Friday, March 28, 2008

I Read Countdown So You Don't Have To

In case you haven't been reading Countdown, which is very wise, I'll update you on the recent debacle. First of all, I probably don't need to remind you that I'm the guy that defended this series after the first few issues, saying, "wait, and let it unfold. I'm sure it will be good."

I was so wrong. So tragically wrong.

So after 46 issues of terrifically slow-moving and pointless character arcs (pausing, in the middle, for a full-issue recap of what you missed, which wasn't much), the last two issues of Countdown have been the equivalent of a highlight reel with a voice over narration. It's as if the team of writers (and I can't understand how a veteran like Paul Dini could have coordinated this junk) realized that they only had a few issues left and said, "ah, crap! Let's just tell 'em what happens real fast."

So we get two entire issues of Buddy Blank TELLING us what happened to lead to the Great Disaster.

Storytelling rule #1--the one you learn in 3rd grade--SHOW, DON'T TELL. Not in Countdown, my friends. Not when they only have 52 issues to tell a story. How can they possibly fit everything into a mere 1,144 pages? Obviously, they have to cut corners and throw in a bunch of caption boxes to explain what's going on, since 1,144 pages isn't enough to allow a story to unfold.

1,144 pages (at least), and they seriously had to resort to the equivalent of M. Night Shyamalan's ending to Unbreakable when the movie stops and he gives us a bunch of title cards explaining what happens next?

1,144 pages, and they couldn't tell a real story?

There's no reason why Countdown had to be a horrible waste of everyone's time and money, but that's what it turned out to be.


marcwrz said...

I have suffered right alongside you Tim.

SO much so that DC isn't getting my money on Trinity no matter how good it may be.

Timothy Callahan said...

DC isn't getting my money on Trinity because Busiek's Superman has been weak and Bagley is the epitome of mediocrity. The fact that it's weekly is irrelevant in my decision. It can't be WORSE than Countdown, but I'm still not buying it.

Richard said...

What eldritch sense forewarned me that Countdown would be no good at all, even before the first issue was published? Somehow I can't help but feel it was...everything we knew about it going in. And yet, even so, this latest installment had me gobsmacked. Not so much the storytelling device of having everything told in voiceover narration; although I dislike it here as much as you do, the thought occurred to me that it may have been intended as homage to Kamandi #16, an issue told in the form of entries from the diary of the scientist who discovers the drug Cortexin that increases animal intelligence. What bothered me more was that the Countdown story was so unutterably DULL. It's all "this obvious and predictable thing happens...then the next inevitable development takes place...and then you all saw this next bit coming a mile away, right?" To take Kirby concepts and make them boring takes a special kind of talent, I suppose...

Marc Caputo said...

I like Bagley and Busiek, but I've been so burned by this that I'm really conflicted here. However, for the last few weeks I must confess to reading the synopsis on Newsarama and then flipping through the pages. Starlin phoning it in didn't help this week either.

I may just save the $12.00 and go to tpb, especially if this isn't going to be "relevant". And since the only one of the 3 that I'm obsessive over is Superman, I'm sure Robinson and Johns will handle anything important.

Au revoir, weekly.