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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Countdown 17

Countdown to Final Crisis 17

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 4, 2008

Cover date: January 4, 2008

"This Means War"

Writer: Paul Dini (head writer) and Keith Giffen (story consultant) with Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Penciller: Ron Lim
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Monarch"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Scott Kolins
Inker: Scott Kolins

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Mary Marvel continues to fight Eclipso, this time falling toward a planet. She invokes Shazam, finally realizing her powers were evil in nature, and seemingly kills Eclipso. Consequently, she falls to the ocean and barely survives, waking up on Paradise Island.

Concurrently, Bob, now revealed to have been working with Solomon the whole time, attempts to kill Ray Palmer, and in the process fails, killing Flash, Jean Loring, and Ralph Dibny.

Solomon kills Bob, and is then perplexed when Bob does not return his spirit into the other monitors. The other monitors decry the idea of a single Monitor and an Anti-Monitor, and consider that perhaps Solomon has gone too far. They also indicate that this somehow means Solomon wanted to become The Source.

Monarch appears with his army and says that he's starting the war to end all wars.

1Story - 1: Still ridiculous crap, and that isn't changing just because the story has finally been set to motion. Bad writing is bad writing.

Characters extrapolating through dialogue. Ridiculous, ill-defined powers and rationales. Reverse mentality without catalyst. It's like a laundry list of the things that make television what it is.

Mary Marvel decides out of the blue that she's suddenly been evil and has to stop, simply because Eclipso craves her power. I'm sure this'll be used to absolve her of murder, the irony being that she murders Eclipso in order to regain her innocence. Whups.

The Monitors, who were steadfastly behind Solomon, again waffle. One would hope it will not take another thirty issues to resolve this waffling, as we only have 16 left.

Bob has been evil all along. Wow. Is that ever a surpri-iiiiii-iiiiise. That's what surprise sounds like when you say it through a yawn. Actually, truth be told, I didn't know that Bob was evil, it did surprise me, but when it comes down to it, there's no rationality to it at all. If he were evil from the start, why would he allow anomalies to travel with him on the way to Ray? Why not kill all three one by one when they're vulnerable? Why let them team up and teach them to cavort with one another? It's irrational. But assuming it served some plot point, why then, when Ray is right in front of him, does he continue to monologue and not kill the SOB? He literally vaporized Jean Loring right in front of Atom, when, given his obvious power, he could plow right through both of them and kill them both.

But that would be rational.

Lots of random, pointless death. Fat Zat eats it. Never thought I'd write that phrase, but I just did. It was random, unnecessary, injected pointlessly into a scene, and just serves to up a death count for no reason.

The Amazons have been found. Okay. They're apparently...deep in space. The hell? That's just plain odd.

Monarch appears, and declares the war to end all wars. Or rather, the Justice League of Earth-3 fighting monitors. I have no anticipation for this, because I have no idea, nor do I believe will be defined, the properties of the monitors in terms of power. Nor why Monarch believes they must be regulated, given that they're not really doing that much of anything to anyone on a large scale. If anything, Monarch should be after Superman Prime, right?

Keith's influence is felt in this book. There is a very well-done set of panels that make two dilemmas mirror one another. I would bet money that's Keith's work. The problem being, the dilemmas and the characters have evoked no passion or care with their dilemmas thusfar, and so thereby the construction is sadly wasted.

4Art - 4: Nothing jumps out as horrible, but nothing jumps out as really great, either. Just a general, stock telling of the story. There were several splashes that could have really leapt out that didn't, but they did suitably fit the moment. Nothing really to love or hate, just average art.

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Monarch"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Scott Kolins
Inker: Scott Kolins

5Back-Up Story - 5: Accurately tells the origin of Monarch. Too bad it can't explain the motivations that drew Captain Atom from a good guy to suddenly the biggest baddie of the multiverse (he said sarcastically).

3Back-Up Art - 3: Doesn't really stand out, but doesn't really plug your craw, either.

1Cover Art - 1: Schlocky dialogue meets odd dilemma that isn't the central focus of this issue. Do not want.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2008

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