Writers: Paul Dini, Tony Bedard
Artists: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), Al Barrionuevo (p), Art Thibert (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Counting down everything you NEED to know about Countdown #28!
9. A Note of Anger. The absence of a simple caption at the beginning of this week’s issue that simply states “Warning: Read Death of the New Gods #1 before reading Countdown #28!” is just wrong. I bought DotNG #1 but went with reading Countdown first, as I do every week (oh, the things I do for you kids). Horrible mistake. Now, I feel like crumpling up New Gods, unread, and chucking it in the trash. Its price tag is about the only thing that’s stopping me. Why this reluctance to include a few helpful and basic information boxes in Countdown is both sad and beyond me. Such a simple and easy thing to do, but a road not taken by DC to the detriment of those who like major events to play out unspoiled.
8. Slight Tremor. Looking over this week’s issue there’s a sense of movement in some of the storylines and a few notable developments. New Gods spoilers aside, bringing in Kirby’s creations at this point can only serve to spice up what has been a pretty tasteless goulash to this point. Bedard’s script almost defeats the higher points of the issue, being fairly sparse and uninspired, but the art by Barrionuevo and Thibert is downright bad. There’s some attention given to the splash pages and action panels, but the figures are sketchy and rough and when they are so unlucky to find themselves in small, actionless panels, they show marked signs of boredom on the part of the artists. There are even times when the art is painfully bad, such as page 16, panel 1, and its strange, emaciated Donna Troy and the rest of her pals looking every which way, seemingly lost in the proceedings. As a steady reader of Countdown I often know how they feel.
7. Forage THIS. I have long been a fan of the original Forager, also called “Bug”, and thus it was a bit of a bitter pill to take in this new version. She is interesting though, albeit far from humble as the original, and I can see myself warming to the character. Her motivations toward seeking out Jimmy Olsen need to be explained much more than what we received here, as right now her invitation seems more like a writing convolution than logical in the fiction. I’m also feeling like we may be losing the Newsboy Legion as soon as we’ve joined up with them, because from experience we know that Jimmy never stays in one place for more than half an issue. Maybe he’s not of this world – maybe it will be revealed that he’s a… New God? Oh, by the way, Forager is the new Forerunner. Mark my words.
6. No Rest for the Hungry. The ridiculously inept Suicide Squad comes a’callin’, and our lovable and rascally Rogues once again waltz right out of their grasp with barely a hair out of place. The real kicker here though is that for someone godforsaken reason Trickster now wants to run into the fire rather than run from it. Jesse and Piper have perhaps suffered the most at the hands of the revolving door of Countdown writers, with both Rogues having wild fits and starts of personality and motivations. Will it all be explained as we head down the road? One can hope. One can also chalk up another gay joke, except this time it comes cleverly from the gay one! Yeah, pretty clever.
5. Eye See You. Eye Talk to You. Eye Scream for Eyece Cream. Well, Brother Eye’s mode of speech quickly became annoying but thankfully Karate Kid’s story was not bogged down by it. Lots of questions here and tantalizing ones: who built this Brother Eye? Why is it “imprisoned”? What is Buddy Blank’s destiny? What really lies in Command-D underneath Bludhaven? And I’m giving some points to Buddy’s grandson – that’s one cool kid. Really.
4. Of Balls and Chimps. Okay, I completely agree that Shadowpact needs to look into the Mary Marvel situation and even do something about it – but where the hell were they when this whole thing cranked up into “evil magic” mode? They’re just now having the ball(s) to swing into action? If an event like Mary Marvel gaining Black Adam’s power and being tutored by Eclipso isn’t enough to trip the warning klaxons throughout the entire magical etherways, then what is? And I say again: Mary’s submergence in evil deeds is out of left field with no line drive to get us there. I can’t for a moment believe that a soul as pure as Mary’s is not straining and bucking against the yoke of evil these powers have over her. There’s a degree of pathos and drama that’s being completely lost here, and it sure is one that’s needed to get me back to investing in this story.
3. Cleanup in Aisle 8. Donna and Jason’s tale is an official complete mess. One finds it hard to even remember what they were doing last issue or where they were or whom they were fighting. It’s a miasma of tough talk, punches thrown, and a bollix of characters. Who’s fighting whom? What are the sides? Why does Donna Troy’s outfit suddenly have sexy-off-the-shoulder spaghetti straps in the final splash? How much does anyone want to bet that finding Ray Palmer will be the anti-climax to end all anti-climaxes?
2. Ethan, Ethan, He’s Our Man. If he can’t draw some pretty pictures for Countdown, no one can. Seriously. Guy could make the phone book get an Eisner nomination. Kudos also to Beatty and Gehrlein for the very appropriate double Origin and for making the incredibly sad situation of the two page back-ups being the thing to look forward to every week.
1. Grumble, Grumble. Moan, Moan. That’s all I do each week. I most definitely don’t want to, but there’s something about Countdown that is so disappointing, so unfulfilling, that it puts me in a mood to criticize. But I want to Believe! I want to Like it! I want to Understand!
Major Tom to Ground Control – send me up another Mxyzptlk installment or something else that will surprise me and tickle my fancy. My fancy just ain’t gettin’ some lovin’, y’know what I mean? Aye, there’s the rub.
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