T-MINUS: "Countdown" #42

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"Did you expect a sidekick job?"- Batman

T-Minus 42

Following up on last week's capture, Trickster and the Pied Piper awake in the clutches of Multiplex and Deadshot, being shipped off to God only knows where, and they're chained together in such a way that, if someone pulls to hard, both good old boys get a jolt from the electricity generators in the manacles, perfect for keeping everyone in line.

Except for the fact that Trickster has other plans. Pulling a fake tooth, Trickster sets off an explosive and drags Piper out the nearest door, only to find that they're actually in a plane and about 10,000 feet up. Whoops.

In Gotham City, Mary Marvel tracks a criminal, only to run into Edward Nygma, the recently reformed Riddler, who explains, after some trouble, that he, too, is on the trail of the baddie. The two join forces, albeit reluctantly, and catch up to the master villain that is Clayface. Though the pair is nearly drowned in the mud body of the maniac, Mary Marvel miraculously escapes his clutches and generates a whirlwind that kicks old Clayface, quite literally, into orbit. The Riddler suggests that Mary, who seems a little overwhelmed by her new powers, should find a mentor of some kind.

From the rooftops above Batman watches, only to be confronted by Val Armor, the Karate Kid of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who explains to the Batman that the kids are heading back to their own time, and while Val tries to make a little peace following the first meeting of the two heroes (which ended in a fistfight back in "JLA"), Batman brushes the Kid off and warns him that a second meeting would not end similarly.

Quick notes of the week: The Challengers of Beyond recruit Ryan Choi, the All-New Atom, to help them explore the Palmerverse, Holly and Harley discuss Athena's motivations and Jimmy Olsen considers costume arrangements.


BE: The cover is a bit much isn't it? I hardly expect a cover with Mary and the Riddler in a mud-bath.

JE: A little tacky, though having Riddler involved is another lark of Paul Dini's, as is the current incarnation of Harley Quinn, both straight from "Detective Comics."

BE: And obviously characters dear to his heart from "Batman: The Animated Series."

JE: Not only his heart, either. Anyone else remember "Riddler's Reform?"

BE: Indeed I do, but I don't see Nygma hawking a line of toys this time. Still and all, it's obvious that Dini has love for Riddler and Harley. With the Holly/Harley storyline, I am just as skeptical as Holly.

JE: Agreed, though I'm waiting for a little more information. And we at least did get our information about Harley's stint on the "Secret Six."

BE: At the risk of being grumpy about it, this would have been easily resolved if "Secret Six" had been made into a regular series instead of a miniseries. Ah well, I can dream.

JE: Grumpy? I don't see any grumpy. I see a very logical point. "Secret" Six should have been made into an ongoing right off the bat, rather than "Shadowpact," at least in my opinion.

BE: As a huge Bill Willingham fan, I would rather suggest that we had been spared the "Warlord" relaunch in favor of more "Secret Six." At least there's always a chance they could appear in "Birds of Prey" again.

JE: I'll buy that. "Warlord" without Mike Grell is just wrong.

BE: Perhaps I am missing something, but Multiplex and Deadshot are arresting the Rogues? Perhaps the Secret Six are renting themselves out to the DEO.

JE: Perhaps, though the rest of the team is absent and the jet doesn't look to have any ties to the Six. Hopefully, it's just Deadshot earning some extra cash, because I'll be sickened by the addition of a true loser like Multiplex to the ranks of the Six.

BE: It's probably too early to assume this is Amanda Waller's doing.

JE: Probably, though the reformation of a Suicide Squad is hardly out of the question.

BE: The last one didn't work out so well over in "Checkmate," but with a new "Suicide Squad" series coming September 12th by John Ostrander. We all may begin rejoicing.

JE: Dude, I've been rejoicing. Catch up anytiyou like.

BE: Poor Trickster, his guilt is going to be his real jailer, though the image in his nightmare doesn't exactly match with "Flash" #13, does it?

JE: Nightmares tend to have that effect. Not having read "Flash" #13, I can speculate 'til I'm blue in the face, but I think it's enough to know that his actions (or inactions, as the case may be) aren't sitting well with him.

BE: Indeed. Mary seems to have inherited Black Adam's impulsiveness along with his powers.

JE: A little bit, but I wrote this off as her youthfulness showing through. After all, no matter how similar the powers are, there will be some subtle differences, and it's probably a lot of fun to learn how to cut loose like that.

BE: While I am sure that that is the initial explanation, I am sure the further corruption of Mary Marvel is in the offing before any chance at redemption. Did I say impulsiveness? Seems that Mary has also inherited Adam's callousness as well after she tosses Clayface into orbit!

JE: See above for me. I just don't think she knows her own limits, and, really, how do you save a pile of dirt?

BE: I just wonder what Batman would say.

JE: I'd say he owes old Clayface for the "Hey, I'm Jason Todd" gag.

BE: Speaking of callous, Batman seemed a bit harsh with Karate Kid, or was it just me?

JE: The Kid took him to task a little bit and he was cocky about it to boot. Batman was just putting him in his place, though I think he was smiling a little bit when Kid took off.

BE: A little. I was sincerely hoping that Karate Kid would be joining the Outsiders.

JE: That would have been pretty cool, I have to say.

BE: Although Karate Kid soloed in his own 15 issue title in the 1970s, and everything old is new again, we might see him wandering the Earth like Caine in "Kung-Fu."

JE: Man, let the eBay searches commence. I had no idea about that series, but you can believe I'll be looking for it now, because that idea is just too cool to ever pass up.

BE: The Challengers of Beyond have a 4th member with the New Atom added. We have reports of Kyle Rayner joining them, but he'll need to get disentangled from the Sinestro Corps before that can happen.

JE: Don't look for any resolution in this storyline to come along anytime soon. Sure, we have a teaser image, but that's supposedly an image that is a summary of what happens at the end of "Countdown." I doubt we'll be seeing Kyle anytime soon, or Jason in the red Robin gear. I kind of look for those things to happen well down the road.

BE: Indeed, but I'd like to pontificate on this for a moment. To me, this is the meat of the "Countdown" storyline. It's no secret that I have a great love for the DC Multiverse. I have said at least a dozen times that the first comic that I bought with my own money was "Justice League of America" #100 in 1974 (yes, I'm frightfully old). That comic was a JLA/JSA crossover and I fell in love with the idea of multiple Earths. The Challengers of Beyond (as well as the Search for Ray Palmer) give us a wonderful opportunity to look at the new Multiverse. And this week we hear that in October Sean McKeever will write "Countdown Presents The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Syndicate " #1 (an absurdly long title). This will be our post-"52" look at Earth-3 and, along with the Crime Syndicate, we'll be seeing a new character: The Jokester. I love this kind of stuff. And it's also very nice to see Jason, Kyle and Donna at the center of this.

JE: Right on target. 'Nuff said.

BE: I don't think I ever want an explosive tooth. I don't know what this demonstrates more: the Trickster's craziness or his cleverness.

JE: It would at least be quicker than a cyanide filled tooth if things went really bad, though any love of a Jawbreaker could be flirting with disaster. All kidding aside, I'd say clever, even with the jumping out of the plane. After all, he's still got his flying shoes on - no danger there.

BE: That's an old Flash fan talking. The flying shoes were the first thing I thought of as well.

JE: I totally want me some flying shoes.

BE: Next issue, the cover has our Rogues front and center.

JE: To quote Lawrence Fishburne, "We gotta fled!"

BE: Only at T-Minus will you get insightful views and movie quotes from 1996!

Panel of the Week

Guilt is a crusher… maybe Trickster isn't all bad…


The Flash's [SPOILER] Just Returned - and They Don't Look Happy

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