Out for the Count: 31

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Earths are popping up in abundance now. I can’t help but feel, though, that we’re losing something by so many of them being identified not in actual comics but in promotional material, in-house ads and marketing stunts like Countdown: Arena. Kind of takes some of the sense of wonder and awe away from the revelations when they don’t happen in the context of a story…

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 #31: The Challengers from Beyond take on the Crime Society on Earth-3 while Holly Robinson’s life enters a new stage. Eclipso takes Mary Marvel under her wing. Mr. Mxyzptlk is pulled into the Countdown proceedings and Karate Kid’s quest takes him closer to the OMAC Project. Elsewhere Jimmy Olsen goes into superpower-overload…

The Players
(this week’s principal cast)

The Challengers from Beyond’s adventures on Earth-3 will be fleshed out in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: The Crime Society #1. Harley Quinn can be seen in flashback next week in Detective Comics #837, a direct Countdown crossover. Monarch and Forerunner’s appearance here continues the mission begun in Countdown to Adventure #s1-2. Eclipso is splitting her time between here and Countdown to Mystery #1. And Karate Kid’s story is further elaborated on in Supergirl in seven days time. For more on Mr. Mxyzptlk’s comings and goings of late, see our Continuity Corner.

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

See how the Suicide Squad’s pursuit of the villains of the DC Universe impacts on Jaime Reyes’s life in Blue Beetle #19.

Forerunner’s recruitment drive takes her to Earth-10 in Countdown to Adven ture #2.

Events surrounding that wedding rumble on in Justice League of America #13 as the Injustice League’s plans move into gear.

In Teen Titans #51 the group face a threat from the future as more of New Earth’s alternate timelines impact on the current-day DCU.

The aftermath of Amazons Attack! is explored in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #2 continues to pick up the dangling plot threads of Countdown’s predecessor.

Finally two or three of our more tenuous connections. I’ll quickly mention that over on Earth-50 this week there’s an invasion of vampires from a "parallel universe". That happens in Wetworks #13. There are also more possible Legion mysteries in the pages of Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34. And in Wonder Woman Annual #1 there’s a brief flashback cameo from the Monitors’ agent Dark Angel.

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

The Anomalies – The Jokester escapes Earth-3 with the Challengers from Beyond becoming an "anomaly" himself in the process. Surely there’s a good chance this guy is Duela Dent’s father? (Countdown #31)

Mr. Mxyzptlk – Our guest villain this issue, the magical imp from the Fifth Dimension who has plagued Superman for decades, is a little tricky to pin down in terms of recent history, as Mr. Mxyzptlk’s continuity of late has been pretty rocky to say the least. Dressed more like his Golden Age counterpart he appeared to die in Adventures of Superman #646 at the hands of Ruin. However, around the same time, and depicted more in his Silver Age persona, he was a major player in the pages of Superman/Batman, the exact continuity of which is difficult to establish in relative terms. He was reported active again in Action Comics Annual #10. To add even more confusion, for a place that had been so adversely affected by the change in the status of magic in the DCU, the Fifth Dimension seems to have recovered quite well all things considered. Check out Mxy’s disappearance this issue. It looks very much like he has been literally pulled out of the panel with the page appearing to be ripped… (Countdown #31)

The Coming Crisis – Uncle Sam says there’s a storm coming, bigger than the last (the Infinite Crisis presumably) and like a cosmic avalanche building speed and rushing on (the Final Crisis one would imagine). (Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1)

Salvation Run – Giganta has taken the job to attack crime boss La Dama in order to gain cash to go on the run. She’s concerned about reports of many villains going missing of late. (Blue Beetle #19)

Amazons Attack! – Remember that mission the Freedom Fighters were on that kept them out of the war with the Amazons? Referenced in Amazons Attack! #3 the full details are revealed this week. (Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1)

A Crisis in Time? - The Titans of Tomorrow have seen their timeline changed by their interaction with the Titans of today and fear it will fade out of existence altogether. They travel back to New Earth’s present in order to safeguard their future. (Teen Titans #51)

The Mystery of the Legion – Wildfire takes center stage and his origin is recounted. This is obviously the "Threeboot" version of the character, but I’m mentioning it here because the Wildfire who recently encountered the JLA in the Lightning Saga was revealed to have Countdown-related links to the Red Tornado. (Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34)


Fuller looks at two Earths this week. Earth-10 is the home of the JLAxis where Forerunner is sent to recruit a Nazi version of Superman. This Earth is the one that corresponds to the pre-COIE Earth-X, the Earth where the Nazis won the Second World War and conquered the planet which debuted in Justice League of America #107. (Countdown to Adventure #1)

We also see more of Earth-3. This Earth is similar to the pre-COIE Earth-3, a world of super-villains, where the bad guys win and Luthor is a hero which debuted in Justice League of America #29 (1964). This was the home of the Crime Syndicate, a bad guy JLA who all died in the Crisis On Infinite Earths. Post-COIE a very similar group, in concept, appeared in Justice League Quarterly #8 (1992) while a new version of the Syndicate appeared on an Earth in the anti-matter universe in Grant Morrison’s graphic novel JLA: Earth-2. This time round the team are known as the Crime Society of America and come into contact with both the Challengers from Beyond and the armies of Monarch and Forerunner. (Countdown #31)

Check back next week for a fuller visit to Earth-3, more on Karate Kid and the multiple Legions and some Countdown flashbacks courtesy of Detective Comics.


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