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Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray…
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Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer

by Ron Marz

Other authors: Kalman Andrasofszky (Illustrator), Brian Augustyn (Contributor), David Baldeón (Penciller), Eric Battle (Penciller), Steve Bird (Inker)26 more, Alan Burnett (Contributor), Matt Cherniss (Contributor), Vicente Cifuentes (Inker), Saleem Crawford (Inker), Jesse Delperdang (Inker), Travel Foreman (Penciller), Derek Fridolfs (Inker), Richard Friend (Inker), Jonathan Glapion (Inker), Justin Gray (Contributor), David Hahn (Illustrator), Jeremy Haun (Penciller), Rob Hunter (Inker), Jamal Igle (Penciller), Peter Johnson (Contributor), Kelley Jones (Illustrator), Álvaro López (Inker), Sean McKeever (Contributor), Paul Neary (Inker), Oliver Nome (Inker), Jimmy Palmiotti (Contributor), Norm Rapmund (Inker), Lorenzo Ruggiero (Inker), Trevor Scott (Inker), Greg Tocchini (Penciller), Angel Unzueta (Penciller)

Series: Countdown to Final Crisis (side-story 4), The All-New Atom (3.5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
201776,832 (3.5)None
Ray Palmer, The Atom, is missing! It's up to heroes Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy and Jason Todd to join forces as the Challengers of the Beyond and scour the Multiverse for him.

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I read this because I thought that it would tie-in to The All New Atom in some way. I still assume it does, because the next volume of The All New Atom is called The Hunt For Ray Palmer!, but "all-new Atom" Ryan Choi does not put in an appearance here. Instead, this volume follows the so-called "Challengers from Beyond" from Countdown to Final Crisis, expanding on their multiverse-hopping search for the original Atom, Ray Palmer, covered in volumes two and three of that series. Honestly, though I know it would have inflated that series to five volumes, and no one out there wanted more of Countdown to Final Crisis, DC should have included these issues with those ones somehow, because they don't stand on their own in any way.

The various issues collected here mostly show visits by the Challengers from Beyond to different worlds in the multiverse while they look for Ray Palmer, giving us extra adventures that went unseen in the main Countdown to Final Crisis series. As such, there's no real set-up (just a text page to recap salient points from the main series) and no resolution beyond an ad for Countdown to Final Crisis, Volume Three. And some parts are just confusing; for example, the Jokester from Earth-Three joins the Challengers at the end of one issue, but is nowhere to be seen in the next; that's because Countdown #30-22* took place between these two issues, and the Jokester died in #29, but there's no indication whatsoever of that here. And obviously I read Countdown to Final Crisis, but so long ago that I didn't remember this. C'mon, DC, at least try to make your collections readable. (Thanks to Cosmic Teams for being the only people on the whole Internet invested enough in Countdown to write an issue-by-issue timeline for it. Most of The Search for Ray Palmer occurs between issues #22 and 21 of Countdown, so during the middle of volume three.)

Anyway, leaving aside all that, this is in theory a series of interesting snapshots of worlds of the DC multiverse, most (if not all) of them from preexisting stories: the Challengers visit the worlds of the Wildstorm comics and Superman: Red Son, for example. But that turns out to not be the case. Revisiting those worlds should hopefully add something new to our understanding of those stories, but it doesn't really happen. I really enjoyed Red Son, and it's a really interesting story, and a very compelling meditation on who Superman is and how he works. The Challengers visiting the world of Red Son is just a generic superhero escapade that's resolved too easily.

Part of that is down to the characters, I think. The Earth-Zero Superman meeting his "evil" counterpart could make for compelling storytelling. But the Red Son Superman meeting Jason Todd, Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and "Bob" the Monitor... like who cares? It's the match-up no one demanded, with nothing interesting say about any of the characters involved.

The various Gotham-set tales could in theory do more, since Jason meets different versions of Bruce Wayne, his one-time mentor, but they don't. So I guess part of it is just down to the writers being terrible, all eight of them. The characterization is as subtle as being hit in the head with a brick labeled "KYLE AND JASON BICKER BECAUSE THEY'RE BOTH SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO DONNA," and each done-in-one story rushes through anything of interest in favor of fights fights fights. Jason spent weeks on a nineteenth-century whaling ship? No time for that, gotta kill some vampires!

The only high point of this volume is that they got Kelly Jones to draw some of the Red Rain Batman-is-a-vampire bits. The book manages to look good for a few pages, at least. I did like the glimpse of the genderswapped world, only because it was the only world where people (aside from Wonder Man) actually seemed nice.

The Atom: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
DC Comics Crises: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Jun 9, 2017 |
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marz, Ronprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrasofszky, KalmanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Augustyn, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldeón, DavidPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Battle, EricPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bird, SteveInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burnett, AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cherniss, MattContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cifuentes, VicenteInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crawford, SaleemInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Delperdang, JesseInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foreman, TravelPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fridolfs, DerekInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friend, RichardInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glapion, JonathanInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gray, JustinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hahn, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haun, JeremyPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunter, RobInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Igle, JamalPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, KelleyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
López, ÁlvaroInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKeever, SeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neary, PaulInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nome, OliverInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palmiotti, JimmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rapmund, NormInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ruggiero, LorenzoInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scott, TrevorInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tocchini, GregPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Unzueta, AngelPencillersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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