Countdown Breakdown #20A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
As one might imagine, it’s been increasingly difficult to break down the new characters appearing each week, since there haven’t been that many. So, with the clever suggestion from my editor, I’m changing tactics for a bit. I’m going to attempt to break down the series, storyline by storyline, as a way to catch you up if you’ve missed anything. Up this week? My favorite, of course, Jimmy Olsen!
Week 51: Jimmy actually didn’t appear in the initial issue, other than as a chess piece on Darkseid’s board.
Week 50: This was Jimmy’s inaugural appearance in Countdown. With Superman’s remote assistance, Jimmy tracked down Red Hood, a.k.a. Jason Todd. Jimmy somehow knew Jason’s secret identity, to which Todd offered no surprise or even acknowledgement. While investigating the death of the Joker’s Daughter, Jason suggested that Jimmy go straight to the source…the Joker! Upon arrival at Arkham, Jimmy walked down the hall past a random inmate who uttered the following rather interesting line:
“What do 4-D beings look like? Could they be inches away from our 3-D world ready to eat our chocolate cake?”
Throwaway line, or hint of what was to come? You decide! Meanwhile, Jimmy asked the Joker if he knew anything about his daughter’s death, only to have the clown prince of crime laugh in his face. He told Jimmy that something seemed wrong with the universe, and that he had no daughter. So, as Jimmy decided that he’d wasted his time, he started to call Lois, just as Killer Croc made a move to kill him!
Week 49: As this issue opened, Jimmy was being attacked by Killer Croc, causing him to suddenly stretch like Elongated Man! Afterwards, Jimmy wasn’t sure if it was real or he had dreamed it.
Week 48: In this issue, Jimmy took photographs while a meteor shower hit Metropolis. As Jimmy was taking a picture, he noticed a family about to be hit by a meteorite, and then saved them by using super speed. Afterwards, one of the people near him attributed it to an adrenaline rush. While Jimmy reacted to this development, a dying New God, Lightray, crashed to Earth. Superman arrived and told Jimmy to look after Lightray while he tried to stop the meteorites. Lightray, before dying, uttered the word “Infinite” to Jimmy.
Week 47: This issue opened with Jimmy apparently hovering in front of the Source wall, wearing all white. He was then attached to the wall, before waking up in his bedroom.
Week 46: In this issue, Jimmy received a letter telling him to go to Suicide Slum to find out more about Lightray’s death. Of course, Jimmy blindly went, and there he found Sleez, an Apokoliptian scumbag who usually made his living feeding off the life forces of others. Just as Sleez was about to tell Jimmy how Darkseid could finally be destroyed, he was killed by some form of light.
Week 45: This issue saw Jimmy recap the history of the New Gods.
Week 44: In this issue, Jimmy decided to test his theory that his abilities only showed up when he was in danger, so he incited a group of thugs into attacking him. His powers didn’t show up for a while, and he got the crap beat out of him, when finally one of the guys reached for him and spines flew out of Jimmy’s body, causing the thugs to run off. Jimmy couldn’t figure out why the powers chose that moment to finally activate.
Week 43 In week 43, Jimmy was taking pictures of Bart Allen’s funeral, when he spotted a certain group of challengers off in the distance. They were gone by the time he got to where they had been standing, but at that moment Jimmy decided to use his abilities to make something more of himself, rather than always relying on Superman.
Week 42: Jimmy only made a brief appearance here, when Lois caught him sketching superhero identity ideas. She misinterpreted it as his attempt at starting a comic strip for the paper, and told him to keep his day job!
Week 41: Week 41 saw the debut of Mr. Action! Jimmy decided on this identity, and even complained about wearing a suit over his costume.
Week 40: Jimmy arrived with Lois on the scene where Mr. Action had just saved the day, starting the trend of Countdown storylines bleeding into other series.
Week 39: In this issue, Mr. Action stopped a purse thief and was kissed by the victim as a reward. This led Jimmy to wonder which super team he should try out for, as the purse thief ran off behind him.
Week 38: In week 38, Jimmy tried out for the Teen Titans, unsuccessfully. Robin couldn’t bring himself to truly attack Jimmy, so his powers never manifested, and he was rejected.
Week 37: In this issue, Jimmy’s strange ability to suddenly know things caused him to end the issue in a shocking manner, when he ripped open Clark’s shirt to prove that he’s really Superman!
Week 36: This time, Jimmy tried out for the JLA.
Week 35: Actually, this is the issue that paid off Jimmy’s JLA tryout, with him once again being rejected when the JLA wouldn’t put his life in danger and thereby activate his powers.
Week 34: This issue had Jimmy visit John Henry Irons to try a biofeedback method of reading Jimmy’s mind. This resulted in Irons seeing the 52 Earths and many motherboxes, as well as Jimmy’s head nearly exploding before John Henry stopped the machine.
Week 33 Week 33 showed Cadmus catch up with Jimmy Olsen and bring him in for testing.
Week 32: This week merely had Jimmy talking with Cadmus folks as they headed toward the research facility.
Week 31: In this issue, as the testing began, Jimmy’s body reacted violently!
Week 30: In week 30, Jimmy’s violent reaction caused his body to become clay-like, as well as create an intangible double. Jimmy escaped Cadmus by pouring himself down the drain in the room.
Week 29: As Jimmy walked through the sewers in this issue, he came across the Newsboy Legion, old friends of his.
Week 28: Just as Jimmy was getting comfortable with his friends, he was abducted by Forager, a warrior from New Genesis. She asked Jimmy to accompany her on a mission to find the lost New God souls.
Week 27: Just as Jimmy made up his mind to join Forager, she opened a boom tube and teleported them…somewhere!
Week 26: That somewhere was Apokolips! The Monitors watched and contemplated Jimmy’s involvement in matters of the multiverse.
Week 25: In week 25, Jimmy found himself a slave on Apokolips. On the bright side, he found out that he was marked by Darkseid, and therefore not subject to random termination.
Week 24: This issue was Jimmy-free.
Week 23: This issue was also Jimmy-free!
Week 22: This issue featured more Jimmy as slave, until Mr. Miracle discovered him, and after hearing about his powers only activating when his life was threatened, threw him into a fire pit!
Week 21: This issue was Jimmy-free. The suspense is killing me!
Week 20: In this issue, Jimmy rose out of the pit with some really cool looking turtle armor covering his body. He eventually made his way to where Forager was being held. When he tried to free her, he found her both beautiful, in a strange buggy way, as well as violent! She was screaming that Jimmy Olsen must die, while trying to help him along on his way to death!
So that brings us current, kiddies! Next week? How about Trickster and Piper? Sound good? See ya then!