written by Paul Dini and Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray; pencils by Jesus Saiz

written by Paul Dini and Adam Beechen; Keith Griffen handles breakdowns; David Lopez & Mike Norton, pencillers

THE RECAP: Things go haywire world-wide, and the JSA, the JLA and others scramble to clean up a wave of computer attacks that cause nightmare scenarios all designed as a distraction, so the Calculator can get inside Oracle's mainframe. Sounds vaguely sexual, but I promise, it's kid friendly! While she fends off the attack on her system by her newest arch-rival, directs the world's heroes to battle the computer-related problems popping up across the globe, and chats up the all-new, all-different Question (who happens to be dealing with our favorite Rogues - more on them in a minute), the former Batgirl is also dealing with the break-in of Karate Kid and Una of the Legion of Super-heroes. Apparently, the Kid's dieing and he's come to Oracle for help.

After a full analysis however, Oracle can't determine what it is that's wrong with Karate Kid. Since Oracle can't make heads or tails of the situation, she points the Kid and Una to a man named Elias Orr (Rundown HQ is thinking Oracle is referring to Mr. Orr from the Superman: For Tomorrow storyline by Lee and Azzarello, but we could be wrong.) It seems that Una does have an idea what's going on though, and mentions again, in hushed tones, the ever-present Great Disaster . . .

With all this talk of the Great Disaster, preview images of toppled Statues of Liberty, and the Atomic Knights operating out of the decimated Bludhaven, its only a matter of time before Kamandi shows up!

Speaking of disasters, the Rogues Piper and Trickster simply can't catch a break. Fresh from escaping the new Task Force X/Suicide Squad in Week 39, they run smack into the latest Gotham dynamic duo: the Question and the Batwoman!

Although, for once they luck out: former homicide detective/current vigilante Renee Montoya just knows the two bumblers are "too stupid" to have been in on Bart Allen's death and the unlucky Rogues escape a beating from the lovely ladies. True to their poor decision-making skills, however, they decide to hole up in one of Gotham's abandoned botanical gardens. Which, obviously is the home of Poison Ivy! We'll see how they get out of this one in Week 36.

While this story is one that just seems to tread water with the not-so-smart Villains Defiant "Three Stooging" their way into every possible bad situation, it's actually their storyline that Rundown HQ is enjoying the most. They are being written true to their characters' histories, with a good bit of wit and the pacing of their scenes is almost always spot on. Obviously there are other story lines in Countdown more important, but its these incompetent bunglers that shine week after week.

Checking in on Mary Marvel and Zatanna, their run-in with the Deep Six ends with the amphibious Fourth Worlders dead at the hands of the god-killer, who we finally get a glimpse at (although, only in silhouette.) Looks a bit like Takion's powers to us . . . another DC character with strong links to the Source and the New Gods.

On a personal note, what editor has the heart to kill a character named: Shaligo the Flying Finback!??!

Mysteriously ignoring the fact that a super-powered being just killed six other New Gods, Mary and Z decide to go back to Z's place in Gotham for lunch and a chat.

Huh, what?? No Justice League distress call??

This is definitely a glaring hallmark of this series. There is a ton going on, and while it is plausible that Jimmy Olsen might not tell Superman that he watched Sleeze die a week before he watched Lightray get murdered, it's hard to believe that Zatana - a former member of the Justice League - wouldn't clue in the League to the murder of six New Gods from Apokolips!

Anyway, back to the stories at hand . . . While Mary shows more of her dark desire for power to Zatana, the Jean Loring Eclipso is still lurking in the shadows and really crushing on this bad-girl version of Mary.

Moving on.

Week 37 checks in briefly with Holly Robinson, who Harley is overjoyed to learn, has been invited to Athena's meditation group. Looks like Athena has some training in store for the former Catwoman replacement. Training that might lead to becoming a warrior in the Amazon Attacks war? Who knows . . . this story is the slowest and seemingly least important of all of Countdown's ongoing shenanigans.

The new Challengers of the Unknown (Jason Todd, Bob the Monitor and Donna Troy, along with Ryan Choi, the new Atom) continue on the hunt for the missing Ray Palmer in the nanoverse and continue to be stymied by weird inhabitants of that microscopic world. They also keep getting told that the Great Disaster is imminent, but none of the Challengers except for Bob the Monitor seem to be too concerned.

Kind of a recurring theme developing here of heroes who aren't concerned with the evidence of impending doom staring them in the face. I seem to recall a similar blase attitude towards a certain Blue Beetle's proclamations that things in the DCU were wonky. As you recall, that Blue Beetle ended up with a ventilated head and the DCU ended up with an Infinite Crisis.

Jimmy Olsen/Mr. Action has no luck joining the Teen Titans (really, would you let him into your super-hero club?!) and broods about it back in his office. Suddenly, he's hit with a thought that he can't quite understand how he got - he knows that Superman is really Clark Kent! Lucky Clark's in the room with him and Jimmy wastes no time ripping his shirt to prove himself right. This sudden investiture of knowledge might also be how he knew that Jason Todd was the Red Hood and that Dick Grayson is Nightwing from way back in Week 50 or so, but the hows and wherefores are still to be revealed.

The only other notable development in the last two issues of Countdown was a brief cameo by Darkseid at the end of Week 38, in which he proclaims that as the New Gods die like the Prometheans before them, only he will survive and rule over the "Multiversal Dynasty" to come. Big machinations afoot!

With Week 38, Dan Jurgen's History of the Multiverse twelve chapter backup feature concluded. The Monitors of the 52 universes come to a fateful decision: those with the bearded Monitor who killed Duela Dent in Week 51 stand against the lone Monitor of New Earth (this is the main Earth of the regular DCU that has been around since the end of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, changed during Zero Hour, and survived Alex Luthor's manipulations during Infinite Crisis.) The lone Monitor a/k/a Bob the Monitor, as we've already seen, has decided to aid the heroes in their battle against the coming Great Disaster. So 51 against 1 doesn't look like great odds for Bob. Check out future issues of the Countdown spin-off mini-series, Countdown Presents the Search for Ray Palmer and the All New Atom for that story spanning the multiverse.Week 37 re-introduced a great back-up feature that was much missed from the issues of 52, The Origin of . . . series. These two page origin stories were one of the many high points of DC's previous weekly series, all written by Mark Waid and illustrated by some of the best artists in the industry (my personal favorites were Eric "The Goon" Powell on the origin of Metamorpho - see above - and Brian "Killing Joke" Bolland pencilling Animal Man). While the back-ups in 52 were focused squarely on heroes (Black Adam, Cat-Man, and Lobo were all nominally heroes in 52, smartguy), it looks as though (and word from DC confirms this) that all of the Origin Of back-ups in Countdown will be of villians.

So, with Week 37, we get the Origin of Poison Ivy by Scott Beatty with stellar art by Stephane Roux. These concise 2-page histories are a great addition to this series, and we at Countdown HQ look forward to the weeks to come (keeping our fingers crossed for a Bolland Joker origin!)

Next week: ISSUE 36 - Black Mary vs. Zatanna!
Winner = Eclipso!