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Out for the Count: 7

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How important is a sense of continuity?

In this context I’m talking about continuity in the sense of events following one another logically in storytelling terms not in the sense of spotting a coloring mistake and writing a letter to Marvel in the hopes of winning a No-Prize... Countdown’s many plot threads across the DC line have often appeared completely out of synch over this last year.

Just look at the Salvation Run storyline. At this moment we have the conspiracy’s beginnings running in Gotham Underground where we are learning about how Batman first found out what the Squad were up to. The main action is occurring in Salvation Run with a principal villain who died some weeks ago in The Death of the New Gods. Over in Justice League of America though, we’re seeing the JLA end the conspiracy. And if we want to be really picky, we’re seeing the lead-in to it all in the pages of Suicide Squad.

Does this chopping and changing of timeframes indicate poor planning or is it actually a clever narrative device that adds to the fun of putting all the Countdown pieces together?

I’ll leave you to decide.

Time for our 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 #7: Home are the heroes. Or are they? Which Earth did the Challengers from Beyond, the lost Legionnaires, Holly, Mary, Ray, Harley and Firestorm actually escape to? Pursued by this world’s JLA, the Cadmus Project may be the only place the group can stave off the threat of the Morticoccus virus. But are they already too late...?

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

Ted Kord is back... but the DCU is paying the price for Booster’s chronal meddling in Booster Gold #7.

Eclipso turns another hero to the dark side and the new Dr. Fate learns of his legacy in Countdown to Mystery #6.

The gang war escalates when Penguin’s forces take on Tobias Whale’s in Gotham Underground #6.

The search for Connor Hawke’s assailants takes an extra-terrestrial twist in Green Arrow and Black Canary #6.

More back story on one of the new Alpha Lanterns in Green Lantern Corps #22.

Who is really behind events on the prison planet? Find out in Salvation Run #5.

The body count increases as the Squad’s final mission before Salvation Run draws to its close in Suicide Squad #7.

More Legion-related business for the Man of Steel in Superman #674.

And Wildstorm: Revelations #5 promises more big shake-ups on Earth-50...

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

The Mystery of the Legion – Karate Kid appears to succumb to the Morticoccus virus this week. This is, of course, not the first time the character has died. He went out in a pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths blaze of glory in Legion of Super-Heroes #4 (Nov 86), something which Starman appeared to be aware of in Justice League of America #10 (as we noted here in Out for the Count: 45) . While logic would dictate that what we term the "classic Legion" here at OFTC are probably only approximations of the originals, if they really are the pre-COIE team (and Karate Kid really is dead!) then this paradox adds another layer of confusion to proceedings. Did Val travel back in time to the 21st Century and die before his death on Orando? What would that mean to the DC timestream? (Countdown to Final Crisis #7)

New Earth’s Superman continues to look for a cure for future Legionnaire Mon-El’s lead poisoning so he can be freed from the Phantom Zone. (Superman #674)

A Crisis in Time? – Booster saving Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) has led to a New Earth present overrun with OMACS, where Max Lord and Brother Eye are triumphant. Elsewhere the super-villain triumvirate of Despero, Ultra-Humanite and Per Degaton (from the JLA-JSA crossover the Lightning Rod Saga) reveal themselves as a fivesome! Supernova and Black Beetle are shown as being part of the ranks of the Time Stealers. The naming of this group is of note for a couple of reasons. Firstly we have Bob Wayne’s Time Masters series from 1990 being reprinted very soon. Should we be looking to that book, that featured Rip Hunter and his team fighting the machinations of the Illuminati, for hints as to what is going on in the DC timestream? Secondly the involvement of the Time Stealers links chronal events in Booster Gold to that overall DCU Bigger Picture we speak incessantly of here at OFTC. (Booster Gold #7)

In Blackest Night... – With the Sinestro Corps war well and truly over it’s perhaps time to give a new tagline to our look at the GL mythos. It’s a brief scene, but this week the GLC learn of the threat of the Red Lanterns. (Green Lantern Corps #22)

Heart of Darkness Bruce Gordon strives to find ways to block the influence of Eclipso’s black diamonds now that he knows they are of Apokoliptian design. (Countdown to Mystery #6)

Salvation Run – If you’re wondering why some members of the Suicide Squad haven’t been a part of the Salvation Run conspiracy then the brutal answers why are in this week’s issue of SS. (Suicide Squad #7)

On the prison planet Catwoman betrays Martian Manhunter to the Joker and Luthor. Keep that Countdown villains house ad in mind when it comes to these characters... We know from stories like Detective Comics #837 that Desaad has been trying to improve his armed forces for some time. Here we learn he has set up the planet of exiled villains as a proving ground for his next batch of Parademons. (Salvation Run #5)

As we guessed previously here, the Suicide Squad (with a very pronounced "the" – why does everyone in Gotham Underground refer to the Squad without the definite article?) were behind the toppling of the Great White Shark in order to set the Penguin up as Gotham’s premier crime boss. Bane nearly killed the Shark and left him so badly injured he could not be transported to the prison planet. As Matches Malone, Batman learns from the GWS about the full extent of the Salvation Run conspiracy (presumably this leads in to Martian Manhunter being sent to the planet undercover in current issues of Salvation Run).

Those following the return of the "new" Spoiler may also take heart. If you’ve been hoping upon hope that the events of that travesty of characterization, the Bat-books’ War Crimes arc, are about to be undone, then the possible reappearance of Leslie Thompkins may bring a smile to your face. (Gotham Underground #6)

Earthwatch

Earth-? – So what Earth have the assembled heroes returned to? Ray Palmer is convinced it should be "their" Earth but neither he nor Firestorm exist here. Internet speculation is rife this could be Earth-1 but while an approximation of that Earth would probably exclude the Jason Rusch-version of Firestorm (said in Infinite Crisis to have been an inhabitant of the original Multiverse’s Earth-8) and Harley Quinn, it would seem quite bizarre if an original Silver Ager like Ray was not part of a Silver Age Earth...  And was there a more sinister reason for Solomon transporting them to this Earth? (Countdown to Final Crisis #7)

Join us next week for Earth-3, Earth-9 and the penultimate chapter of The Death of the New Gods. See you then...

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