Countdown #36


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Countdown #36


  • Words: Paul Dini with Tony Bedard
  • Art: Jim Calafiore
  • Inks: Jack Purcell
  • Colors: Thomas Chu
  • Story Title: Magical Mystery Tour
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2007

Mary Marvel vs. Zatanna, the Trickster and Piper vs. Poison Ivy, her mysterious boss is revealed, and a few tidbits more.  I wish I could say it was thrilling.

Countdown continues to lead the whole of the DCU toward its final, third-in-a-trilogy Crisis, or so they say, though you’d never know it by reading the lackluster plot threads as those being offered up here.  The Mary Marvel development is the most interesting, as she finally erupts and acts so much the evil brat that Zatanna whips out a can of mystic whup-ass on her ass and fireworks ensue.  But even this brainless action is gauchely handled, and Mary seems to just spontaneously do what the story requires her to do, and then the scene ends.  So, too, with the other parallel happenings - the search for Ray Palmer and the two rogue Rogues - an entire issue passes and perhaps a few seconds of each event are divulged.

To put it bluntly: Countdown is not proving itself to be a very good comic.  Yes, it’s awkwardly plotted, but the greatest sin is that it’s boring .  It’s the great axis that all DCU crossovers, present and future, turn about and germinate from and it’s a complete snooze-fest.  It reads like a daily newspaper comic strip, wherein the first two of any day’s three proffered panels are pure recap, and then readers get one panel wherein the protagonist is allowed to add a single line of fresh dialogue (usually an exclamation of some sort, as this doubles as the day’s cliffhanger), or perhaps the hero gets to take one step closer toward the villain.  Weeks can pass before a potential fight progresses from bad-guy bluster, to super-hero backtalk, to characters charging the other, to (God forbid) an actual moment of happenstance.  It’s been sixteen weeks and the DCU is right where it’s ever been, or at least any and all changes have happened outside of this supposedly pivotal year-long maxi-series.

The sole moment of Countdown #36 of which I honestly don’t know what to say, is the return of Equus and Mister Orr, two original creations plucked from the deplorable “For Tomorrow” Superman story, the Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee run that happened a few years back.  It’s always refreshing when a company fails to sweep under the rug those continuity points or characters from past runs (which they allowed to happen in the first place) that don’t jibe with past or present story threads.  On the other hand, “For Tomorrow” is just about the first top contender in mainstream comics history for a story that really, really should get swept under the rug and never heard from again.  Regardless, Orr and Equus are back, though whatever this means for the current DCU isn’t clear, as the General Zod from “For Tomorrow” isn’t in any way compatible with the current one over in Action Comics , nor are any of Superman’s actions in the “For Tomorrow” storyline supportable with his current character placement in the DCU.  So: hmmm…..

I’m always happy to see Jim Calafiore on a book, and he delivers his usual signature style - something between a stained glass window and old pulp magazine illustrations.  He gives the book a much-needed boost in the visual department, as recent issues have noticeably suffered from the weekly schedule.

So a week no better or worse than the others, and sadly that isn’t praise of any kind.  I wish the book were better.  I’m a sucker for a crossover and especially a long-winded, carefully planned, company-wide one.  Hopefully, Final Crisis will prove worthwhile.  The build-up, unfortunately, is already one of the deadest ducks in the water.


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