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Countdown 3

Countdown to Final Crisis 3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 9, 2008

Cover date: April 9, 2008


Writer: Paul Dini (head writer) and Keith Giffen (story consultant) with Sean McKeever
Penciller: Freddie Williams II
Inker: Freddie Williams II

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Amazo"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Doug Mahnke

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

Click to enlarge

While the Challengers frantically explain the situation - Mary Marvel's relapse, Ray Palmer going missing for the second time, and Jimmy Olsen's abduction by Mary - to Red Arrow at the Hall of Justice, the photographer finds himself on Apokolips in a crater looking up at Darkseid and Mary Marvel. Though defiant to the dark god, Olsen can't access the powers within him, now revealed to have been derived from the murdered New Gods and implanted by Darkseid to be harvested later. That time has come.

The moment is interrupted by a mean right cross from the newly-arrived Superman. While Forager rushes to Jimmy's aid, Superman vows that it is time that Darkseid answers for the blood on his hands.

The Challengers engage Mary in battle while Forager tries to smuggle the "Olsenbug" away. The battle is fierce and uncompromising between the Man of Steel and the Lord of Apokolips. However, Darkseid reveals his ace as via Omega beams he activates the abilities in Jimmy, causing him to irradiate Kryptonite energy and unable to move away from his best friend.

At the same time, inside Jimmy, the Atom struggles valiantly to free Jimmy from Darkseid's control by disrupting the nanotechnology in his cells.

Mary easily bests Green Lantern, Donna Troy, and Red Arrow much to the delight of Darkseid.

Ray manages to rip off a panel†of circuitry from the "transformer" before being overwhelmed by†cybernetic antibodies.†Before Darkseid's eyes, the Kryptonite is turned off and Jimmy metamorphosizes into a gigantic "Turtle-boy", freed of the god's thrall and determined to take him down.


5Story - 5: ALL RIGHT LET'S GET IT ON!!! Finally, a fight this reviewer can sink his teeth into. I always love a good Superman-Darkseid brawl. These two have had so many tussles over the years, getting more personal with each encounter. It's no surprise that Clark would take it upon himself to rescue his "pal." Dini seems to be borrowing a bit of Superman's resolve to end Darkseid's reign from the "Legacy" and "Twilight" episodes from STAS and the Justice League animated series.

Finally the stories have converged and now we have Darkseid's ultimate goal, collecting the spoils of his war with New Genesis. As for the return to the Darkside (no pun intended) for Mary Marvel, the fan in me was upset that we see redemption and then a second fall from grace for this heroine. However, that's the job of the writer; to keep things interesting you have to shake things up when you least expect it, otherwise things become predictable and less intriguing with each issue. That's why Bendis succeeds in Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man and the latest Secret Invasion, but more on that for a later time. But it's easy to see Darkseid's recruitment of Mary as his acolyte was done out of desperation; his forces depleted he needed extra muscle to accomplish his goals, then dispose of her in a Machiavellian manner.

Now, back to Jimmy, I see that the writers of DC have yet again reverted to making something old new again, turning Jimmy into Turtle-boy. This aspect of the photog's character has been touched on briefly through freak mutations in the post-Byrne stories. I would never have expected to see Mr. "Golly" go toe-to-toe with the Lord of Apokolips. One question still stands out in my mind: when the story is over, will Jimmy still retain the knowledge that Clark Kent is Superman? Or will we have another convenient amnesiac spell to "protect Jimmy's sanity from the trauma of his experience?" Time will tell.

I also wonder if we'll be sticking with "Black Mary." Now that Freddie Freeman has become the new Shazam as seen in the final issue of THE TRIALS OF SHAZAM, it would be interesting to see these two former lovers go at it, a new variation on the Captain Marvel/Black Adam dynamic. Keep up the good work, guys!

4Art - 4: The pacing of this book was adequate for what was largely dominated by Superman's fight with Darkseid. Freddie's art seemed to mirror Ed McGuinness' designs on Superman and Jimmy Olsen somewhat, but his weakpoints were Donna Troy and the scenes at the Hall of Justice. The panels just seemed too cramped together when this sprawling fortress-like headquarters could have been profiled better from a worm's eye view of the characters during the heated debate. Mary Marvel was perfect; her expressions nailed her change in personality from sweet to sadistic. Darkseid looked as menacing as he should be. Great job overall!

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Amazo"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Doug Mahnke

Built by Professor Ivan Ivo, the android known as Amazo, laced with "absorption cells," set about siphoning off the many abilities possessed by the Justice League of America via battle to aid the doctor's mad quest for immortality. However, Ivo made one error in his design: the absorption cells also collected the natural weaknesses of each ability, which the League managed to exploit and defeat the robot. However, Ivo returned time and again with constant upgrades to Amazo's design, coincidentally as the League's number swelled as well. Amazo's programming to destroy the League soon evolved into a lifelong ambition in Amazo's new self-awareness. Embracing an "upgrade or die" outlook on life, his recent upgrade came in placing his programming in the body of T.O. Morrow's own android, the hero Red Tornado, although a mere pawn of Solomon Grundy's own ambition to break his cycle of death and rebirth. Though the Tornado is freed of Amazo's influence, the new program is still embedded in his matrix, dormant but upgrading itself.

5Back-Up Story - 5: There's not much I can say about the handling of this villain because I know very little about Amazo. I was first intro'd to him in Justice League Animated, so I had no clue how much of a background this weird-looking character had with the League. The "One-Man Justice League" moniker suits him. Imagine just being able to leap tall buildings or move at lightning speed just being in the same room as The Flash or Superman. All in all a great summation, in particular the open-ended finish, reflecting on the aftermath of JLA: The Tornado's Path.

5Back-Up Art - 5: In comparing JLA Animated's Amazo with this guy, to be honest I prefer the gold-skinned cartoon than this guy. I know he's supposed to be intimidating but it's hard to take a guy wearing spandex yellow-and-green shorts seriously. The rest of the art is great, though, Doug.

5Cover Art - 5: One word: POW! Adam Kubert I miss your work on Superman and am still waiting for the end of "Last Son." The focus is definitely on the main part of the story and even hints at the scene where Darkseid deliberately misses Supes with his Omega Beams to hit Jimmy. This tight shot conveys the power and animosity these two share, so this definitely gets my stamp of approval.

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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