T-MINUS: "Countdown" #32

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"Hawka!!!" - Lady Blackhawk

T-Minus 32

First and foremost, let's cover the easy parts, shall we?

Jimmy Olsen arrives at Project Cadmus in the care of Cannon, who leaves him with the facility's faculty to determine who and what might be causing Jimmy's powers. Meanwhile across the Multiverse, the Challengers From Beyond step into the world of the "Red Son" for a moment, only to jump across to the new home of the Crime Syndicate of America, Earth 3.

Not much easier than that, really. Now let's get to the fun stuff.

Mary Marvel, confronted with a lecherous Klarion the Witch Boy, does what a very angry young lady does best and throws a tantrum. Unfortunately, Mary's tantrums are backed up by some serious mystical power, and Klarion takes one heck of a beating. Leaving the Puritan punk behind, Mary seeks out the source of a mysterious voice, arriving in desecrated temple of Artemis to find her new mentor, Jean Loring, host to the powerful chaos lord known as Eclipso.

Okay, so that wasn't too much fun, but hey, what can be more fun than a bachelorette party and one that's attended by all the hottest superheroines? On hand to give Black Canary a proper send off, the partygoers run into trouble when a pair of party crashers named Pied Piper and Trickster run full on into the midst of the madness that is the DCU's wild women, chased by their keeper, the mummy Hassan.

Having escaped the clutches of the mummy, who happens to be good friends with Wally West, the villains try to make good their break out, and succeed only when the ladies at the party decide to smash Hssan first, because he's the one doing the most damage. With him under control, thanks to the mighty fists of Barda and lady Blackhawk, as well as a sexy stripping magic spell from Zatanna, the only thing left to do is clean up, particularly the puke left behind by Supergirl and Wonder Girl after they tried Lady Blackhawk's special blend.

And, for the record, Piper and Trickster are back on the road, no worse for the wear - yet.

Back in the way back, meet Eclipso, courtesy of Scott Beatty and Paul Winslade.


BE: Starting off with Mary and Klarion, I just don't remember him being the kind of kid that would act like this. I'm not very positive on the characterization here.

JE: Yeah, that was a little creepy. I guess hormones will do that to you.

BE: As a father with two teenagers, I can't agree more. Fortunately the Piper / Trickster / Flash scenes are gold. Wally is definitely Wally in this bit. I like that Wally is such close pals with Hassan.

JE: Yeah, that was so good. Every moment of that was just solid gold.

BE: There seem to be characters that the writing team does better than others.

JE: Yeah, most definitely, and they each have their own individual strengths. I guess that comes from the fact that most of them are very fresh writers. Time will make them even better.

BE: And the expression on Hassam's face when he gets lullabied is priceless.

JE: Pure genius. And the fact that Piper used the telephone to do it. Man, that was some slick thinking.

BE: Again, I think this book is begging for a Trickster/Piper monthly series. Possibly by Dan Slott.

JE: I'd pay the cash on the barrel for that. Either him or Dini taking on the regular chores, since he seems to have a good feel for humorous characters in really serious situations.

BE: Good to see Dubbilex again. There certainly seems to be a lot of Kirby love in these Jimmy Olsen pieces.

JE: Absolutely. I miss the old Cadmus stuff, especially since it was just used so well in the "Adventures of Superman" era and, later, in Superbo, err, Young Clone of Superman's separate literary adventures. I just kinda miss Jim Harper as Guardian.

BE: I am sure this will prompt another best of Jimmy Olsen trade paperback.

JE: Most definitely. Should we know who Cannon is? I feel like we should, but no bells in my head.

BE: Mickey "the Mechanic" Cannon from the pages of "Superboy" #57. He became the head of Cadmus after the Cadmus / Luthor war in 1994's "The Fall of Metropolis" storyline.

JE: Okay, that clears that up.

BE: While this issue suffered from some slowness, the bachelorette party at the strip club was wonderful in an "80's-sitcom-meets-an-episode-of-Scooby-Doo" kind of way.

JE: This whole scene saved the issue and the fact that there was some depth to each scene. It went well beyond just a highlight for the starring characters.

BE: I was thinking the same thing, especially the bits with Supergirl and Wonder Girl. Wonder Woman, however, is the biggest kill-joy in history.

JE: And if she hadn't been, man, the parental groups would have been all over this one. Still, it worked well.

BE: In a very "Boy Meets World" kind of way.

JE: Dude, have you been hanging out with my girlfriend? I've never, ever heard anyone else reference "Boy Meets World."

BE: The best part is Big Barda attacking Hassan, but, did you notice that her face is never shown? Is this a reference to the Death of the New Gods?

JE: More than likely, but I was thrilled by the fight itself. Lots of fun stuff there, especially considering Ollie's party was just so sedate. Tossing Barda in with Lady Blackhawk was a nice touch, too (lots of love for Lady Blackhawk in my house).

BE: Mine too. I really enjoyed seeing Gail Simone write these two in "Birds of Prey."

The Challengers are set up for next week's confrontation with the Crime Syndicate of Earth-Three and the Crime Syndicate on-shot.

JE: And a slight reference to the Jokester, as well. This was the Challengers side issue I was looking forward to the most. Well, that and "Red Rain." And "Gotham By Gaslight." And "Liberty Files." Okay, okay, I just love Elseworlds.

BE: Yes indeedy. I am a big goof for parallel worlds stories and between the Challengers of Beyond, Monarch's army and "Lord Havok and the Extremists," I have a lot to be happy about.

JE: And did you vote at dccomics.com for Monarch's army yet?

BE: But of course! Let's just say that I hope the Justice Riders do well.

JE: Dude, I could hug you. Still, I don't own a copy of that. So sad.

BE: And in all too brief a closing sequence, Mary finally meets Eclipso. I think we are finally going to start seeing some of the hints that were dropped in the two-page villain teaser come to fruition.

JE: Glad you mentioned it, but not for Mary and Eclipso, because that was a given, though Granny Goodness in the trio freaks me out a little.

BE: I think with that scene, we are looking at what happens to all good little heroines these days, they go to Apokalips.

JE: Now there's a scary-as-hell thought. But no, the image that's finally making the most sense to me is the Martian Manhunter, Catowman and Joker one. Since MM and Catty have joined the Outsiders and are supposed to be evil now, the betrayal finally gets a little clearer.

BE: Nail. Head. You hit it.

Panel of the Week

I'm in agreement with Trickster. That was enough to scar me for life.


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