“Countdown”
by Greg Cox
Multi-cast Performance
Produced by GraphicAudio, 2010
Approx 6 hours

DC comics had/has a great configuration of crossover comics with their multi-verse “Crisis” series.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Countdown to Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis
52
Countdown to Final Crisis (novel form titled “Countdown,” this book)
Final Crisis
The series told a tale of 52 alternate realities otherwise known as multiverses.  The problem consisting of multiple realities coming together could destroy all realities.  In this  book, “Countdown,” The aftermath of “Infinite Crisis” led to the series “52” which consisted of the Primary Earth dealing with the aftermath.  This book, as the title suggests, is a countdown to events that lead to yet another multiverse crisis which will be the “Final Crisis.”  The original “Countdown to Final Crisis” comics were published in 51 issues, Greg Cox has created the novelization of the series into this book.

So once again the comic books are converted to a novel.  What happened to the awesome graphics that make a comic so much of an experience?  Well,  Greg Cox uses words to convey the images and any fan of good fiction would appreciate this.  But what happens if the comic fan wants those images?  I suggest picking up the audio book created by GraphicAudio.  GraphicAudio has a slogan, “A Movie in your Mind,” and let me tell you, they deliver.  From the moment I heard my first GraphicAudio audiobook, I’ve been hooked.  They use a cast of very talented voice actors that can creat every subtlety of a superhero through voice only.  For Example, when you hear someone acting the role of Batman in a GraphicAudio audiobook, you hear Bruce Wayne’s loss of his parents, his calculating the next 30 moves in defeating a foe, and more, just through superb voice acting.

The acting is not the only thing that keeps these audiobooks interesting there is also incidental music that rises and falls with and enhances all the emotions and action in the story.  And even more fun are the sound effects.  So how do you give sound to the Green Lantern’s ring creating a boxing glove and punching his foe?  You can’t just simply punch something and record it, because the power behind the ring is what is creating the glove.  GraphicAudio create some superb effects that you can see in the mind’s eye all aspects of just such an action.  These guys really know what they are doing.

So with all that said let’s talk about this audiobook.  The excitement abounds, the story twists and turns and ultimate good is pitted up against ultimate evil.  Exactly what you’d expect from a comic book, but in this series all this takes place without the big name superheroes.  The Justice League members do make their appearance near the end to help wrap up the final battle and outcome, but for the most part what were normally minor characters now take the lead.

First off we’ve got Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen, suddenly endowed with superpowers.  Not sure where they come from, Jimmy’s not one to ask, being the epitomical good guy, Jimmy immediately takes on the guise of Action Man and tries to right wrongs.  The problem with these newfound powers is that they only occur when his life is threatened.  But when his life is threatened the powers are doozies.  Powers such as, porcupine like quills suddenly erupting from his skin and shooting at foes, his body turning to ooze and more weirdness.  Even not being able to control his powers Jimmy tries to fight crime.

Next we have Mary Marvel.  After the events in 52, Mary is now just simply Mary Batson, sister to Billy Batson (Captain Marvel/Shazam).  Her powers were mysteriously taken away and she awakens in a hospital scared and powerless.  To find her brother and eventually her powers Mary seeks out Madame Xanadu,  warns Mary not to go to Gotham City.  Ignoring her, Mary is chased by thugs through the Gotham subway, and finds the former Kahndaqi Embassy, where Black Adam has been hiding. Adam appears, saves Mary, and transfers his powers to Mary.  Mary acquires the powers of Black Adam, Isis, and Osiris as a result.  These dark powers change Mary’s psyche and she seems to be one of the bad guys.

Holly Robinson, former Catwoman (the good Catwoman not the criminal one) meets up with Harley Quinn (Joker’s former girlfriend) at a women’s shelter in Metropolis where a woman claiming to be Athena is recruiting Amazons to go to Paradise Island, which was vacated by the real Amazons (Wonder Woman’s family).

Jason Todd (former Robin that should have died), and Donna Troy (former Wonder Girl, who also should have died) meet up with a Monitor who recruits them to find The Atom. It seems The Atom, Ray Palmer, is the key to fighting the New Gods who are waging war against each other and could destroy the Universe.

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