“Only a lunatic is willing to watch his life getting ground into the dirt before standing up and taking some of his pride back.” – Jason Todd
|“Countdown to Final Crisis” #11|
With Brother Eye’s arrival on Apokolips, you wouldn’t think that a planet from hell could get much worse, but it does. As OMAC soldiers lay siege to the planet, converting all the Parademons in their wake, Solomon gloats over Darkseid’s concern, picking up the theme of chess from last week and placing the Dark Lord of Apokolips in check.
Elsewhere on the planet, the Challengers debate their next course of action, with Kyle Rayner trying to shake Ray Palmer out of his lethargy and getting him back in the game. The Great Disaster must be averted and he may be the key to the whole mess. Unfortunately, progress is slow and Jason Todd decides to strike out on his won. Spying Brother Eye far across the planet, he determines to make his own assault on Batman’s greatest creation and find a way back to his home planet.
Brought to the planet for as-yet unknown reasons, Pied Piper considers his own lot, ultimately deciding to end his plight by pulling Trickster’s severed hand from the cuffs he is bound to and blowing himself up. However, just as he is about to take the final escape, a shadowy figure offers him aid, but who it may be will have to wait until later, as the focus of the issue turns to Holly Robinson, Harley Quinn and Mary Batson, who find themselves locked in battle with Granny Goodness and the Female Furies.
The fight is long and involved, with Mad Harriet buying the big one after being bitten on the nose by Mary before being gunned down by her own troops. Additionally, the other Furies get taken apart by Holly and Harley. The trio picks up some gear from the fallen soldiers and makes a break for it, only to be drawn down a long, dark path by Mary, who seeks to free the imprisoned gods of Olympus.
Back on Earth, Forager and Jimmy Olsen visit some old friends, the Hairies, in an attempt to recruit some aid for the coming battle, which will likely also take them to Apokolips.
Finally, our tale turns to Karate Kid and Una, who enter the fray after being transported to the hell planet along with Brother Eye. After fighting their way free of Parademons and running the gauntlet of Apokolips, Val leads Una towards some answers, only to be surprised when Una herself transforms into one of Brotehr Eye’s many pawns, and OMAC.
BE: Nice lead in again this week. Solomon uses Brother Eye as his castle in his “Lucena position” (as mentioned last week as he places Darkseid in “check.”). Now we know who summoned him to Apokolips.
JE: Are you sure Brother Eye was the rook, my friend? Eye found his own way to Apokolips, but there were plenty of other people who were invited to the hellish place.
BE: While I’m certain that Brother Eye thinks it was his idea, I believe that Solomon orchestrated it.
JE: I’m going to hold judgment on that. Not to supplant your instrumental chess knowledge, but I think there’s still a piece or two left in play for Solomon.
BE: Or the guys at DC are just using chess terms because they think it’s cool and I am reading too much into it.
Art this week is Mike Norton and Mark McKenna. This is nice stuff.
JE: Yes, I was very happy to see this artwork. It suited the tone perfectly. We’ve got artists drawing like it’s a big superhero adventure and that’s what it is.
BE: You know, I was looking for the phrasing to say that and you nailed it. It was very heroic. Karate Kid, Una, the Challengers, Piper, Holly, Harley and Mary. The gang’s all here — unfortunately for them, here is Apokolips.
JE: See the aforementioned “hellish place” comment. I’m pretty pleased, though, that all the players aren’t clumped together. There are still separate stories to be told, which we’ll get into shortly.
BE: Jason is in rare form here. I think he left any hope of kindness back on Earth-51.
JE: Or he sees what could become of his own world and decided to be proactive instead of reactive. Leaving Donna and Kyle behind, at least for now, is a good move on his part.
BE: I’m going out on a limb here, but if the original plan was to make Jason into the new Batman, this is the way to do it.
JE: You’re right. He’s certainly showing that strong will to go his own way, damn his teammates opinions, and do the right thing.
BE: And a million Kyle Rayner fans cried out and were suddenly silenced — ok, maybe a hundred.
JE: Oh, that’s harsh.
BE: OMACs on Apokolips. This is a bold move, but how effective can the OMAC virus be against gods?
JE: Well, so far it looks pretty effective on the cannon fodder. Those were Parademons getting converted down there.
BE: And for everyone involved, that’s a bad thing. Poor Piper is out of his mind, but it seems that someone else has plans for him. My money is on Desaad.
JE: Good, we’re on the same page, then. I couldn’t imagine anyone else with that fashion sense picking up that lunatic. What a sad sack he’s become. Question: we never did learn who he and Trickster were going to see about the handcuffs, did we?
BE: We did not. I assumed it to be Calculator, but that was just based on my gut feeling.
JE: Interesting. Very interesting.
BE: The fight between the New Amazons and the Female Furies is fun. Good dialog here, especially Harley. Paul Dini has such a voice for her. But I have to ask, since when were sub-Catwoman level characters a match for the Female Furies?
JE: I thought the same thing, but stick with me here: Granny was training them to be the new Female Furies, so there is some logic to the fight. After all, to be the man, you need to beat the man, to quote an aging wrestler, and Harley isn’t exactly a sub-anyone character. As we discussed last week, the “Harley Quinn” hardcover has arrived, and it reminds us that Poison Ivy provided our favorite little clown with a potion that boosted her abilities somewhat. And, really, beyond that, it was just a good, fun fight. No complaints here.
BE: Excellent points and as the stars of the show, they have to be shown to be heroic. Heroes rise to the challenge by definition. And if the New Amazons free the old gods from Apokolips, what does that mean for Harley and Holly? We can assume Mary will get her powers back.
JE: “Favored of the Gods” has never been a bad place to be.
BE: Even when the Gods are serving 5 to 10 in Hotel Apokolips.
JE: Grateful, at that point, would be an understatement.
BE: You know, if they play this right, we could have Holly, Harley and Mary in a New Amazons series. I’d beg, on bended knee, for Gail Simone to write it.
JE: I’d dig it, though I don’t think it should be a “New Amazons” series. Actually, I’d probably cut Mary and make it a new “Gotham Girls” series.
BE: Forager and Jimmy arrive in a special locale: the “Habitat.” Now, I know you are all wondering who these guys are. These are the Hairies, a group of high-tech hippies that first appeared in “Jimmy Olsen” #136 (Mar 1971). The Hairies were “step-ups,” a group of genetically engineered geniuses created by the prototype for what would become the Cadmus Project, the DNA project. The Hairies (according to Superman) “have evolved hair-trigger minds and they can come up with mechanical wonders.” The group tended to stay mobile, but the Habitat was located outside of Metropolis. The fellow in the yellow and blue appears to be Jude, their elected leader.
JE: Something to think about here, at least from my end: Don’t the Hairies kind of remind you of the Forever People?
BE: They were both hippies. Kirby was always in touch with the time period. The New Gods (and the Eternals) had roots in the “Chariots of the Gods” craze. His Captain America had race related issues. The problem is that all of Kirby’s characters became frozen in time. Were he writing today we would have Space Goths and Emo Gods.
JE: Bite your tongue bloody. Of course, from what I hear of Mr. Miracle’s turn as a creature of Anti-life, your estimates are not far off.
BE: Mr. Miracle is, indeed, now, the most emo of the New Gods. Una is an OMAC. Sadly, I have to say, this has to be the only reason for her presence, because except for one (seemingly forgotten) kiss, she hasn’t done much up till now.
JE: Yeah, I’ll buy that it’s been planned, but let me give the creative team this sliver of doubt: Was it that seemingly-forgotten kiss that infected Una, and Brother Eye has been playing her since then?
BE: Oooh. You are sharp, sir. I’d call that a very accurate assumption.
JE: Can’t let you do all the work, can I?
BE: Fortunately, no. Scott Beatty cheats this week by quoting the Legend of Solomon Grundy word for word. That being said, I am positive that the scenes for the quotes were his to select and the glorious art of Tom Mandrake brings it all together. I’ve been a huge fan of Mandrake since his “Grimjack” days. Nice stuff here.
JE: No finer compliment can be given, it seems, than “Nice stuff,” and I heartily agree. I’m glad to see more and more of Mandrake in the DCU this last year. His turn at the “Crime Bible” series a few months ago was exceptional (and consider that my shameless plug of the week).
BE: I’m sure the kickbacks will come rolling in very soon.
JE: That hardcover edition would look nice on my bookshelf when it comes out. I’m just sayin’.
Panel of the Week
Nose bit off to spite her face, then gunned down? Not a good day to be Mad Harriet.