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Cover date: January 2008
Writer: Keith Giffen
Penciller: Pat Olliffe
Inker: John Stanischi
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
She does her best to stop the horde, but scientists begin to die. The Doom Patrol appears, helping her shuttle the survivors into a reinforced corridor.
The Chief talks with Veronica Cale, indicating that the Four Horsemen returned from the dead because they planted Apokaliptian charges at the base of their lair (the same that caused Gotham to nearly be destroyed toward the end of 52), and used the kinetic energy to rewire the dead humans. He also confirms that they are no longer of Apokolips.
Superman takes Batman and Snapper and whisks them to safety, taking on both Horsemen at once. Superman begins to fight them, and Yuurd draws first blood. Plague allows Yuurd (Famine) to attack, then suddenly disappears, reappearing on the moon. Batman has teleported the creature away in order to protect Superman. Plague follows the signal back down, and attacks Batman, who hits him with disruptive dust.
Superman and Yuurd continue to battle. Superman gains the upper hand, but Death blindsides him, taking him out and leaving him for Famine.
Batman and Snapper tail Plague as Batman works out a plan.
On Oolong, Cale is upset at Caulder's attempt to control her island. Wonder Woman confronts her, indicating that she could have saved lives had Cale put her forcefield in place. Cale calls her irrelevant, and Wonder Woman storms away.
War and Death appear on Oolong and attack.
Story - 5: Still going strong, still incredibly entertaining, and paced incredibly well. Usually there's an incredible lull at some point in a six issue series. The closest this has come was the first issue, and that was introduction.
The fights are working well, and Giffen is balancing the dynamic of Batman and Superman working together in ways I totally plan to steal in terms of character interaction. Superman's selfless, suicidal attempt to direct the pain at himself, and Batman's counter, go to the core of the character. Wonder Woman's failure to do the same and the rekindling of Cale, a criminally neglected character, blew me away.
All in all, the only thing in this story unclear and baffling is which Horseman is which. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt the story a bit.
Snapper is still great. The scene between Cale and Chief was terse and strong, unlike other "talking" scenes we see in Countdown. Great dialogue, great concept. I feel like I'm reading the best of 52 again, or the 52 that would have been had Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman been present.
Art - 5: Great splashes, incredible detail, and fights that literally pull you in and hold you. Really, really great work. Dynamic panels, no space wasted, and no talking panels with completely blank backgrounds. Fine art.
Cover Art - 4: Falls a bit into the "WORDS WORDS WORDS" trap, but after the clerical crap, the image and all it entails are awesome. I don't even care that it's a scene that hardly happened, the level of strong pose and detail is so great. This could be a poster.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.