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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Countdown 37

Countdown 37

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 15, 2007

Cover date: August 15, 2007

"Forbidden Fruit"

Writer: Paul Dini with Adam Beechen
Penciller: Keith Giffen (breakdowns), David Lopez and Mike Norton
Inker: Don Hillsman II with Rod Ramos

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Poison Ivy"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Stephane Roux
Inker: Stephane Roux

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge


In her lab, Oracle performs a body scan on Karate Kid's physiology with Una trying to keep him still. Sadly, Barbara can't identify the virus that has infected Kid's system, saying it's either alien in origin or it's from another time period on Earth. Una whispers to herself "Then it is the great disaster...It IS coming." When asked what she said, Una tells the Kid it's nothing, then gets back to the subject. Babs pulls out a file on a rumored bio-engineering genius named Elias Orr, claiming that IF he exists, he's Kid's best chance. She wishes them luck.


Outside Gotham City, Zatanna's spell carries both she and the new bearer of the Black Adam powers to her father's estate. She claims while she lives in San Francisco, she keeps the place maintained and uses it as a window to escape from the busy world when things get too hectic. A booming voice asks "WHO GOES?" and Zatanna responds "Hi, I've brought some literature, I'd like to share the good word with you?" The door opens to a full staff of servants and housekeepers that welcome Zatanna like royalty to Mary's surprise. She reveals they're only magical manifestations of the house who only appear in her presence. With a spell they vanish, proving Z's point. She adds it's basic magic, and it's the kind of magic that Mary herself will be able to do when she's ready.


The trek through the Nanoverse leads Todd, Troy, the Atom and "Bob" to a Stonehenge-like ritual. One of the participants, a small girl, tells them they are the Sacred Wizards of the Arionite Temple. When Jason jokes about her involvement, the girl assures him she'd been igniting suns before the first land mammal appeared. Knowing what they are after, she tells them Ray Palmer has already passed through, but it's not a good time due to the Great Disaster on the horizon. Donna offers their help, but while the girl is appreciative she points out they're departing because NOTHING can stop the disaster to come, hence the "Spell of Leaving." She adds there are a handful who have chosen to stay, such as Queen Belthera. Before she vanishes with her brethren the girl wishes them luck and if they do find Ray to tell him they remembered his words and they did their best. Left to their own devices, the group has little time to assess what had transpired before being surrounded by huge insect-like humanoids.


Back in Gotham, the Pied Piper and the Trickster break into a greenhouse for some fruit. However, they've made the mistake of invading Poison Ivy's lair! Communicating with her plants, knowing of the theft, she engages them. They run, but Ivy's trees dish out poetic justice by incapacitating them with flung apples and assorted fruit before vines bind them from head to toe, immobilizing them. Ivy notes they're "dead meat."


In Metropolis, at the Athenian Women's Shelter, Holly does her gymnastics workout when Harleen Quinnsel walks in asking about her meeting with Athena. She claims Athena wants her to be part of a "self-esteem exercise." Holly is ecstatic and disrupts her workout telling her she's in. As to what, she's unclear, only that Holly should get ready to train.

Back at Zatanna's mansion, the mystic leads Mary to her massive library. A collection of ancient texts her family's dedicated to acquiring over the generations, Zatanna claims it's her "Batcave". Mary notes how "wonderful" it must be to have all this power at her command.


At the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen dwells on the mystery of his powers and how unreliable they are until literally the situation calls on them. He admits he needs help as well as answers. Looking at his signal watch, he senses a significant presence. Clark Kent walks in for some coffee. Jimmy approaches him and confesses to being Mr. Action...and asks for help getting into the Justice League. Acting innocent, Clark asks why, and Jimmy rips open his shirt and says "Because Clark...I know you're Superman."

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Poison Ivy"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Stephane Roux
Inker: Stephane Roux

Jason Woodrue, aka the Floronic Man, uses his genetic manipulation experiments on the unassuming, timid Dr. Pamela Isley and transforms her into a plant-human hybrid, not knowing she would surpass his expectations. While easily more attractive and enticing than her human form, Poison Ivy's exuded pheromones made her irresistible to men...except the Batman. Though an environmentalist by nature, Ivy's efforts were too extreme for The Batman to allow her to roam free. While falling in with numerous villains, Ivy only felt comfortable around plants. And though she had struck up a friendship/partnership with fellow Arkham Asylum inmate Harley Quinn, their endeavors always led back to incarceration. Currently she's less vengeful and more reactive in her environmental cause. Ironically, during the Harvest (a hybrid horror born from her victims), her life had been saved by Batman, perhaps because either he believes she'll turn over a new leaf or that at heart Poison Ivy's just a bad seed.

4Main Story - 4: It had to happen sooner or later people. After sixty years of being in the dark, Olsen is FINALLY aware of the truth about Mr. Clark Kent! Finally those powers of his come in handy for something. The ability to see through other peoples' identities is an awesome power to have. I know that this plotpoint won't last in the Super-verse to maintain the status quo, but it'll be cool to see how Clark handles this new development. The big reveal was a shocker, but you know that Jimmy was closing in on it through his words if not his face. For me that was the big highlight of the book because this is Dini taking Olsen's association with Superman to the next level.

As for Mary Marvel, her last words have me concerned because she seems entranced by the near-limitless resources of magic Zatanna possesses in that estate, in particular the library.

As for Holly and Harleen, I KNEW that "Zippy" (as Robin once referred to Harley Quinn in the old Batman TAS) still had that spontaneity lurking underneath her reformed demeanor, and no one's better suited to bring it out than Paul. As for what this means for Holly, I don't know what to make of what her role is going to be in this women's shelter or why Harleen's so excited about her training.

The search for Ray Palmer stumbled upon this Great Disaster that Una earlier mentioned in the first few pages. I see these two separate stories finding their way on to the same path at some point in the series.

The only weak - but still hilarious - plot in this issue was the dumb duo of Trickster and Piper. And I use that play on words because of their location, Gotham City. Frankly I have no clue why Wally or Barry had problems with these guys; they're chumps! No wonder they're bringing new villains in. All in all, the four out of five ultimately belongs to the last page of this story because this just says "MAN I GOTTA BE HERE FOR NEXT WEEK!!!"

3Main Art - 3: The art team for this issue delivered a look for the story that's very reminiscent to those of Gene Colan and John Romita Sr. Mary Marvel was (to quote Joe Pesci from "My Cousin Vinny") dead-on-bawwllls-accurate in the sense that this girl is truly innocent and has no clue as to how the Black Adam powers are influencing her judgement and her behavior. The femme fatales got the best treatment for this issue; Poison Ivy, Holly, and Harleen (having a hard time calling her that) all looked awesome. The weak points however, were the major male characters. With the exception of Trickster and Piper, who were supposed to look ridiculous, I just wasn't feeling the intimidation factor from Jason Todd or even Clark Kent. Speaking of Kent, the big reveal, though positioned right, only jumped out at you because of the prominence of the "S" under Clark's shirt. The button in the air DID show it was pulled open quickly, but I just think a little more detail wouldn't have hurt. And how exactly does pulling open a shirt make Clark's hair magically go back except for the spitcurl? The mechanics were really off in that splash. Hopefully the art will improve on the next issue. This story just looked to cartoonish.

4Back-up Story - 4: FINALLY we're done with the Monitor debate! I'm not going to lie it was a struggle to review and I'm glad we're back on to familiar territory AGAIN with the origins. This time it looks like we're targeting the rogues, starting with Poison Ivy. Ivy's origin combines the significant events of her life just fine (her transformation and evolution, her abilities, her confrontation with Batman), but it doesn't cover how she died and was resurrected. And I'm glad the Ivy-Harley team-up was highlighted; who knows? Maybe we'll see a reunion of these two (after all Dini paired them up originally) Good start to the first of many origins to come.

5Back-up Art - 5: Alluring, stunning, sensuous, deadly. Those are the most accurate words that I can find to describe Roux's take on Pamela Isley. The first image of her partially nude at the top DEFINITELY catches the eye. However it would've been a good idea if we saw more of pre-Ivy Pam than just a head shot. It's cool that he kept in mind the differences in costumes she's had over the years. And the panels of her riding the convertible with Harley definitely brought back memories from Batman: TAS. They even had the heyenas in the back. Roux went out of his way to ensure that regardless of the image, even with Batman fighting off the Harvest, Ivy just stood out, pink or green skin.

5Cover Art - 5: Though it had nothing to do with the main plot, it DID reveal the fate of Trickster and Piper after Question and Batwoman let them go. And sorry, Steph, but I think the Davis-Banning-Sinclair Poison Ivy is 25% more sexy than yours. Great job guys!

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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