Writers: Paul Dini, Adam Beechen
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Carlos Magno (p), Jay Leisten (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Counting Down everything you NEED to know about Countdown #33!
11. Have To Admit It's Getting Better. Writer Adam Beechen checks in with the series again and scores with slightly above-average bullet rating. This is pretty much in line with what he's delivered previously on Countdown, and this week he offers up some solid story advances, good dialogue, and a few noteworthy moments. I liked this issue because it gives me the feeling that many of the series’ rough patches are being addressed, and some actual thought has been put into simply “getting on with it.” 52--and I believe it's fair to compare Countdown with 52--had a few plateaus stretched out along its journey and there was often the sense of “turning the corner.” Countdown is getting there, slowly, yes, and I feel as if this great, lumbering tortoise may be prying off its shell in exchange for some hare’s feet.
10. Awesomesauce. Case in point: A new Palmernaut lands on Nanoverse Beach, and almost immediately the ante is upped. Kyle Rayner, love him or hate him, gives this storyline a nice shot in the arm. Though Ryan Choi was cool to have around, his personality was 100% “back seat.” I look forward to Kyle’s attitude rubbing against Jason’s and also am anxious to see what his powers can do for the search. I think my only two quibbles here is that Beechen comes on a bit too strong here with Kyle’s attitude, possibly in an attempt to create a few sparks right out of the gate. Kyle’s not exactly a Guy Gardner, though he’s also not a Ryan Choi. He can be blustery, sure, but these pages make him come across a bit more “in your face” than is normal for the character, in my opinion. Also, I think Donna’s check-in with Jason over Kyle’s presence was sort of out of left field; we’ve seen nothing in this book that should warrant her almost guilty conscience over Kyle. If some sort of blossoming romance has appeared in another current DC book between Donna and Jason, well, shame on the Countdown team for this scene. Otherwise, like I said, a page has been turned with this story.
9. Dukes Up. By the way, all you Kyle vs Hal lunkheads? Alan.
8. This Is What It Sounds Like When Rogues Cry. Wally West’s presence is very well appreciated by this Flash fan, and his handling of the Rogues made sense. He’s kind-hearted but only to a point, and he’ll remain wary of the two criminals. I like how Piper tries to play it soft with Wally, almost presuming upon their past friendship. Trickster’s a real idiot though, and his embarrassing fear of Deathstroke and obvious disdain for Piper really got the better of him. Great moment when Flash mentions Zatanna, and the specter of Dr. Light rears its ugly head to give them that ol’ Boogey Man-mindwipe feeling. Extra points for Wally’s “you’d need a mind to wipe” quip. Perfect. Now I just want to know if this is Zee’s mansion she’s brought them to. If so, nice drawing together of more Countdown threads.
7. Art Problem #1. Again, I think there’s a moment this week that was done quite a disservice by the art, namely Flash’s removal of the Rogues’ implanted bombs. Page 1 gives no sense at all to what Wally’s doing, and a great, scary shot of the Scarlet Speedster vibrating into their necks to claim the explosives is lost. I realize that the object was to show just how quickly Wally can do something like this, but as I have often been told by comic professionals: “This is a visual medium; show, don’t tell.”
6. Good Boy, Bad Girl…Or? I continue to like the exotic paths Mary Marvel’s story is heading down, and I think Klarion’s a worthy and scene-provoking addition to the narrative. His defense of Mary against the shopkeeper was indeed hidden by a “foolie” last issue, like I predicted, and his evil-looking desire over the “tiniest, barest, most insignificant fraction” of Mary’s power should be a catalyst for quite a few further installments.
5. Art Problem #2. Okay, Mary has a short skirt, and she flies, and she gets lifted off the ground a lot by strange beings, etc. Get over it. I mean, exactly how many panels this week weren’t Mary’s panties/crotch shown? Yep, thought so. Gang, lots of people enjoy looking at a pretty girl or even a drawing of a pretty girl, but this is downright smarmy. I’m not even counting the other crotch/butt-shots and toe-pointing that permeate the issue…is there no other way you got game? Nothing else to sell this book on? C’mon.
4. Stop That Ginger! Jimmy Olsen also gets another cool wrinkle added to his story (what’s going on in this book?), and a laboratory he should have sought out in the first place, namely Cadmus, comes a’callin’. If Cadmus looms large in the redhead’s immediate Countdown future, then I for one will be perfectly fine with some extended sequences with Jimmy. These two pages here and there can be pretty annoying, whether it's good or bad stuff that happens. I dig Mickey’s gloves, too. There, I said it.
3. S’what I’m Sayin’. Sword-wielding mummy speaking in hieroglyphics. ‘Nuff said.
2. Riddle Me Th – Oh, Hell, You Get It. Another fun-fun villain Origin, but unfortunately they blew their streak of connecting them somehow with the issue at hand – or did I miss something? Oh, well, it was still cool, and I appreciate Don Kramer’s interpretations of that very first Riddler story from 1948, with Edward’s cheating, his carny turn, and the devilish pipe trap. Add that to other little touches like the 1700 Broadway address (ha!) and the 1-800-555-CLUE crawl/clutter, and it was a nicely done Origin indeed. No smear on Beatty, ‘cause I’m assuming he was only going along with “canon,” but the dirt on these two pages comes from the ridiculous name-change from Nigma to Nashton. I didn’t like it when it was altered, and I don’t like it now. Can nothing be retained from simpler times? Why couldn’t Edward’s incredible birthname have been his parents’ joke or even that which drove him to become the Prince of Puzzlers in the first place? Sigh…Nashton. Blearghh.
1. Tune Out. Nothing left to say, friends, except “can they keep this up?” “Can Countdown be saved?” Tune in next week. $2.99. I’ll be here. Will you?
Major Tom to Ground Control: Send up some more faith, hope, and inspiration. We’re trying to start an epidemic here. Also send me up my Ma Hunkel Minimate!
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