Overview

Out for the Count: 43

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We can’t go a single week at the moment without a major Countdown-related revelation somewhere across the DCU line. Hey and some of them even happen in the actual comics rather than the DC Nation page! As ever, you have been forewarned, here’s your 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 #48: Heroes and villains alike say goodbye to a fallen Flash. As the search for Ray Palmer gets underway, Jimmy Olsen makes a momentous decision while Holly Robinson makes a new, and deadly, friend. Monarch and Forerunner prepare to go to war with the Monitors and Trickster and the Pied Piper realize just how deep in the doo-doo they are when the Suicide Squad comes calling.

The Players
(this week’s principal cast)

Following the events of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, the heroes of the DCU pay their respects at Bart Allen’s funeral, the second recent funeral for a Titan after Duela Dent’s wake in Teen Titans #47. The Monitor of the New Earth Universe (formerly known in these parts as The Merciful Monitor) begins a mission with Donna Troy and Jason Todd that leads into the pages of The All-New Atom #13.

Still on the run, Pied Piper and the Trickster are pursued by Deadshot (who was last seen as a member of the Secret Six in last month’s Birds of Prey #107) and Multiplex, who are working for the Suicide Squad (for more on the Squad pre-order your copy of Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #1 now, due out later this year).

Monarch has established an entire base in The Bleed (from the Wildstorm Universe) from which to strike out at the Monitors (as previously mentioned he’s been there since Ion #10). Continuing on from her life on the run after Catwoman #68, Holly Robinson encounters Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn, at the Athenian Women’s Refuge. Harley was also last seen as a member of the Secret Six in Birds of Prey #107.

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

Action Comics #851 has more on the New Earth Superman’s origin and for those of you intrigued by the Man of Steel’s Countdown-related relationship with the Legion, there’s a meeting with Mon-El in the Phantom Zone.

The Search for Ray Palmer continues in The All-New Atom #13 as Ryan Choi finds himself entangled in the machinations of the Monitors and their operatives.

Dan Didio’s explanation of the first Countdown house ad would imply that perhaps Ollie and Dinah’s relationship is more of a key element than we may have realized. Following Ollie’s proposal in Green Arrow #75 their story continues this week in Black Canary #1.

The Oolong Island team-up with Checkmate concludes in Outsiders #49 leading to big changes for the team in the near future. And if you’ve spotted the recent in-house ads for this book you’ll know there’s a Countdown link.

In Supergirl #19 that harbinger of doom, Pariah, returns to warn the Maid of Might about future events in the DCU in an issue with lots of hints as to the bigger Countdown picture.

And if you want to see the original tales that inspired Jimmy Olsen’s erratic powers in Countdown then be sure to check out this week’s The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen trade paperback.

Most weeks I end up highlighting a book that has only a tangential or tenuous link to Countdown. However, it could easily be argued that Identity Crisis was the storyline that set everything in motion that’s led to the Countdown, and Detective Comics #834 finally resolves one key element of that miniseries.

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

The Coming Crisis – Pariah, an integral character in the original Crisis On Infinite Earths, appears to Supergirl and speaks of The Great Disaster. He has been resurrected by Dark Angel after his "death" in Villains United. He talks of her destiny as a potential force for good and promises another meeting in the future. Kara also bumps, literally, into the Monitors’ satellite and, rather ominously, starts sporting the red headband that the original Supergirl was wearing around the time of her death. (Supergirl #19)

Multiplex – The former multiple-bodied Firestorm foe died at the hands of the Parasite way back in 1987 in the pages of Firestorm Annual #5. Curiously that was also as a member of the Suicide Squad. He returned to life without any explanation recently and appeared in the recent Jason Rusch Firestorm book. Whether this is the original or a new version remains to be seen, but one wonders about his status as one of the Monitors’ hated "death-cheaters" if it is the original.

The Search for Ray Palmer – Chronos and Ryan Choi began tracking down the Silver Age Atom by checking out the society of jungle-dwelling miniature aliens that Ray Palmer once spent a number of happy years living amongst way back in the early 1980s (our time). This was seen in the pages of The Sword of the Atom limited series and Specials. Those wanting to discover more of this time in Ray’s life will get the opportunity with a soon-to-be-released trade paperback of those tales. Interrupting Ryan’s Amazonian adventures are Jason Todd, Donna Troy and the New Earth Monitor. Countdown #42 will continue this thread. (The All-New Atom #13)

The Mystery of the Legion – Following on from Action Comics Annual #10’s recounting of their first meeting, Superman encounters Mon-El in the Phantom Zone. Now isn’t this the same Mon-El who appeared in Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes not so long ago? If so, how can New Earth’s Superman have been a member of the other "classic" version of the Legion? Does New Earth have multiple futures? (Action Comics #851)

History of the Multiverse – Events depicted here include such pivotal storylines as The Last Days of the JSA Special, The Death of Superman, Zero Hour, Identity Crisis and Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

Earthwatch

Another Earth identified! Earth-34 is revealed to be the home of the Forerunners and we learn, via Monarch, that the Monitors have wiped it out and everyone living there. Forerunner swears revenge on the Monitors and agrees to join Monarch’s forces. Someone female led the genocide. Dark Angel would be the (maybe too?) obvious candidate.

If anyone wants to speculate on the villain-themed Countdown house ad released this week please feel free to join me on the Out for the Count thread on the Lowdown message board.

Dead Flash! Check. Anti-Monitor! Check. Pariah! Check. It’s beginning to look like Infinite Crisis was only an entrée. The main course is yet to come…

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