T-MINUS: "Countdown" #29

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"You say that like it'll be easy." - Nightshade

T-Minus 29

As we draw ever closer to the midpoint of the series, our week opens with Jimmy Olsen being kidnapped by the New God known as Forager. With Jimmy in tow, the New God asks the newly-empowered "Earth Bug" to help her find our just who or what is killing the New Gods. As for the rest of the issue, we've got:

  • Piper and Trickster affect an escape, once again, from the merciless might of the Suicide Squad, this time aided by Checkmate's White Bishop, King Faraday. Double Down, however, is not so lucky.
  • Karate Kid and Una, after testing wills with Brother Eye and his interesting new speech patterns, learn that the next stop on their quest for information about the virus is in the ruined city of Bludhaven.
  • The Shadowpact, after seeing Mary marvel's downward spiral, elects to step in and bring her down, peacefully or in pieces.
  • Monarch's latest recruits from the Crime Society join him in combat against the Challengers from Beyond and Lord Havok, leading to the defeat of the Challengers.

Back in the back, its two, two, two origins for the price of one, as Scott Beatty and Ethan Van Sciver show us just how Trickster and the Pied Piper got to their place in life.


BE: Tony Bedard comes on board this week and with the Keith Giffen layouts you can be promised that Keith had a hand in the storytelling. This is usually a good thing.

JE: Usually, but I though this week felt a little rushed. Not that it was bad, it just felt like again it was trying to do too much just to forward the different story points, without ever really lingering anywhere.

BE: We see this about once a month. It seems like a bit of decompression or a rush to get everything as close to on time in regards to the monthly titles.

JE: Yep, just a growing pain of the system.

BE: I feel that the closer we get (and we're almost half way there) to "Final Crisis," the tighter we'll see the story get. Looks like you nailed it again. This is the new Forager and she's foraging for Jimmy Olsen.

JE: Interesting, but I need to see more. The old Forager was one of my favorite characters, even from just a brief stint in "Cosmic Odyssey." Let's see if this one holds water (at least until she dies at the hands of who's hunting the New Gods).

BE: Well (allow me to channel my old man), in August of 1972, I bought my first comic books with my own money. The one I talk about the most was "Justice League of America" #100 and another one was "New Gods" #9. "New Gods" #9 was the first appearance of the Forager. As a result, I'm right there with you. I have a great deal of affinity for the "bug."

JE: No old man in there. Forager was a great character that died a heroic death back when characters didn't get killed off much. Very strong character with a good, heroic legacy.

BE: Back at the diner, Trickster and Piper run afoul of the new Suicide Squad. Looks like King Faraday has been added to the mix. No surprise that Waller's right hand man in present.

JE: Actually, it is to me, since that makes a solid link between Waller and the Squad, who are supposed to be flying under the radar. Maybe this jumped the gun a bit in comparison to this week's "Checkmate," but I hope to see more of Faraday in either book.

BE: We can only assume that this is further consolidation of power by the White Queen. Waller inspires amazing loyalty as well as being a master of blackmail. And apparently they stole some equipment from the Men in Black.

JE: Where's Will Smith when you need him?

BE: Starring in "I Am Legend." Coming to theaters December 14th (and no, I don't get kick-backs for this).

JE: That looks awesome, by the way. Anyway, this was, perhaps, my least favorite moment in the book.

BE: I really need to know, why is Floyd calling the shots here?

JE: Yeah, what was up with Deadshot? He's the last person I thought would be bossing someone around, considering that the pecking order of the group shown would put him fourth after Faraday, Rick Flag and Bronze Tiger, leaving really only Multiplex who might listen to him.

BE: I'm afraid this is a case of Paul writing the characters the way he would for his own projects, rather than the way they are established by current continuity. But, really, does anyone write Deadshot as well as Ostrander or Simone?

JE: No, he's best handled by those two, without a doubt. There's a certain magic to Deadshot that's hard to capture, so it also may be Tony Bedard's failing, as well.

BE: Floyd is a challenging character. You have to balance the smart-ass with the father figure with the contract killer and then throw in a dash of loyalty.

JE: Don't forget psycho, too.

BE: So, is Buddy Blank the new OMAC - or is it the grandson?

JE: I was wondering the same thing, though playing Nintendo with a supercomputer would be pretty cool.

BE: Yeah, did anyone over the age of 30 not have a "War Games" moment?

JE: Dude, I'm younger than that and I still had that moment. Frickin' scary.

BE: Our writers, I'm sure, remember that fine film, and I'm sure their memories will be used to good advantage. Mary's just gone completely insane. The comparison to Spectre and what happened with the Shadowpact was very apt. I was thinking the same thing, a page earlier.

JE: Yeah, power tends to corrupt very seriously, but my real question is will we see the fight between Mary and the 'Pact in this book, or over in "Shadowpact?"

BE: Frankly, I'm hoping to bleed some of this off to "Shadowpact" so we can ramp up the story and so I can see Bill Willingham write it.

JE: I'm in the same boat, but only to see more time devoted to the story as a whole, no matter who is writing it.

BE: The New Gods are dying. I can only pray that this will be resolved to the good in "Final Crisis." But for those playing along at home, this week we have "Death of the New Gods" #1 by Jim Starlin. They don't get any better than Starlin.

JE: Nope, especially considering he wrote the aforementioned "Cosmic Odyssey." Starlin is probably the worthiest heir to the Kirby DC legacy.

BE: Not to spoil, but this week's issue has already done part of that by revealing that Big Barda is dead. I encourage you to go right now and read "Death of the New Gods" #1. I can only say that more than one Kirby creation bites the dust.

JE: No!

BE: And a big one drops dead on page two. Jim goes for the quick and merciless kill as well and the slow and painful one. He remains a brilliant writer as well as a first class artist. Monarch is consolidating his forces and it's gone all bad for the Challengers.

JE: Talk about overkill. The Extremists, the CSA, Monarch and Forerunner? Crap, just hit 'em with Doomsday and get it over with.

BE: I frankly think it's about time for the multiverse's heroes to start showing up to counter the forces of Monarch.

JE: I smell the need for a Justice League Task Force!

BE: Don't be that guy.

JE: Dude, what!?

BE: We close with two origins, beautifully rendered by Ethan Van Sciver. Nice stuff.

JE: Most excellent. Nicely done, too, since we can't have one character without the other. Whaddaya think? Van Sciver and Dini on a "Rogues" book?

BE: I'd buy it.

Panel of the Week

And now you won't remember reading this at all.


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