T-MINUS: "Countdown" #29

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"…and she gave me the old '52 pickup,' if you know what I mean." - Double Down

T-Minus 29

Our first stop this week delivers us to Earth-8, home of Lord Havok and his Extremeists, who, by the way, don't seem to like visitors, as evidenced by a severe beatdown handed to our friendly neighborhood Challengers. Harsh, but true, as the heroes spend much of this week trussed up in the clutches of the villain and his posse. However, having them in such a compromising position means that the other Monitors can strike, though the attempted attack only draws the wrath of Lord Havok upon the Monitors as well. Toss in the arrival of Monarch and the death of the Jokester (so soon?) and you've got a very sticky situation, one that the heroes barely get away from, for now anyway.

Back on New Earth, Jimmy Olsen gets picked up by the Newsboy Legion, Holly and Harley survive the sharks and Mary Marvel explores the dark side with her new mentor (which, while brief, sums it all up nicely). With all that going on, a quick stop in on Piper, Trickster and Double Down shows us that the three villains aren't far from the radar of those mysterious forces that are bagging and vanishing super-villains.

Also this week, Karate Kid, Una, Buddy Blank and his grandson chat with Brother Eye a bit more, which doesn't end well, as the supercomputer decided that it doesn't appreciated being ignored until trouble arrives, and decided to make sure it'll never be ignored again, just so long as it can trap it's four visitors in the abandoned bunker with it forever. Commence assault.

Picking up the back-page slack, Scott Beatty and Scott McDaniel (two, two, two Scotts for one!) cover the origin of everyone's favorite flightless bird, The Penguin.


Gather around, kids, and I'm going to explain who this Lord Havok guy is and why you should care. Back in the early 1970s they didn't do any inter-company crossovers, not officially anyway. The writers, in an attempt to do such a crossover, created analogous characters of the competition's heroes. In the case of Marvel, it was a little team called the Squadron Supreme and, in "Justice League of America" #87 (February 1971), DC introduced a group of heroes from a parallel world called the Champions of Angor (also The Assemblers and The Justifiers). The Champions were DC's answer to the Avengers and included Wandjini (Thor), Silver Sorceress (Scarlet Witch), Blue Jay (Yellow Jacket) and a number of others. It was a one-shot kind of storyline and (unlike Marvel's Squadron Supreme) the group disappeared from common usage. The team reappeared in "Justice League International" in the late 1980s. Their world had been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. The origin of the holocaust was Lord Havok and the Extremists. The Extremists were also Marvel analogs and were composed of Lord Havok (models after Dr. Doom), Dreamslayer (Dormammu), Gorgon (Dr. Octopus), Tracer (Sabretooth) and Doctor Diehard (Magneto). The Extremists, who now rule Earth-8, will have their own upcoming "Countdown" mini-series.

Out on shelves this week is "Green Arrow/Black Canary" #1, which will answer many of your questions about the wedding arc that was featured in "Countdown." The Corps War rolls on in this week's "Green Lantern" and answers questions about how Kyle Rayner went from host for Parallax to being a Green Lantern again and (I can't believe I'm saying it) Booster Gold, the hero of "52," visits Jonah Hex in another amazing issue.


BE: Damn fine issue. Again this week we have a solid, cohesive storyline that flows well and tells a compelling series of stories.

JE: I thought it was pretty good. The art wasn't exactly awesome, but the story was fairly solid. Still a lot going on, and a little trimming might have helped, but it still worked.

BE: The art was, indeed, a little hit and miss, but happily, I felt like I see where all of this is heading. It's obvious that the Challengers have become the principal feature here. Last week they were on a world where things went well for the world, on Earth-8, they have gone horribly wrong. This is the first we've seen of the Villain since "Justice League Europe" #18 (September 1990). With a group of world conquerors, the monitors and Monarch on their tail, the Challengers are in a bad way.

JE: Yeah, that's some ugly time. I've been wondering how Kyle is keeping his ring charged, though. Lots of weird stops that likely don't have access to a lantern battery.

BE: I think that's a really good question, but we may need to wait and see how the Corps War shakes out, but the latest issue of "Green Lantern" reveals how Kyle got his groove back.

JE: Still, seeing the extremes of the new Multiverse is pretty cool. Though, why make us love the Jokester so much if only to snuff him out so quickly?

BE: That really struck me as a waste. If the plan was to make the death have impact, we needed to see more of this character. Again, I think time constraints are the root of this sort of planning.

JE: And wow, man, on the "JLE" reference. Jeez.

BE: I'm here for all your referential needs. Jimmy Olsen, strolling through the sewers of Metropolis encounters the Newsboy Legion, because if I was the newsboy legion, that's where I would be.

JE: Do I detect a note of sarcasm there? Personally, the little buggers creep me out.

BE: And which kids are these? In "Seven Soldiers of Victory" the legion was all grown up and if I recall correctly, there were some young clones of the original newsboys made by Cadmus.

JE: Ah, more "Seven Soldiers" to torture my mind with. I still think that'll get revealed as a whole separate Earth.

BE: On Themyscira, our wanna-be Amazons face off with monsters in a battle of survival of the fittest. After last week's revelation about Athena, I am convinced that she is actually Granny Goodness and these are her surrogate Female Furies. There, I said it.

JE: Very nice. Very nice indeed. I'm not going to argue that one because a) you're totally right and b) I want to see Holly and Harley decked out in the latest Apokalyptian fashions. This also plays well into the first issue of "Green Arrow/Black Canary" this week, which lays the plot against Ollie and Dinah solely at the feet of Athena, tentatively because she wanted to recruit Dinah.

BE: And for those that didn't pick up the follow-up to the Ollie/Dinah honeymoon, you have no soul.

JE: I wouldn't go that far.

BE: Piper and Trickster are on the road again and this time with Double Down. Wow, how the mighty have fallen. We also get further inferences of the upcoming "Salvation Run" series.

JE: I'm interested in that story. My favorite tale from "Infinite Crisis" was the introduction of the Secret Six and the war of the villains, and I kind of see this heading in the same direction, though I mourn the loss of the Secret Six.

BE: The villains are definitely solid gold lately. The Secret Six, the Suicide Squad and the new Injustice League have, frankly, proven to have better legs than the heroes. With the Piper and Trickster story arc, "Salvation Run" and Batman fronting the Outsiders as bad guys, this is a good time to be a villain in the DCU.

JE: Agreed.

BE: Mary Marvel. Jeez, what are we gonna do with you?

JE: I'm more worried about what we're going to do with Eclipso's hair, but yeah, turning cows into fish was a little much.

BE: Yeah, I got nuthin'.

JE: There's a first.

BE: Brother Eye wants some friends. Was that blast turning Buddy into OMAC?

JE: On second glance, I think Brother Eye was blasting Val, though, when I read your statement, I had a serious glimmer of hope there. Perhaps next week.

BE: And see, after your comment, I went back and looked and now I think he's just pounding Karate Kid. Regardless, OMAC is coming back. That leads to an obvious statement, but, DC is giving out all kinds of Kirby love at the moment. We have the New Gods, Jimmy Olsen at Cadmus, the Newsboy Legion and OMAC. That's a whole lot of Kirby.

JE: Never, ever a bad thing.

BE: We close with the Challengers on the run, the ongoing Monarch Recruitment Worlds Tour™ and his usual offer.

JE: I have to wonder, just from a prospective general's standpoint, if recruiting all these badasses could backfire, since so many of them seem more self-inclined than to be interested in fighting a war of the worlds, so to speak. I have to think they'd be cutting each other's throats long before the Monitors got involved. After all, even just looking at recent weeks, we've got a team of Nazis and Lord Havok's group: two world dominators in the same camp?

BE: Villains falling on each other like packs of wild dogs? Surely you jest? While that might be the likely outcome, my money is on Monarch at the moment. It is the year of the villain after all.

Panel of the Week

That is one crazy lady.


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