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Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer - Superwoman/Batwoman #1

Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer - Superwoman/Batwoman #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 19, 2007

Cover date: February 2008


Writer: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Penciller: Kalman Andrasofszky, Jeremy Haun, David Hahn, David Baldeon
Inker: Kalman Andrasofszky, Norm Rapmund, Alvaro Lopez, Rick Ketcham, David Hahn, Steve Bird

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

As Brother Eye watches over the world, Superwoman and the female Lex Luthor fight above Metropolis (whether they are testing a suit or actually fighting is unclear by the text).

Wonderman attacks in response to the civilization being ungrateful after he kills Maxine Lord. Superwoman breaks off with Luthor, who refuses to help.

Aquawoman rises from the deep to do battle with Wonderman, as does the Justice League. Varying heroes fight Wonderman, and Jason and company struggle not to intervene.

The Freedom Fighters appear.

Superwoman strikes Wonderman hard, and Atom, inside his brain, shuts his brain down. Wonderman falls, and Jason and company introduce themselves.

Atom appears through Wonderman's tear duct. She informs the group that she has a special order from Ray as to what to do when something occurs (not ever mentioned) and that she's promised not to disclose what that is.

The group accepts this and jumps to the next Earth.

(Seriously. Not a joke.)

1Story - 1: The Countdown train of @## continues, folks! Yet another story with horrid writing, bad pacing, no real point, and more money to waste.

Thankfully, I again did not purchase this, rather "borrowed" it from a friend, and will continue to refuse to buy this series and its ancillary properties.

In my duty as a reviewer, here's the easy and obvious butchering of this wholly flawed and awful piece of unprofessional fan fiction:

The biggest problem with the Search for Ray Palmer and its five bajillion crossover titles is that firstly, there seems to be no compelling reason to search for Ray Palmer.

That's a biggie.

Actually, that's more than a biggie. That's the primary show stopper. But wait, there's more!

The next biggest is the fact that the stories, even if we're executing a dilemma that is beyond me, seems absolutely focused on just showing "cool moment" after "cool moment" when the moments are, frankly, not cool, and stringing it together with a "story" as the excuse. The story being, of course, "what happens when Jason and company visit Earth-X, which is WAY COOL!"

The problem here being that these concepts were novel when they FIRST APPEARED in a novel context, but beyond that, it's just a self-pleasuring exercise. For instance, Superwoman and Batwoman were intriguing in Superman/Batman because they added context to the story, were strange and new, and had a purpose. In this story, they merely offer "another stop" and gratuitous fight scenes with characters we hardly know the motivation of, ending in being no closer to finding Ray than when the comic started, meaning, yes, NOTHING HAPPENS. It's also a rehashed concept stolen from another fine artist with nothing added onto the mythos beyond the obvious extrapolation that yes, the other heroes are women too.

What is this story ABOUT? An apt question. Not what happens, what's it about? It's about nothing. They didn't dig for subtext within the obvious fertile ground of a world run by women. They didn't show any novel new concept that this world brings to the DCU, beyond girls being boys and vice versa. It'd be like a world where Superman and Batman are all twice the size of normal people. WOW! That's not normal. But what's the point if you're not going to make some kind of hay out of it? If you just show SUPERTALL SUPES and SUPERTALL JLA beating up on SUPERTALL WONDER WOMAN! WOW! That's cool! No wait. It's @##.

Apt dialogue:

Bob: "I understand your predicament, but this is their destiny, Donna [name in dialogue]. Ours lies in finding Ray - - [restating dilemma again]"

Jason: "Are you mental or do you just like repeating everything a million times? [good point, Jason! I ask the writers the same!] We know why we're here!"

Speaking of the dialogue, it's atrocious, per Palmiotti's fare for the whole of most of the last year. I can't recall being this disgusted with a set of writers since Austen and Casey on Supes.

I counted, and characters use names in dialogue forty-nine times in twenty-two pages of writing.

Forty-nine. Literally, an average of more than two a page. At times, it occurred five and six times.

It shouldn't happen once in a good story. Even in All-Star Superman, which consciously uses names in dialogue to poke fun at the form, it comes off as odd.

In the interest of fairness, I included "dialogue" captions, which is another barrel of monkeys in and of themselves in terms of bad storytelling. It added two names. But to be fairer, I didn't include instances of summation through dialogue, of which there had to be at least ten. And ones we could have inferred. I also limited my count to strict constructions such as, "Look, Superwoman! Our comic sucks!" in other words, times when the heroes called each other by name when no one normally would, as opposed to, "Call Superwoman to save us!" I did, however, include, "This is Bob, This is Jason, This is Donna..." because it's something the reader doesn't need if they're buying this book, firstly, and secondly, that's easily solved through less-than-crafty writing by a caption:

"Short explanations later..." and then you cut to RELEVANT dialogue. If you'd even construct a scene like that in the first place, which I wouldn't for money.

You may ask why I won't refer to Donna, Jason, and company as "Challengers of the Unknown." Check. I haven't. It's because that's metagaming. To my knowledge, they haven't been named that in the story, so I'm not calling them that.

What's the story about, what are everyone's motivations? Oddity for the sake of oddity is not a story, it's a bunch of pictures that, while unique, do not make good conscious reading.

Beyond those things that annoy me, there are two more major flaws. The entire story hinges on Jason and company not being able to introduce themselves. Then, to solve this dilemma, they introduce themselves. SERIOUSLY.

And the reason they introduce themselves to solve the dilemma of not introducing themselves is to FIND RAY PALMER, right?

So they find the girl Atom of this Earth. She has a little thing the Atom gave her to use "WHEN SHE KNOWS IT'S TIME!" IE, plot device of little relevance but much import. BUT STILL, they ESTABLISH IT AS OF MUCH IMPORT.

And what happens after this? They exchange a bit of "witty" dialogue about what a scamp Jason Todd is toward the ladies (a murderer, recall, who's still unquestioned in this), and say, "Well, eh! On to the next Earth!"

This is the definition of ignorance to the motivation of this story, when the motivation itself is shakier than the San Andreas. YOU DON'T INTRODUCE A CATALYST ONLY TO HAVE EVERY MAJOR CHARACTER IN PURSUIT OF IT IGNORE IT HUMOROUSLY IN A COMIC THAT EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS IS FLUFF STRETCHING OUT A FLUFF STORY.

Again, I question reading comics any more. The only things keeping me in are Geoff, Jeph, Greg, and the indie geniuses. The two major companies right now offer me next to nothing because of crap like this.

3Art - 3: Holy crap! Look at how many people worked on this thing! It looks like an Annual! Why so many for one book? Odd.

But irrespective of that, there are a lot of pages with missing backgrounds, and the consistency of character suffers from having so many artists. Some of the poses are neat to look at, but there was a real lack of cohesion in this book.

3Cover Art - 3: Interesting conceptualization of the universe. Unfortunately, logo feces covers much of the fun up and reminds us it's Countdown related, which takes enjoyment down quite a bit for me. There's also no real background, and the picture depicted is what's in the story, which is a downfall. It's really just a few interesting characters hanging in midair without point. What are they doing here?

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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