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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Countdown 22

Countdown to Final Crisis 22

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 28, 2007

Cover date: November 28, 2007

"Miracle Mile!"

Writer: Paul Dini (head writer) and Keith Giffen (story consultant) with Tony Bedard
Penciller: Carlos Magno
Inker: Rooney Ramos

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Desaad"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Walter Simonson
Inker: Walter Simonson

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge



MARY MARVEL

Mary awakens in space only to be confronted by Eclipso. The bipolar witch had teleported them to safety and reveals she had planned for the two of them to take over Apokolips and dethrone Darkseid. Mary angrily retaliates that she's been manipulated by lies, promptly steal Eclipso's power source and uses it for herself.

JIMMY OLSEN

JimmyandForager have been separated upon arrival and Jimmy is under close watch in the incineration pits. Captain Vyle reveals they know Jim's powers only kick in when he's in mortal danger and that he'll be tortured to within an inch of his life but never to the point he may die. Darkseid wants him and they'll keep him subdued till his usefulness is at hand. Jimmy comes across someone that seems like a fellow slave and follows him into the shadows. When completely out of sight he's shocked to discover its his friend Mister Miracle!

Miracle has escaped the Death of the New Gods and has been desperately searching for the life essence of his wife, Big Barda. Jimmy reveals that somehow he's able to become anencyclopediaof DCU continuity when the writers feel like it and then a buffoon the next. Miracle unlocks Jimmy's restraints and tries talking to his Mother Box and almost poetically gives us a spoiler for the future:

"We're ALL lost. The Fourth World, it's lived its life... it's Counting Down. Then came a time the New Gods died..." (Fifth World #1 subscriptions now accepted at all good retailers)

Jimmy jokes that it seems like Miracle wasn't addressing him... perhaps his Mother Box or our wallets... who knows...

Miracle instead breaks the sales pitch and grabs Jimmy. He knows how Jimmy's powers work and he also knows Darkseid wants him alive. In theory if Jimmy were to say...fallhead first into an Apokoliptian Fire Pit... something is going to happen...

So be it.

MR MXYZPTLK

The Fifth Dimension, which exists outside the multiverse is Mxy's home and its residents are worried about his disappearance. Mxy arrives in his gal Gispies home and begs her to shut the doorway to Earth forever. Superman Prime is the endofall there is and Mxy is fearful of ever crossing his path again...

PIPER & TRICKSTER

Another day another slew of anti gay jokes.

Bigotedattitudes aside, we now find the two most incompetent characters in DC history making a getaway on the back of a freight train 1930's tramp style as they quote.

Trickster reveals he's always known Piper's identity beneath the mask and just as we're about to delve into some development of these characters for the first time ever - Deadshot ambushes them.

Deadshot is on a Suicide Squad mission to apprehend the villains but lets his temper get the better of him and decides to kill them instead. The two discover a shipment of car batteries, parts and in particular hubcaps. They fake surrender to get close enough to entrap Deadshot. They strangle him with their shock cuffs - which if tampered with emit a painful charge. They try to knock him off the train but Trickster is unlucky. He is also snagged off and while the three of them are being electrocuted Deadshot crushes Trickster's skull into the ground as the train speeds along.

Deadshot hurls into the dirt and as they speed away Deadshot fires two bullets at Piper. By some miracle Piper is still alive, conscious and able to take the bullets screaming:

"No! Not him... Not Now!"

Piper drags his friend back inside the train car and jokes with him. Piper flips over James and sees the fatal wounds...

To Be Continued...

Back-Up Story: "The Origin of Deadshot"
Write: Scott Beatty
Penciller: Freddie E. Williams II
Inker: Freddie E. Williams II

Deadshot was gifted with skillful aim and a desire to disarm crime... seemingly. Batman discovered it was a ruse to take down crime so he could be its leader. Over the years he has attempted on several occasions to rid himself of the Dark Knight almost to the level of having a death wish. This naturally led to him joining the government team "The Suicide Squad" but after many years service on this 'expendable' team, Floyd Lawton decided to leave the Squad and start a family.

All was going well until his family came under threat and Lawton discovered Squad membership is life or death - not choice.

5Story - 5: I enjoyed this issue as it tightened more of the story which was flailing like a choking octopus till recently. Still a lot needs doing and the only reason its got a high rating is that it is obvious hard work is underway to repair some of the holy crapiness that we've had dished out. I liked that this issue clarified that the fifth dimension existed outside the multiverse as that opens up possibilities - will that lead to something?

There is a lot of potential in Countdown that just went wrong somewhere, issues like this prove not everything is lost so - hooray for clean up crews!

I'm personally very very sad that DC has dropped good stories for Marvel style 'special' or 'trade paperback' events especially as they've led the way in innovation for 70+ years but maybe the new director will change that so I'll stick with DC hoping DD and his 'celebrity writer' stints are given the boot.

5Art - 5: This week the artwork seems very well composed for a weekly comic - no mean feat, especially with how many issues they have to churn out on a regular basis. I truly admire the speed, skill and dedication from the art team. Some of the splashes are truly great from Mary confronting her puppeteer to Trickster's apparent demise. I only hope they can keep it up now the book is beginning to draw to a climax into the next big arc.

1Back-Up Story - 1: It wasn't that the story was bad - it was just that I find the character dull, uninteresting and very bland. That being said, his history and motivations were clearly scripted here and though I wont be hunting down his past or future appearances at least I know who he is. Not sure if knowing his story will change your life.

5Back-Up Art - 5: Cartoony, but well serving. Sad it's not for more than a two pager as the artwork was the only thing that really kept my attention. Where is Freddie working next? I'll buy it!

3Cover Art - 3: Wha? Jimmy in boy tie and with his SLR camera? Wha?

Parademons chasing him down? Wha?

This didn't happen inside so that's a point right there.

Jimmy's attire is another... Let's say you bought the newest issue of Superman and on the cover he was sporting his Containment Suit and executing Lex but inside the story was his divorce from Lois wouldn't you be irritated? All it takes is a little research and an editor that hasn't 'phoned it in.'


Mild Mannered Reviews

2008

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

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