Saturday, August 11, 2007

DC COUNTDOWN: #44-42 - overview and rant

(Headline above will bring you to the Wikipedia essay on Flash's Rogues Gallery, should you care.)

If you haven’t read these books yet (and I have a feeling I’m probably the last to actually get around to them), or are waiting to read the inevitable TPB collection, you should know that I’m going to give lots of stuff away. First because I can, and secondly because five of the six of you who read this blog couldn't care less about comics anyway. :-)

So if you’re still reading….


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Since I’m only reading the COUNTDOWN books themselves and not the individual hero titles or various spin-offs I was startled by the news that Bart Allen had been killed. How sad is it that one of the most likable and fun characters created by DC during the past decade had to be killed off. Not only that, but he was killed by that ridiculous group of third-rate bozos the Flash Rogues Gallery. They had to gang up on him aided by two supposedly reformed members (Trickster & Pied Piper) who had actually befriended his predecessor, Wally West. It doesn’t matter that these two were apparently trying to discover what their former colleagues were engaged in, they seemingly made no attempt to stop it from happening. By the end of #42 the two had been captured by the equally second-rate Deadshot and some other costumed thugs, but have made their escape by leaping from an aircraft several thousand feet up. Do we care at this point?

It appears that Jason Todd (the second Robin who was killed but got better) and Donna Troy (who has been killed at least three times that I recall and got better each time) are an item, or are at least hanging out with each other. For some reason they are teaming up with one of the Monitors (we’ll call him the Good Monitor, I guess) and are searching for the original Atom, Ray Palmer (who is teeny-tiny now and off in some teeny-tiny universe). In order to locate him they have sought the aid of the latest hero to call himself the Atom, who was Palmer’s student (or something, it isn’t clear at least to me) and has access to one of his minimizing belts. According to GM only Palmer can save the current multi-verse from his scheming fellow Monitors.

Meanwhile, the female warrior called, Forerunner (whom we made fun of last time out) has hooked up with Monarch. I’m not even going to try to explain who this guy is, since he was basically a last-minute replacement for another character. In a ham-fisted manner, DC editors who realized they had left too many clues to the original identity of this “mysterious” character did this. Anyway, Monarch is a bad guy and I don’t remember who he was supposed to be (although I think it was the original Hawk), plus with so many changes to the DCU since his original introduction he may be a different guy anyway. Monarch has this huge army and space fleet that he wishes Forerunner to train in order to stop the Monitors. We know that Monarch has his own plans, but personally I can’t be bothered at the moment to care. We simply assume that he will betray Forerunner who will then seek revenge on him after being used to kill several planets full of innocent people or something.

We also have the current Catwoman, Holly Robinson, being taken in by some Amazons who have set up ‘shelters’ for women. I didn’t follow the “Amazons Attack” series so have no clue what this is all about, but figure that folks following Catwoman or Wonder Woman do have some idea who all these women are. Holly, while enjoying sitting around partially clothed (we get plenty of what the Japanese would call ‘fan service’ in the scenes set here) meets the former Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel), now seemingly over her infatuation with The Joker. We can also guess that there’s something going on behind the scenes here, besides chicks in short togas serving each other goblets of wine and bending over a lot.

Finally, Mary Marvel now shares some of the power of Black Adam and is kicking butt and showing her own, along with lots of up the skirt shots. Hats off to the fine gents at DC editorial for being as immature as some of us have always considered you.

There is a story hidden in all this plot, but I’m loosing track if not total patience. It may be one of those car wreck scenarios where you can’t turn away no matter how bad it is. On the other hand, somebody may actually know where this is heading and create order from Chaos TM (I think DC has a copyright on that, but I’m not sure).

Oh, yeah! Jimmy Olsen still has not figured out where his new found powers come from, or what exactly triggers them. For me this is THE most interesting part of the whole saga. Especially since we know that this fifty-two issues is simply set up for the Final Crisis series that follows.

For me, personally, the nicest scenes were during Bart’s funeral where we see the Kid Flash/Bart and hear his own thoughts on being a kid hero and life in general.
I'll be doing a similar overview of #41-38 in the next few days, unless one particular issue or incident proves interesting enough for its own post.
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