Oct
24

Downcounting Presents: Batman & the Downcounters: Four of a Kind: 1 of 4 (#30, “Family Feud”)

Posted by on Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 at 06:58:18 PM

NOTE: DUE TO UNFORSEEN DELAYS, THE FINALE OF ‘UPCATCHING’ WILL BE SEEN IN DOWNCOUNTING ANNUAL #1 LATER THIS YEAR. WE SINCERELY APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

We’ve been a little backlogged, so you haven’t been seeing much Downcounting. But things have righted themselves, and over the course of the next four days there will be daily updates to Downcounting, in a special event we are calling Downcounting: Four of a Kind! This will of course lead into an ongoing series Batman & the Downcounters that will be written by Judd Winick Peter Tomasi Tony Bedard Chuck Dixon TO BE ANNOUNCED!

Now, I know I’ve been negligent in keeping this column up to date, and we’re nearing the halfway point – I’m sure a great deal has happened, and perhaps you are behind! So if you’re not sure what’s happened in the first 400 or so pages of Countdown, here’s a quick summary:

THE ROGUES: Piper and Trickster (reformed Rogues) join up with the Unreformed Rogues for a big heist, which turns out to be murdering Bart Allen, aka the Flash (in another book). They may or may not have murdered Bart, but they are definitely shackled together, at least now that all the artists have gotten the memo about that. They’ve sort of stumbled around being stupid with no real plan thus far.

Inglewood, Inglewood, always up to no good!DARKSEID is planning something evil involving a chessboard, and also probably a “Great Disaster”. Little else is known at this point, but he shows up every month or two to gloat about how he has a plan.

KARATE KID and UNA were in the 21st Century for a JLA/JSA crossover (in other books) and stuck around to prevent The Great Disaster. Or maybe cause it? I don’t know, but Karate Kid is dying of a disease that has no symptoms or definite name, and they’ve spent eleven issues looking for someone with information. No luck so far.

MARY MARVEL was sad because she had no powers, so she took Black Adam’s powers and then was acting really mean and evil, but it turns out that was mainly because she was being influenced by Eclipso, who is now working for Darkseid even though they haven’t mentioned that in Countdown yet. Eclipso really likes to take her time in influencing people apparently, as she’s only just started actually doing anything. Could this be part of a plan for a Great Disaster?

HOLLY ROBINSON was on the run for no reason ever explained in Countdown, and ended up in a Woman’s Shelter run by Athena, who is actually secretly Granny Goodness working for Darkseid, again for no reason explained (or mentioned) in Countdown. They are moving to Paradise Island, and perhaps there is something sinister afoot! Hard to tell!

JIMMY OLSEN was investigating a murder when he suddenly developed weird powers. Then a bunch of New God characters starting dying around him, but he decided to ignore that in order to try to be a superhero. That lasted about two minutes before he decided he needed to figure out why he had weird powers. He’s still trying to figure that out, but it definitely involves New Gods and probably Darkseid.

THE MONITORS are, so far as we know, not working for Darkseid (although one shows up in a crowd scene on Apokalips in Death of the New Gods!. But they’ve all gone Jihad behind Gun Toting Monitor, who killed Duela Dent in the first issue for crossing between universes. I guess he wants to kill everyone who crosses between universes, or, uh, “cheats death”? I’m not really sure what their deal is, even though Gun-Toting Monitor has delivered three lengthy monologues on the topic so far.

One Monitor decided he didn’t want to follow Gun Toting Monitor, and that is Bob and his C-LIST MONITOR POSSE. They need to find Ray Palmer, because Ghostwriter the Source Wall told Bob that Ray Palmer could avert the Great Disaster. So far they have not found Ray Palmer.

And that’s where we are right now! Read on and be dazzled by the relative lack of progression!

30 AND COUNTING… “FAMILY FEUD”

Karate Kid gets ready for his life in Kamandi’s post-apocalyptic world.p. 1: It’s been eleven issues, and Karate Kid needs to figure out what sort of disease he somehow knows he has that he somehow knows is killing him, so he went looking for Oracle, who after a dumb fight scene told him to talk to Dr./Mr. Orr. After another dumb fight scene, Dr./Mr. Orr told them to go talk to Buddy Blank! Also, I guess Dr/Mr. Orr is working for Darkseid!! Last issue they met up with Buddy, and miraculously neglected to fight him before having him take them to Brother Eye! Is this the Brother Eye from Infinite Crisis? Good question! All of these characters they’re shoving into this storyline are ciphers who happen to share the same names as OMAC related characters from either Brian Azzarello’s Superman: For Tomorrow or Jack Kirby’s original OMAC series. Brother Eye declares that “the Great Disaster has come to me.” How does everyone know about all the signs and portents of this goddamn Great Disaster?

pp. 2-3: After breaking out of the Justice League’s protective custody after warning them of Deathstroke’s plan to attack the Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding, the Piper and Trickster decide to… go to the wedding? Really? Apparently, they just wanted to see if the heroes “took their warning seriously”. I am pretty sure the only reason this scene exists is because someone found the “gay people at weddings” section of the Milton Berle’s Private Gaybashing File book that is so clearly floating around the writing room for Countdown. Have you heard? Piper is gay!

a preview of the upcoming Trickster spin-off series

pp. 4-5: We rejoin Jimmy Olsen as his strange powers go out of control at Project Cadmus! He, uh… splits into like a water monster and the Hulk? And decides the only “safe” thing to do with out of control powers is to escape from the most advanced science research station in the world, and hide out in the sewers? The last panel, with his crazy water-face glumly thinking “The way things are going, sooner or later I’m going to accidentally kill someone!” is unintentionally hilarious, like if Jim Woodring suddenly took over Archie Double Digest.

Oh Puddlejimmy, you are the living end!

pp. 6-8: The C-List Monitor Posse have escaped Earth-3, and they’ve got a stowaway – Sensational Palette Swap of 2007, The Jokester! Jason Todd does not grasp the concept of “multiple universes”, and appears to blame the Jokester for his death (at the hands of the Joker, which is extra confusing since Jason is, you know, alive. Things are heating up, when the Earth-15 Justice League show up! And they seem to assume that the Jokester is the Joker, too!

pp. 9-10: Back at the wedding, there are more fights and more gay jokes. Our Defiant Rogues get some revenge on Poison Ivy by throwing an exploding TV the Joker sent as a wedding present at her. This isn’t a Judd Winick comic, so I assume explosions might actually hurt people. But then again, I am assuming that our sympathetic Rogues are not going to murder Poison Ivy in a throwaway gag. I guess I shouldn’t assume so much. The Rogues make a hasty escape, but as they drive away in their stolen sports car, some guy emerges from the back of the car threatening to slit Piper’s throat while making gay jokes! In case anyone is wondering, this is Double Down, another Flash Rogue. Why he couldn’t just have asked for a ride politely is beyond me… I guess it creates drama!

pp. 11-17: We’re back on Earth-15, where… get this – all of the members of the C-List Monitor Posse are actually the main heroes in their particular franchise slot! Jason Todd is Batman! Donna Troy is Wonder Woman! Kyle Rayner is Green Lantern… okay, so Kyle was Green Lantern for over a decade, and technically he still is Green Lantern, but on Earth-15, he dresses and acts just like Hal Jordan (Ian Churchill even drew Hal instead of Kyle on the cover!), which I guess is proof that he’s “made it”. They all bitch a bit, and the Jasons fight, before Superman shows up, and he’s… General Zod? Civilian Zod? “Please, Mr. Zod is my father”? Whoever he is, he’s not the Superman of Earth-15 who is “making his first appearance in Countdown: Arena. I guess there are two Earth-15s? It’s possible they were trying to cover for that with some really confusing dialogue where “our” Kyle asks if “this Earth has a Superman and it doesn’t even need him?” Which is a really odd question to ask, Kyle, since Superman is hovering right in front of you and in fact just resolved the conflict you found yourself in. Way to be an ingrate! Anyway Bob shows up and relates his adventure:

Earth-3 Toad has a goatee.

And away they go, to another Earth! But some of the other Monitors are following them! Also, before they depart Earth-15 Donna tells New Earth Donna some homespun Athenian wisdom, and also claims that she has “much in common with Athena”. I wonder if that means she’s been replaced by one of Darkseid’s minions in another book but no one bothers to mention it in Countdown?

pp. 18-20: Speaking of Athena, the battered women arrive at Paradise Island, only to be informed that they will have to fight their way to the island, through water infested with EYELESS SHARKS! I still have no idea why anyone would go along with this insane transition from nurturing women’s shelter to insane deathtraps; I mean, I guess Holly is “investigating”, and Harley is crazy, but what about all of the other women? Then again, they have never been given any lines, so maybe they’re all insane supervillains too, not abused or homeless women as we were led to believe. Will Holly and Harley survive this latest test from Athena/Granny Goodness, or will they survive and make it to the island? That, my friends, is what we call a cliffhanger!

I like what you did with the eyes Athena, but couldn’t you do something about the mouth? NYUK NYUK NYUK NYUK NYUK

Okay, so check back tomorrow for the next stunning chapter of Downcounters: Four of a Kind! Hey Batman, which Earth did you choose for your team today?

Earth-39 is going to be nothing but adorable Halloween costumes for dogs and babies.

Okay then! See you tomorrow, and don’t forget to cast your vote in the New Gods Survivor Series Showdown!

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