Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Countdown 46

Countdown 46

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 13, 2007

Cover date: June 13, 2007

"Weapon of War"

Writer: Paul Dini (head writer) with Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Penciller: Jesus Saiz
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti

Back-Up Story: "History of the Multiverse - Chapter Four"
Write: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Norm Rapmund

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Jimmy and Lois chat about the Amazon's attack, and Jimmy leaves to examine a tip.

Mary Marvel, with her new powers, descends on a group of pregnant women in Gotham chanting to a piece of the Rock of Eternity. A demon made out of babies emerges and threatens Mary.

Mirror Master and Pied Piper chat for three pages, leading into a brawl Captain Cold breaks up.

Jimmy walks into an apartment to find Sleez, who reveals that he's plotting revenge on Darkseid. A bolt of light comes in and kills him, while Holly protects innocents outside.

Mary and the creature fight, with Mary telling herself she could care less if she ends up killing the beast, while dropping a car on it. They are both struck by what appears to be lightning from nowhere, and the fight ends, though Mary is gone.

Red Hood chats with Donna Troy for two pages about the Monitor and how he's trying to kill alternate Earth versions of heroes. The Monitors see this, and chat about it, releasing Forerunner, the creature they use to execute their will, and something they think the rogue monitor should have done in the first place.

Donna and Red Hood gets smacked about by a being that is purple and goes superfast. She reveals herself to Todd, in the form of Forerunner, a leather-clad purple and blue woman.

1Main Story - 1: Okay. That's it. I'm done. I gave this series a fair chance, and now I'm dropping it.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still borrow a copy from my friend, read it, and return it so that I can review it for you guys, but I'm not buying another issue of Countdown until I have a good reason to. So far, I've had none.

This series so far is, hands down, empty of characterization, wholly plot-reliant, wasteful of media, and ridiculously derivative.

I can't count on one hand the number of "chats" this book has, where the writer, reliant on telling and not showing, has exposition blatantly shoved down our throats. The baby monster. Jimmy and Lois. The Flash rogues. Sleez and Jimmy. Donna and Hood. The Monitors.

Re-fricking-diculous. Amateur. Rank amateur crap that any good writer can see and avoid.

This isn't Neal with a mad-on for Dini and crew. To the contrary, I have nothing but praise for Dini and what he's done to my life and art. But this series, judged independently, is failing miserably.

I'm unimpressed by the new, edgier Mary Marvel, because there's nothing to show me how or why she's edgier, beyond craving power. Hitch one, it's out of her character, there's no catalyst. Hitch two, even if you buy past hitch one, she goes from craving power to instantly threatening to kill. This is like the Austen Superman.


The pregnant women who summon the (yes, this is real) stillborn soul stealing monster, real great taste there, Dini, DC. A baby demon. I mean, I'm the unoffendable monster here, but that gave even me pause. It's like having Slut-Woman or Bio-Degradeable Crap Man. Might be interesting, but think about what it is.

Regardless, they're introduced as a dilemma, and then never resolved. It is utterly wasted with deus ex machina when, from nowhere, they're both struck with a bolt of lightning and the demon goes down, but Mary doesn't, despite Mary intimating she doesn't know if she can stop it because it's so much more powerful. Well, so much for that. Doesn't surprise me, really, that I didn't see this until the second reading, because you're so lulled with boredom you're not paying attention at this point.

Honestly, tell me, do you think you've gotten eighteen dollars (plus tax) worth of story so far?

What's happened?

Lightray died. Sleez died. Duela died. Mary Marvel arbitrarily went evil for power. Jimmy Olsen's doing strange things with ill definition. The Monitors are up to something, but are illogical in how they're going about them (more on that in a second). Darkseid is involved, though no one knows how. The rogues chat a lot.

So death and boring exposition. Stock and trade of the bad in grim and gritty gimmick epics.

How much of this is memorable or even decent for a regular book, let alone an ongoing event? Random plugs, arbitrary dilemmas that are unresolved, a near-criminally imcompetent lack of general characterization beyond non-sequitors, and to top that off, that embarrassing feeling that you could be writing better than this, which, though many think they can, is not often the case. Regardless, when you sit there saying, "Man, I could do this without trying" it's not good entertainment.

Chatting, chatting, chatting, chatting. Worthless exposition is like nails on a chalkboard to a minimalist like me. And reviews to the contrary, where I exposit like hell so I don't in my writing, where I get that out, I'm very much against arbitrary dialogue and worthless endeavors for characters who are supposed to make every moment pivotal to their lives. Even BENDIS doesn't exposit like this, and that's his schtick.

What are those pregnant woman doing?

Why does a villain who's been gone for five hundred years know what American is and our clichés for people who don't speak the language right (How do you say)?

How does Captain Cold's appearance justify the rogues BSing and fighting YET AGAIN for three more wasted pages?

Why does it take Jimmy a full page to enter a building?

Why does Todd know about the Anti-Monitors, and how did he know they're trying to kill anomalies exclusively? Duela could have been an anomaly of the Jokers, there was no connection in his train of thought I observed.

Forerunner, in no way a play or rip-off of Harbinger, and an unoriginal one designed for ooh factor.

The Monitors, somehow, have stopped becoming a democratic voting entity (seen recently) and instead are just sending off murderers again randomly, only now in a larger congregation as opposed to one random baddies. They also have yet to have any real characterization or motivation beyond "We hate anomalies, inc." without any reason.

This whole series so far, top to bottom, is relying solely on its own cool factor. How cool it is to see Donna Troy, Jimmy, Red Hood, Monitors, Darkseid and the New Gods, Superman, and "bad" Mary Marvel.

I wash my hands of it. Enough. I'm an adult, and I expect better, particularly for my hard-earned cash.

4Main Art - 4: The art is pretty spiffy. Some of the lines toward the middle are a bit bolder, and some of the colors are faded, per with the rogues scene, but they're all justified by the scene. It doesn't stand out incredibly, and there are no major splash scenes that jump out at me, this no five, but it tells the tale, gets the job done, does everything it's supposed to without any major complaints from me.

3Back-up Story - 3: The story takes a bit of hitch here, not accomplishing too much, though the last three have been fairly progressive and innovative. Mostly because this is the "boring" part of the history, where it became schlocky and stock, so I don't blame Jurgens so much.

5Back-up Art - 5: Dan Jurgens remains one of my all-time favorites, and this art does nothing to diminish it. Classic, clean renderings, and find work in dynamic paneling.

4Cover Art - 4: It occurs in the issue, it's a dynamic pose, and the coloring is great in the background. The foreground is a bit dark, but nothing over all is lost. I'm not moved to be compelled so much by the characters involved here, but the picture itself works.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2007

February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2007.