Howdy inter-webbers. I’m Matt Cohen and I dig good comic books. I take pride in the fact that I don’t write negative reviews. And that is certainly not to say I enjoy every book I read. In fact, its usually quite the contrary. I just feel with all the “bitching” and moaning on the net about comics, I would create a little haven where we discuss what we LIKE rather then what we hate.
I’m about to betray your trust.
Every so often, something happens in comics that is too big for me to overlook. This week was one of those times. So this week I will be presenting you with a short dissertation entitled, “Countdown to that?”.
Exciting… I know.
So, honestly, what the hell? Fifty two issues later, what the freaking hell? Countdown will, in my opinion, go down as one of the biggest failures in comic history. I am almost more upset with myself for buying every issue and possible tie-in book than I am with the folks who are responsible for the comic… Almost. What started off as the followup to 52, a mediocre series in its own right, quickly became a beast all its own. The weekly title that you “had” to buy, and yet hated yourself for buying. And this is not to say it started off horrible - in fact, I really enjoyed the first fifteen or so issues of the title. Trickster and Piper were a perfect duo, and when their sideplot was in the swing of things it was one of my favorite things to read every week. Really clever and kinda touching sometimes. These two were truly an odd couple for the ages (Yes, Please).
With minor pluses aside, the series plodded on each week, getting more random and confusing as the run continued. In the beginning, this was a pretty simple book to follow, with about five main characters and one central plot. The turning point for the worse, in my opinion, was the introduction of Karate Kid and his fellow legion members. Yes, I know the book had its hand in the pockets of all things cosmic, what with Darkseid being the main antagonist and all the side stories that took place in space, but the whole Karate Kid/Omac Disease angle seemed extremely tacked on and it completely changed the make-up and structure of the book for the worse. From this point on the book was unable to recover the modest success it had in the beginning, or any of the success that its greater, bigger brother 52 achieved.
Jimmy Olsen Must Die, eh? At this point, I say go for it. Again, Jimmy suffers from what I’d like to call the Countdown Curse - starting strong and ending bizarrely, confusingly and, quite frankly, terribly. I was okay with Jimmy’s newfound powers; I even liked the way in which they manifested themselves (near death instances only). Ah, but the powers that be couldn’t leave a good thing alone. Jimmy had to be “The One” and, why not?, lets give him a bug-alien girlfriend. I understand Jimmy Olsen has gone pretty much unused for the last fifty or so years, but to bump him up to center stage like this seemed tacked on and cheap. And it wasn’t like the fans were clamoring for a newer, hipper Jimmy. I think DC tried to apply the Jason Todd/Bucky model to good old Jimmy Olsen, trying to use a fairly underused character, but unfortunately for them (and us), they failed pretty big. The last ten or so issues were awful. Flat out awful. Anti-climatic, confusing (as per usual) and the farthest thing from epic as possible. I’m not even sure what really happened in them. And, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I really care.
I hate that I hate Countdown so much. I really do. Paul Dini, besides being the creator of one of my favorite cartoons, also writes my current favorite monthly comic, Detective. So I know that he’s got the goods. I don’t know what went wrong in the creative offices of DC or where the blame lies. Or maybe I’m just overreacting and forgetting that comics, sometimes, are pretty crappy. All I know is this - I bought Countdown on blind faith. Trinity, DC’s next weekly offering, I will not be so trusting of.
So, If you haven’t already, check out my friend and fellow columnist Brett Deacon’s summer movie blog for a great review on a film I got a chance to see the other day, Iron Man. As to not steal the thunder from Brett, I’ll just say a few words, and those words are - Awesome! Robert Downey, Jr. IS Tony Stark. The CGI is top-notch. It is as true to the comic as an adaptation can be. Favreu knocked this one WAY out of the park. I recommend everyone go see this film when it comes out. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. The most exciting Comic Book/Film franchise today.
Well campers, tis all for now. Check back here next week. I’ll be around. Waiting… and hiding.
-Matt Cohen is currently playing GTA 4. Not comic related, but great nonetheless
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