Almost a year ago, Dylan and I reviewed the first 2 months of countdown on “Battle of the Century” and we came to the conclusion that the first two months sucked major ######. It was no “52”. This month, the end of this dreadful series is swiftly approaching and the start of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis is less than three weeks away. So, I thought I’d stop in and check on the weekly series that refused to be cancelled and review the last could issues. First, the covers are excellent; second, there is no second.
Jumping back on with part 49 of a 52 part story can be quite confusing. Lucky (unlucky?) for me the rest of the DCU has been littered with countdown tie-ins and references, so I’m not as lost as I would be if I knew nothing going in. The issue starts with tons of random C-listers discussing their future plans and the fate of one Jimmy Olsen… pause, why isn’t he dead yet? God, I hope Darkseid kills him. Never has there been a more useless or idiotic character in comics than Jimmy Olsen, end digression… who happens to possess all the powers and energies of the recently deceased 4th World New Gods. OMG, so much pointless back story. Anyways, Mary Marvel, who recently battled back the darkness in her soul (played by Eclipso), finds Darkseid just chilling in her apartment. Seriously, does Darkseid seem the type to “chill”? Lameness aside, Mary and Darkseid have an uninteresting conversation about strangers and candy, wherein he offers her a pinkish/purple orb of evil power in exchange for the delivery of the Olsen. Apparently, this orb of evil represented the power she so recently cast off. Of course, crappy writing ensues, and she accepts the offer and shatters months of character development. So, Mary battles her once in a while teammates and kidnaps the Olsenbug.
In the next issue, #3, Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner and Ray Palmer enlist the aid of the dumbest JLAer at the Hall of Justice, Roy Harper. Man, Roy is so dumb in this comic. After convincing the retarded Harper to call in the reserves, we switch scenes to some unspecified desert land where Mary delivers Olsen to her new sugar daddy, Darkseid. Blah blah blah for a few panels and then Superman shows up to start the inevitably lackluster battle. Both combatants banter back in forth. The subtext of the fight implies that they’ve never battled before. This, of course, annoys yours truly to no end. It was only a few years ago that Superman trapped Darkseid in the Source Wall after throwing down in one of the all-time greatest fights in comic book history. Sure, you remember, we even based a Vs. card on it. Anyway, Supes talks a mad bunch of shit, but all for naught when Darkseid decides to turn Jimmy Olsen into a deadly block of Kryptonite thereby sapping Supes of his strength. Death by Olsen… how embarrassing.
I know this all sounds perfectly ludicrous, but it all really happens. This is not an imaginary story. First question: Paul Dini, when did you become such a hack? Second question: How much money has DC lost by continuing to publish this dreck?
A few final words: although it’s still a big steaming pile, it smells less pungent than it did a year ago, so, there’s that at least. And it feels like one, continuous story… a continuously bad story, but continuity all the same. Should you bother with this final month of Countdown as a lead in to Final Crisis? Hard to say. I’ll leave you with this final image and you can decide for yourself.