Beginning as simply COUNTDOWN, the weekly series’ numbering ran backwards, starting with #51 which was released the week after the final issue, #52, of the previous weekly series 52. As 52 had followed on from INFINITE CRISIS, so COUNTDOWN would eventually work up to FINAL CRISIS.
The notes here run from issue #51 to issue #27 purely for the sake of limiting the size of this page. The issues named COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS can be accessed by clicking that link.
The first issue of COUNTDOWN opens with Darkseid playing a game of chess with someone who is not revealed. The chess pieces are representations of many of the key players within COUNTDOWN‘s stories (such as Donna Troy and Jason Todd) as well as others including Superman and Batman. Darkseid states that he sees a time when existence will be recreated and that he intends to be the architect.
Jason Todd enters the story by foiling a kidnap plot by the Joker’s Daughter. In trying to escape, she is confronted by a Monitor – who will later be identified as Solomon – who kills her before attempting to kill Jason himself. Solomon is in turn prevented by another Monitor – who will be known as Bob – before both of them vanish. Bob visits the Source Wall where he is warned of the Great Disaster and told the solution is the missing Ray Palmer.
Recovering from a coma after losing her powers mid-flight, Mary Marvel is released from hospital but finds she is unable to access the powers of Shazam.
As Trickster attends a get together of the Rogues Gallery, Pied Piper uses his rats to spy upon them.
Jimmy tracks down Jason and questions him about the death of the Joker’s Daughter. Getting no answers from him, he visits Arkham Asylum and speaks with the Joker himself who claims never to have had a daughter.
Mary Marvel visits Madame Xanadu and is advised to seek a guide to find her way back to magic and also to avoid Gotham city.
A refugee from the future, Karate Kid is held by the Justice League.
When Trickster and Pied Piper join them, the other Rogues make it clear that because of their previous loyalties to the Flash, neither of them are particularly trusted.
As Jimmy leaves Arkham, he is attacked by Killer Croc and saved only by becoming elastic, his body stretching like rubber before the Asylum guards subdue Croc.
Solomon and Bob argue amongst their fellow Monitors with the former arguing for the eradication of anomalies such as Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner and Donna Troy.
As a show of villainy, Piper and Trickster con Mirror Master into thinking they have killed a corporate criminal and stolen his money.
Ignoring the advice of Madame Xanadu, Mary ends up being attacked in Gotham and finds her way to the Khandaq embassy where she meets Black Adam.
Mary tells Adam that she has lost her powers.
Reporting the lack of story to Perry White and the Daily Planet, Jimmy is on the scene when one of the New Gods, Lightray, falls from the sky. Again Jimmy displays a super-power – speed this time – before finding the body of the New God who mutters the word “Infinite” before dying.
Jason contacts Donna Troy at the funeral of the Joker’s Daughter, claiming that neither of them are supposed to be alive.
On the run from Gotham, Catwoman’s ex-partner Holly Robsinson finds herself in Metropolis.
In despair of what his life has become, Black Adam bestows all his powers to Mary, turning her into a sort of Black Mary.
The Monitors hold a council where both Bob and Solomon put forward their views and, to Bob’s dismay, the Monitors side with Solomon, calling for the deaths of Donna Troy, Jason Todd and Kyle Rayner.
Accepted back into the ranks of the Rogues, Trickster and Piper confide in each other about why they have re-joined the criminals after having reformed previously: for Trickster it’s simply a relief from the boredom of the FBI; for Piper it’s needing a sense of family now that Flash and his wife have vanished.
Following a lead, Jimmy later finds Sleez – the ex-aide and servant of Darkseid – living in a Metropolis slum. Before Sleez can tell him of how to destroy Darkseid, a mysterious light kills the former New God.
Flying over Gotham, enjoying her new powers, Mary stumbles across some amateurs raising a demon and tries to help them. The demon attacks Mary and she surprises herself by taking relish in defeating it.
Some time later, during the Amazonian attack on Washington DC, Jason again speaks with Donna telling her that, through research, he has discovered the killer of Joker’s Daughter looked like the Monitor. They are both attacked by the agent of the Monitors, Forerunner.
While the battle goes against Jason and Donna, Bob the Monitor appears and commands Forerunner to stop.
After almost being killed when Sleez was killed (Issue 46) Holly is approached by a mysterious woman.
Now that Bob has interfered directly in saving the lives of Donna and Jason, Solomon directs the other Monitors against him.
While aboard the Watchtower satellite, Dr Mid-Nite explains that Karate Kid is being kept from Earth only until they can discover why he has been sent back from the future.
The former Captain Marvel calls Mary to the Rock of Eternity and admonishes her for taking the powers of Black Adam; in a rage, Mary strikes out and determines to pursue her destiny without his help.
Discarded by the Monitors, Forerunner is found by Monarch who recruits her to his cause which is dedicated, in part, to the destruction of the Monitors.
Attempting to find out how his new powers work, Jimmy is attacked by a street gang and produces spines that shoot from his body.
Holly’s mysterious benefactor turns out to be Athena, the Greek goddess, who offers her refuge in her women’s shelter.
Following the murder of the Flash by the rest of the Rogues, Piper and Trickster go on the run, fearing they will be held responsible.
Inspired by the Flash’s memorial service, Jimmy contemplates becoming a superhero.
Attending the Flash’s memorial service, though watching from the sidelines, Bob informs Donna and Jason that they must search the Nanoverse to find Ray Palmer, the apparent saviour of the Multiverse.
Despite Trickster’s reticence, he and Piper end up going to the memorial service for the Flash and as they leave are attacked by the Suicide Squad.
Monarch places Forerunner in charge of his already vast army and asks her to train them for the forthcoming war before telling her that the Monitors have slain everyone on her home planet with the aid of Dark Angel.
As Holly relaxes in the shelter she meets Harleen Quinzel, the former Harley Quinn, girlfriend of the Joker.
Tethered together by a chain that induces an electrical shock if stretched, Trickster and Piper manage to escape from the Squad before realising they are airborne.
Mary finds the Riddler, now apparently reformed, and helps him track Clayface. After the criminal attacks them both, Mary uses her powers to fire Clayface into space, prompting Riddler to suggest she seek a mentor in magic or anger management.
Harley tries to convince Holly that Athena is only interested in the well being of them and the other women under her care.
Donna, Jason and Bob contact the new Atom and with his aid enter the Nanoverse to begin the search for Ray Palmer who, Bob informs them, is necessary to prevent the Great Disaster.
Eventually released by the League, Karate Kid says farewell to Batman before intending to return to the 31st century.
As Trickster and Piper plummet, Trickster finds his flying boots which manages to slow them enough that they survive the fall into Gotham harbour.
Determined to become a hero, Jimmy designs a costume.
As Mary thinks back on her actions, she is unaware of being watched.
Athena’s apparent concern for the women in her care is questioned due to the Amazonian Attack being waged against the United States at that time.
As he finds the time portal generated by the Legion of Super Heroes in the future, Karate Kid is told to remain in the 21st century and, travelling back to stay with him, is Una, the former Triplicate Girl.
Arriving in the Nanoverse, Donna, Jason and Bob are attacked by the inhabitants, defeat them and make them tell them where Palmer is.
Jimmy has his first successful crime fighting adventure as Mr Action.
Mary tracks down Zatanna who notices how angry Mary has become.
Holly witnesses a woman and child being turned away from the shelter despite them being in need.
On Apokolips, Darkseid views the latest batch of Parademons and almost shows a tender side to a concubine before killing her. Watching him from afar is Forager of New Genesis who seeks to identify the killer of Lightray.
Seeking sanctuary Trickster and Piper contact The Penguin in the hopes of gaining shelter. Hidden in his club, however, they are quickly spotted by Oracle who informs The Question.
Trying to find out what is wrong with him, Karate Kid and Una break into Oracle’s base of operations.
The Penguin sells out Piper and Trickster to the Suicide Squad though they manage to escape before being found by The Question and Batwoman.
Donna, Jason and Bob travel to another dimension to continue the search for Ray Palmer.
Jimmy, as Mr Action, stops his second criminal and considers joining a superhero team, eventually deciding on the Teen Titans.
Holly manages to see Athena and questions her concerning the treatment of the single mother she had seen refused admittance to the shelter.
The heroes of the world help Oracle as she and the Calculator engage in a computerised war. Once he has been defeated, Oracle turns to Karate Kid and Una who tell her that the Kid is dying.
Mary and Zatanna speak about Mary’s concerns over the large amount of magic she is now wielding. At the time, the New Gods of Deep Six are being attacked by the same killer of Lightray and despite Mary and Zatanna trying to help, the Six are all killed while Eclipso looks on.
Trickster and Piper manage to convince Question that they didn’t kill the Flash and they are let go.
Jimmy tries out for the Titans as Mr Action but fails the audition.
Darkseid watches over everything, still intent on ruling the new world that is to be born.
Despite running numerous tests, Oracle is unable to identify the virus Karate Kid is carrying, prompting Una to speak of the Great Disaster before Oracle points them in the direction of a bio-engineer called Elias Orr.
Zatanna takes Mary to her home and offers to tutor her.
Donna, Jason, Bob and the Atom are told by wizards in the Nanoverse that Palmer had passed through their dimension and they were leaving before the Great Disaster.
Piper and Trickster are captured by Poison Ivy.
Harley congratulates Holly in being allowed in to something without telling her what.
Without knowing how or why, Jimmy becomes aware that Clark Kent is Superman and demands he help him get into the Justice League.
Donna, Jason, Bob and the Atom are attacked by magic wielding bugs and captured.
Piper and Trickster attempt to con Ivy into thinking they’re working for the same person but when that person arrives in the form of Deathstroke, the ploy backfires.
Annoyed by the slow pace of her learning, Mary rebels against Zatanna, surreptitiously spurred on by Eclipso, and attacks her.
The Justice League offer Jimmy – as Mr Action – an audition as a favour to Superman.
Karate Kid and Una track down Elias Orr and are attacked by one of his creations, Equus.
Donna, Jason, Bob and the Atom are presented to Queen Belthera who, managing to control Bob, aims to become ruler of all creation.
Mary attacks Zatanna, partially under the influence of Eclipso, but the older magician manages to defeat her and banishes her from her home.
Jimmy, as Mr Action, wakes battered and bruised from his try out with the Justice League that ended in him being soundly beaten by all of the members.
Holly and Harley, along with other members of the women’s shelter, are encouraged by Athena to battle each other in gladiatorial style.
Karate Kid and Una defeat Equus and meet Elias Orr who claims to have answers for them.
Solomon convinces the other Monitors that Kyle Rayner, along with Donna Troy and Jason Todd are a threat to the Multiverse.
Left for Batman to find them, Trickster and Piper are found instead by the recently returned Wally West, the Flash who demands to know why they killed the previous Flash, Bart Allen.
Trying to understand his powers, Jimmy enlists John Henry Irons, who discovers Jimmy has within him some form of equation that visually manifests as a Source Wall between multiple Earths.
Donna and Jason break free of Queen Belthera’s soldiers and attack her, trying to free Bob at the same time and prevent the Queen from escaping and kidnapping Donna.
Surviving the battle in the arean, both Holly and Harley are granted passage to Paradise Island by Athena to become fully fledged Amazons.
Mary encounters Klarion who claims he can help her.
Elias Orr sends Karate Kid and Una on to see Buddy Blank as the virus Karate Kid has shows similarities to the OMAC virus; the OMACs were controlled by Brother Eye and Blank has access to Brother. Once they have gone, Orr informs Desaad, servant of Darkseid, of what he has done.
Piper and Trickster tell Flash of Deathstroke’s plans to attack the forthcoming wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary and Flash begins to believe them concerning their innocence in the death of Bart. Flash has them secured in Zatanna’s house
As Queen Belthera escapes with Donna, Kyle Rayner arrives and rescues her. He then tells Bob and Jason that the Guardians have told him Ray Palmer was in the Nanoverse but has gone into the Multiverse.
Klarion tells Mary that he will help her for the tiniest fraction of her power.
Jimmy is approached by agents of Cadmus and agrees to go with them for research.
Klarion betrays Mary and attempts to drain her of her powers but she defeats him. She eventually ends up in Turkey and is met by Eclipso.
Trickster and Piper manage to escape from Zatanna’s house but stumble into the bar where Black Canary is having her bachelorette party; the heroines are distracted by defeating the magical guard chasing the pair and they manage to escape and steal a Porsche
Jimmy arrives at Cadmus for tests.
Donna, Jason, Kyle and Bob (hereafter called the Challengers) arrive on Earth-3 and are met by the Crime Society.
The Challengers battle the Crime Society who bring in reinforcements, gathering fellow criminals together before both teams are interrupted by the Jokester who attacks the Society. While they fight, Bob finds that Palmer is not on the Earth and they leave, the Jokester going along with them. Once they have gone, Monarch and Forerunner arrive and offer the Society the opportunity to join with them.
Leaving the women’s shelter, Holly writes a letter to Selina Kyle but it will never be delivered.
Mr Mxyzptlk is forcibly torn from his home in the 5th dimension by an unseen foe.
Eclipso promises to help Mary understand her new powers and plays on the girl’s fear of being abandoned once more.
Karate Kid and Una meet Buddy Blank and ask him to take them to meet Brother Eye.
In Cadmus, Jimmy’s tests run haywire, forcing his body to mutate.
Buddy Blank takes Karate Kid and Una to see Brother Eye; the satellite/computer identifies Karate Kid’s virus as terminal and claims that the Great Disaster has almost arrived.
Trickster and Piper attempt to flee the all-out battle that the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary has become. Managing to escape they are then captured by Double Down.
Jimmy is split into a physical and astral form and escapes Cadmus by using the sewers.
The Challengers and the Jokester arrive on Earth-15 and are met by their counterparts. With their help they find that Palmer is not on Earth-15 and they leave. Moments later, that universe’s Monitor arrives and reports to Solomon that he missed them.
Arriving at Paradise Island, Holly and Harley have to face swimming ashore through shark infested waters as another test of their worth.
The Challengers are captured by the Extremists of Earth-8 and brought before their leader, Lord Havok. Observing them from the Nexus, Solomon arms himself and travels to Earth-8. The Extremists, believing themselves under attack, attack Solomon while the Challengers free themselves and Monarch arrives. Solomon kills the Jokester, the Challengers escape and Monarch offers the Extremists a place in his army.
In the sewers beneath Metropolis, Jimmy is found by the Newsboy Legion.
Both Holly and Harley make it through the sharks and on to Paradise Island.
Trickster, Piper and Double Down attempt to lay low in a diner, Double Down telling the pair about the rumours of villains disappearing, before being spotted by agents from the Suicide Squad.
Eclipso continues her tutelage/corruption of Mary, having her use her powers in ever more vindictive ways.
Brother Eye attempts to restrain Karate Kid and the others.
Forager, seeking answers about who has been killing the New Gods, comes to Metropolis and questions Jimmy. She asks him to join her as he has had more contact with the New Gods than anyone else on Earth.
The Suicide Squad manage to capture Double Down but Trickster and Piper evade them thanks to Trickster’s invisibility device. They decide to sneak aboard the Squad’s transport and find out where all the criminals are being taken.
Buddy Blank’s grandson manages to convince Brother Eye to let them go and the computer/satellite tells Karate Kid that he may find a cure for his viral infection in Bludhaven.
Alarmed by Mary Marvel’s increasing instability, the Shadowpact plan to have a word with her.
The Extremists turn down Monarch’s offer and attack him but he has reinforcements in the shape of the Crime Society and Forerunner who not only defeat the Extremists, but also the Challengers.
Karate Kid and Una are taken by Buddy Blank into the ruins of Bludhaven.
On Earth-8, the Challengers, Extremists and Monarch all battle until Jason accepts Monarch’s offer. As a show of trust, Jason steals Bob’s gun and shoots Donna.
Forager uses a Boom Tube to take Jimmy away from Metropolis.
Mary, under Eclipso’s influence, battles the Shadowpact before the pair of them leave.
Holly and Harley, along with other women from the shelter, realise they are being trained for battle.
Trickster and Piper discover that the Suicide Squad are sending the criminals of the world off-planet and manage to escape from the facility that processes them.