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Out for the Count: 9

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Here we are in single figures at last as we reach the final weeks of the Countdown. This time around we’re trying to second guess the truth behind the JSA Heartbreak Slayer storyline and speculating on what’s next for Renee Montoya after the dramatic conclusion to the Crime Bible miniseries. With that in mind take heed of our ever-relevant 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 to Final Crisis #9: Desaad reveals just why a certain Rogue is so important to his schemes. The Atom realizes the danger Karate Kid poses to New Earth’s reality. The Challengers take the battle to Brother Eye as Darkseid plays the long game. And the Pied Piper’s final performance brings the house down...

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

It’s the penultimate episode of Superman’s visit with the "classic" Legion in Action Comics #862.

There’s a shocking turn of events in 52 Aftermath: The Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #5.

Justice Society of America #13 hints at the nature of Gog’s relationship to the mysteries of the Fourth World.

And in Teen Titans #56 a new team of villainous Titans debut, including one with a link to the ever-confusing Legion continuity.

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

Salvation Run – Lois Lane has a lead on the missing Lex Luthor and the "secret prison" he has disappeared to. (Justice Society of America #13)

The Coming Crisis – Darkseid’s vision extends beyond the "known realities" (into the Megaverse?) and when things end he states it will be on his terms. (Countdown to Final Crisis #9)

The Crime Bible – Renee Montoya’s conflict with Brother Flay of the church of the Crime Bible comes to a surprising conclusion. When Flay dies in a struggle with her, the Question finds herself revered as the new leader of the followers of the Dark Faith. Where this storyline continues is uncertain but as there are implications for Bruno Mannheim, another devotee of the religion of Cain, the pages of Gotham Underground could be a likely bet... (52 Aftermath: The Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #5)

The Mystery of the Legion – There’s a new Persuader in town! Based on the Fatal Five villain from the Legion’s 30th Century, the last Persuader died as a member of the Suicide Squad in 52 #34. The latest version is female and a member of the Terror Titans. To which Legion future, if any, does she have links? (Teen Titans #56)

Oh what savage irony... DC bring back the "classic" Legion but can’t use Superboy! In flashback we see New Earth’s Clark Kent visiting Legion HQ for the first time. In 3008 AD Superman and the Legion’s battle against Earth Man and his "Justice League" continues as the Legion of Substitute Heroes enter the fray. We learn that in a previous conflict with the Subs Earth-Man tossed Infectious Lass into the time stream where she was lost. Presumably she then ended up in the 21 st Century where she encountered Dr. 13 in his strip in Tales of the Unexpected #s 1-8 last year. Not that we needed an explanation, given the nature of the story, but if you needed one it’s there for free! (Action Comics #862)

The Great Disaster – Karate kid is confirmed as carrying the Morticoccus virus that the Earth-51 Ray Palmer had identified as being behind the Great Disaster. Brother Eye assimilates it as the perfect weapon in his war against humanity. (Countdown to Final Crisis #9)

The Third World? – The Gog of New Earth was an American missionary who somehow "tuned in" to the destruction of Kansas on Earth-22. Thinking this was his own future, he used his recently-gained powers to revenge himself on Superman. Eventually it appears he will make the trip to Earth-22 and name Magog as his successor. The Kingdom Come-Superman informs his New Earth counterpart that Gog described himself as the "last god of the Third World."

At the story’s end we see Gog in the Congo speaking to a huge statue-like head in a cavern. It’s no great jump of logic to suppose this is the entity that gave him his powers when he was a missionary in Africa. Could this be the real Gog? Does he suppose himself to be the last survivor of the Third World? In the famous Kirby tagline there came a time when the Old Gods (of the Third World one assumes?) died. Perhaps Gog was involved in this battle and is now in such a weakened state that he needs a human avatar to do his bidding? Is this deluded human Gog continuing that final battle of the Old Gods by killing anyone who resembles them, including super-villains who pose as them? This month he picks on Hercules (fresh from the pages of Wonder Girl) which could lend credence to this theory. (Justice Society of America #13)

The Death of the New Gods – Desaad has been behind everything that has happened to the Pied Piper. As a rare human vessel for Anti-Life, Piper has been tormented from afar by Desaad who orchestrated a series of events to break Hartley’s will. This has all been in order to get the Anti-Life he contains back to Apokolips. Darkseid’s odious lackey bullies Piper into unleashing the Anti-Life Equation via his pipe to stem the tide of surging OMACs. However, to Desaad’s surprise Piper uses the music/equation to implode Desaad’s head, killing him. He then unleashes the Anti-Life energy to apparently (?) destroy Apokolips and Brother Eye, possibly dying in the process. Brother Eye escapes the destruction though. (Countdown to Final Crisis #9)

That's it for another seven days. Join us next week for more Earth-8, more Alpha Lanterns and more Eclipso! See you then...

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