Sep
18

Downcounting – A Guide for the Perplexed: #33, “Let’s Make a Deal”

Posted by on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 at 01:59:34 AM

So anyone looking at the August sales charts (shh — don’t tell Jamaal!) might notice that Countdown has experienced an unexpected sales bump. In an even more shocking twist, it turns out that it’s no sales bump — Countdown has been selling better than reported ALL ALONG!

I hear JSA is crossing over with Kingdom ComeAs discussed in the comments of Jamaal’s article, apparently Diamond was underreporting the sales of Countdown because the initial issues were returnable; now that it’s not returnable, we see that it’s actually solidly in the top 20, and one of DC’s only bonafide top-sellers. People, I thought we had a deal. On the subject of Countdown, To paraphrase Jay-Z, Hov’ reads that, so hopefully you won’t have to go through that. And now I find out that there are theoretically another ten thousand or so people who are buying this thing… I know I am but one small voice, but I know I am not alone. It’s harder to find someone who avowedly enjoys this book than someone who trashes it on a regular basis. But there’s clearly a Silent Majority buying this every week, and thrilling at the suspense of whether or not Mary Marvel will Go Evil or Not, whether Anyone Will Ever Find Ray Palmer, and Whether or Not Forerunner is Ever Going to Appear Again. I don’t know what to say. What more can I say?

Too often this is the only “positive” thing people think of when discussing DCWell, I do know one thing to say; let’s keep things positive, and point out that DC released a big chunk of books this week that ranged from decent to really quite good. Black Adam and Booster Gold follow up on characters from the actually-entertaining 52 in ways that might border on “continuity porn” but are at least enjoyable. Kurt Busiek continues his oft-sidetracked “Camelot Falls” story in Superman alongside Carlos Pacheco, and John Ostrander shows that the 1980s are back — in Countdown related mini-series with Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag. Best of all, Dwayne McDuffie makes his in-comic-Justice-League debut on JLA Wedding Special, which does not contain a wedding, but does contain some characterization and set-up that makes me excited to read the next issue of a Justice League comic for the first time since Joe Kelly left. And hell, they just put out Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus v.2 a couple of weeks ago — not only is it great, but it’s the foundation of half of what DC is doing right now. Why not pick up any of these books next week, in lieu of Countdown? I’ll be right here for you.

pp. 1-5: Piper and Trickster have a special skill for being part of completely contradictory scenes, often within the same book. Obviously, there’s the question of whether or not they murdered Bart Allen, something on which their entire story hinges. Then there’s the issue of Trickster’s constantly changing costume, and Piper’s Schroedinger’s Goatee. And who can forget the switchover between issues 42 and 41, full of so many discrepancies it resembled one of those old Highlights Magazine puzzles? Well, we’ve got another one for the files!

I hope that the explanation for this is that the Flash is just a lying asshole

LAST WEEK, Wally clutched the Rogues’ shackle in his hand, yanking it to give them a jolt as he declared “You deserve to die” with a look of fury across his face. But to open up this week, he’s telling the Rogues to calm down, as he never even touched their chain. Piper and Rogue reiterate their situation for anyone who had forgotten last week’s issue, at which point Flash removes Deathstroke’s deathtraps in their throats, and decides to believe their claims of innocence, because they didn’t try to run from him. They didn’t try to run from the Fastest Man Alive, therefore they can’t possibly be murderers! I guess that’s better than the “puppetry” defense. Flash doesn’t have the asshole from last week quite out of his system, and backhands Trickster and tells him to shut up as he considers his next step, which turns out to be to teleport them to Zatanna’s house for safekeeping.
HERE COME THE HOTSTEPPER, MISTER LOVER LOVERpp. 6-8: LAST WEEK, the C-List Monitor Posse were rocked by betrayal, as Belthera took control of Bob the Monitor! She made him open a portal into the Multiverse so that she could effect her escape, but Donna Troy put the kibosh on that by… er… shoving her into her escape portal. Not to be outdone for nonsense, Belthera yanked Donna along with her into the escape portal. All of this broke Belthera’s control over Bob the Monitor but also somehow left him incapable of you know, using his nigh-unlimited power to do anything but stand around. Luckily, Kyle Rayner appears out of nowhere (or more specifically, out of December’s Green Lantern 26, tenatively scheduled to go on sale the same week as Countdown #18) just in time to save Donna! He also ignites tensions between himself and Jason Todd, as Kyle and Donna used to be an item — and I guess if you read interviews with DC staffers, Jason Todd’s wants to bang Donna. They’ve never actually hinted at this in the comics, but hey! Interestingly, Gail Simone was writing Ryan Choi as having a schoolboy crush on Donna over in All-New Atom, proving the axiom that Everybody Loves Donna Troy. Man, if Jason finds out about this, there’s gonna be trouble…
pp. 9-11: Meanwhile, Klarion continues to act all menacingly with Mary Marvel, as the commodity he intends to barter are upskirt shots. Lots and lots of upskirt shots.
Doesn’t Klarion realize there are whole websites dedicated to this?

Apparently, Klarion is looking for get some of Mary’s power. Her precious, precious power! Never mind that last time I checked Klarion was the boy-king of a massively powerful empire of magic — he just wants a little power. These kids of the DC are so greedy. Anyway that’s all that happens, maybe one of them will actually make a decision or something next week!

pp. 12-13: Last week, Jimmy Olsen went to Steel to try to get some answers about his crazy powers, and they witnessed a laser-light show of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World iconography. Although both of them are well-versed in that stuff — in fact Jimmy spends half the issue contemplating the New Gods and related topics — none of this means anything to either of them. No sooner does he leave Steelworks with this big rhetorical “goose egg” does he find himself involved in a high-speed chase! Feel the adrenaline! Turns out, it’s Project Cadmus people offering to help him with his strange powers. Why they needed to have a chase scene to make this offer, I have no idea. I suppose it’s more dramatic than a phone call, but it’s also a much bigger waste of space than just showing Jimmy at Project Cadmus next week.

Wally’s got some pressing business to attend topp. 14-16: Back to the Rogues, Flash stows them away inside “guest quarters” for the big Black Canary/Green Arrow wedding. Now that they’ve gained the trust of the most powerful superheroes in the world, Trickster’s first impulse is to try to escape and betray that trust, presumably again putting them under suspicion for the murder they may or may not have actually committed. That’s how Trickster got to be an FBI agent — he’s really quite clever. He coldcocks Piper, who doesn’t see this for the brilliant plan it is, but their escape is thwarted by a CRAZY SWORD WIELDING MUMMY! AWESOME! TUNE IN NEXT WEEK!

Godspeed, Atom… it was really hard to find DA images for you!pp. 17-19: Back in the nano… Palmer… Multi… Blank Verse, the CLMP prepare to posse up and continue the SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER! Donna decides to make sure that Jason is “okay” with her ex Kyle being around, because Donna (rightfully) assumes that every boy in the universe has a crush on her, despite no tangible evidence. Then, Ryan Choi is plucked out of the sky by a gigantic hand! He’s got his own book to appear in, after all. Perhaps sensing this, or remembering the covers to the upcoming pulse pounding Countdown to Final Crisis Presents: Challengers of the Beyond: The Search for Ray Palmer: _________ one-shots, realize that Ryan’s not in CtFCP:CotB:tSfRP:___ and they all opt to forget about him and forge ahead, despite Kyle’s momentary and half-hearted protests about “never leaving a man behind”. Oh well! Seeya, Ryan!

And see you later for a recap of all the Countdown tie-ins they’re pumping out; they’re up to four or five tie-ins a week in December, looks like. Do you really want to buy all of that? Or just buy the stuff you like, and rely on the Internet (as DC themselves suggest!) for the rest? C’mon, I’m here for you. My faith is shaken by those new sales figures, but I’m still here for you.

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