And I should note, this post is a massive SPOILER ALERT for all 12 people who a) still care about Countdown, and b) still haven't read #32. But then again, it's not really a spoiler at all.
I should make clear, although I'm going to rag on the storytelling in this issue, I'm not dissing Dini/Bedard/Giffen/Barrionuevo per se. Rather, I'm giving a scathing review to how the marketing of this portentous mini-series is helping to destroy the actual (somewhat pathetic) telling of it.
We have known, for literally months, that Eclipso was going to tempt Mary Marvel into evil. We've known because we've been told again, and again, and again. It's been part of the promotional material. And not just somewhere more "obscure", like an interview in some magazine or a random comment made at a con. Nope, this is stuff that has been inside the very comics DC has had us reading for months.
*It's been in promotional posters (WWMMD?), and on two page spreads ("and there shall come and ending...").
*More than 2 months ago Dan Didio spilled it in a DC Nation column.
*Last week, Elisabeth Gehrlein did it again in the DC Nation column.
*As if that weren't enough, the 2-page center book promo spread, also in this very issue of Countdown (not to mention available at comics shops for weeks), shows it explicitly.
So there's no way any sentient being could be reading DC comic books could not already know that Eclipso is tempting Mary Marvel.
And what does DC give us as the "surprise reveal," in a full page splash, no less, on the final page of this week's Countdown?
Deep breaths, Brian, deep breaths.....
As I said, maybe Dini et. al. didn't know DC would be blowing the so-called surprise. Then again, they've been doing it for months, so it's hard to credit that. So we're left with these options:
*Dini et. al. didn't know the shock ending was spoilt, and nobody in DC editorial bothered to say, "Um, guys, this really isn't going to be a surprise...maybe you can punch up a slightly different ending."
*DC editorial didn't know Dini was going to end the issue that way (given the state of editing at DC these days, it's pretty certain editors aren't even reading a lot of the books before they go to press...).
*Everybody knew, but didn't give a hairy rat-fart about whether the ending worked or not. Countdown has become the Contractual Obligation Album of comic book series. We know it doesn't work, we're not even going to try, but the contracts have been signed and we have to finish this, so let's just do it with as little effort as possible. Seriously. If this series were so important to DC, they would have taken the same care to avoid spoiling the end of this issue as they did the Arrow/Canary Wedding Special. Yeah, that wasn't great, but at least they cared enough not to give away the surprise twists in all the ads and advanced solicitations. With Countdown, they just didn't give a damn, and disrespected the story and the fans.
It's bad enough that absolutely nothing happens (and VERY SLOWLY) in this series. But when something finally does happen, it's something they've spoiled themselves months ago. Bravo, DC. Well played.