In the lead: The “device” Red Tornado, Green Lantern and Firestorm planted last issue was actually the All-New Atom. Superman confronts Ultraman, Owlman and Superwoman 1-on-3 and takes out the counter-Trinity single-handedly, then straps them to a bomb and blasts them into the void between universes. Meanwhile, Enigma teleports away after Despero confronts him about Counter-Earth, and the citizens of Counter-Earth devolve into chaos after the JLA defeats the CSA.
In the back-up: Oracle has figured out that the bad Trinity are after the friends, foes and foundations of the good Trinity, and that they just need Wonder Woman’s foe to complete the task. The heroes stake out a bunch of different WW villains and wait. Gangbuster and Hawkman are watching over Maxwell Lord’s gravesite when the bad guys teleport in and start digging. They fight, then the rest of the good guys show up, then that shiny guy blows up or something.
My take: Strangely enough, this issues started exactly where issue #11 ended, with Superman beating the crap out of Ultraman, Owlman and Superwoman. So why the hell did I pay for an issue in-between? To hear the harrowing tale of Red Tornado, Green Lantern and Firestorm shooting the All-New Atom into a Ray Palmer cameo? So Enigma could completely blow his cover and have Despero and Le Fey hardly notice? And the back-up from last issue, where the Riddler figures out Enigma is counter-Riddler, would work even better as a back-up to this story. I didn’t notice while reading it, because they usually pack a lot into 12 pages, but absolutely nothing happened last issue that needed to happen. I’ve been praising this series for its fast-paced storytelling, but maybe it’s not as fast as I thought.
So aside from that, this issue was good. Ignore last issue, and it’s even better. Enigma’s on the run, the JLA has a counter-world full of armed guerillas, Nazis and other bad guy types to deal with, and Superman is going off the deep end! And choosing Maxwell Lord’s corpse as Wonder Woman’s “foe” was sweet. Reminders of how sweet Infinite Crisis was are always welcome. Unless it’s another Crisis, of course.
I like that the back-up artists are going in shifts, with three or four back-ups being drawn by the same artists before they switch out. Scott McDaniel takes a little getting used to. Tom Derenick’s stuff here has been a lot better than it was in Countdown, but no matter how I phrase that it still kind of sounds like an insult.
Things to keep an eye on: Green Lantern knows where his binary powers come from, but he doesn’t let us in on it.
The the big glowing bad guy blows up at the end of this issue, and a whole bunch of good guys seem to be facing imminent death. I seriously doubt DC would do another Bludhaven here, though. I seem to remember that this glowing bad guy was powered by the Cosmic Egg, in which a nigh-omnipotent villain is currently trapped. Krona vs. an Earth without a Justice Leage? That could explain the statues of the Trinity and the world without a Trinity hinted at in the debut issue and future covers of the series.