Monday, June 16, 2008

Final Defecation On Countdown Part πέντε

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back.

Everyone having fun?


Regardless, we're going on with the poo-slinging.

In Week 46's Counting Down column:

Newsarama: Ballparking here - since Jason and Donna are talking about it, where does this issue fall in relation to Amazons Attack #1 and #2?

Mike Marts: Countdown #46 falls somewhere in the middle of Amazons Attack #2. Check out the issue for Donna and Jason’s lead-in scene to this Countdown #46.

That's offered without real comment at this point. I'm just sure that, with the way AA kinda demonstrated that Countdown would never really be the "spine" with any semblance of each month's issues happening in the same calendar month, it will be worth referencing later.

NRAMA: Since we've got a shot of her again in her costume, how did Mary's costume manifest itself - that design, specifically? Why not the "Mary Marvel" look, but black replacing the white?

MM: We won’t find out the true nature of Mary’s new costume or powers for some time...but some readers tend to think it had to do with Mary¹s fragile state of mind when she acquired her new powers. Others think it may be Teth-Adam’s evil influence. Maybe it’s a combination of the two - or - something completely different. Some other third party, perhaps?

I still don't fully understand that. I know the third party they're alluding to was Eclipso. But how she managed to have that kind of effect on her without sniffing the same zip code for so long still escapes me.

NRAMA: Got it…back to Mary herself - is she...changing as a result of Adam's magic? After all, she didn't seem too upset when five pregnant women blew up in front of her...seems like that would've gotten a jolt out of the “old” Mary...

MM: Mary has definitely changed...and not to the good side of the Force...let’s hope we haven’t seen the last of old Mary.

Yeah...I guess we should still be hoping? week's Q&A was incredibly short. Even after taking a few weeks off, I might still be able to go over all of this before Final Crisis wraps.

In Week 45, we have two statements that seem to contradict each other a bit:

Newsarama: Okay - big picture wise, and looking at the bigger picture of the series, would it be safe to say this issue was a pause for exposition? After all, we had the explanation of who Forerunner is, Jimmy's recap of the story so far and his explanation of the New Gods, and a recap of the Legion members in the present-day...

Mike Marts: While there were a few short pauses to explain things a little more thoroughly than usual, I don’t remember it being a conscious decision on our part. I think it was more a case of the natural progression of the story...the timing was right for Jimmy to recap who the New Gods are, etc. Let’s not forget, the bulk of this issue was the action-packed fight in Washington DC between Forerunner and Donna Troy…


NRAMA: Mike, with 52, there was always talk of the first few issues setting the stage, and then, things really taking off once all the players were where they were supposed to be. Is that similar to what we're seeing in Countdown's first few issues?

MM: No, with Countdown we took a different approach—we decided to blow #%&! up from the very first issue and never allow readers to catch their breath.
From the looks of things, what they were blowing up were stink bombs. What? Too easy?

But honestly, if Matt Brady is indicating that they seemed to slow down here, I'm guessing they actually did slow down. I don't have the issue here. I remember the Forerunner fight sort of framing the rest of the story in that issue. I guess shit was still blowing up, but it would seem that readers were still allowed to catch their breath a bit.

And we're on to Week 44. Wow, do these start to fly by or what?

Here, we see the fruits of the aforementioned "begging to get out of the pit of despair that the editor of Countdown resides in":

NRAMA: So what we're seeing here with Billy, and what he's referring to with Freddy - this is what's going on in Trials of Shazam, right?

MM: Exactly, this scene reflects the current status quo in Judd Winick and Howard Porter’s Trials of Shazam... a title ably edited by Mike Carlin, a.k.a. The Great Carlini...

...who by the way (see how I’m segueing?) will begin co-editing Countdown with me starting next issue. Then, after a dozen or so issues of the two of us playing mad scientist together, Mr. Carlin will take over full-time as Countdown editor as I devote all of my energies to editing the Batman titles. And who said being a comic book editor wasn’t fun?!

Let's see...I'm told that Mike started asking off the book six issues in. That'd be two issues before the column I'm currently dissecting. Two weeks from asking to arranging a path out of hell, with a relatively short stay in purgatory along the way. I'm glad Marts was lucky enough to be a high profile new signing or his talent may have withered on the vine here rather than putting in such good work shepherding the Bat titles.

NRAMA: Okay - Monarch...let's bring in whos and hows for folks who may not know him...who is he?

MM: See Wikipedia! Just kidding. Monarch—once upon a time in the future—was some evil guy in high-tech armor who ruled over all and was hated by everybody. The catch, however, was that the true identity of Monarch was an actual DC hero! After some big battles, etc. in Armageddon 2001, it was revealed that Hank Hall--a.k.a. Hawk (of Hawk & Dove fame)--was the guy who eventually became Monarch. Still with me? Okay. Then, later on, Monarch and Captain Atom fought a little bit, got sent back in time together, and eventually Captain Atom was given the Monarch armor through some weird timestream/duplicate copy explanation. Oh yeah, he’s also hung out in parallel universes, the Bleed, and has been known to pal around with Parallax.

Hm. Maybe you should see Wikipedia after all.

AB: If I can try…Monarch is the identity Captain Atom assumed after his dimension hopping experience in the Armageddon limited series. The armor he wears contains his unstable, and incredibly powerful, energies.

NRAMA: He seems to be spilling a lot of inside info about Forerunners as a'd he get to know so much?

MM: See above answer! For a guy so well-traveled through both time and space, you figure he probably picked up some decent Forerunner trivia along the way.

AB: My guess is, his experience bouncing back and forth between dimensions gave him a lot of insight into how things really work, not just as far as the Forerunners go, but about a lot of things.

OK, I quoted a lot there. All of it was just to set up the last sentence. You see, Countdown how 51 issues to meander through so much, but they had to leave how Monarch obtained this information as something to get explained away as happening off-panel before the series launched? Really? No time to spare for flashbacks?

NRAMA: Holly - er...she don't look like Holly from last issue from her outfit to her hair. Production-wise, how does something like that happen between issues and artists?

MM: Answer A: We’re fairly lucky that most of the artists working on Countdown have a similar style...and we keep an extensive database of visual reference that all of the artists work from...but that being said it’s tough to match up every single detail page in and page out. We strive to keep things consistent, but every now and then an inconsistency or two sneak through.

Answer B: in Countdown #45, Holly was having a bad hair day.

NRAMA: Maybe a little of A, a little of B?

MM: Maybe.

Yeah...I remember this. It really was a drastic different between the two appearances. While it is a relatively small thing, it is another in a long line of things that went awry with Countdown when they supposedly made the whole "show runner" change to make things run more smoothly. I do remember some less than stellar art in 52 (which we, also, had here), but not drawing lead characters as unrecognizable from one issue to the next.

Week 43 is where they had the funeral for Bart Allen. It's late (God bless scheduled postings in Blogger) and I'm weary, so I'll start on that later this week.

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