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for Thursday, October 4, 2007

Countdown 34 panel

Continuing our look at COUNTDOWN #41-33:

Holly Robinson.

As noted when I first wrote about Countdown many weeks ago, I like Holly. Unfortunately, by virtue of her moving into the Athenian Woman's Shelter in Gotham City, the character landed smack in the middle of the clustercluck that was Amazons Attack. Nothing good could have come from that and nothing has.

Countdown 39

Karate Kid.

The Karate Kid storyline in Countdown is impenetrable unless you are conversant with several other current DC storylines and titles. He's a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, was told he couldn't return to the future with them, and is dying from some unknown virus, which may or may not be a mutated-by-time version of the OMAC virus. Barbara "Oracle" Gordon puts him on the trail of the mysterious "Mister Orr," a fabled bioengineer who seems to be working for Darkseid. The Kid's Wikipedia entry helped somewhat, but neither it nor what I've read in Countdown has gotten me interested in the character.

In addition to the storylines I've discussed in these past few TOTs, Countdown also gives occasional glimpses of Darkseid on Apokolips, the Monitors floating around the spaces between the 52 worlds of the Multiverse, and the odd scene of other DCU heroes in action. Darkseid plots to conquer the Multiverse, taking a break every so often to kill someone so we know what a bad fellow he is. The Monitors want to kill anyone they don't think belongs in any of the 52 worlds, sort of like a cosmic Dan Didios. Oracle's "net fu" proved superior to that of the Controller...again.

Countdown should come out twice a week, just to end the pain that much sooner. Though I do like the occasional scene and the short back-up strips, these are not good comic books. I only read them so that you don't have to.

Countdown #41-33 get but one Tony each.


But, wait, there's more.

Countdown to Adventure 1

My least favorite storyline in 52 was the one starring the lost-in-space trio of Adam Strange, Animal Man, and Starfire. Those heroes are now starring in COUNTDOWN TO ADVENTURE and, to my surprise and delight, the debut of the eight-issue series is a pretty good comic book.

Adam Strange has new eyes, but he's been replaced as champion of Rann by an obnoxious and quite possibly psychotic movie actor. I liked Rann better when it wasn't a planet of "richards," but I'm looking forward to Adam showing his adopted world the error of its decision.

Animal Man is amazingly well-adjusted, getting back into the swing of his family life and his career as a stuntman. Oh, sure, his wife seems a little out of sorts about the hot alien babe who followed him home, but Buddy is still the super-hero who could live next door and that's how I like him.

The "alien babe" mentioned above is Starfire. I haven't been interested in this character in years, but writer Adam Beechen has captured the sweetness that was a key part of her personality when she first joined the Teen Titans. Kudos should also be extended to penciller Eddy Barrows who, with inker Julio Ferreira, does a swell job with this story.

Backing up the lead is "Forerunner" by writer Justin Gray and artist Fabrizio Fiorentino. The last-of-her-kind killer has been recruited by Captain Atom/Monarch, who is raising an army to fight the Monitors. Now I'm on board with the Monitors needing a cosmic ass-whipping, but the renamed Captain makes me nervous.

This first chapter relates Forerunner's origin and, while it accomplishes that mission, it suffers from the dreaded origin-itis. However, since I've liked Gray's writing in the past, I'm hopeful subsequent chapters will be more entertaining.

Countdown to Adventure #1 is a solid comic book and it earns three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back soon with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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