I've seen the pictures, I've studied them forever: Graeme continues to do that counting backwards thing from 11/7.

It can't just be me that's noticed that, along with the name change last issue, a lot more seems to be changing up in the world of COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #25. For one thing, things actually happen. Luckily, in keeping with the rest of the series, those things don't really make that much sense when taken in context of the rest of the series.

Take the resolution of Firestorm's search for Martin Stein, for example. Finally, we get some climax to a long-running plot! Admittedly, it would've worked better if this plot had been one from this series, or even something that had even been mentioned in the series before this point (Was Firestorm even in this book prior to the last issue?), but what can you do? Sure, Firestorm's looking for his missing partner might have provided the excuse to explore the DC Universe and crossover into different storylines better than, say, the still somewhat pointless Jimmy Olsen storyline - or the Karate Kid storyline, or the Mary Marvel storyline, for that matter - as well as having a potentially more-fan favorite lead character for the series, but still. I've given up hoping for great long-term planning on this book.

Case in point: Mary Marvel gets introduced to Darkseid, and doesn't freak out? I know that her plot has been "Seduction of the Innocent" and all, but I can't help but feel that we've skipped plot to go from "Drunk with power and willing to fight those who she thinks are trying to take it away from her" to "Teaming up with someone who's supposed to be the big bad evil guy in the universe"... On the one hand, huzzah for plot development, but on the other, I would've loved for this to have been more organic, instead of feeling like a sudden, uncomfortable, jump.

Then again, you also have plots like the Rogues one, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. It's a wasted opportunity, as there seems to be more usefulness in having the characters captured and properly leading up to Salvation Run than the continual "escaping in the nick of time" scenes that not only get repetitive, but also make the Suicide Squad look completely inept (Deadshot got tripped up? Really?). So it's not as if everything in this book is moving forward suddenly.

I don't know; there's a sense, more than anything, that the writers looked around and realized that half the series was done already, and that they should really get moving on that whole "plot" thing this issue. It's not the smoothest upshift in momentum, but it makes for an issue that's more Okay than normal.