Countdown: Arena #1 (DC – Champagne / McDaniel / Owens) – DC’s summary “The villainous Monarch begins the last chapter of his campaign against the Monitors, combing the entire Multiverse to enlist the most powerful — or deadly — heroes and villains from throughout existence to join his army. The abducted must battle one another in Monarch’s specially constructed Arena, where only the strongest will survive to join his battle against the Monitors. Carefully selected from worlds throughout all 52 universes, including characters from SUPERMAN: RED SON, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, JSA: LIBERTY FILES, JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NAIL, and TANGENT, among many others, three versions of each hero will walk into the Arena, and only one will walk away. Welcome to THE ARENA, where Monarch’s only rule is to survive at all costs.” Very, very cool idea. Having all of our favorite alternate versions duke it out to see who is the toughest in the multiverse. This seems like a fanboy’s dream. Too bad the story didn’t quite live up to the hype or the idea for that matter. One of the things that bugged me is that all of these alternate versions of “heroes” are doing the battle to be a sidekick to supposedly the ulitmate mutiverse baddie. Yes, there are members of the Crime Syndicate present and those uber-dark characters like Red Rain Batman, but the majority of these versions are good guys… it was a tough sell watching two “good” versions of Batman go at it to the death. The art by Scott McDaniel was fun and was filled with easter eggs for fans, but overall could be described as chunky and cartoony…. loosing some of it’s “fun” during action sequences.
It could be argued that issue one fell to the “origin and set-up” trap, way too much talking and describing. We wanted a fight, a knock-down blow-up dirty-handed tripped-out slugfest. And we got two of them, too bad one was between alternate versions of Nightshade… yawn. Not bad, but also not living up to the hype… but surely I will stick around for issue #2 next week. See you there… and don’t call me Shirley.
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