Current Reviews


Countdown #49

Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2007
By: Jim Beard

Writers: Paul Dini, Tony Bedard
Artists: Carlos Magno (p), Jay Leisten (i), Rod Reis (colors)

Publisher: DC Comics

Counting down everything you NEED to know about Countdown #49!

9. Slowly, I walk, step by step… I’ll admit I cracked open this issue with a bit of trepidation, seeing as how I thought first two issues were mixed bags at best, but three seems to be the charm and Countdown #49 had much to keep me intrigued and interested. It was also pretty light on what I call “bad confusion.” As opposed to “good confusion,” the bad variety makes you surly and unhappy, and unfortunately, more prone to drop a book. This week had some “good confusion,” that which is candy for the mind and makes you want to know more.

8. Bonus! You win! Your prize is a back-up series called “History of the Multiverse.” Not sure yet how I’ll feel about this addition to Countdown as I still have bouts of narcolepsy thinking about the “History of the DC Universe” back-up in 52. Still, this History scored a point by giving me a taste of MY Multiverse, the one of my childhood. Ahh, Earth 1.

7. “You had me at Elastic Lad,” “DC got their Elastic Lad on,” and “Elastic shizzle.” These were some of the clever ways I was thinking of starting this part of the review, but I decided to just go with “You got me.” You’d think that when there was some confusion over which Jimmy Olsen was parading through Countdown, one would guess that anything goes. Well, “bad confusion” turned to good when Jimmy stretched his way out of danger and confounded Killer Croc with his malleable self. Beautiful. That pushed a few buttons for me, and I appreciated the gesture. This went from a Jimmy that I could barely care about in the first two issues to a Jimmy that I want to know much more about.

6. Who’s watching these watchmen? Me. I really loved the Monitor sequence this time around, as it played off of the interesting Monitors scene from issue #51. Their in-fighting is a great way to reveal the ins and outs of their organization to the readers and their “hit list” will cause a few tense moments among fans, too. Could this rogue Monitor get so full of himself that he will transform into the Anti-Monitor v.2? Or would it be v.3? I’ll be watching. This stuff gets my vote for the Most Likely Countdown Storyline To Please.

5. Yadda, yadda, Warden! I also like the tete-a-tete between Red Arrow and Karate Kid, as they played a game of poison barbs, neither the clear winner. I’d like to know where exactly this scene fits into the currently-unfolding JLofA/JSofA team-up, though. More members of the Legion of Super-Heroes appeared, and nobody’s in a jail cell at the time. Hmm. Artistic license? Or just “bad confusion”?

4. Bad doesn’t always mean good. The Rogues’ installments are still coming off as the weakest of the Countdown lines, and this issue doesn’t do a whole lot to elevate that. You can at least see glimmers of how the other stories and characters fit into the greater whole of the series, but three Flash villains on a moonlight yacht cruise just doesn’t impact me much. It's good to see Piper may still be on the side of the angels, regardless. Just hope that something will actually start to happen with the Rogues.

3. Mary, Mary, where ya goin’ to? I think Mary Marvel’s little run-in may have been almost as shocking as Jimmy’s transformation. Almost. Though I welcome the prickly situation that arises from Mary dropping in on Black Adam, I do have to say that his inclusion in Countdown may, just may, be “too much too soon” after 52. The great wrap-up of Adam’s story in the previous weekly series was very satisfying (at least to me), and while I acknowledge that DC wouldn’t want to let a character like him lie dormant too long, I think there’s the possibility of wearing out his welcome. I guess we’ll see.

2. Frame it and hang it. The art by Carlos Magno (sounds like an old-school super-hero) and Jay Leisten was really nice. I’m not familiar with these guys, but they have a great Neal Adams-thing goin’ on here. The mood of the Rogues scenes was particularly good, and pretty much all else, anatomy, layouts, shadows, etc., shows some solid talent from this duo. Good stuff, guys!

1. All’s well that ends well. Not a bad issue. In fact, one that I’ll enjoy re-reading. Is this due to the insertion of writer Tony Bedard into the proceedings? Something to ponder. I was thinking that so many writers coming onboard in this fashion could mean a very schizophrenic narrative for Countdown, despite uber-controller Dini, but this issue WAS a breath of clean air after the previous two, and I’m open to the rest of the series getting into its groove.


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