Countdown to Final Crisis: Twenty-Five

countdown 25Well, color me slightly impressed. For the second week in a row, it seems as if this series finally has a sense of direction and knows what it’s doing with itself. Is that direction headed in a way that will eventually pay off into an interesting series? I don’t know. I suppose I’ll give you the run down and my take on it, but, ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself.

This issue opens up in Bludhaven, even though that city was nothing more than a mile-deep crater the last time we saw it in the “Battle for Bludhaven” mini-series. Karate Kid and Una, along with their dumbass friends, have run into Firestorm, who demands to know what they’re doing there. Karate Kid responds that he’s not quite sure, but he just knows that this is where he’s supposed to be. Remember, prior to last week, this sort of dialogue was infuriating, as it seems like the characters are acting illogically and without purpose. But, after last week, we now realize that Karate Kid is there, because Darkseid moved his piece in checkers to Bludhaven. King me! The Atomic Knights show up and tell everybody to get lost.

Meanwhile, having escaped the Suicide Squad yet again, Piper and Trickster are on the run in what looks to be a Hummer. Deadshot’s following in a helicopter, though, and he blasts them out of the sky. Faced with his mortality, Trickster fears that everyone will think he’s gay when he turns up dead and handcuffed to that nancy boy Piper. Anyway, they escape again, and Piper swears he’s going to kill Trickster himself if they make it out of this alive. How’s that for responding to intolerance?

Over on Apokolips, Jimmy Olsen is now a slave, and Mary Marvel meets Darkseid. Almost. He offers a handshake, but she could leave him hanging; we don’t know yet.

Back in Bludhaven, Firestorm gets rid of the Atomic Knights after a whole lot of poorly drawn fighting, and he takes Karate Kid and the gang down into the bunker they found last week. Inside, Professor Stein is being held by Desaad, Darkseid’s servant. Desaad goads Firestorm into a fight, at which point, he uses some weird energy and takes over the Firestorm entity. Uh-oh, Spaghetti O’s!

You see, for the first time in this series, one major storyline was given the most amount of time to, y’know, actually tell some story, and that story seems interesting, but I have two complaints. First, if the whole point of Darkseid guiding Karate Kid into the crater in Bludhaven was so that he’d bring Firestorm along so that Desaad could become Firestorm, why not just have Darkseid guide Firestorm down there? Methinks it has something to do with whatever Karate Kid has inside of him that’s going to lead to the Great Disaster. Ok, so I guess that’s not really a complaint so much as a plea to have all of this make sense eventually. My only real complaint is that it’s Firestorm. Seriously. Firestorm? That guy’s so boring it hurts. I mean, why not include some interesting characters in this thing? The difference between the C-list characters of 52 and the D-list characters of this is that the ones from 52 had a lot of potential, they’d just never been given a big story to shine in. These characters haven’t, either, but it’s probably for good reason, not simply for lack of opportunity.

Oh well. Overall, I have to say it for the second week in a row, this series is starting to kind of, sort of, maybe come together.