Countdown: Fifty-One

I sure could have used a break. Don’t get me wrong, I loved “52,” and I’m just as excited as the next comic fan for “Countdown,” but, seriously, they could have at least given us a week off to enjoy the finale of one series before throwing us right into the next. The cover of Week Fifty-Two had the words, “It ends here” splashed across the top of the page. The cover to the first issue of “Countdown” has something similar, with the phrase “So begins the end!” appearing above the big logo. Color me annoyed. Which is it, DC?countdown 1

I’m sure that I’m not the only person experiencing event fatigue, and I wouldn’t be nearly as annoyed with this first issue if they had set up this series with something more interesting than the Red Hood and Joker’s Daughter horsing off on roof-tops. Sadly, there’s not too much to grab one’s attention here, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if sales drop steadily during the first few weeks.

That aside, let’s talk about what actually happens. This is DC’s next big event lead-in (and, seriously, what a long lead-in), and it’s going to be shaping the “spine” of the DCU for the next year, which means we should probably pay it close attention, even if it is a fairly pedestrian debut.

Here’s what this issue establishes: Darkseid is alive and nefarious. Jason Todd is back to being the Red Hood. The Monitors are trying to fix the anomalies in the Multiverse (well, one of them is, anyway). The Flash’s rogues are throwing a booze fest. Some guy with a flute on a rooftop says some cryptic stuff. Mary Marvel can’t call on the powers of Shazam. A great disaster is coming, and the only solution to it is to find Ray Palmer, formerly the Atom, last seen in Identity Crisis, when his former wife, Jean Loring, used his Atom suit technology to kill Sue Dibny, wife of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man.

As was the case with the first few issues of “52,” none of these stories gets much attention, as they’re trying to set up a whole bunch of different storylines all at once, before eventually giving each a bit more in-depth focus.

I guess I’m just tired. Infinite Crisis ended, and 52 started up the next week. 52 ended, and Countdown is right on its heels. And it’s not like we can anticipate a breather any time soon. I mean, c’mon, the very nature of a countdown tells us that once this thing is over, we’re going to be thrust into another gigantic crossover event. It doesn’t help matters that the majority of the story focuses on Duela, the Joker’s daughter (?) from another earth, or, as I like to call her, Harley Quinn without the sense of humor, sass, or personality. Glad she’s dead.

And that’s another thing. The solicits for Countdown hyped up a death that would take place in the first issue that would set off a ripple that would touch nearly every character in the entire DCU. Are you telling me that much-hyped death is of a character nobody’s ever heard of? The Joker’s daughter? Come on. That’s totally lame.

I’m unimpressed so far. Luckily, I have mountains of cash to burn, so I’m more than willing to stick with this series until the end, even if it never picks up and never even remotely captures my interest. I’ll lay off on any heavy criticism until it’s had a few weeks to give a proper go of it, but, seriously, the timing is everything, so they say, and this sucker needed to be put on hold for a few weeks.

Man, 52 was so good, though.