Why I’m Not Reading Countdown

You tell ‘em, Graeme.

As soon as [reboots] become an annual process, they’re meaningless — not only do they stop being epic stories in their own right, but they completely invalidate any attempt at dramatic tension in every single story that you publish […]

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the rest of the issue is, for me, the worst tendencies of recent DC, but moreso. It’s full of continuity porn and characters that appear without introduction and act without explanation. A character gets killed, and I have no idea who she is, how she got there, and why I should really care… As a first issue, it’s pretty much a failure, because no one unfamiliar with the characters could really follow just what’s going on, and more worryingly, nothing that’s happening is interesting enough to intrigue those unfamiliar into sticking around to find out.

More in the link, including a little more optimism near the end.

Update: BeaucoupKevin has a small but good suggestion for improvement.

I understand that a lot of comics storytelling techniques (thought bubbles, etc) are being eschewed for screenplay-style writing, but isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially in a narrative universe featuring thousands of speaking parts. It’s OK to throw in a caption or an editor’s box; readers get them and, in fact, appreciate them a lot of the time.

2 Responses to “Why I’m Not Reading Countdown”

  1. Thad Says:

    Haven’t picked up Countdown yet; I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt because I love Paul Dini.

  2. Tommy Says:

    I posted about this too, here’s what I thought.

    I had mixed feelings about this series from the moment it was announced. 52 was a surprise not only for fans like me but I think for DC as well. I can’t remember a weekly series that ever worked and I fear that DC is putting too much faith in the average comic fan. We are easily distracted and unless Countdown can give us characters who are both interesting and well written (Renee Montoya, Animal Man) I fear a huge fall off of readers after the first month. Having read the first issue I am somewhat underwhelmed and mightily lost. Half the characters in this series I lost track of in the One Year Later batch of crap. Mary marvel was in a coma and Duela Dent (the Joker’s daughter) knows who Jason Todd is. WTF? I remember Duela from 52 as a momentary Teen Titan but I didn’t know she knew that much about the Bat family. On top of that I think Darkseid shruck Desaad and gave him AIDS because he’s really tiny and has lost a LOT of weight since I last saw him. On top of that multiverse cops show up and argue over killing Jason Todd and then the source wall tells them Ray Palmer (the Atom) needs to be found to save the universe. I feel like this issue should have had a lot more exposition because I was a little lost and if a guy who reads as many comics as I do is lost I can’t imagine what the average person thought of this. I think DC needs to look at what Marvel is doing with its recap books. A couple of weeks before Joss Whedon’s first issue of Runaways (#25) hit the racks Marvel released Runaways Saga. The book was written as if the rest of the kids were reading Molly’s diary and while fans of the series got nothing new out of it, the book hit every major (and a few minor) plot points that people picking up the book for the first time would know who these kids are and what’s going on. Last week we got something similar in the World War Hulk preview and this week Annihilation Saga dropped at $1.99 to catch up people for the new wave of Annihilation books starting later this month. I have faith that Paul Dini can deliver a good story so I’ll keep picking this up until he proves otherwise.




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