Friday, May 16, 2008

Countdown to Redundancy

So I wrote this article about Countdown to Final Crisis like, a month ago, and I never could do much with it that didn't sound exactly like 52 other online whiners, so I dropped it. Still, I purchased and read, then re-read the whole miserable thing, then wrote up a bunch of half-assed, half-focused "witty" observations. Never let it be said I let anything go to waste. Here then, are my unfocused, rambling half-thoughts about a subject everyone else has long since left behind.

The whole Monitor thread confused me beyond belief, especially with fifty-two of the fuckers running around, all looking alike, especially when part of the story hinges on their gradually differing appearances. The art varied from issue to issue, veering crazily between style and quality, until it became impossible to recognize any of the human characters let alone aliens who are supposed to look alike but sort of don't, and that's important to the plot. Were Bob and Solomon the same guy? I know there was the one guy who wanted to aggressively pursue and terminate reality-jumpers, and there was the other guy who opposed him, but eventually the Monitors all joined the violent crazy guy, and the other guy took off. Which one was Bob? There was a third Monitor, wasn't there? Mojo Nixon, or Nix Uotan or somethin'?

Ray Palmer gets further tortured, only to end up renouncing his ties to Earth and teamed with Donna Troy, which is actually a sort of torture in itself. All this would be much more impressive if coming attractions didn't show Donna with the Titans, Kyle with the Green Lanterns, and Ray Palmer with the new proactive, James Robinson written Justice League. So much for that team.

Lion Head Superman! It's all coming true !! Weisinger was Right !!!

Count me among the camp that sees no point in "darkening" Mary Marvel. But then , I've never been sold on the Marvel family in the DC Universe anyway. Jerry Ordway's Power of Shazam! was probably the best, and I followed it for most of its run, but even then it was an uncomfortable fit with the larger DCU. Mary's appointment and journey to evil did not engage, and felt like padding. And an excuse to have this young girl running around in a leather micro- miniskirt.

The Holly/Harley stuff seemed equally surplus. Their appearance seems to have been pointless. If nothing else, they should have kept the powers that the gods bestowed them, but instead they take a bus back to gotham. With Jason Todd, who also reverted to (stereo) type.

Then there was that whole Superman Prime/ Monarch /Super Army deal. That all came to a head when Superman Prime pulled open Monarch's armor, but what was the point? Apparently, and I had to get this from an online interview, that explosion blew up the one "perfect world" Earth that the armies tore apart, and made way for "the Great Disaster" Earth. The inclusion of Monarch, the Extremists, and Monarch's Countdown: Arena army was just carnage and filler, since DC apparently has no further plans for any of them.

Packed with pointless deaths, Countdown rarely satisfies!

Then, lest we forget, we had poor,poor Karate Kid, killed yet again to give birth to the Kamandi / OMAC universe. For awhile there, I thought that all these divergent paths were going to lead to Jimmy, Donna, Mary, et al to become the New New Gods, somehow, but I didn't expect nothing to happen. For the most part, these guys are headed back to their status quo, whatever that may be.

Top all this off with an out-of-left-field ending, and its one of the sloppiest reads I've seen. I can't really blame anyone but myself for buying this. It had Donna Troy in it, for God's sake; how much of a fucking sign post did I need? Like the rest of the marks, I'm bitching after DC got my $155 for this padded fiasco, so they totally win.

The Best Part.

We're still in the early days of comics-by-committee, but this second attempt suggested that maybe comics written by six guys and drawn by thirty may not be the best way to effectively deliver complex and nuanced storytelling. Who knew?


Donnie said...

Thanks for reading it so I didn't have to.

Stephen said...

oh no you did the math. i was avoiding figuring out how much money i wasted on this crap id you include all the minseries and tie-ins?

i think that countdown #2 was the only one that was really any good at all and that actually stuck in my mind.

also i believe in line number 1 you mean to say countdown to final crisis not infinite

Memory Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Memory Man said...

The weekly format is a great idea. The Big Two should each put out a weekly "Shonen Jump" style magazine. They could rock out on the universe changing story lines, and get lots of great side stories. "Graphic Novels" compiled from the weekly chapters would be a solid seller in book and comic stores.

joe bloke said...

you mean it actually happened? i thought it was all a bad dream. ah, well. at least i'm awake now. i AM awake now? right?

Phillyradiogeek said...

After reading these horrible reviews, I'm wondering if I should forego the Final Crisis this summer.

During the past couple of months, I've been trying to get back into comics after a decade-long absence. I planned on using the big summer megaprojects to reaquaint myself with the goings-on of characters and plotlines for Marvel and DC.

Is it worth it?

Brian Hughes said...

You're welcome.

I didn't count the spinoffs, and I shaved off a percentage to account for my discount. If you paid full and got all the spinoffs, you got boned to the tune of 300 to 400 bucks.

That suggestion comes up sometimes, but I can't see it working for a variety of complicated and confusing financial reasons that I'm too lazy to look up.

JB: Yes you are awake, unless you aren't.

Final Crisis is written by Grant Morrison, so I expect much better from it. CtFC has almost nothing to do with it, apparently.

Lois Lane said...

About halfway through Countdown, a friend said that the really depressing thing about the series was that there was so much that had sucked...and there was still so much more coming that would suck.

Great post. Summed up my feelings completely.