T-MINUS: "Countdown" #46

Sat, June 16th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

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By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"So we keep a lookout for scowling babes with low-flying spears." - Jason Todd

"Countdown" #46
Previously in the DCU
While Amazons begin their attack, Mary Marvel got new powers, Holly Robinson arrived in Metropolis and the Rogues learned more about each other.

T-Minus 46
Early on, Jimmy Olsen gets a mysterious phone call, one that leads him into the darkest alleys of Suicide Slum and into the waiting paws of Sleez, an outcast from Apokalips. Sleez offers Jimmy knowledge of who has killed Lightray, but before the answers can be given Sleez himself is killed, likely by the same thing that killed Lightray. Outside, Holly Robinson saves some bystanders from the remnants of the attack on Sleez.

In Gotham, Mary marvel, freshly repowered, seeks out some mystical disturbance and comes into contact with a baby-wearing demon raised from the souls of the stillborn, a reject from the shattered Rock of Eternity. Doing battle with the beast, Mary ultimately comes close to winning, only to have the battle ended by a bolt of lightning from out of the blue. Mary disappears and the Gotham PD are left with the unconscious monstrosity.

The Rogues go to dinner, where Piper and Mirror Master end up in a fight. That's all they really do, though Captain Cold arrives and finally gets the show on the road.

In Washington, Jason Todd convinces Donna Troy of the dangers that they and all the other "anomalies" are in. Though Jason believes it's every man for himself, Donna knows that they must help the others who might be targeted. However, a little knowledge can be dangerous and the Monitors decide they must rectify their mistake in underestimating Jason and, to that end, they dispatch an emissary called Forerunner, who summarily takes down both Jason and Donna.

In the backup feature, the history of the multiple earths continues, with a look at all the battles the heroes got themselves into before finally defeating the actual threats to their respective worlds.

FYI
Forerunner. I know you are wondering how I can address a character that just appeared, trust me, I can. In Andre Norton's 1981 book "Forerunner" we meet the blue-black-skinned Simsa, the only living Forerunner. Simsa, having been raised in the savage "Burrows" by humans, thinks like a human, but is a Forerunner Elder that takes over for Simsa when danger threatens. The reason I know all of this is that I read the book back in 1982 and thought immediately that the Forerunner would make an intriguing superhero. While I don't suggest that this is the sole possible origin for this character, I can't help but wonder if there is more than a little of Andre Norton in DC's newest space character.

Comments
JE: Looks like someone was paying attention to our discussion of Jimmy last week, since it was completely summarized this issue. Guess we're on the right track.

BE: I was happy to see that the silver age Jimmy Olsen continuity is still intact, as far as the New Gods are concerned. I have another theory about Jimmy's powers. What if poor Jimmy is channeling alternate world versions of himself and the powers they may have possessed?

JE: Most possible, though that could result in damn near anything and the scope of that just makes my head hurt.

BE: Ah, but only up to a possible 52 worlds worth. Inless he's connected to the original multiverse in some way.

JE: A new clue: Parts of Adam's powers were bequeathed to him by Isis.

BE: I think this is a reference to the death of Isis. I seem to recall her powers returning to him.

JE: But weren't her powers drawn from the Amulet of Isis and not necessarily from Black Adam himself? Wouldn't this be another possible way for Adam to get powers indirectly?

BE: That's solid thinking. It would also explain why Adam was so insanely powerful during WW3.

JE: A feces-eating demon clothed in dead baby flesh. Lovely.

BE: Dude. Was. Wearing. Babies. How do you keep those attached? Oh, by the freaking umbilical cords! Yeah, was this some Alan Moore character I missed from his run on "Swamp Thing?" Yikes!

JE: If this is what I missed in Swamp Thing, then, dude, I'm not so concerned about it anymore. Man, I thought stuff like this was still confined to Vertigo books. It looks like John Constantine mated with another set of demons.

BE: Yeah, I kept looking at the cover of the book to make sure it was Paul Dini. On the other hand, as villains locked up in the Rock, he's a great example. How the Gotham PD plans to keep him locked up, I'll never know.

JE: Yeah, this is a little extreme, even for them. But what the hell happened to Mary? Was it Billy? Freddie?

BE: I was wondering that myself. I'm wondering if Billy called her on the carpet.

JE: My thoughts exactly. Anyway, as a retail employee (formerly full time, now currently part time), Piper's speech on the state of American consumerism is most accurate. Now if only I could broadcast it from the highest mountain.

BE: You see kids, comics are fun and educational! I really liked this bit with the Rogues, again, very natural dialog and great interaction. I do, however, feel that this is the big buildup to the major changes coming to Flash. The return of Barry Allen? That's where I'm putting my money.

JE: The writer has said about a million times in interviews that Barry won't be back under his watch. If that was just smoke, I think Bart fans have a reason to be upset.

BE: This is assuming that Marc Guggenheim will still be the author when the change becomes official. In a perfect world, it would be Wally that comes back.

JE: LATE ADDITION: with Mark Waid taking over the title, all bets are currently off. I call my money on Piper, too, by the way.

BE: Indeed. There is very little I want to see from this series beyond Piper killing the Mirror Master.

JE: Which is a shame, since I like Mirror Master, though I think he'll end up as a part of the new Suicide Squad.

BE: Oh, don't hold your breath; Mirror Master will live to a ripe old age.

JE: Say, wasn't Sleez the monstrosity that turned Big Barda into an involuntary porn star a while back?

BE: Um. Yes. It's one of the many moments of the John Byrne Superman run that I would like to burn (no pun intended) from my memory.

JE: I think I actually found that out from the Comic Book Urban Legends on CBR's blog, though I would have hoped that such would have actually just been a legend. Weird character to bring back, though. Of all the throwaway villains, to get the porn producer out of storage.

BE: If Glorious Godfrey dies next, my chief suspect changes to John Byrne!

JE: Thoughts on what killed the pig?

BE: At the risk of giving a lame answer, I figure it's the same thing that killed Lightray. One New Genesisian and one Apokaliptian. If Darkseid is behind it, my money is on Kanto, Darkseid's chief assassin, but that's a little too easy.

JE: Makes sense though. And while we're there, Holly, meet Jimmy. Jimmy, Holly.

BE: There is a lot of potential for the undercurrent of the DCU to play out here. Frankly, keeping a weekly continuity series after countdown ends could be an amazing idea.

JE: Agreed, but even just taking it at face value, Jimmy meeting all the denizens of Gotham is both interesting and confusing. Maybe it's just a good way to take Jimmy out of his element.

BE: And Jimmy is now -- as he was during the classic Kirby run -- the perfect everyman through which we may experience the strangeness of the DCU.

JE: Toldja Jason would figure it all out. Though being a smarty-pants doesn't always work out for the best.

BE: While Jason was never Batman's strongest student, he was trained by the world's greatest detective.

JE: At least not the strongest when it comes to certain aspects, like restraint. Thoughts on Forerunner?

BE: Hitman for the Monitors? If that's the case then we might rule out Monitors wasting the New Gods. I touched more on what I know of the mysterious Forerunner in the FYI section, but we do know that she'll be working with the Challengers of Beyond, so, she at least believes that she's doing the right thing.

JE: Or there's good money involved, like our old friend, that bastich Lobo.

BE: She could indeed be a mercenary, but we'll have to wait at least another week to find out the answer.

JE: The backup feature was interesting, though I've never seen that version of Robin in the bat-suit and yellow cape before. Can you fill me in, there?

BE: That was the Earth-2 version of Robin that replaced Batman in the JSA. He had a pair of costumes; one was a more grownup version of his old short pants version. The bat-suit version was a favorite of mine and was the one that was most often seen on the Earth-2 Robin, but I could have lived without the big "R" on his chest. I'm interested to see the new Earth-2 Robin when he finally appears.

JE: Me, too. I always liked the idea of a grown-up Robin, at least in that Robin suit. Nightwing is still the better of the two characters, but Dick without Batman and still living up to the need to be Robin is most excellent. His all-too-brief appearances alongside Huntress pre-Crisis (collected in the "Darknight's Daughter" trade) were pretty spiffy.

But that big "R" is pretty lame.

Panel of the Week

Ow. Ow ow ow. Ow.

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