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Out for the Count: 30

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One nice touch I’ve noticed of late is that DC have helpfully started adding an Earth identification logo to their covers. This highlights appearances by any of the 52 in the books across their line. This week’s Countdown, for example, let’s you know that the heretofore unseen Earth-15 is visited inside. Could lead to some very overcrowded covers by the time we get to Final Crisis, but at this juncture I kind of like it…

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 #30: Karate Kid learns he may have a shocking destiny courtesy of Brother Eye. Pied Piper and the Trickster let us see Ollie and Dinah’s wedding from a different angle. The Challengers from Beyond have a glimpse into a world that might have been. Holly Robinson and Harley Quinn face an initiation test. And Jimmy Olsen finds himself literally up the creek without a paddle…

The Players
(this week’s principal cast)

Karate Kid and Una are probably appearing here after the events of Supergirl #22. Pied Piper and the Trickster are seen during the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special #1. The Challengers from Beyond’s sequence follows on from Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1. Piper and Trickster find themselves at the mercy of Double Down, who I don’t remember seeing since the conclusion of the Rogues War in The Flash #225, but I’m happy to be corrected on that one…

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

Yet more disruption in the timestream in both The All-New Atom #16 and Metal Men #3.

Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1 takes the Challengers from Beyond to Earth-3, the next destination on their magic, multiversal, mystery tour and we learn the origin of the Jokester.

Flashback a few months and discover how Harley Quinn left the Secret Six and got involved with Athena in Detective Comics #837.

The war with the Sinestro Corps continues in Green Lantern Corps #16 and find out what Hank Henshaw has in common with the Anti-Monitor in Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg Superman #1.

The mystery of the duplicate Legions is further examined in the pages of Supergirl #22 (behind a somewhat misleading cover!).

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

Buddy Blank – In the original Jack Kirby (pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths) OMAC series, Buddy Blank was the nondescript everyman who was transformed into the One Man Army Corps by Brother Eye. This short 8-issue run was set in an unspecified near-future, with Buddy eventually revealed to be the grandfather of Kamandi. Could we be about to see a more Kirbyesque version of OMAC return to the DCU? There are two important tie-in clues here. In The Brave and the Bold #6 when Batman was sent back in time from the Legion’s future, a Kirby OMAC (Buddy Blank) was clearly shown in the timestream. Also, let’s not forget that Command D, the bunker where Kamandi was found and from where he took his name, was seen in The Battle for Bludhaven #6 not so long ago. (Countdown #30)

The Anomalies – Duela Dent, who was murdered by a Monitor way back in the first issue of Countdown, is revealed to have been the daughter of the Jokester and Three-Face of Earth-3. It’s implied that Duela was somehow existing on more than one Earth at the same time, although the exact manner in which she managed this is still unclear. There are some fun nods to Duela’s 1970s Batman Family and Teen Titans appearances in regards to her parentage. Not only is she the offspring of a version of the Joker and Two-Face on Earth-3, but also the Riddler describes her as his daughter. (Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1)

The Death of the New Gods – What are Desaad and Granny Goodness up to? Each appear to be massing potential armies or the means to create them. (Detective Comics #837 and Countdown #30)

The Search for Ray Palmer – Dean Mayland deliberately left false clues to confuse the Challengers from Beyond, including the false "Heaven" they visited and the supposed message to Ryan Choi to turn back from looking for Ray that was written in Ray’s own blood. Ryak of the Linear Men seems to know more about Ray Palmer’s fate than he is letting on. (The All-New Atom #16)

The Jokester has been tattooed with an "Atom" sign bearing his energy signature. This is the second time we have seen this. Back in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Wildstorm #1 the Wildstorm character Surge had a similar tattoo and said someone (presumably Ray) had marked him to leave a trail. (Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1)

A Crisis in Time? – Ivy Town is transformed back to the groovy, psychedelic Sixties man, thanks to the machinations of old-time JLA villain Xotar, who first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #29 (Apr 1960). Xotar is trying to warp the timestream to an extent that will allow him to finally defeat the Justice League. Yet another timestream-related DCU story, just one of many appearing in their books at the moment. Hmmm… (The All-New Atom #16)

The War with the Sinestro Corps – Again New Earth is identified as the core to all the Anti-Monitor’s aims. As the center of the Multiverse, does the destruction of New Earth herald the total annihilation of all of reality and is this the Anti-Monitor’s true desire? (Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg Superman #1/Green Lantern Corps #16)

Salvation Run – Deadshot apparently knew about the conspiracy leading to Salvation Run even back when he was working with the Secret Six. The Riddler thinks he was playing all sides off against each other. (Detective Comics #837)

The Great Disaster – It’s heavily implied that the contagion Karate Kid is carrying is linked to the beginning of the Great Disaster. (Countdown #30)

The Mystery of the Legion – Supergirl finally remembers her time with the Threeboot Legion as a result of her encounter with Una and Karate Kid. Interestingly, she still acts as if the Classic Era Karate Kid was the same person as the Threeboot Karate Kid despite their different ethnicity. More fuel to the theory that all versions of the Legionnaires are existing concurrently or something else entirely? She describes many recent events in Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes including the current Search for Cosmic Boy storyline and says the method Braniac 5 used to return her to the present was a one-way deal. Tellingly neither Val nor Una have any idea what she’s talking about… (Supergirl #22)

Earthwatch

Earth-15 – This week we visit a new Earth that, apparently, has no ties to previous realities in terms of continuity. In storytelling terms this Earth appears to represent futures that could have been for the Challengers from Beyond. Jason Todd becomes Batman here, Donna Troy is Wonder Woman and Kyle is Earth’s Green Lantern. The presence of General Zod as Superman may be a hint to Zod playing a greater role in the Multiverse in the months to come. (Countdown #30)

Next week is the one you’ve all been waiting for – the triumphant return of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew! Until then…

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