In a bold move, the inaugural issue of DC’s new series Countdown is set not on New Earth but on the hitherto unexplored world of Earth-21, which appears to be inhabited mainly by characters from British television series of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In a radical story-telling move, the issue is split into short, almost fragmentary episodes, augmented by fake articles with titles like “Towards 2000” (is that what we are counting down to?). Cleverly, DC have not only hired John M Burns, a veteran of comics of the period, but have found artists capable of mimicking to the last brush stroke the work of his contemporaries Gerry Haylock and Harry Lindfield, among others.
It seems that the recent appearance of the Lord of Time in The Brave and the Bold was a hint of a coup that DC have managed to keep secret until publication day: they have acquired the rights to Doctor Who, UFO and other media properties, and to the hardware designs from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Overall this is a smart publication, very knowing in a post-modern sort of way. It may, perhaps, have been a step too far to leave DC’s own name off the credits in favour of the fictional “Polystyle Publications” (which long-time readers will remember as part of the media empire of the Morgan Edge of Earth-Q), as this could confuse potential buyers.
Next issue promises appearances by the Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman of Earth-C4, which should be good.
Or was it all a dream?
Cover scan taken from The Book Palace and blown up too big.