Countdown Breakdown #46

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays

The Rock of Eternity was created by the wizard Shazam by combining a rock formation from Heaven with one from Hell in order to capture the Three Faces of Evil, a dragon-like creature. It later held the seven deadly sins and channeled powers to the various Marvels. In Day of Vengeance, the Spectre kills Shazam, thereby destroying the Rock of Eternity. This frees many evil demons from the Rock, including the seven deadly sins. Zatanna gathered magic users to help recreate the Rock while the Shadowpact captured the sins. The caretaker of the Rock is now Billy Batson, a.k.a. Captain Marvel. Over the years, the Rock has been accessed anywhere and everywhere, due to its magical nature. It seems like every story I read, people are getting to it in a different way, whether walking into an apparently abandoned warehouse, or into a tunnel in a cliff.

Inertia was created as a clone of Bart Allen in the 30th century by President Thawne, Bart’s grandfather. His development was the opposite of Bart’s in that his was slowed instead of being sped up, so that he would have more knowledge than Bart. He was originally supposed to go back in time and replace Bart, but he was defeated instead. His latest agenda has been to steal the speed of all the other speedsters in order to become the fastest man alive. He originally teamed up with Mota for this purpose but was defeated and is now gathering Flash rogues for another attempt. Since Bart contains the Speed Force, Inertia must use a substance invented by Jay Garrick’s enemy, The Rival, to attain super speed. He gets this substance from Deathstroke and works for Deathstroke in a Titans East team. He apparently has a relationship with Sun Girl on this team. Having not followed the Impulse series or character that much, I’m not really familiar with Inertia, but it surprises me that the rogues would allow someone so young to lead them.

Sleez. Real family favorite, this one. Created by John Byrne during his Superman run, Sleez was originally the companion (what does that mean, exactly?) of Darkseid before he ruled Apokolips. Darkseid banished Sleez to Earth after growing tired of him. Sleez then took up residence in the sewers of Suicide Slum in Metropolis. In one early Superman story, Sleez used his psionic powers to control Superman and Big Barda in an attempt to make a pornographic film with the two. Fortunately, Mr. Miracle showed up just in time to thwart his plans. That issue has generated a lot of discussion online due to its rather base nature. Sleez also tried to take over the Cadmus Project but seemed to die in an explosion. Of course, this wasn’t the case since he’s in this issue.

Since there weren’t many new characters this week, I would like to take a moment to talk about one that appeared in the backup story, Earth 2 Robin. Earth 2’s Dick Grayson, instead of leaving Batman and becoming Nightwing, remained Robin as an adult, taking on multiple costumes in the process (one of the main reasons I like the character). Dick stayed in college and attained his law degree, eventually becoming a practicing attorney in the law firm of Cranston, Grayson, and Wayne. He joined the JSA, despite the reluctance of Hawkman. In a case involving the JSA and the Huntress, Helena Wayne (Bruce’s daughter on Earth 2), Batman was killed before the villain is apprehended. Grayson was later forced to prosecute a case against the JSA in which Bruce Wayne’s diary insinuated the JSA as Nazi collaborators. Dick ended up figuring out that it was a scheme by Per Degaton, and it was later thwarted. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Dick and Helena both perished protecting innocents from shadow demons. I’ve always liked this older Robin and can see Tim Drake one day looking and acting like this. I also wouldn’t mind an Exiles-type team led by Earth 2 Robin!

That’s all for this week. Fun week, but not a lot in the way of new characters. I’m looking forward to next week and more surprises!

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