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DC Countdown #1

March 28, 2005

Quick Rating: Incredible
Title: Countdown to Infinite Crisis

Someone has collected information on the greatest heroes in the world – and it’s up to one of the least grandiose to unravel the mystery.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka & Judd Winick
Pencils: Rags Morales, Ed Benes, Jesus Saiz, Ivan Reis & Phil Jimenez
Inks: Michael Bair, Ed Benes, Jimmy Palmiotti, Marc Campos & Andy Lanning
Colors: Moose Baumann, Hi-Fi, Paul Mounts, Guy Major & Steve Firchow
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Dan Didio
Cover Art: Jim Lee & Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics

When I reviewed Identity Crisis, particularly the first and last issues of that miniseries, I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut by a mule. The story told in that miniseries was heartbreaking, stomach-wrenching and emotionally exhausting, while still being one of the best stories I’ve read in years.

Reading this special makes the gut feeling from that comic feel like a minor stomach flu.

This issue is all spoiler, and there’s almost nothing I can say without tipping the hand of the writers. Someone has gathered information on DC’s greatest heroes. Who, how and for what purpose is something that I honestly, until I turned that page, never saw coming, but unlike the identity of the Identity Crisis murderer, this one wasn’t really that big a stretch to accept. It almost felt poetic, like this was something that’s been in the works for decades instead of just the last few years.

And after reading this, there can be absolutely no doubt that this title has been meticulously planned out over the last few years. There are threads picked up on this book from titles as disparate as Batman, Superman/Batman, Adam Strange and Birds of Prey, and of course, the entire issue hangs heavily under the spectre of Identity Crisis, but one who hasn’t read those respective series will be able to understand this book without problem. Furthermore, the groundwork is laid very neatly for the four miniseries that will lead into Infinite Crisis – those being The Omac Project, Villains United, Day of Vengeance and The Rann/Thanagar War.

This book has an all-star team of artists doing the work. Each of the pencilers, from Identity Crisis’s Rags Morales on down, is doing top-notch work, and considering that each artist/inker team uses a different colorist, it’s even more incredible how neat and uniform this issue looks.

I’m still in shock. My stomach is in knots as a write this, because while I felt the last page of this issue coming from the very beginning, it still hit me like a Mack truck.

Make no mistake, friends. Identity Crisis was a warm-up.

And this is just the first round.

There’s a hell of a long way to go. And I’m starting to feel that getting there may produce some of the greatest comic book stories I’ve ever read.

Rating: 10/10

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