world.

Earth-7 – Courtney Whitmore is this reality’s Starwoman.

Earth-33 – Home of a Blue Beetle who is, literally, a giant insect.

Earth-38 – Captain Atom, leader of the Atomic Knights comes from this Earth.

Earth-39 – A Dan Garrett in Jaime Reyes’s scarab armor is the representative of this reality on Monarch’s ship.

I’m confused that the colony of living insects is listed as the Blue Beetle of New Frontier’s Earth-21. Other points of interest include Breach, who was identified in Infinite Crisis, as the Captain Atom of Earth-8 in the old Multiverse, having a counterpart on said Earth in the 52. Earth-17 looks to be a Kamandi-Earth and there’s a Mikaal Thomas Starman counterpart on Forerunner’s Earth-48. (Countdown: Arena #2)

That’s it for this week. I was never a big Connor Hawke fan back in the 90s but the character grew on me over the years. I sincerely hope he’s not another victim of the DC "duplicate" heroes purge but I’m not holding out much hope...

See you in seven.

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