Countdown to Final Crisis: Volume 3

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The countdown is in full swing with this third volume in the series, and man oh man is there a lot going on here.  There’s no possible way to summarize everything coherently, so let’s just stick to a list of some of the major points:

  1. Trickster and Piper are still on the run, but this time Deadshot is hunting them down.  Unfortunately Trickster is shot and killed while they’re trying to avoid capture, but since he and Piper are still tethered together, the duo is stuck together. As Piper wanders the Mexican desert, lugging Trickster’s body behind him, he starts to hallucinate and carries on conversations with Trickster’s corpse.

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This scene was morbidly fascinating, and oddly touching. It showed how much Piper came to view Trickster as a friend and ally, as well as showing that he was slowly losing his sanity.   Piper’s story in this trade ends with him seemingly cutting Trickster’s hand off so that he no longer has to drag his body around. I’m curious where Piper will go from here, and how he will react now that he doesn’t have his foil to bicker with.  He’s clearly losing his grip on reality, and I’ll be curious to see if he can bounce back from all of these events, or if he’ll finally succumb to insanity (or even death).

2. Jimmy Olsen’s story has been shrouded in mystery up until this point. He keeps developing all sorts of powers, and yet there hasn’t been any explanation as to why…until now.

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Based on this explanation, it would seem that the souls of the New Gods are entering Jimmy, imbuing him with all sorts of special powers. There still hasn’t been much detail given, but considering he survived on Apokolips for a little while, I’d say he’s more powerful than anyone really knows at this point.

3.  As Jimmy gets more and more powerful, Mary Marvel battles Eclipso and finally forfeits the powers Black Adam bestowed upon her.  She falls to Earth, completely human, only to wind up on Paradise Island.

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Luckily, she’s found by Hippolyta, Holly, and Harley (I never noticed the alliteration of their little team, but I like it), who offer her the chance to join their resistance. I’m not sure how much help she can be as a powerless human, but I’m just glad that Mary seems to be back on the right track, and is putting her evil “kill everyone in sight” ways behind her.

4.  With everything else going on, we’re brought to Earth-51, a seemingly perfect version of Earth where there is virtually no crime.  Ray Palmer had been living there, but unfortunately all hell breaks loose as the Monitors descend on the planet. Fighting breaks out among the heroes of that world, Monarch’s army of heroes, and the few heroes from our own Earth.  It’s insane, it’s chaotic, and people are dying all over. With all of that going on, Superboy-Prime (who insists that he’s now Superman) realizes that this is the perfect Earth he’s been searching for, and that the Monitors are destroying it.  He attacks the leader, known as Solomon, spewing hatred and childish anger.

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“I’ll kill you to death”.  Yeah…I can’t really take him seriously after a lame line like that, but it does help reinforce the fact that he’s just a kid, so I guess I can forgive it.  He’s clearly upset that his perfect world is failing right before his eyes, and doesn’t really seem to know what to do about it. He hasn’t been interacting much with any other main characters; instead, he’s just traveling the multiverse searching for a planet “worthy” of him.  Now that that world is gone, I’m sure he’s going to take his anger and pain out on everyone in sight, but I’m still clear what role he’s going to play in the larger story.

5. On Earth-51, Jason Todd meets that Earth’s Batman, a dark, solitary man who is shockingly even more brooding than the Batman Jason knows.  He too lost Jason Todd to Joker, and as the two plan to enter the battle for the planet, Batman gives Jason a costume that his own Robin never got to wear.

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It would be easy to think this was just a one-off costume, and that Jason would revert back to his Red Hood ways soon enough. There are a few key points that make me think this change is more permanent though. One, this Batman comments that after his Jason was killed, he went and murdered Joker, which was what Jason always wanted his own Batman to do. Two, this Batman dies in battle right in front of Jason, giving Jason a reason to honor and remember this fallen hero.  If I had to guess, I’d bet that Red Robin is going to become the new role of Jason Todd once the whole Final Crisis event is over.  Hopefully the new cowl means he’ll adopt a bit more of a heroic role, rather than going around killing any criminal he comes across, but I think it’s too soon to tell.

This doesn’t even begin to touch upon all of the events that occur within this trade. If Volume Two was a bit of a slow build, it was because it was all leading up to the nonstop action of this comic. I can’t even begin to imagine what will happen in Volume Four, or how it will flow into Final Crisis, whenever that finally rolls around.  Given the major changes happening here, I can only guess that these next few comics are going to be major game changers to DC’s continuity.

…but, I’ve been wrong before, so I’ll just have to wait and see.


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