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Webcomic / Countdown to Countdown

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”Iris is a young man with the gift to bring pieces of artwork to life. 5 years into an apocalyptic outbreak, he’s holed up in a lab that shelters 'problem' children. Between his failed experiments, deteriorating mental stability, and being ridiculed by other members of the lab, he doesn’t think life could get any worse. Life agrees to disagree.”
comic description

Countdown to Countdown is a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic webcomic by Xiao Kong "velinxi" Tong. As of April 2019, the original run that started in 2015 met a premature end due to the author's dissatisfaction with the comic and was rebooted entirely. The original run can be found under the Legacy tab and here (scroll version).

The current run of Countdown to Countdown follows Iris Black, a denizen of the Seattle Lab, a special facility where humans with superpowers called Demifloras can live in peace and safety. In the outside world, people called Spawncampers hunt Demiflora and mutilate them, stealing the body parts tied to their powers to be sold on the black market. Inside, thanks to the efforts of the facility's leader, Madam, everyone lives in peace and safety, but use of your powers is forbidden.


Iris is Madam's son, and doesn't agree with the strict rules his mother imposes on the citizens. He freely uses his powers as an Iris, a demiflora able to create tools and machines that he draws, much to his peers chagrin. His life changes forever when he runs into a Demiflora from the outside, Lillium, who reveals his mother's dark secret to him.

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    In General 
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The comic takes place in 2044. Technology has apparently advanced far enough that "no one" uses phones (specifically, pre-X era iPhones) anymore) according to Begonia in the original run's Chapter 2. In the same chapter, Iris has no idea what a "text" is, but that may be because he's an amnesiac that has been sheltered ever since.
  • Meaningful Name: The names of the Demifloras, which have to do with the flower they're based on and sometimes a color. Lampshaded in Chapter 2 of the original run, where Iris is baffled that Lillium's name is a flower and a color — Lillium is quick to point out the hypocrisy in Iris Black's observation.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the original run, Demi-flora is spelled with a dash, while it is not in the reboot.

    Original Run (2015-2019) 

  • After the End: The comic takes place 5 years into an apocalyptic outbreak.
  • Ambiguously Human: Demi-floras look just like any human but their supernatural abilities tell us otherwise.
  • Art Evolution: The art style grew more refined since episode 1.
  • Blessed with Suck: Iris discovers that he can reload his previous save if killed. Of course, dying is still traumatizing, not helped that spawncampers want to make Demifloras like him die a painful death and that he already suffers from PTSD, anxiety, and other mental issues caused by another near-death experience.
  • A Bloody Mess: In Chapter 1, when Iris finds that the kitchen is strangely empty, a can of strawberries rolls nearby. Then he discovers a Glitch eating someone and there's blood smeared everywhere.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Says the guy who said I had a death grip a few panels back, jeez."
  • Chekhov's Gun: The cookbook Lillium gives Iris later helps him escape a spawncamper.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Chapter 2 namedrops Heather and Sunny, Lillium's other buddies that previously traveled with him and Bob. They appear in person at the end of Chapter 3.
  • Cliffhanger: As a result of the comic being rebooted, the original run ends on the cliffhanger of Lillium awakening to find himself in a spawncamper cell as they're about to harvest his eyes, Laurence contacting a friend to help him and Iris rescue Lillium, and Heather and Sunny being introduced when they investigating the aftermath of Lillium and Iris's scuffle with the spawncampers at their hideout from earlier that day.
  • Crapsack World: It's been five years since a Zombie Apocalypse. Society has devolved into near-anarchy and demifloras are wanted dead for supposedly causing all of this.
  • Dare to Be Badass: In Chapter 3, upon learning from him that Lillium has been captured by spawncampers, Begonia convinces a scared Iris to rescue him in the vein of his predecessor, Irid, who was a One-Man Army.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Demifloras can use save points, which act just like the video game mechanic. However, as far as we know, Iris is the only one who can actually reload his save (i.e. start over from his last save if he is killed). Of course, dying by itself is a terrifying experience...
  • Fantastic Racism: The Demifloras are believed to have been the cause of the Glitches, leading to this.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Iris, Lilium, Begonia...
  • Flower Motif:
  • Funny Background Event: "Circle of egg".
  • The Ghost:
    • Enoch and Jasmine, Begonia's other visitors. With the comic's reboot, neither Enoch or Jasmine got to show up in person in the original run.
    • Dan, the recipient of Heather's texts at the end of Chapter 3, who also never gets to show up in person before the comic's reboot.
  • It's All About Me: A Glitchified lab worker refuses to let Iris escape the building because he doesn't think it's fair that someone as useless as Iris remains uninfected and gets to leave despite him and the rest of the lab putting up with him for the past several years.
  • Kill It with Fire: The best way to 'kill' glitches is with fire.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Spawncampers seem to be fond of these.
  • Save Point: In Chapter 2, Lillium introduces these to Iris. Save points are hidden throughout the world but can only be used by Demifloras. It's an Eldritch Location that acts like a 3D file directory when you first access it, and the user is shown their save file when they save in a save point as well as a Game Over screen prompting them to continue or quit if they die. However, it turns out that part is exclusive to Iris...
  • There Is Another: In Chapter 3, Iris learns about another Iris Demiflora, Irid Black, the leader of the Demiflora Resistance and was acquainted with Lillium and Begonia. However, Irid is said to be dead, meaning Iris is still the Last of His Kind... as far as we know, anyways.
  • Trapped in Another World: Begonia and apparently some other Demifloras (according to her diary in the Act 1 cast listings) live in another... dimension, but not by their choice. Somehow, other Demifloras like Lillium and Iris can visit them, and Begonia hopes that someday they'll free them, though the other trapped Demifloras have lost hope.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Since society has crumbled into a state of near-anarchy and everyone blames the Demifloras for it, nobody bats an eye at a spawncamper beating a Demiflora to death in the diner's bathroom, which is apparently a normal occurrence at save points.
  • Wham Shot: In Chapter 1, Iris investigating a strange noise in the kitchen and discovering a Glitch feasting on a corpse. A couple of panels later, he also bumps into Dr. Li's Glitch.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: According to Lillium, the infection spread to Seattle because a scientist from an infected area believed he wasn't sick and traveled to the Washington Lab.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies are called glitches, which look partly pixelated and have distorted speech.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Basically what the glitch breakout is.


    Reboot (2019-?) 
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the original run, the other residents and workers of the lab are completely glossed over since the lab gets overrun overnight midway through Chapter 1, with Dr. Li being a Static Character before she soon heads into We Hardly Knew Ye territory while everyone else is nonexistent beyond being brief Hate Sinks that just don't like Iris. In the reboot, we get to learn more about why the Demifloras are okay with living in the lab and how they're treated by the lab workers, as well introducing new major characters.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Washington Lab is now called the Seattle Labs. It also has a tower known as the Seattle Flora Tower, or simply, the Tower, which is also another name for the Seattle Labs.
  • All for Nothing: While in the early days of the Tower things were likely worse, at present being outside of it isn't all that much better or worse than being on the inside. On the inside safety is only seemingly guaranteed for those who obey Madam's rules. Considering just how many Demiflora they were harvesting, it may be the ultimate fate of anyone who won't be missed. On the outside, at present, Demiflora can use their powers openly. As long as they don't break the law and don't fear being targeted, there's nothing stopping them from doing so. Some Demiflora even use their powers to make a living. Even then, hunting Demiflora is illegal and there are guilds of bounty hunters dedicated to taking down Spawncampers. Also, the food on the outside is way better.
  • The Artifact: Spawncampers. Originally named for people who wait at save points to kill Demifloras that appear, they are now just people who want to kill Demifloras and harvest their superpowered limbs.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Instead of the original run's usage of storyboard-esque panels (similar to Ava's Demon), the reboot uses the standard comic panel format. According to the author, the original run's format became difficult and tedious to use over time, which is part of why it was replaced in the reboot.
    • Likewise, the original's usage of font, bubbles, and other things pertaining to the story's narrative were stylized to seem like a HUD as if the comic were a video game. Instead, the reboot forgoes all of this in favor of orthodox narrative storytelling (such as regular text bubbles and a standardized font).
    • The art is more clean in comparison to the original's more painterly and sketched appearance.
  • Body Horror: Demifloras are wanted for their limbs that hold specific powers depending on what kind of Demiflora they are. For instance, the eyes of Lillies, the hands of Roses, the fins of Lotuses, and so on. As a result, you'll see disembodied Demiflora limbs every now and then, the first in the reboot comic being a whole batch of gouged Lily eyes in storage capsules.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: You can tell what subspecies a Demiflora is by the color of their eyes. So far, we know that grey is for Daphnes, green is for Roses, and pink is for Lilies.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The tower seems like the best place for Demifloras to live, but it's financed by selling the body parts of unruly denizens on the black market. Also their leader isn't above mutilating her own son in public. Also, it's no longer open season on Demifloras on the outside, where Demiflora who use their powers openly aren't hard to come by.
  • Everyone Has Standards: At least some of the attendees and one of Madam's subordinates are disturbed by Madam cutting up her son on stage.
  • Eye Scream: At one point Iris uses his powers to cause a flower to sprout from the eye of a person who was trying to kidnap him.
  • Fantastic Racism: Mankind does very little to hide their dehumanization of the Demifloras. They're seen as abnormal freaks and are harvested for their superpower limbs, and it's no secret that the supposed safehaven labs are really correctional facilities.
    • Later it turns out to be more nuanced. Demiflora openly revealing themselves on the outside isn't an automatic death sentence, as Spawncampers are themselves hunted down as criminals. There's an entire guild of legal bounty hunters staffed by Demiflora who want to show that they don't inherently mean harm.
  • The Ghost: Lillium mentions someone named Heather.
  • Healing Hands: Played with. Lillium says that a Rose can use their time power to undo wounds, effectively healing them.
  • Irony: Lampshaded by Lillium at the end of Chapter 1, who finds it amusing that he's being helped in escaping from the Tower by the son of the Tower's The Dreaded whom he is trying to avoid.
  • Police Code for Everything: A guard reports Lillium's break-in at the beginning of the comic as a Code 34.
  • Wham Line: At the end of Chapter 1, Iris gets one from Lillium.
    Lillium: You're Iris Black, the last Iris demiflora in the world.


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