Saturday, February 09, 2008

Four-color fiend: Less than a dozen left to Countdown at DC

It looks as if we will be in the midst of FINAL CRISIS when the San Diego Comic Con comes to town. I’m sure some big Marvel Comics event is also going on, but since I’m only reading two current Marvel titles, I’m not going to concern myself with that.

Anyway, with a few of the usual


Superman-Prime and Monarch go mano-o-mano (or whatever the super powered version of that is) in #13 and you really want each of them to suffer permanent, if not lethal damage. Okay, some lethal damage might not be so bad considering that both are mass murderers a million times over. Neither should get a second chance at redemption nor, to be honest, ever see the four-color page again. Neither has a personality beyond being over-the-top evil and that rises and falls per book.

What’s left of the Challengers are dragging poor Ray Palmer around, and like other reviewers we hope to see him actually do something to deserve all the aggravation folks have gone through to find him. Still not sure what I think of the whole Red Robin outfit that Jason Todd is wearing, but it combines enough of both Batman & Robin’s uniforms to work.

Darkseid starts to take center stage and we see his interaction with the Monitor now known as Solomon. Their cosmic chess game puts things into perspective and I don’t expect Darkseid to play fair, although he has shown some strange moral code previously. Of course, that was more the original Jack Kirby take on the character, and too many lesser creators have monkeyed around with him since.

Issue #12 seems to indicate that the next few issues will have quite a few of the central cast showing up on Apokolips. The Challengers are already there; Jimmy Olsen gets a ‘message’ hinting that he and probably Forager should head there; Granny Goodness is revealed for what she is by Hippolyta and escapes via Boom Tube with Harley, Holly & Mary Batson/ Marvel (still without powers) jumping in after her; poor lost Pied Piper, who is slowly going mad still connected to what is left of Trickster (hint: not very much at this point), finds himself seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, as another Boom Tube opens in the desert.

Only eleven issues of the series left, along with a few tie-in series, until everything supposedly comes together in Final Crisis, this summer. I expect to still be following part of the story by then, but we’ll see how I feel at that point.

Countdown to Adventure #6 starts off with Adam Strange saved from the Lady Styx consumed Champ, by Adam’s wife Alanna. The couple, along with daughter, Aleea, takes the departing Zeta Beam (and don’t those things always turn up at the most convenient moments) to Earth-One. Meanwhile, Starfire (still without her own powers) and Animal Man’s wife, Ellen are hoping to stage a rescue of Buddy who has been taken by the alien “Healers”. Naturally, the Zeta Beam brings Adam & family to the exact spot where their timely appearance ends with Adam joining in the rescue attempt. Things actually seem to take a positive turn with the rescue taking place, but at that point the Healers decide the only way to cleanse the Earth (and by doing that save the Universe) is to destroy the planet which has become increasingly infected by the followers of Lady Styx. It all seems to be coming together with only two issues left to the series.

Sadly, there is also a chapter of the continuing Forerunner story. At this point the mass murderer and former aide to Monarch has captured a ‘space pirate’ vessel, killed the leader and most of his crew. Piloted by those members she allowed to survive, Forerunner’s vessel is surrounded by a fleet of Thanagarian (the race to which Hawkman belongs) ships that are seeking the now-deceased pirate. Swiping a plot from STAR TREK and hundreds of other Sci-Fi stories, Forerunner makes a deal with the Thanagarians to release her if she can defeat their champion in combat. Since it is her story she prevails, takes the champion back to ship to use as her sex slave.

I hate to say this but sometimes I wish the Comics Code was still available.

It’s repugnant enough that DC feels that they can turn a murderer into a ‘star’ character (it wouldn’t be the first time, witness the various attempts to make Deathstroke into a hero), but you do this in a title where the primary story seems aimed at a very different audience. If things turn out the way they should Forerunner will meet the same fate that Monarch and Superman-Prime so richly deserve. Elimination from the DCU.

More on other comics in the next few days.
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