Counting Down What’s Left of My Patience

A little over eight months ago a friend convinced me to start reading 52, DC’s weekly series that was supposed to chronicle what happed between Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later story jump. Issue #41 had just come out, so I sat down with a huge stack of books in front of me and cracked open issue #1. About three days later I was caught up and in love with the story. Now, I’ve never been a big DC fan but the story arcs contained in 52, particularly that of Booster Gold, enthralled me. I bought the last eleven issues of 52 myself and they didn’t disappoint. That’s why when DC announced that another weekly series, Countdown, would begin immediately following 52 I was excited. Here was a series where I could get in on the ground floor and if it was going to be anything like 52 I was in for a treat.

Fast forward twenty-one weeks and I’m still waiting for my treat. The first few issues of Countdown were interesting enough but the book has been spinning its wheels ever since. Here’s what’s happened in some of the storylines:

Mary Marvel gets Black Adam’s powers then starts to get bitchier by the week. She seeks help from Zatanna but thinks she’s trying to steal her powers. The two fight and Mary takes off. She then accepts the help of Klarion the Witch Boy, who actually was trying to steal her powers. The two fight and Mary takes off. Now she’s working with Eclipso and one can only wonder how that will turn out.

Piper and Trickster were on the run because they weren’t trusted by the rest of the Rogues, then they were on the run because they were accused of killing The Flash (Bart Allen). Now they’re on the run because they escaped after The Flash (Wally West) caught them. They don’t like each other and they’re chained together. Hilarity ensues.

-Jimmy Olsen is somehow exhibiting random super powers. He can’t control them and doesn’t know how he got them or why he has them.

Donna Troy, Jason Todd, and Bob the Monitor went searching first the Palmerverse (the microscopic civilization that exists all around us discovered by former The Atom, Ray Palmer) then the multiverse for Ray Palmer, who’s been missing since the end of Infinite Crisis. Each week they seem to be on the trail only for someone to tell them that Palmer was here but he’s gone now. Sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle.

There’s supposedly a “great disaster” coming and absolutely no clues have been provided as to what it could be.

Now all those things, at their core, are interesting enough ideas. And if all these things were going on in, let’s say, week ten that’d be fine. But this is week twenty-one. One more month and the series will already be half way over. We’re still no better off at understanding what any of these stories mean, where they’re headed, and how they’re related to each other than when the book started. The series is progressing at a snail’s pace. It’s as if they know they don’t have enough story to fill out fifty-two issues and they’re producing filler. What this reeks of, I hate to say it, is DC wanting to cash in on the success of 52 with another weekly series. And that’s a sound marketing strategy, so more power to them. But the readers will only continue to shell out the extra three bucks as week as long as you continue to produce a good product.

And that’s what the point of this entry is, me deciding if I want to continue shelling out that extra three bucks as week as long as Countdown‘s going nowhere fast. And here’s what I’ve come up with: DC, you’ve got me until week twenty-six. Four more issues. That’s the exact half way point of the series. If there hasn’t been at least one major development by then, I’m done. No more for me, thank you. The book’s not bad, it’s just not interesting. As I said I’m not a big DC fan, and maybe that’s part of it, but I’d like to read more. So come on…give me a reason to keep reading Countdown.

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