Tomorrow, or, more likely, if you’re reading this on Wednesday, today, the third issue of Countdown: Arena will hit newsstands, and, if you’re anything like the fanboys it caters to, you’ll probably buy it. “Who cares if it doesn’t make sense,” they ask, between handfuls of Cheetos. “It’s got a vampire Batman. So it’s automatically awesome.”
I hope you haven’t fallen for it. For those who haven’t, here’s the premise: The Monarch is building an army of the strongest and deadliest heroes and villains from across the Multiverse in order to do battle with the Monitors. He’s recruited three prime candidates of each of the main heroes from alternate universes, brought them to his super special top secret Arena (in yet another geographically uncharted area of the Multiverse, called the Quantum Universe), and now they’re set to do battle, with the victor joining his army. The title of this series does have the word “Countdown” in it, so it’s not surprising, then (we should actually expect it) that this series hasn’t got a lick of logic to it, which, inevitably, makes it so that this story is completely unnecessary and is only being published to give fanboy dumbasses a couple pages of wet-dream fantasy fights.
Why so serious? Because I’m sick and tired of all these looters and goddamn polluters. This thing is four parts long, and each part is four dollars. That’s too much money for a series that is completely 100% unnecessary and logically unsound. Let’s get to that part of it, so you see what I’m saying.
The Monarch guy wants an army of the ultimate badasses from across the Multiverse. So far, we’ve seen him recruit the evil Justice League from Earth-3 (The Crime Society), as well as Forerunner and Lord Havok’s group. In the first issue of Countdown: Arena, he recruits the vampire Batman, and in the second issue, he gets a nearly unconscious Green Lantern from Batman Beyond’s world (not the actual Green Lantern from that JLU episode of “Batman Beyond,” though). Plus some Nightshade bitch and a Blue Beetle version that I don’t care about. Ok, great.
Here’s the first problem. Where in the Monarch’s rule book does it say that he can only recruit one of each of these guys for his army? Why not have ten Supermen in the army? Why not have the best Green Lanterns from all 52 universes? Why not recruit all 51 other versions of the Monarch? It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s never explained why he can only recruit the one that wins these stupid fights. And, so far, the ones that have won have been the evilest versions of each of the contestants. Why? Because they’re the only ones who are willing to fight.
And, here’s the second problem. From there, when he brings in all these contestants, why doesn’t the Monarch pitch the idea for fighting the Monitors as if it’s the right thing to do? Why not appeal to the heroes’ sympathies and try to convince them that his cause is just? I mean, it is Captain Atom under that stupid armor; you’d think he’d believe that what he’s doing is right. It’s illogical to think he’d act so tough and not at least try to explain things before throwing these guys into combat.
And, so that the first two problems don’t get lonely, let’s toss another one on there. Since the Monarch is clearly evil, these heroes who win shouldn’t logically want to fight alongside him. It takes away all of the tension of the plot, though, because, out of the combatants so far, the only ones who would be willing are the evil ones who actually fight. Who wants to bet money that the Red Son Superman is going to win? I’d say it’s more than likely. Because, if the good ones win, they’d just refuse to fight with the Monarch and get killed, because, apparently, he has UNLIMITED POWER. That is surely going to bite some writers in the ass eventually, because, seriously, there isn’t any limit to his powers. He doesn’t even move a muscle as three Green Lanterns give him the business.
Hell, since I’m kind of tipsy, I’ll throw in another problem. Because this series is being written by a hack, the characters in it don’t really act all that much like the characters they’re supposed to be. I mean, sure, the Wild West Wonder Woman has a Southern accent, but that’s all, really. Red Son Superman is a badguy, because he’s a communist, but, really, think about it. In “Red Son,” Superman was never really all that bad. He eventually changed his stance completely by the end of it, actually. Because, deep down, he’s a true hero. Who cares about stuff like character nuances?
Here’s the final problem, though. They’ve built the Monarch up to be the ultimate badass. He’s entirely indestructible, and if he opens up his armor, he can level an entire city (see: Bludhaven) just by being exposed. Plus, like he does here in Countdown: Arena, he has the power to blow up an entire country just by using his purple stuff. Energy, whatever it is.
Which begs a simple question. For a super powered being who has limitless power, why would you need to enlist the Blue Beetle in your fight against the Monitors?
So you have somebody to chauffeur you around?
Oh, and, please, would somebody draw me a map of the Multiverse? Be sure to include the Bleed, the Source Wall, the Fifth Dimension, Apokolips, New Genesis, the Quantum Universe, and all 52 of the regular universes. Thanks, bye.