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Out for the Count: 24

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Welcome to our latest Countdown catch-up, looking across the DCU to pick up on not just the main action in Countdown to Final Crisis, but also all those other little hints, teasers and potentially-related storylines that may feed into the upcoming Crisis to end all Crises. Flavored with a healthy sprinkling of fanboy speculation, we’re here each week to keep you informed on the ever-expanding Bigger Picture of the DCU.

Spoiler Warning: Read no further if you’ve not had your DC fix this week and don’t want to hear about key story elements.

Events of late…

In Countdown to Final Crisis #24: Earth-15 becomes the casualty of Superman-Prime’s quest for the perfect world. Karate Kid’s condition deteriorates as Kyle Rayner and Donna Troy have a heart-to-heart. Darkseid reveals his plans for Mary Marvel and in Blüdhaven, Knights in shining Atomic armor charge in to save the day…

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

As we approach the next Crisis the Dark Knight’s team come face to face with an element of the last one. OMAC returns in Batman and the Outsiders #1!

Filling in the gap between 52 and Countdown, there are more revelations about Teth-Adam’s missing months in Black Adam: The Dark Age #4.

The identity of the new Supernova is revealed in the pages of Booster Gold #4.

The wonderful Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #2 continues the exploits of the Zoo Crew on Earth-26.

In Green Arrow and Black Canary #2 Ollie, Dinah, Connor and Mia take on Granny Goodness’s Amazon army.

It’s the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul Part 2 in Nightwing #138.

Salvation Run #1 finally sees that long-simmering Countdown plotline move to center stage.

Heretofore unrevealed information about the New God-Killer can be gleaned from Superman/Batman #42.

If you can bear to read it, then a couple of Fourth World characters make significant appearances, amidst the gratuitous apparent slaughter of a number of old favorites, in Titans East Special #1.

The Fourth World’s troubles also impact on the life of Cassie Sandsmark in Wonder Girl #3.

And, as we often do here, there are a couple of mentions of peripheral books with a more tangential link to the main narrative. Suicide Squad #3 completes the recap as to how Rick Flag survived death to become such an important player in various Countdown plotlines. Superman Confidential #9 has the second part of the retelling of the Man of Steel’s first meeting with the New Gods. And stretching a point here, but there’s a brief mention of how the look of The Bleed, an important part of the Countdown, was achieved in Wildstorm Fine Arts Spotlight On The Authority #1. Yes I really do read everything before preparing this column…

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

The Temptation of Mary Marvel – Darkseid is more forthcoming about his plans for Mary Marvel. He wanted a sorcerer to add to his ranks and used Eclipso to manipulate Mary as his inroad to the realm of magic. (Countdown to Final Crisis #24)

The Broken Green Arrow/Amazons Attack! – Connor Hawke, Black Canary and Speedy attempt to rescue Green Arrow from Themyscira and the clutches of Granny Goodness’s Amazons. Can an appearance from Countdown players, and New Amazons, Harley Quinn and Holly Robinson be far away? (Green Arrow and Black Canary #2)

The Death of the New Gods – Little-seen New God Bekka, wife of Orion and daughter of Himon, is revealed as an early victim of the New God-Killer. It will be interesting to see if the bad feeling between Bruce Wayne and Orion, caused by Batman’s brief dalliance with Bekka, proves to be of greater significance in the future. (Superman/Batman #42)

Former Apokoliptian spy Power Boy is definitely killed by a mystery assailant, and Little Barda also seems to die, as Titans East hold their inaugural meeting. Whether the New God-Killer is responsible remains to be seen, as Hawk & Dove, Anima, Lagoon Boy and Son of Vulcan also appear to be murdered by the same villain. (Titans East Special #1)

With the ranks of the New Gods dwindling, the Female Furies comes to Earth to persuade demi-gods Hercules and Wonder Girl to form an alliance. (Wonder Girl #3)

A Crisis in Time? – The big revelation of this issue is that Barbara Gordon should never have been paralysed by the Joker’s bullet and the events of The Killing Joke should not have happened in the timestream. Rip Hunter deduces that Supernova (revealed to be Booster’s father) and "Rex Hunter", the two villains responsible for trying to wipe out the JLA, are being funded by someone else entirely. Is this mysterious villain in the wings tied into the Countdown as well? (Booster Gold #4)

The Anomalies – Echoing their early appearances, when the Zoo Crew teamed up with Superman, the villain of the piece is revealed as none other than JLA villain Starro the Conqueror. That makes Starro a dimension-jumper and an "anomaly". Will the Monitor of Earth-26 intervene? (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #2)

Salvation Run – What did I say? Darkseid and Desaad are revealed as the manipulators of the Salvation Run plot thread as Rick Flag and Amanda Waller see the captured super-villains of New Earth exiled to their own prison planet. Presumably they are seeking the best recruits for a villain army, in the same way Darkseid has used Granny Goodness to recruit her Amazon army and Desaad was seen in Detective Comics #837 amassing the means to create a superhuman force. With Monarch’s troops, the Anti-Monitor’s Sinestro Corps, the New Gods-Killer and the Monitors themselves, there are certainly enough factions to go to war with… (Salvation Run #1)

Earthwatch

Earth-26 – The Zoo Crew battle Frogzilla and the Salamandroid in the second issue of Captain Carrot’s endearing new miniseries. For those wondering who that "walk-on character" is who appears when Frogzilla reverts to his Fennimore Frog identity (and I know there are literally two or three of you), he’s none other than Fennimore’s sparring partner the Dodo from DC’s 1950s Funny Animal book Dodo and the Frog. After last month’s appearance of Fox and the Crow it’s safe to say Earth-26 is probably home to all of DC’s humor-based animal characters of the past. After re-reading this paragraph, I now feel a burning need to underline that I do also have friends and a social life… (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark! #2)

Earth-15 – The hope-filled Earth that "could have been" for the heroes of the DCU is the victim of the rage of a curiously-aged Superman-Prime. It was staring us all in the face on those Countdown house ads but I hadn’t considered that the black-clad Superman whispering into the ear of the Cyborg Superman could be the former Superboy of Earth-Prime. Does this indicate that the Cyborg and Prime will conspire against the Anti-Monitor I wonder?

Superman-Prime has been searching the 52 Earths looking for his perfect Earth (the same one he was promised would be recreated by Alexander Luthor in Infinite Crisis). After realising Earth-15 is not to his taste Prime brutally murders its JLA and Lex Luthor-counterparts before annihilating the planet. (Countdown to Final Crisis #24)

That’s a wrap for OFTC: 24. I shall leave you all with a question. Is this all leading to a massive company-wide reboot or will the mysterious Megaverse, revealed in the last issue of 52 , prove to be an extrapolation of the Multiverse? Next week we’ll be one step closer to knowing…

 

 

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