“Wait, you took it easy on me?” – Jimmy Olsen
First up, a trip to the Microverse brings the Challengers of Beyond team into contact with the mini-sorceress named Belthera, self-proclaimed ruler of all she surveys. The problem is that she’s got the power to back it up, turning Atom into an actual insect and turning Bob against the team, leaving Jason Todd and Donna Troy without much hope for a violent escape.
In Shadowcrest, Mary marvel loses a bout with a magic mirror used by Zatanna, and she’s stripped of her powers just long enough to be booted from the mystic mansion forevermore. Unfortunately, it also leaves her prey to the tender mercies of Eclipso.
Karate Kid and Una quickly bring down Equus, earning them a meeting with the mysterious Mr. Orr, who happens to be working for Checkmate, though many questions are still left unanswered.
On the JLA satellite, Jimmy Olsen gets his butt handed to him by the Justice League. He thinks it’s because they weren’t actually trying to kill him, holding back just enough to keep his powers from kicking in. From the standpoint of the League, though, a quick genetic scan leaves them certain that jimmy has no powers at all. However, the mystery of his secret laden mind also remains unanswered.
Finally, Holly Robinson enters into Athena’s secret circle, though it happens to be a gladiatorial combat ring where all the women are forced to fight. Holly is almost the winner at the close of her segment this week, facing only one mysterious opponent in a gladiatorial harlequin helm.
This week featured the publication of “Countdown to Adventure.” The series has two stories in each issue. The first half has the adventures of Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire, the space-faring heroes from the pages of “52.” The second half, however, features the origins of Forerunner, from the pages of “Countdown.” With writing by Adam Beechen and Justin Grey, you’ll find this book to be a great addition to the DC Universe. If that isn’t incentive enough, issue #2 features Forerunner against the Justice League from a world where the Nazis won WWII.
BE: While the art didn’t thrill me this issue, I really liked the scene transitions.
JE: It was enjoyable. Honestly, I think the art got better close to the end, so there’s another vote in the “practice makes perfect” column.
BE: I think I just missed Mr. McDaniel. The Challengers of Beyond find themselves prisoners of the bug-loving Queen Belthera. I had no luck finding other references to her majesty, so we can assume that she’s new.
JE: Yeah, the well was dry on my end, too. Interesting, to say the least, though having the All-New Atom getting turned into a bug was a little severe. However, kudos to the art here, because on that one page, I was sure that she had not only turned him into a bug, but exterminated him in the last panel.
BE: There was excellent impact in that scene.
JE: Yeah, pretty hardy stuff. Still, I hope it doesn’t drag out. I’d like to see the team get to some more world-hopping soon.
BE: I think we’ll be seeing that with upcoming issues showing Jason and Owlman, as well as the “Countdown” spin-offs that will focus on other Earths in the multiverse. Mary has been evicted by Zatanna and it seems that the corrupting factor is definitely Black Adam’s power. I guess Eclipso has Mary right where she wants her.
JE: No one more vulnerable than someone who’s not only inexperienced, but also alienated everyone who could potentially protect her. Nice trick on Zatanna’s part with the mirror, though. And with the cover solicit for Countdown to Mystery seen this issue, I wonder if Mary and Eclipso will be visited by Dr. Fate.
BE: We can only hope that Mary appears in Dr. Fate’s new book. Steve Gerber writing Mary Marvel would be very interesting. Two Words: Poor Jimmy.
JE: Oh come on, that was hysterical! Especially the burn marks on his tummy (see below). That was excellent. And the “Wait, you weren’t trying to kill me?” gag doesn’t get old.
BE: What the heck is happening here? You’re defending the Jimmy Olsen storyline? Wasn’t it you that insisted that “Jimmy Olsen must die?!?”
JE: And if he must die, wouldn’t it be all the better if it was done at the hands of the Justice League?
BE: You’re a sick man. I like it.
JE: Hey, he’s got a bunch of secrets in his head and if he just happened to get greased during a “training accident,” I’m saying no one would look too hard.
BE: I see a Source Wall in his future. The Amazon women’s shelters are training grounds for an army? I’m shocked, really. And I have no idea who Holly could be fighting that would wear a Harlequin faced helmet. I swear.
JE: Hmmm. I wonder. And yes, I can sense the sarcasm, but I’m still gonna say I told you so on the training ground.
BE: You completely nailed it. So, now that “Amazons Attack” is over, will our ladies be heading to Themyscira?
JE: That’s my guess. That, or some other refuge where Athena can build up forces. I’m kind of reminded of the old “Superia Stratagem” storyline from “Captain America” way, way back when.
BE: That’s a reasonable comparison. I’m still not sure that this Athena is the goddess we’ve been seeing in “Amazons Attack.” Karate Kid and Una finally meet Mr. Orr, but we really don’t get many answers here.
JE: Doesn’t he kinda look like Eddie Fyers of “Green Arrow” fame to you? Mr. Orr, I mean, not Karate Kid. Or Una.
BE: Yeah and a young Jim Gordon as well.
JE: Good call. Weird stuff, that.
BE: Only so many ways you can draw a guy with glasses and a mustache, I suppose. Bob under the sway of the evil Queen Belthera? This is a power curve I didn’t see. I think this would have had more impact if we had some history with Belthera.
JE: Yeah, not exactly a cool twist when it’s so out of left field. However, it makes me wonder if, by being a renegade, Bob lacks the power of his brothers in some way.
BE: See, every week you come out of left field with this stuff and then you are proven correct.
JE: I guess I’m just at home out there. Can I help it if a fly ball just lands in my glove once in a while? And yes that will be the last time I make a baseball reference here.
BE: I’d call that a home run.
Panel of the Week