Monday, February 25, 2008

Four-Color Fiend: Keeping Count & Ape-on-Ape violence

We’re going to jump right into this after the usual…


In the latest issue of Countdown to Final Crisis (#10), just as Holly, Harley & a repowered Mary Marvel have tracked down Granny Goodness somebody takes the old gal out, for what looks to be the final time. Can’t say I’m shedding a tear for Granny but I’m having problems with this whole “death of the New Gods” thing to begin with. It seems the three ladies freed the original Greek gods from the imprisonment of Darkseid and in return, the Olympians have granted powers to both the one-time Catwoman and The Joker’s former partner. Mary Batson has been given absolution (didn’t know non-catholic gods could do that?) and given back her old powers and white outfit. Needless to say, the Old Gods want to have a word with their captor about a few things.

Meanwhile, poor old Pied Piper does a nice imitation of Jesus being tempted by Satan, with the former rogue playing the Christ role to DeSade’s evil tempter. PP is finally freed of the explosive device that had kept him leashed to what was left of Trickster, but I think he is on the brink of madness. I still think he will have something to do with the final resolution of the current story, since he is on Apokolypse along with most of the major players of the series. Jason Todd, Kyle Raynor and Donna Troy, along with Ray Palmer are all planetside as well, when Brother Eye shows up to merge with Darkseid’s kingdom.

I am glad to see that Paul Dini, Justin Gray and the other writers are finally bringing everything together. I also like the Ron Lim art in this issue, which is something I can’t say for some of the other artists who have worked on this series. Just the lack of thrusting T&A is a nice change. I know that we still have two more months of this, but it seems to be coming together and I have hope that things will flow nicely into Final Crisis.

Over in Salvation Run #4, the Joker & Luthor ‘tribes’ seem to be having some internal squabbles. We also see that Catwoman (I’m guessing the Selina Kyle version) is spying on the Martian Manhunter, who using the form of Blockbuster, has been spying on both groups. Why the telepath is unable to detect the presence of the hidden Selina isn’t mentioned or even hinted at by the writer. It did cause me to step outside the story for a second, which is always a bad thing.

While this is going on some of Luthor’s tribe are not too happy having former members of the Suicide Squad among them, possibly because it was the SS who dropped them onto the planet to begin with. The fact that the Squad’s leader, Rick Flag, deceived some members of the team and sent them along doesn’t seem to matter. Luthor, on the other hand, makes a lame speech about how they all have made strange alliances in the past and the important thing is for them to work together to get off the planet. I know I’m probably in the minority in hoping that both Luthor & The Joker don’t make it off the planet at all.

Vandall Savage has talked a small group of female villains to accompany him to the ‘safe zone’ where they can either wait for a way off the planet or just enjoy Vandall’s company, I guess? Wasn’t Vandall going around eating his descendants at one point? Of course, none of these ladies looks to be the motherly type anyway.

The best part of this issue is the fight between Gorilla Grodd and Monsieur Mullah. Grodd has an enormous ego to begin with, so when he is approached by Mullah (an ape with the brain of a human) as an equal he is not happy. His contempt for Mullah’s plan that the two of them, aided by The Brain, join forces causes him to insult Mullah which leads to quite a battle. Gaining the upper hand Grodd uses the device in which The Brain is contained to beat Mullah to death. The final scene is actually moving if you, like I do, have a fondness for these two long-time Doom Patrol enemies. The story gets an unforeseen twist when Joker comes upon the weakened Grodd.

I don’t know how this fits in with the ongoing events in Countdown or the DCU, but I have enjoyed the last couple of issues far more than I would have thought. Since we already know that Darkseid has his hand in all this, I expect that eventually we will see the connection.
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