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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Countdown 7

Countdown to Final Crisis 7

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 12, 2008

Cover date: March 12, 2008

"Gone Tomorrow"

Writer: Paul Dini (head writer) and Keith Giffen (story consultant) with Adam Beechen
Penciller: Tom Derenick
Inker: Wayne Faucher

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Bane"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Graham Nolan
Inker: Graham Nolan

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Holly and Harley talk on a bus back to Gotham (presumably).

At the Hall of Justice, the heroes talk about what's happened. A lot. Superman appears, and no one knows who the heroes are. They explain about Karate Kid. Firestorm appears.

Atom teleports them to upstate New York, where they talk some more to explain away potential plot holes. As Karate Kid dies. They decide to go to Cadmus.

At Cadmus, they reunite with Jimmy, Holly, and Harley. Then they talk for a while. As Karate Kid dies.

Strange whitish goons appear and attack the crew for three pages before Jimmy stops them with a heretofore unknown ability to control his powers.

They head into Cadmus, where Dubbilex appears, and announces that Karate Kid is dead. After they talk for a while.

1Story - 1: Paul: Hey! Hey guys! I got it! This week, no one in the world will know who they are! And then, when everybody's going, "Hey, how did the people on Earth forget who they all are?" we'll say, "BING! Another Earth! That'll get seven out of the way, and then they'll just head on back for the real Earth in time to end this baby!

Others: Paul, you're a genius! By God, that multiple Earth thing is turning out to be a killer excuse!

Keith: Uh, guys, charac-

Paul: SHUT UP, KEITH! Or we'll kill Booster. You... like Booster, don't you?

Keith: (curls into a ball)

Jimmy: Dude! I'm with Amanda Conner! And I ink! Let's have Piper win while "The Show Must Go On" plays!

(Evil glares from every jealous man on Earth)

All right, jesting aside, the crap train rolls on, only to stop every week to drop off massive piles of crap on crap that is Countdown.

This issue is poorly written, rife with inconsistencies, has bad dialogue, extraneous scenes, and much extrapolation through dialogue. I have said this before, and alas, I will likely have to say it one time again. I am shocked and in awe that such an awful piece of a bull's excrement ever saw the light of day. It makes me embarrassed to read comics, and frankly, has driven me from the mainstream. I have never read so poorly executed a series in brief or at length.

Why in this particular issue?

Well, another dilemma on top of too many, for one. No one knows who they are! Why? Well, because it's another Earth, or some other odd, left-field dilemma. Who cares? I don't. And nothing these characters do make me care.

All of the characters just stand around talking about plot holes while Karate Kid dies. It's not enough that they're drawing your attention to the things that are screwed up about the series, but they're doing it as a friend DIES, negating their heroic status and making my head explode.

And with such little gems, too! Like Mary Marvel standing there talking about how recently she was bad, but now she's good! But she still wants to kill Jason! Bringing attention to the lack of characterization that went into her arc ALONG with emphasizing a character I've grown to hate and, for icing on the cake, indicating she's potentially bad again after her innocence was restored arbitrarily by a flash of light. Good job, guys!

The Holly and Harley page at the beginning was unnecessary to tell this story, and thus filler. The fight with the arbitrary pale goons in Cadmus equally so. No threat, no dilemma, no conflict, no point. It's just space filler, as was the trip to the Hall of Justice. But the Hall of Justice fries the story, because they just say hello to Superman for cool factor/fanservice and then go down the food chain (from the JLA, top heroes in the world) down to Cadmus to help Karate Kid, wasting time and to no real reasonable end, given that Superman wasn't threatening them. Oh yeah, half the JLA show up too, to go, "My, this is strange!" without that being necessary to discern the plot... you guessed it, FILLING SPACE!

I may be continuity ignorant (and if so, it's the fault of writers who haven't enthralled me) but last I recall, Cadmus was destroyed, along with all of its clones. When did Dubbilex return, and where has he been? If you will spend time as writers filling me in on Harley's reaction to the Joker not knowing who she is after it's already been established that no one knows who everyone is (just as Kyle flies in saying "Hey, everyone, no one knows who we are!"), then use two sentences to fill in the gap about Dubbilex.

Atom can teleport? What the hell?

This issue is basically an excuse for the characters to break apart and then come back together. It's filler. Poorly written filler. As is most of this series.

So far, the whole series has established a war between Monarch and the Monitors that Monarch loses, a bunch of character dilemmas that are arbitrarily reversed, with one insta-culmination (Red Robin) with a character we loathe, and it is ending, clunkily, with the unleashing of the Morticoccus virus, a plainly obvious Morrison creation that leads into Final Crisis.

Everything else thusfar has been filler, and I challenge DC to assert otherwise. The above could be accomplished in four issues, regular length.

The heroes talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and Karate Kid dies. I want their hero licenses.

I feel for all you poor fools who have been paying for this. I well and truly do.

1Art - 1: I rarely give a 1 on the art, but this is just plain sloppy. Look at the big mouthed Mary Marvel when she's spouting. Look at the design or lack thereof on the Cadmus goons. Look at Dubbilex. I didn't know it was Dubbilex at first, and he's one of the most distinctive characters in the DCU.

I wouldn't have known it was Holly and Harley had it not been established through caption. Jimmy looks like an overgrown bohunk.

There's also a commentary issue I can't really go too far into here, this being a family site, but it's a subtext to art in the comic world that people speak of, generally in private, whereby tears on a face are used to indicate something else in order to either sell comic pages, or subconsciously. You're either getting my gist or you're not. The Una crying scenes are a key example of this. It also makes the emotional beats of the scene seem false, to make things worse.

Tears are not rivers, nor are scenes of female distress that may indicate other things cricket by me. Be sincere with your art, eh?

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Bane"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Graham Nolan
Inker: Graham Nolan

4Back-Up Story - 4: It tells the origin of Bane fairly well, and sticks to the early nineties stuff, which surprises me, making no note of his role in Infinite Crisis or after, nor of his familial story with Bruce, which I enjoyed at the time, though King Snake is in there. Decent, but not all it could have been.

5Back-Up Art - 5: Fine, evocative work in the style of the original character, without going too close to the nineties. I dug it.

2Cover Art - 2: Hey, let's capitalize on a scene that doesn't even symbolically occur in this issue to make this seem cool. And let's do it with characters who are not together in this plot!

Not a horrid image, but when put in the context of the above, the utility and the joy of the thing goes WAY down.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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