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T-MINUS: “Countdown to Final Crisis” #4

by  in Comic News Comment
T-MINUS: “Countdown to Final Crisis” #4

“Is this nightmare ever going to end?” — Mary Marvel

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

T-Minus 04

Welcome home, heroes!

“Countdown To Final Crisis” #4

After a dizzying trip to one of the alternate worlds, later revealed to be the reconstituted Earth-51 by the Monitor called Solomon, the Challengers and their friends have returned to New Earth, arriving atop the Daily Planet building thanks to Jimmy Olsen’s ability to use Boom Tube technology. But with the arrival come a number of endings for the team, as Firestorm departs, only to be quickly followed by Harley Quinn and Holly Robinson, who precede Jason Todd’s exit, as well. As the numbers dwindle, Mary Marvel also takes a powder as the Challengers make for the Hall of Justice.

On the streets, we follow Holly and Harley’s trip to the bus station and their plans to return to Gotham City. They are joined by a now-costumeless Jason Todd, who admits he broke into a store, grabbed some new gear, and threw out the Red Robin costume. Unfortunately, the new duds don’t exactly have a wallet, and Jason asks the girls who will front his bus fare home.

The interlude for our heroes continues as we follow Mary Marvel back to her apartment, a private sanctuary now defiled by the presence of Darkseid. The Lord of Apokolips has come bearing a gift, the power of Black Adam left behind during Mary’s final confrontation with Eclipso. Summoning her own power, Mary is tempted by Darkseid, and accepts his gift of dark power, and promises to do him but a single favor. And on Paradise Island, Hippolyta, who can seemingly feel the seduction of Mary, offers a muted prayer for the little girl now lost.

Also, out in the reaches of the Multiversal Nexus, the remaining Monitors stand ready to face the next challenge, as Solomon continues to manipulate events in his favor. Having isolated the Morticoccus virus to the reconstituted Earth-51 and destroying that realm once again, Darkseid has lost an important tool. Now, all Solomon feels he has to do is wait.

Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice (man, that never gets old), the Challengers arrive to warn the Justice League of Darkseid’s manipulations, only to be attacked by the most recent manipulation in the flesh, Mary Marvel, complete with dark power once again. The superpowered young lady decimates the remaining Challengers, brushing aside Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, the Atom and Forager as she captures jimmy Olsen and absconds with him, presumably back to Darkseid.

Rounding it out, Scott Beatty and Cliff Chiang provide the Origin of Ra’s Al Ghul.


BE: Wow. First evil Mary was an upskirt, this one is all — um — chest region.

JE: I can’t take any joy in it. How could I have been so wrong about Eclipso?

BE: We can’t win’ em all. Sean McKeever back in the co-pilot seat, though I expected Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. Nice to have Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne on the art chores. Very crisp.

JE: I love Jamal Igle. I was really hoping he would have gotten to stick around on “Nightwing” last year, but to no avail. Still, he deserves a good, high profile book again.

BE: According to his blog, he’s working on “Tangent: Superman’s Reign” after the first issue.

JE: Excellent. Seems an interesting choice.

BE: So, either the Great Disaster was all a big hoax occurring on another world, or the Great Disaster is not the Morticoccus.

JE: Okay, let me see if I got this: Solomon informs us that the Earth we were previously on, the final Earth in the multiverse, was also destroyed by Superman-Prime, which was regenerated and returned to its previous glory and then destroyed… again. Did I get that right? I assume that the destruction of this universe was a gambit to remove Darkseid’s ability to use the Morticoccus, since none of the heroes seem to be worried about it anymore.

BE: So, basically the reconstituted Earth was window dressing to draw attention away from Earths that had not already been destroyed?

JE: Correct.

BE: And how can you have a suitable conclusion without breaking up the band first? Yoko Ono would be proud.

JE: Wow. I think that was the saddest pop culture reference we’ve pulled out of the bag yet. Nice work.

BE: It’s a service I provide. Jason is in full asshat mode, but at least he ditched the Red Robin get-up. Hopefully we’ll get the Red Helmet back.

JE: Gotta say I’ve been missing the Red Hood, for certain. Unfortunately, him going on yet another 180 turn away from his personality arc is frustrating for those of us that expected better. Nice of him to break into a store that sells his previous street gear, though.

BE: I’ll happily take him as a criminal with an agenda, just so long as they pick something and stick with it.

JE: Absolutely my point. Directionless characters are already far too numerous to name. Let’s do something good with the ones we can save.

BE: Darkseid, Mary and a bucket-load of Evil. Looks like we were pretty close on our guesses. Now we need a street fight between Jimmy and Darkseid to finish things up. Perhaps a motorcycle race.

JE: Perhaps a venture around the world via train, hot air balloon, and tramp steamer.

BE: And a time limit of some kind — hmm.

JE: But what could we choose? God, we’re nerds.

BE: Seems that Solomon sent the Morticoccus and our team to Earth-51. I am somewhat disturbed at the idea that the Monitors can just “fix” absolute destruction — unless DC has lost count on the Earths again.

JE: Like I said, I think I got that straightened out, but God only knows at this point. I still think we’re the only people that differentiate between New Earth and Earth-1, as was properly addressed in “52.”

BE: I’m desperately hoping that “Final Crisis” sorts out the numbering, or we go back to truly infinite Earths.

JE: An interesting possibility, considering how many of the 52 have been given backgrounds to coincide with Elseworlds tales that neatly wrapped up on their own. Few need more exploration.

BE: Mary with Black Adam’s power versus the Challengers (or what’s left of them) is not much of a fight. This is a Kryptonian level fight.

JE: I doubt even a Kryptonian would stand much chance, considering Mary is amped up on magic. We need Wonder Woman on the scene, or at least the last Amazonian regiment.

BE: Please, no more “Amazon’s Attack.”

JE: Allright, but only since you said please.

BE: This week’s origin is Ra’s al Ghul by Scott Beatty and Cliff Chiang. Chiang’s artwork here is phenomenal. It’s nice to see that “The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul” storyline was included.

JE: I thought so, as well. I also liked the inclusion of the “…of The Demon” stories, as well, though the trilogy really isn’t complete without “Bride of The Demon,” I think.

BE: I’ll vote for any book with Ra’s in it.

JE: Attaboy.

BE: Next issue: Speaking of Kryptonians.

JE: Superman vs. Omega beams. ‘Nuff said.

BE: I’m hoping this ties “Death of the New Gods” in solidly with the final “Countdown.”

JE: Dude, you just totally violated Jonah’s cardinal rule! No Europe references!

BE: In the “They might be right” category, this week our speculations about the Legion of Superheroes were given some credence. We noted, early on, that the Karate Kid and Una from “Countdown” were not from the current Legion series and that the various Legion incarnations might be from different Earths. Remember in “Justice Society of America” #6, when Superman said, “Time travel was never easy on us. Once in a while memories would be altered or even erased. One of the Legion’s most historical adventures remains undocumented because none of us could recall the exact circumstances behind it. The archives called it ‘The Legion of Three Worlds?'”

From “Action Comics” #863, the “Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds” teaser

Well, this week’s “Action Comics” #863 reveals a teaser of the “Final Crisis” tie-in series “Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds” by Geoff Johns and George Perez. The mini-series, which will premiere in August, will feature three different Legions from DC history or, rather, future history. And the bad guys will be the Legion of Supervillains led by Superman-Prime. As a huge Legion fan, I’m loving this idea. [see attached scans of the teaser]

JE: I’ll admit, I’m not quite the Legion fan you are, but the story seems appropriate, given that this year is indeed the 50th anniversary of the Legion, and, as such, the inclusion of George Perez is a no-brainer. Last year at the Pittsburgh Comicon, he noted the anniversary and that the only team he’s never taken a turn at is the Legion. Now, he gets his wish. Looks excellent.

BE: Johns and Perez is enough to sell me, even if it wasn’t the Legion. Frankly, I think that Johns’ recent Legion story in “Action Comics” has been the best Legion series since Levitz and Giffen left “Legion of Superheroes.”

Panel of the Week

How biblical — the Devil and Eve, with stakes just as great.

Now discuss this story in CBR’s Countdown to Final Crisis forum.


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