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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Countdown 12

Countdown to Final Crisis 12

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 6, 2008

Cover date: February 6, 2008

"Come Together"

Writer: Paul Dini (head writer) and Keith Giffen (story consultant) with Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Penciller: Jesus Saiz and Tom Derenick
Inker: Tom Chu
Cover by Stephane Roux with Karine Boccanfuso

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Circe"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Hi-Fi

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

The Challs arrive on Apokolips.

Forager forages through Jimmy's fridge for some food while Jimmy showers. Jimmy notices written in the steam on the mirror the words "To Apokolips."

On Paradise Island, Mary poses as a slave girl. Harley pretends to punish Mary to preserve their deception.

Desaad questions why Granny continues with this charade as the New Gods are coming to an end and Granny says she's loyal to Darkseid.

On Apokolips, Darkseid engages in a cosmic chess game with Solomon the Monitor. As Solomon puts the Mary Marvel piece into play, he refers to a "passive sacrifice".

Back on Paradise Island, Granny (disguised again as Athena) addresses her soon-to-be Female Furies in a ceremony for the newest full Furies. As Granny speaks of war, Mary becomes incensed and breaks from the deception forcing Holly and Harley to join the fight. Athena dispatches her newest Furies against them.

Athena is confronted by Hippolyta in full armor. Hippolyta strikes Athena with the sword and she becomes Granny again - in front of all the "Amazons". Granny flees into a Boom Tube and Harley jumps in after her. Holly and Harley jump in too. Hippolyta turns to address the faux-Amazons.

Piper talks to the Trickster's now severed hand. He thinks something is coming for him. Suddenly there's a tremendous "BOOM" and bright light in front of him. A Boom Tube. He walks forward.

In Bludhaven, Karate Kid and company are confronted by an OMAC, apparently Martin Stein underneath. The OMAC explains that uploaded data reveals the "existence of a world better suited to my prime directive." Brother Eye opens a Boom Tube.

To be continued.

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Circe"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Hi-Fi

Circe is a witch who uses siren songs to drown sailors. Those sailors who survive are transformed into bestiamorphs. Circe forged a pact with witch goddess Hecate. That's how she came to oppose Wonder Woman. She had a child Lyta with Ares and Ares ultimately took the child from her. Recently Circe used a reborn Hippolyta to attack man's world.

2Story - 2: The convergence feels a bit forced to me. Get thee to Apokolips now. Why? Because we're on issue 12 and coming in for a landing.

Dini has a way of slowly unfolding all the relevant information. The problem with an issue like this that has so many different story arcs allegedly coming together is they all get short-shrift.

No one has the time to say anything particularly compelling with the exception of Granny's big reveal, which was a giant let-down. I know it's kind of an art thing, but why waste an entire page on that spread of the Furies ceremony when a better page would have been the eyes of every one of the faux-Amazons on realizing they weren't working for Athena? I mean the buildup all along has been there's this deception and then, on the big reveal, we don't get to see the faces of the deceived? It's kind of an artist choice I know, but the reveal itself is a major story beat or at least we were kind of led to believe it would have been.

Enough with the stilted reminders of Piper's orientation. I'm not sure if any of the writers on the series are gay or if they've just seen one too many coming out coming of age movies but Piper's realization of when he was into "boys" (an unfortunate choice of word in my humble gay opinion) is so gay-film-festival stereotypically ridiculous. And speaking of ridiculous, 'do you take this hand?' Is this supposed to be some veiled reference to the gay marriage issue, that the poor Pied Piper can only drag along a dead hand in marriage?

Finally, I lost interest in the Karate Kid story a while ago. The guy who's dying of some debilitating disease running around with more energy than I've got on a good day.

I'm not sure whether to blame the artist or the story-teller for why it's so confusing what happens on the last page of the story. I think the entire bunker has been boom tubed somewhere (that's boom tube as a verb). But I can't be sure.

3Art - 3: The art is pretty inconsistent this time out. The splash page is promising. I like how much Jason seems to look like Batman in the Red Robin costume.

I could've lived my entire life very happily without knowing Jimmy Olsen doesn't appear to have nipples. Somebody call Joel Schumacher.

It actually took me a minute or two to figure out that the slave girl was Mary Marvel. She looks a little older than she ought to look, more like Lois Lane than the World's Mightiest Girl. Same problem with Harley Quinn too.

Darkseid looks much better inside the book than on the cover (more on the cover later).

2Back-Up Story - 2: This is why Wonder Woman has such a hard time developing a rogue's gallery - her villains (and villainesses) have overly complex origins that require lots of exposition. By comparison consider Batman's and Superman's bad guys. The Joker: Red Hood. Falls in acid. Skin is bleached and hair turns green and he becomes the maniacal Joker. Lex Luthor: Well that depends on continuity. But it's enough to say he's bald, evil, and hates Superman. Circe has the burden of mixing Greek mythology with DCU continuity and the over-complexity shows here.

4Back-Up Art - 4: The art is pretty but a bit bland. The artist gets a point for rendering a kid who looks like a kid and not a tiny adult.

3Cover Art - 3: Darkseid looks a bit off here. His neck is too long. The Omega Beams look like tears falling down his face. His head looks too small for his shoulders. Which is all too bad because the chess pieces aren't half bad.

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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