T-MINUS: "Countdown" #45

By Justin Eger and Brian K. Eason

"Oh, I fully intend to give you an old-school beat-down." – Donna Troy

Previously in the DCUAttack of the Forerunner, the return (and destruction) of an Apokaliptan porn king, a fight with a demon covered in babies and a dinner with the Rogues before they unleashed their ultimate plan.

T-Minus 45Picking up from last issue, Forerunner hands out a further beating to Jason Todd, saved only by the return of Donna Troy to the battlefield. The fight moves back and forth, with Forerunner's enhanced speed and strength aiding her against Donna's knowledge of combat, which ranges from the standard sword and shield to the use of an M-60 machine gun. Ultimately, though, the fight is settled by the arrival of a Monitor, who takes Jason and Donna away. The Monitors, in turn, make that Monitor and his two new charges their next targets.

Forerunner is left behind, disgraced and unable to complete her mission, though the power that is Monarch is watching…

In Metropolis, Jimmy Olsen tries a Lois Lane trick, though one that is hardly as cool as Clark's use of the Lois Lane Handbook back in "52." No, this time around, Jimmy is using a tape recorder to talk out his thoughts about what happened to Lightray, where the New Gods are, and what is going on with his own bursts of superpowers. Unfortunately, Jimmy is so caught up in his work that he's failed to notice a figure stalking him from the shadows.

Figures in shadows are also the name of the game for Holly Robinson, who, while chatting with the hobo she saved last issue, is approached by a shadowy woman in a long, flowing gown, a woman with an offer for Holly.

On the JLA satellite, the Legion members talk with Dr. Midnight, talking about just what they're doing here (a conversation that takes place several weeks ago our time, during the "Lightning Saga" running through "Justice League of America" and "Justice Society of America").

The back up feature continues to review the crossovers that affected the multiverse, from beings of power to heroes displaced in time, as well as the discovery of Earth-S and Earth Prime, as well as the first meetings between the JLA, JSA and the Marvel Family.

CommentsBE: So, Forerunner, she's tough. I'd like to see her up against a Kryptonian to make a comparison. Doesn't this cry out for a Power Girl fight?

JE: Beyond the cry of the fanboy, really?

BE: In all seriousness, Justin Gray in his interview regarding "Countdown to Adventure" mentions the dichotomy between Power Girl's look and Forerunner's less traditional look.

JE: Hmph. Good point, though I still worry about fights for the sole reason of fashion. I do like the idea of a Kryptonian being the benchmark of power in the DCU, though.

BE: And hasn't DC taken enough damage?

JE: Never, ever enough. Ever. Imagine a global-scale "No Man's Land."

BE: I meant Washington D.C., but I take your meaning.

JE: Oh. My bad. yeah, I guess that it probably has. Still, what do they expect? It's really the center of "man's world."

BE: I like Donna here. She's a great character that has, despite all the retcons, held on to our collective imaginations. I would like to have seen her continue as Wonder Woman. She needs a name other than Troia or Donna, though. Also, Donna with a shotgun. I think I'm in love.

JE: She was about awesome this week. I'm glad she got some serious face time, considering how little she's been used lately (beyond her minor stint as Wonder Woman). She's just as hard as Wonder Woman, but without the same baggage, and it's nice to see that put to good use.

I prefer the sword and shield, myself, but hey, big toys for big girls?

BE: This is a character I began reading in the early '70s in the "Teen Titans," so she's dear to my heart. I hope theY find a real place for her in the DCU.

JE: Hopefully this book will do exactly what "52" did -- make new players in the universe, even if they aren't always at the forefront of the stories.

BE: And despite the hue and cry, I'm hoping Jason Todd stays one of them.

JE: Seconded!

BE: Jimmy gives us a nice piece of expository dialog to tell us who the New Gods are, but I'm sure that Jimmy knows that Mister Miracle is from New Genesis and Orion is from Apokolips. There may be plans to clarify this during the storyline. New readers could definitely use a Kirby primer.

JE: I thought this was done pretty well, considering that Jimmy likely doesn't know everything about the New Gods. In answer to your second comment, I think that Jimmy referred to Mr. Miracle simply because he was a product of the environment he was raised in, rather than referring to his actual heritage.

BE: That's more than likely the case, coupled with the fact that we had a two page spread to cover the Fourth World. We also see that Jimmy does in fact realize that he is getting superpowers and considering the reference to the "source wall between worlds" made by the monitors, I am becoming more convinced that Jimmy is tapping into powers from other Earths.

JE: Wild and kooky, man. Wild and kooky.

BE: Donna and Jason? Hey, I'm just saying, it could happen. Heh. Dick Grayson would have kittens if they hooked up.

JE: I've been quietly thinking that since this whole thing started weeks ago. Glad I'm not the only one seeing the signals.

BE: And that was the sound of a million fanboys crying out and then suddenly silenced.

JE: Yeah. Suck it, fanboys!

BE: Holly and the homeless guy are approached by a shadowy figure. Do you recognize the silhouette? I don't.

JE: Gowned lady. Amazonian, likely. Circe? Artemis? But who's the OTHER shadowy figure that is following Jimmy?

BE: The way this thing is headed I am betting it's one of the Forever People.

JE: Moonrider, maybe? He ended up being kind of mean and vicious back in the day.

BE: He did, but I am sincerely hoping that most of the non-Kirby New Gods continuity was conveniently erased by "Infinite Crisis."

JE: Probably will be, at least for less-central characters like the Forever People.

BE: Origin of the forerunners as I see it: ancient race bred for war, they have a revolt, they come under the care of the Monitors and are bred so that they can't turn against their masters. Yeah. These Monitors are real sweethearts.

JE: Personally, I think they're so soft, I want a plushy Monitor. Maybe one with suction cups to hang in the back window of my car, too. And a shirt that says "I hunt anomalies" with a picture of a Monitor on it. Then another shirt that just says "Anomaly." That would rule.

BE: I'd pay cash for that. I hope the folks that handle DC Direct are reading.

JE: If they are, I want a piece of that fat money cake. Or freebies of the products.

BE: I've created a monster.

JE: Yeah, a marketing monster!

BE: On the JLA satellite we see the Legionnaires and Dr. Midnight. This ties into the current JLA/JSA team up that concluded in this week's "Justice League of America." The ending was huge and in an attempt to avoid spoiling it, that's all I'll say, but if you check the Countdown message boards here at CBR, I am sure you will get your answer.

JE: Huge, yes, but unfortunately, it lost some impact for me because of all the con reports. And, yeah, everyone was looking one way, but we got something much cooler, something that we both wanted.

And now, since we've got it and its ramifications over in "JLA," I have to ask, is the JLA now just too big for it's own good? We've got eleven members now.

BE: The new creative team, helmed by Dwayne McDuffie (yay) says he'll be paring the team down to a managable size. He used seven on the "Justice League" animated series, I think that's a great number.

JE: My thoughts exactly. Dwayne rules, by the way. So glad to see he's the man to pick up the torch. But now I have to ask (again): pick your seven.

BE: I would look for a diverse team. He showed that in the animated series: a mix of personalties, powers, races and genders. You have to have the big three I think, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I'll say he'll bring in John Stewart; Black Lightning and Hawk Girl will stay. Finally? I'm going to say the new Aquaman.

JE: Nice. Good logic. I'm going to muddy the waters a bid and say that, with Batman taking over the Outsiders, I don't think he should be on the JLA at the same time. I don't want him to be the "Wolverine" of the DCU, being in 12 books at once. That said, I say Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Red Arrow, Black Lightning, Vixen and either Hal Jordan or The Flash.

BE: In our closing scene we have Monarch/Captain Atom. Am I the only one frightened by the fact that the Monarch is the same guy that just did a tour of the Multiverse?

JE: Oh, hell no. I think he and Forerunner might end up stalking Jason, Donna and that Monitor across the worlds. Scary stuff.

BE: Since Forerunner -- or perhaps a Forerunner -- is a principle character in "Countdown to Adventure," I am wondering if Monarch is the impetus for that title.

JE: Possible. Very possible. Or her adventure with Monarch lead her to a place where her solo stories pick up, sort of her finding a new way after being manipulated by Monarch.

BE: That's more likely the case as Dan DiDio said she is initially tied to a villain and that her feature in "Countdown To Adventure" will have her hopping worlds, the cover of the second issue shows her battling a Nazi JLA.

JE: Man, I know they're the bad guys, but SS Batman and SS Wonder Woman look awesome.

BE: We have some fun stuff in the backup feature. The "man of Earth-Prime who gained extraordinary powers" hat appears at the bottom of the first page? Yeah, that's Cary Bates, who was writing JLA at the time the story took place. Cary had Julius Schwartz, Elliot S! Maggin and himself appear in the story. It was a wacky time.

JE: Thank you. That was bugging me. And speaking of the backup feature and all those kick-ass cameo pictures, let me ask you this: Do you think DC could/should/would market an "Enemy Ace" book in the same vein as the current "Jonah Hex" title?

BE: I'd buy it in a heart beat and I think right now is the perfect time for a title like "Enemy Ace" to return.

JE: Maybe we should write it.

BE: Hey, Dan, we're available, call us. Next week? Monarch?

JE: I'm glad for this. I always thought that Monarch was a cool character with a really cool look. Why no one ever said "Hey, he's an armored Batman" though, I'll never know.

BE: It could be the whole part where he swerved and made it Hank Hall...

JE: Yeah, cause we've had no experience with any "swerves" lately.

BE: Final note of the week, I'm interested in seeing what happens with the Rogues in the light of "The Flash:The Fastest Man Alive" #13. Again, no spoilers, but unless readers are living under a rock they know that our prediction last week that the current writer of Flash wouldn't be sticking around was dead on.

JE: I was going to mention this to you if you hadn't. I didn't get the issue in question yet, but it would be interesting to really look at how much effort Piper and Trickster put into the attack. It would seriously outline their personal motives, at least to me.

BE: Piper was involved, but it was obvious that his agenda was something else entirely. Trickster was a cypher in the story, frankly, all of the Rogues seemed really like window dressing with the exception of Abra Kadabra, who noticed that Flash and Inertia looked a little too much alike.

JE: Can I ask who dealt the killing blow? Kadabra?

BE: It was the lot of them. Everyone more or less struck as one.

JE: And the Rogues, my friend, are officially f-ed. They are so, so dead. To call down not only the wrath of the Teen Titans, but the JSA and the JLA as well. I wouldn't want any of those people mad at me, and the Rogues just went and dared all of them to come out and play. Wow, just wow.

BE: If it were me, I'd hide.

Panel of the Week

So this is why gun magazines use chicks to sell stuff…


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