Donna, Jason, the all new Atom, and Bob the Monitor get into a bruhaha with the residents of the Palmerverse, before seeing eye to eye. Finding out that they were only protecting the good Dr. Palmer himself, the warriors point the Challengers of the Unknown to a microverse beyond the Palmerverse.

Jimmy Olsen makes waves in Metropolis under the nom de plume, Mr. Action, even if Lois Lane shows a healthy lack of respect for his heroics.

Mary Marvel finds herself adrift in open waters, seeking the mentoring help of the mystical Zatanna - maybe not the best choice of role models considering the recent troubles the magician just got through. The meeting between the two will have to wait for another issue, however, as the two heroines never get together in this issue.

Next up we check in on Holly Robinson and Harleen Quinzel in the Athenian Women's shelter in Metropolis. It seems that the mission is only interested in single ladies and those with rugrats in tow need not apply. That doesn't exactly play well with Holly and we get more on her next issue.

Switching up a lot from previous issues, we next move all the way to Apokolips - the home of Darkseid and many other evil New Gods. It appears the master monarch is building an army of Parademons. He also shows a bit of a soft side to one of his many concubines, but quickly goes back to dastardly villain mode and aces her with his Omega Beams!

Also watching the parade of Parademons is a lowly, unidentified New God, who all clues point to being none other than Forager a/k/a The Bug!

For those counting, Countdown now has at least two characters building armies - Darkseid and Monarch. Plus, if the Monitors have more of Forerunner's people as their personal slaves, that might be one more. And don't forget Sinestro's Fear Corps! (check out recent issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps for more on the Sinestro Corps War!)

Finally, Week 40 checks in on our two favorite fugitives - Piper and the Trickster! Freshly deposited in Gotham, the two go to the only hood they think will help them in the Bat's city, the Penguin. Man, those two are really not that bright . . .

The issue closes with even more bad luck for the rogue Rogues - Oracle clues the brand new Question (a/k/a Renee Montoya) onto their entry into Gotham. That can't be good.


After 12 weeks of what many fans have called a book treading water, this week's Countdown seems to have finally hit it's stride. We here at Rundown HQ admit that there is still something to be desired in the scripting and artwork behind the book, but two major developments have finally made this book start to gel.

First, Keith Giffen has come on the book as layout artist/plot contributor with Issue 40. The significance of that cannot be overstated. With countless years in the industry, mastery of pacing and visual storetelling, and the experience of already having worked on a weekly book (the only one among the main contributors to Countdown), Giffen's experience, poise and attitude are just the injection of "freshness" this book needed.

Second, with Issue 39, the book has finally escewed the need to check in on all of the players in every issue, thus diluting the impact of those appearances with minimal page time. There are still a couple of interludes in this issue that probably could have been left out (we're looking at you, Mr. Action!), but overall, this issue finally felt like its own story and not a conglomeration of vignettes and news-brief style recaps.

So, what happened?

Karate Kid and the recently non-Triplicate Una, in an effort to find out what's wrong with the Kid and maybe why Brainiac 5 stranded them in the 21st century, break into the home of none other than Barbara Gordon, f/k/a Batgirl, currently a/k/a Oracle. For two kids from the future, that's not the brightest of moves. But the Kid proves he's as determined as Batman and makes it through all of Oracle's defenses to get to the mastermind. Too bad she's a little busy with another major security breach - someone's trying to hack a database that has every hero's real id! I smell a conspiracy.

Speaking of conspiracies, Trickster and Piper are still being hidden by the Penguin in Gotham City. Too bad they forgot the golden rule among super-villains: never turn your back on each other. Looks like the Penguin went to a higher bidder and called in the all-new, sort-of different Suicide Squad to re-capture the Rogues. As readers saw in All Flash #1, the new Suicide Squad (with team members Deadshot, Captain Boomerang II, the Bronze Tiger, and Plastique, among others) have been busy gathering up all the Rogues who took part in the murder of Bart Allen, the Flash IV.

Just as Boomer is about to layout the two misfit Rogues, they make a miraculous escape. Too bad they just jumped (yet again!) from the frying pan to the fire! Oracle and Batwoman are waiting for the two and they don't look happy. With Trickster the only straight man in that alley, things are bound to get awkward.

Finally, this issue also checked in on Mr. Action making another save and determining to get into the Titans; and it looked at Holly Robinson, confronting Athena of the same-named shelter about their acceptance issues. Nothing much there, but we should see more in the weeks to come.

Wrapping up both Issues 40 and 39 were more of Dan Jurgens's History of the Multiverse, but since that timeline is up to date, the story has concentrated more on the ongoing debate amongst the Monitors about how to handle so-called "reality jumpers" like the now deceased Duela Dent and the still at large Monarch, as well as how to face the oncoming Great Disaster. More on that in a special article coming in the next few weeks - Kirby created it and the 1970s DCU loved it - what was The Great Disaster!?