T-MINUS: "Countdown" #34

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"You need serious… I mean serious help." - John Henry Irons

T-Minus 34

Returning for this week's fun are everyone's favorite Rouges, Pied Piper and Trickster, who get left as bait in Gotham for the World's Greatest Detective by Deathstroke. The problem? Someone wants to talk to the boys a whole lot more and, after a trip around the world about 70 times, the Flash talks to the guys very, very painfully. After all, the Rogues killed his cousin, so it's payback time.

Trying to talk their way out of the situation, Piper and Trickster warn Wally that they are rigged with microphones so Deathstroke would know where the heroes were as he plans his attack on the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary. They're just bait, and it's all a big misunderstanding. The problem is really that Wally doesn't care, and he begins to use the electric chain holding the Rogues to fry them both on the grave of Bart Allen, the murdered Flash.

With that taking up the majority of the week, the rest really can be summed up in a few short sentences.

  • In the Palmerverse, Jason and Donna make good their escape as they try to take down Queen Belthara.
  • In Metropolis, Holly Robinson and Harley Quinn, as the sole survivors of the gladiatorial combat held in the Athenian Help Shelter, have earned the right to travel to Paradise Island.
  • Karate Kid and Una are directed to find buddy Blank, as Mr. Orr reveals that Kid's virus is similar in nature to the nanotech used to create the OMACs. However, Orr's guidance comes at the hand of Darkseid's master planner, Desaad.
  • After a brief meeting with Klarion the Witch Boy, Mary Marvel gets bagged like big game for the terrible infant, who promises her that it'll all be over soon.
  • Getting help from John Henry Irons, Jimmy Olsen unveils a vision of the Source Wall to the scientist, albeit unwillingly, and Irons thinks that it's time to get some really big guns involved.

Our backup feature this week also touches on the highlights in the career of one Lex Luthor, mad genius.


BE: Trickster and Piper in a position that so many villains find themselves when in Gotham.

JE: And yet put there by the enemy. Go figure.

BE: And Dini used the irony of them being "saved" by Batman to its full advantage.

JE: If only Bats had been in the picture a bit longer for the real humor to begin.

BE: And they're also alive, not a position you'd expect after crossing Deathstroke.

JE: And maybe not so much after the way Wally decided to give them the business. With that in mind, and Batman's recent need to be so freakin' shadowy again, dare I say it, did "Infinite Crisis" change anything?

BE: Nail. Head. Yes, I asked the same question the other day. Wasn't this all supposed to make Batman a family man and make Wonder Woman more human? I'm not seeing it.

JE: Me either.

BE: Jimmy meets up with the new head of Infinity Inc. (whose title premiered this week), John Henry Irons.

JE: A logical step, since he's familiar with John Henry. Though, wow, how about that vision of the Source Wall. Looks like your thoughts as to the link are totally on the mark.

BE: How freakish will it all be if the Great Disaster hinges on Jimmy?

JE: Easily my greatest fear, because, really, we're screwed if that's the case.

BE: Wait. "Infinite Crisis" and the rebirth of the multiverse were caused by Alexander Luthor -- a redhead. Jimmy's a redhead. Therefore, Jimmy is Alexander Luthor. Yeah, I'm spitballing, here.

JE: "DC: The Ginger Wars" has a nice ring to it.

BE: Invite the Weasely family.

JE: And Cartman.

BE: Back to Wally and the Rogues. This is pretty rough for Wally. He's usually a more level head.

JE: See above. Add the fact that he's using their own cuffs to fry them. Though (this just occurred to me) he could fry them just enough to burn out the listening devices and make everyone think they're dead, including Deathstroke.

BE: My thoughts exactly. Wally has history with these guys and I think he's looking for a way to get them off the radar and find out what they are really up to. The Challengers appear to be heading elsewhere after their encounter with Belthera.

JE: Quick question: were you as confused by the sudden escape of Jason Todd? I felt like I was missing a page.

BE: Absolutely. Thanks for pointing that out. One second we are looking at the Donna/Belthera fight and the next page Jason is free and thanking Donna. I thought maybe it was just me.

JE: No, I kept rubbing my fingers against the page, because I thought there had to be some stuck together. If just felt like a real big hole. Maybe Donna's attack freed up enough room for Jason to slip out or something, but I'd have preferred it a little clearer.

BE: And I thought she punched something and freed him. Sloppy. Holly and Harley, off to Paradise Island as we predicted, but Amazons? Aren't all of the Amazons brainwashed and scattered throughout the world?

JE: Maybe this is the plan to repopulate the race. After all, Athena is the goddess of wisdom, so she could have predicted the failure of the Amazonian attack.

BE: I guess we'll have to wait and see, but this lacks the power of the Oolong Island mystery in "52." This just feels like a lack of coordination between this story and "Amazon's Attack."

JE: Well, "Amazons" has been a clinical failure in the eyes of most, and some DC folks have admitted to poor coordination. Ah, well, these things certainly happen. A shame, though, especially since the importance of "Countdown" was oft described with the "If something big is happening, like 'Amazons Attack,' you'll see it here."

BE: On an up note, an island of new Amazons that have roots in the human world may be the impetus for ditching the old Amazons. If that's the case, then we have a potentially cool storyline, maybe a series: The New Amazons.

JE: That could rock out. Get George Perez behind this thing and it is gold.

BE: Klarion the creepy Witch Boy makes an appearance. And what do we make of this?

JE: If it was anyone else, I'd say that Klarion was about to sell Mary on the magical black market as a slave. But it's Klarion, and, unless he's changed dramatically in recent years, I imagine he's got something more childish in mind

BE: Desaad is guiding our time-tossed Legionaries via Mr. Orr? Thoughts?

JE: Just a question: Is it Darkseid's handiwork, or is Desaad acting on his own?

BE: I have to figure this is all Darkseid. As to why he is interested in the legion, I have no idea, unless it involves the Levitz/Giffen "Great Darkness Saga" in "Legion" back in the 1980s.

JE: But it seems to be less Legion and more just Karate Kid as a player in the game. And, on that note, here's a wild thought: why haven't the Monitors tried to pick Karate Kid and Una off yet, since they're as much anomalies as anyone else, and certainly more than some?

BE: Unless their Legion is the real future of New Earth. That seems unlikely considering Mark Waid's Legion appearing in recent "The Brave and the Bold." Oh, and with OMAC and Buddy Blank, the future is unfolding in a very Kirby-esque fashion.

JE: So freakin' awesome. I love old school OMAC and Buddy Blank. So, so cool to use as a reference. Kirby awesomeness arrives once again, though I have to wonder why DC seems to be working towards the elimination of all Kirby history from the DCU. No more New Gods, likely the death of OMAC will be on the board. Just gets me to thinking.

BE: What does that leave? Cadmus? The DNAliens? Kamandi?

JE: Correct me if I'm wrong, but Kamandi was barely referenced in "Battle for Bludhaven," but that was prior to the Kirby Assassinations, as I'm calling them. Cadmus hasn't really been in play for a while, and I don't think the DNAliens have been, either.

BE: Not since Dubblex in the Superboy series.

JE: Shhh! It's the "Young Superman" series now!

BE: Oh yes. I'd forgotten. Next issue, Ion joins the Challengers.

JE: About time, but is it Ion, or Parallax?

BE: Since the Sinestro Corps story is still ongoing, that's a good question.

Panel of the Week

Um, that was fast. Anyone want to loan be a fiver so I can buy a clue here?


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