Countdown #43


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Countdown #43


  • Words: Paul Dini with Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
  • Art: Manuel Garcia w/David Lopez
  • Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti w/Don Hillsman
  • Colors: Pete Pantazis
  • Story Title: The Funeral
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 5, 2007

Two big name funerals for the first week of July. This is one of them. I thought summer time was supposed to be fun.

Bart Allen, the Flash, died. After losing his power he was beaten to death by a group of goofy villains who, frankly, have never been this disturbingly brutal. Here is the aftermath. With a few sincere eulogies, one raving and inappropriate declaration of vengeance, and a pre-recorded message from the great beyond, Countdown #43 has little in the way of action. But the drama is heavy, the sorrow is evident, and the time is tense.

Paul Dini, as I have said before, is working his way up to something big. After taking one issue to focus on Bart Allen’s burial, I’m sure next week will again be action packed. But the lack of any all out comic book brawling does not take away from #43. In fact, it adds to it. In many corners of comic book land, deaths taken seriously come off as being a bit trite (i.e. "Funeral for a Friend" and, at times, Fallen Son). Not here. Dini uses Jay Garrick, Robin, Wonder Girl and Donna Troy to illustrate the many different realistic reactions to Bart’s death—or to anyone’s death really. Garrick is a saddened father figure. Robin, a friend who has lived through too much loss recently. Wonder Girl, hysterical with rage. Donna Troy is simply trying to make sense of the mess that is the death of a friend.

While the story may be a kind of beautiful mess, the art is not a mess at all. Manuel Garcia and David Lopez remind their readers that despite the somber tale, this is still a comic book. Their characters are sharp and hard. The few action sequences present are paced in a manner to counter the heavy content of the rest of the story. And again the title seems to maintain a certain "look" despite the necessary artistic revolving door. A balance of classic styles to remind the readers this is a DC comic with something a little fresher, more up to date, keeps the book unique. Constant, if not flashy. Strong if not profound. A solid look for a solid story.

At times even I might wish that DC approached continuity the Marvel way and just kind of didn’t give a damn. But over the past few years they have been doing something monumental and maybe even mature with their stories. Deaths are increasingly more powerful, actions are increasingly more fraught with aftershocks both bad and good. Nothing is as clear as it seems. In a way DC, more than any company out there right now is helping mainstream American comics grow up. I, for one, am liking it.

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