Sunday, January 13, 2008

Countdown to Final Crisis #16

“What Price Paradise?”
Writer: Paul Dini with Tony Bedard
Story Consultant: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Pete Woods & Tom Derenick
Inks: Wayne Faucher
Cover: Pete Woods

Previously, in Countdown to Final Crisis…

Jimmy Olsen and Forager escaped from Apokolips, and celebrated their return to Earth with a kiss…

The Challengers from Beyond found Ray Palmer on Earth-51. The Monitors, however, followed the Challengers to Earth-51. Even worse, Monarch and his army have decided to use Earth-51 as their beachhead for their invasion of the Multiverse…



Synopsis

Across Earth-51, normal citizens celebrate Christmas as if nothing catastrophic were happening…

However…

Monarch and his Multiversal army has launched an all-out attack on the assembled Monitors. While Solomon ponders how his plans have gone so terribly wrong, Monarch thanks Solomon for his hubris. The armored tyrant thanks the Monitor for aiding him in his quest far more than any of his allies has. With a cry, Solomon vanishes…

Solomon reappears on the Monitors’ satellite in the Multiversal Nexus, where his brethren scold his for his cowardice in a conflict he began. They decide to leave him in disgrace and teleport to Earth-51, where they can be of service to their brothers and sisters…

Nix Uotan, the Monitor of Earth-51, hovers above his world, contemplating its situation. Uotan was the Monitor who kept Ray Palmer’s location a secret, so that Palmer could avert the Great Disaster. He realizes that doing so has only led war and destruction to his Earth. He vows to join the battle, prepared to eliminate anyone who threatens his Earth…

Monarch surveys the war on the field of battle, caring not for those who fall, and concerned only with victory…

In the Bat-bunker, the Batman of Earth-51 uses his Brother Eye satellite to keep tabs on the war. When Superwoman destroys the satellite, he resolves to see things for himself…

Kyle Rayner and Ray Palmer fly far from the battle, with Ray still getting over the deaths of his friends at the hand of the Monitor. Ray explains to Kyle that he has been carrying on the work of Ray-51 so that he could stop the Great Disaster, but his work has obviously attracted the wrong attention. Power Ring, join by evil doppelgangers of Booster Gold and Supergirl, agree with Ray’s assessment…

Donna Try drops Jason Todd off on a Gotham City rooftop so that she might aid in the war, but an evil Wonder Girl attacks her. As the two Donnas grapple in the sky, Gorgon assaults Jason, flinging him to the street below. Jason grabs hold of a neon sign as Gorgon comes in for the kill. Suddenly, Gorgon falls to the ground, unconscious, and Batman offers Jason a hand. Batman is shocked to recognize the face of the man he has saved…

A bomber ship crashes into Donna and Wonder Girl, and Donna goes missing. Wonder Girl angrily searches for her foe, swearing to kill her if she sees her again. From afar, Queen Belthera watches with glee, commenting that her “pet Donna Troy” is a “wonderfully vicious little thing.” She orders her Myrmidon troops down to the city so that they might gather some slaves from among the survivors…

Solomon continues to lament the failure of his plan, blaming Bob and the Challengers for the delay in finding Ray Palmer. He can’t imagine a worse outcome for his gambit. Superman-Prime gives Solomon another option, telling him that he needs to help him find what he is looking for, or else…

Back in Metropolis on New Earth, Jimmy Olsen admits to Forager that he feels like he has been slowing her down in her pursuit of the souls of the New Gods. Getting out of the shower, she tells Jimmy that she knows why he has been developing strange super-powers; he is a soul-catcher, now infused with the spirit-energy of the fallen New Gods…

In the Bat-bunker, the Batman of Earth-51 explains to Jason Todd that the peace on his world was paid for with the blood of the villains of that Earth. He wants Todd to understand the lengths he will go to in order to protect his world. Batman holds a gun to Jason’s head, and wants to know who he is. He knows that he’s not Jason Todd, because he died in the Batman’s arms years ago…

Notes

Page 1: As revealed on page 7, the blue captions belong to Nix Uotan.

In Panel 2, Superwoman of Earth-3 takes out the Wonder Woman of Earth-51.

In Panel 3, that seems to be the Dr. Fate of Earth-51. Not sure who killed him.

Pages 2 & 3: The Monitors last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #17.

There’s a whole mess of characters here, all of them a part of Monarch’s army. From left to right, we have the Batman of Earth-10, the Hawkgirl of Earth-10, Power Ring of Earth-3, a Red Tornado from an unidentified Earth, the Hawkman of Earth-10, the Superman of Earth-10, some guy in a red and blue costume whom I can’t identify, the Wonder Woman of Earth-10, and Superwoman of Earth-3. And a whole mess of Monitors.

Page 4: Ah, there’s whiny ol’ Solomon, still complaining about how his plans went awry. I can’t muster up too much sympathy for him.

Monarch last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #17.

Page 7: Nix Uotan last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #21.

It is revealed here for the first time that Nix Uotan is the Monitor of Earth-51, and that he is the one who attempted to keep Ray Palmer’s presence on his world a secret.

Page 8: Monarch sure can dole out the insults, calling the Monitors “cosmic couch potatoes!”

These armored soldiers of Monarch’s…where did Monarch get them? Are they human or alien? And from what universe?

“Any of my recruits who die today aren’t worth remembering.” Damn, that’s cold of you Monarch. Way cold.

Page 9: First appearance of the Batman of Earth-51. Note that he seems as paranoid as the New Earth Batman was pre-Infinite Crisis, given the existence of Brother Eye and all.

Page 10: Kyle Rayner and Ray Palmer last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #17.

In panel 6, that’s Power Ring of Earth-3 hovering over Kyle and Ray. I assume that it’s the Booster Gold of Earth-3 with him. The girl is a little tougher…her costume resembles that of Ultraman of Earth-3, so I think that she’s some sort of evil-Supergirl.

Page 11: Donna Troy and Jason Todd last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #17.

Not sure where this “Dark Donna” is from. At first glance, I would imagine that she’s from Earth-3, but the “Wonder Woman” of that world is Superwoman, and Donna doesn’t resemble her in any way. She could very well be from some other Earth that we haven’t yet seen.

Page 12: Gorgon last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #26.

“But why a loser like you rates special treatment is beyond me.” Hey, Gorgon, you looked in the mirror lately? You’re a midget with tentacles growing out of your head. Who are you that you can call anyone a loser?

Page 13: GIRL FIGHT!!!

Sorry.

Page 14: So what happened to Gorgon? A batarang to the head? Or did Batman shoot him? It’s hard to tell.

Page 16: Queen Belthera last appeared in Countdown #33. She’s as condescending and annoying as ever.

Between her escape from the Nanoverse and her appearance on Earth-51, she seems to have allied herself with Monarch. I wonder what the terms of their “partnership” are.

Does “Dark Donna” belong to Belthera?

Page 17: The “x-factor” who joined the ranks of the Challengers from Beyond was Kyle Rayner, who joined the group in Countdown #33.

Superman-Prime last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #23. It’s always a good time when he shows up to a party. Lots of death, destruction and mayhem, on a planetary level.

He is “looking for” Earth-Prime, which may or may not exist in the new Multiverse.

Page 18: Jimmy Olsen and Forager last appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis #19. It looks like they’ve gotten a lot more cozy with one another since then.

“If you were a hindrance, I would already be gone.” That Forager is a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” kinda gal, isn’t she?

“I sensed within you the spirit-energy of the gods.” I knew it. I had a funny feeling that Jimmy was absorbing the souls of the New Gods.

“What you are is a soul-catcher.” Yep. See, I was right.

Page 19: On Earth-51, Batman doesn’t have a Bat-cave. Nope. He goes all out and has a Bat-bunker.

“…I eliminated our enemies…and my friends turned their backs on me.” So, if this world is such a Utopia, then is a “Utopian Batman” one who kills his foes? Is this world a commentary on the idea that super-heroes should kill their enemies to make the world a safer place?

Note the presence of the Kingdom Come “Red Robin” costume in the souvenir case.

Page 20: “Jason Todd died in my arms years ago.” And if this world is so great, then why did Jason Todd die here? Isn’t Jason Todd’s death one of the things which the Earth Two Superman and company witnessed and convinced them that the Earth, post-Crisis, wasn’t such a good place?

Pages 21-22: “The Origin of Sinestro” puts the spotlight on one of 2007’s biggest baddies. While it doesn’t necessarily add anything new to his back story, it does encapsulate his history quite well, without too many puns.

Countdown Crossovers


Salvation Run #3: A schism occurs on the Hell Planet as Lex Luthor and Joker split into two camps! War breaks out between the two groups, even as it’s revealed that there’s a traitor in their midst!

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