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Countdown Breakdown #18

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays

So the holidays are officially over, unfortunately. That’s my favorite time of year, so it’s a bit of a downer when it’s all over and you see people and businesses slowly remove all the festive decorations and go back to the cold reality of the regular world.

I’ve skipped "Breakdown" #19, since I want to try to stay in line with the issue I’m up to in the breakdown (technically Countdown #17 came out yesterday, but no way am I going by the comic shop after work on a Friday night). So now we’re going to breakdown the happenings of Trickster and Piper in Countdown. Let’s get going!

Week 51: The storyline for these guys starts with Trickster inviting himself to a Rogues gathering, while Piper watches on.

Week 50: This issue sees Trickster and Piper both at the party, which also consists of Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, and Mirror Master. Mirror Master arrives to invite the Rogues to a meeting held by Inertia and Captain Cold. While Mirror Master and Heat Wave do drugs off the table, they question the alliances of Trickster and Piper. The shindig ends with Mirror Master telling T&P that they must prove their loyalty before being allowed in the meeting…but if they don’t show, they’ll be hunted down and killed!

Week 49: This scene opens with a man wiring all of his money over to Mirror Master, and then jumping off his boat to his doom while Mirror Master, Trickster, and Piper argue on the boat. Once the money transfers to Mirror Master, Piper steals it for himself to help settle the debt of Mirror Master having killed his parents. Mirror Master then calls the other Rogues to give the okay for T&P. Outside on the boat, Trickster calls out Piper for allowing the rich man to live, blackmailing him into wiring the money to his own account.

Week 47: This issue has Trickster and Piper giving their reasons for joining up with the Rogues, as well as providing the first traces of homosexual unease by Trickster. Trickster explains he's bored with the FBI, while Piper just wants somewhere to belong.

Week 46: This issue sees the usual bunch sitting in a diner arguing over employee rights (for whatever reason). It ends with Mirror Master and Piper going at it, until Captain Cold and Inertia show up to gather the Rogues together for their business at hand.

Week 44: This week sees Trickster and Piper’s reaction to the death of Bart Allen. Of course, they’re freaking out, and now on the run. What they don’t know is that they already have someone watching them!

Week 43: This issue shows T&P in disguise, trying to decide what to do after watching Bart’s funeral. While they’re talking, they’re ambushed by Multiplex and Deadshot.

Week 42: This issue finds our guys cuffed together by a special device that shocks them if they try to separate. After failing to talk Deadshot into separating them, Trickster pulls out a fake tooth that is an explosive. As the pair get out of their “room,” the result sees them falling out of a plane to their doom!

Week 41: In this issue, Piper shows Trickster a bag he grabbed just before they fell out of the plane. It’s all their stuff! T&P each put on one of Trickster’s flying boots, and try to slow their decent before they fall into the harbor. The issue ends with the pair finding themselves in Gotham City, with Trickster deciding to seek help from the Penguin.

Week 40: This issue has Penguin giving the first hints of Salvation Run, but deciding to give the guys a room for the night anyway. What they don’t know is that Oracle is watching, and giving The Question there whereabouts.

Week 39: This issue sees the Penguin showing his true colors, giving up the guys to the Suicide Squad. However, our pair is able to elude the squad down an alley. Who they’re not able to elude, however, are The Question and Batwoman!

Week 38: In this issue, Trickster is able to prove to The Question that they didn’t kill Wally, essentially by showing that they’re too stupid to accomplish the feat. The Question lets them go!

Week 37: In this issue, our two idiots decide to check out a greenhouse in Gotham City. Yeah, I know…morons. So, of course, they run into Poison Ivy, who is none too happy to find them eating her fruit, so to speak.

Week 36: This issue has Poison Ivy letting slip that she’s waiting for a partner to arrive. Naturally, Trickster sees this as an opportunity to pretend that this partner invited them along as well. It works quite well, until the partner…Deathstroke…arrives!

Week 34: This issue opens with T&P hanging upside down from a building after having been beaten up by Deathstroke. Batman finds them, but as soon as he does, Wally West shows up and drags them off! He takes them to Bart’s grave to explain their innocence. They tell him that they were trying to infiltrate the Rogues, and that Deathstroke, Poison Ivy, and others are planning on attacking Green Arrow’s wedding. Just as they explain that they’ve been wired by Deathstroke, their wires start killing them, with Wally looking on!

Week 33: In this issue, Wally finds the implants and removes them just before they explode. When Wally contacts Zatanna, the pair assume they’re going to be mindwiped. They try to run, but don’t get far! Wally takes them to Zatanna’s, and as they try to escape, they run into a mad mummy!

Week 32: In this issue, Wally takes Trickster’s bag and Piper’s flute, but Piper is still able to use a telephone’s tones to knock out the mummy so they can make their escape. Of course, with their luck, they run straight into Black Canary’s bachelorette party! They’re finally able to get out of there unscathed, and steal a Porsche.

Week 30: In this issue, Piper convinces Trickster to show up at Green Arrow’s wedding to make sure everything is alright. They find a bomb the Joker left, and toss it at Poison Ivy. As they get back into their car, they find that they’ve picked up a passenger…Double Down!

Week 29: This issue has all three guys talking in a diner, with Double Down talking more about Salvation Run. What they don’t realize is that, once again, they’re being watched.

Week 28: This issue has the Suicide Squad trying to grab our guys again. However, this time Trickster is able to temporarily make them invisible, until they can stow away on the Squad’s vehicle to find out what’s really going on.

Week 27: This issue has the pair in parts unknown, freeing Two-Face from being carried off to a cell. He tells them Checkmate is behind everything, and they’re taking criminals somewhere far away. The pair grabs a vehicle and makes their escape.

Week 25: In this issue, their getaway vehicle has been flipped over, and as they crawl out, Deadshot arrives to take them down. They get the drop on him and manage to run away.

Week 22: This issue has our pair on a train continuing to banter back and forth. Just as Trickster finally addresses Piper by his given name, Deadshot arrives to finish them off. They battle back and forth, ending with Deadshot being thrown from the train, but not before he gives Trickster killing shots to the chest and head!

Week 21: In this issue, Piper tries to shock Trickster back to life with the chain, but to no avail. He also makes the unhappy discovery that, now that one of them is dead, the chain is set to explode in twenty-four hours!

Week 20: This issue has Piper using his flute to slow down the timer on the chain, as he talks to a dead Trickster. The train makes a stop to be inspected by police, so Piper takes Trickster and gets off the train, and heads out into the desert!

Week 19: This issue sees Piper dragging a decaying Trickster through the desert, while occasionally playing his pipe to delay the chain’s explosion. As he talks to Trickster, he starts hearing replies in his head. He finally finds a watering hole and a burro that he uses to carry Trickster. His mental Trickster voice tells him that the only way to get rid of the bomb is to cut Trickster’s hand off!

So that’s where we are! Things aren’t looking too good for our pair of Rogues! Is there some miracle waiting around the corner that can save them? Guess we have to wait and see! Talk to ya soon!

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