- Arc Fatigue: Played with for the Earth-51 arc. It went on (almost) uninterrupted by unrelated things, had a lot of cool fights, some really strong moments (like Jason Todd meeting its Batman and this Batman's death), and ended with a bang. Sadly, right after that, the series became much worse than ever before.
- Ass Pull: The attempted Author's Saving Throws resulted in this, such as Bob and Solomon actually being on the same side near the end.
- Bile Fascination: A number of people have read this series and picked up the trade paperbacks because they'd heard a number of critics deride it (whether it be their peers or professionals).
- Canon Defilement: Where do we even begin?
- Continuity Lockout: Not to the extent of what it was supposed to lead into, but it's recommended that, at a bare minimum, one goes into this having read Infinite Crisis (to explain why Superboy Prime underwent a FaceHeel Turn), 52 (to explain why there's now 52 Monitors instead of just the one from Crisis on Infinite Earths), Under The Red Hood (to explain why Jason Todd is Back from the Dead), and Identity Crisis (to explain what happened to Ray Palmer).
- Creator's Pet: Forerunner, who the creators obviously thought would be seen as really cool and a breakout character. She even got her own (half a) spinoff miniseries. Fan reaction was tepid at best, and most seemed to view her as The Scrappy. Apparently this eventually got through to the writers, as the last issue of the miniseries has Forerunner transported to a distant planet to rebuild her species.note
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- The Jokester. Too bad he dies.
- There were also a good amount of people reading only to see where Piper and Trickster's plotline went. Too bad one of them dies.
- Evil Is Sexy: Mary Marvel: 16-year-old Jail Bait who giggles like an idiot over a phallic-looking rod.
- Funny Moments:
- Mary Marvel's Green Lantern Club.
- The whole series can be this if you take the view that it's so bad it's funny. It's all unintentional, but there are some comedy gems like Jason Todd (the gun-wielding crazy guy) telling a Monitor that he's not fond of gun-wielding crazies, Donna Troy's "I'm Donna Troy BITCH!" and of course "I'LL KILL YOU TO DEATH!" from Superboy-Prime. There's also Jimmy's awful Mr. Action costume and Darkseid on Mary Marvel's couch...
- Memetic Mutation:
- Moral Event Horizon: In his first appearance, Superman-Prime kills a pregnant woman and her husband, Dru-Zod (who was that Earth's Superman). And then that Earth's entire Justice League. And finally, that entire Earth.
- Narm: A lot, but Superboy-Prime's dialogue probably takes the cake:"I'LL KILL YOU TO DEATH!"
- Never Live It Down: To this day, Dan Didio calling Countdown "52 done right" is still used as an indictment against him.
- Nightmare Retardant: Superboy-Prime has all the potential to be a scary villain, and while he's definitely a huge threat, his childish personality and asinine dialogue turn him into a complete joke.
- Padding: A huge amount of the series is this, with each issue jammed with snippets of several different storylines spread across the entire DC universe introducing plot points that are forgotten three issues later, with special mention to everything having to do with the Monitors ("We should do something!" "Should we do something?" "We should do something!" "Should we do something?"). Also, many of the events happening in Countdown were completely unrelated to the series' plot lines themselves, and were instead random intersections with all the other (and better) stuff happening in the DC universe at the same time, reducing the event to a series of advertisements for plots in dozens of other comic titles. To top it off, Countdown was so incredibly bad, nonsensical, confusing, and unpopular that everything that happened in it, with the exception of a few plot points, was immediately shunted into Canon Discontinuity, and Final Crisis, the event Countdown was supposed to be, y'know, counting down to, latched on to entirely different events to act as its lead-up, meaning that the entirety of Countdown wound up as one whole year of padding for Final Crisis.
- The Scrappy: Superboy-Prime, particularly for being a complete asshole and his Wangst-filled lines.
- Sequelitis: It is considered inferior to its predecessor 52. Which ironically, Dan Dido commented that "It was 52 done right" because the editors were in control rather than the writers.
- Take That, Scrappy!: In one of the few redeeming moments of the series, Sleez, the infamous alien scumball who mindcontrolled Superman and Barda into starring in a smut film, is reduced to ash early on.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
- Jimmy Olsen gets all his Silver Age powers back! Brother Eye merges with Apokolips! Mary Marvel, "deserted" by Captain Marvel, turns to Black Adam! Harley Quinn and Holly Robinson vs. Granny Goodness! A crazy, universe-hopping adventure searching for a character missing for (relative to the reader) years! Paul Dini writing! A lead-up to the biggest Crisis of all! A followup to the beloved 52! A look at the seedy underbelly of the DC universe from the perspective of two repentant Flash villains! The genesis of the Kamandi-verse! What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Short answer: EVERYTHING.
- And a lot of these perfectly good plots were really good when Grant Morrison pitched them for Final Crisis. They were so good, in fact, that DC decided to shoot their load early and jam them into this, the lead-in to Final Crisis, which was only the beginning of what went wrong.
- And then there's the Jokester, a mirror-universe Joker who uses comedy to fight evil. He was actually quite well-written, had a compelling backstory, and fans began calling him the saving grace of the series. So, of course, he was killed off after about four issues.
- The Trickster's homophobia. The writers bring it up so damn much surely they're going to build something — oh no, wait, he dies. And nothing was accomplished. Yippee.
- A world where Zod became Superman? And was so successful that he was actually retired and starting a family when the group searching for Ray Palmer find him? Sounds like an intriguing idea for an Elseworlds story, right? Nope, he's just fodder for Superboy-Prime's rampage later on. And the pregnant woman Superboy-Prime killed was Zod-Superman's wife.
- Wangst: Superboy-Prime. Dear God, Superboy-Prime."Everything was better on my Earth!"
"THEY'RE RUINING IT!!!"
"I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL YOU TO DEATH!!!"
- What an Idiot!:
- Mary Marvel, especially after her second FaceHeel Turn.
- Also, Hal Jordan, who blasts off to Oa to get help with the Morticoccus virus and warn off visitors to Earth, only to carry the virus across space, breaching its one-planet quarantine.
YMMV / Countdown to Final Crisis