Countdown to Mystery

Countdown to Mystery #1 [32]

Cover Date: November 2007
Subtitle: [1] More Pain Comics part one: Descent into the Psychosphere; [2] Occultation: A Syzygy in Plastic part one
Writer(s): [1] Steve Gerber; [2] Matthew Sturges
Artists(s): [1] Justiniano, Walden Wong; [2] Stephen Jorge Segovia
Storyline: [1] Dr. Kent Nelson found himself in a garbage dumpster after losing a filmed fight with another homeless man. He grabbed a hat to keep the rain out. Little did he know, the hat was actually the Helm of Fate. The helmet fed him memories of its past and its past wearers.
A creature attacked him - the helmet placed him in the outfit of Dr. Fate and gave him the words to destroy the beast. The beast's master then approached Dr. Fate.
[2] The Spectre exacted vengeance on a man by pulling his heart out. The man, an atheist, didn't "die" - he began to follow Crispin and the Spectre. Spectre felt that Eclipso was back and active.
Plastic Man was approached by Eclipso in New York City. She had been saved from the vacuum of space by her creator, Darkseid.

Countdown to Mystery #2 [27]

Cover Date: December 2007
Subtitle: [1] More Pain Comics part two: Devourer of Souls; [2] Transit: A Syzygy in Plastic part two
Writer(s): [1] Steve Gerber; [2] Matthew Sturges
Artists(s): [1] Justiniano, Walden Wong; [2] Stephen Jorge Segovia
Storyline: [1] Negal of Charn attacked Dr. Fate, realizing it was not the same Fate he'd battled before. Negal was defeated nonetheless. Nelson, after returning to his own life, pawned his new helmet and Negal's axe. He got a job at a nearby motel. It paid in cash and room.
While he slept, he was pulled into Charn. Negal offered him a truce, but Fate defeated him again and saved the life of a fellow homeless man.
[2] After a brief fight, Darkseid sent Eclipso back to Earth.
Spectre left Crispus Allen to go after Eclipso. Allen realized he was once again tangible.
Plastic Man met with his son. What Eclipso told him was true - his son did not respect him. Their meeting caused Plastic Man to change sides and go back to his criminal past.
Eclipso approached Jack Ryder - the Creeper.

Countdown to Mystery #3 [23]

Cover Date: January 2008
Subtitle: [1] More Pain Comics part three: Self, Contained; [2] Eclipse: A Syzygy in Plastic part three
Writer(s): [1] Steve Gerber; [2] Matthew Sturges
Artists(s): [1] Justiniano, Walden Wong; [2] Stephen Jorge Segovia
Storyline: [1] After winning enough money at a casino to pay back the pawn shop where the helmet escaped, Kent visited a local magic shop. The clerk, Maddy, gave him an aura cleaning and a book of incantations. He was transported to a land inside his mind where he realized he'd been beating himself up.
[2] Eclipso brought the Creeper out by throwing Jack Ryder through a window. The two fought.
Batman broke up a robbery in progress and realized the culprit was Plastic Man. Crispus Allen, transported there by the Spectre, stopped Plas from killing Batman. Offspring, Plas's son, joined the fight. Eclipso helped him escape.
Spectre sent Allen (with some of his power) to Bruce Gordon.

Countdown to Mystery #4 [19]

Cover Date: February 2008
Subtitle: [1] Aphelion: The Music of the Spheres part 1; [2] More Pain Comics part four: Inza
Writer(s): [1] Matthew Sturges; [2] Steve Gerber
Artists(s): [1] Stephen Jorge Segovia; [2] Justiniano, Walden Wong
Storyline: [1] Eclipso and Mary Marvel fought through the cosmos. During the fight, Jean Loring fell to Earth and the gem went looking for another.
Crispus Allen "arrested" Bruce Gordon and put him in a meta holding cell - he knew Eclipso would come for him. It happened. Eclipso and the Spectre fought. Gordon took over his own body.
[2] Kent fell off the wagon, then fell into a fountain. He was saved by a girl named Inza Fox. He laughed - that was his aunt's name, and he'd been named for his uncle. She took him home to get cleaned up. She was liquified in the shower.

Countdown to Mystery #5 [14]

Cover Date: March 2008
Subtitle: [1] Perihelion: The Music of the Spheres, part 2; [2] More Pain Comics part five: Head Pieces
Writer(s): [1] Matthew Sturges; [2] Steve Gerber
Artists(s): [1] Chad Hardin, Dan Green; [2] Tom Derenick, Wayne Faucher, Shawn McManus
Storyline: [1] Bruce Gordon met Crispus Allen on Mercury. He was unable to commit suicide and he could not throw the gem into a black hole. Allen tried to convince him to use his powers for good as a superhero, but Gordon realized how much faster he could do equations, etc. and decided to become a super-scientist. Back on Earth, he took Allen (and Hanson) to a secret facility in the former Soviet Union he'd heard of. There'd been an accident years before and it had been quarantined. There, they fought mutated humans and Eclipso took over Gordon for a short period. When Gordon came to, he found his ex-wife tied up.
Eclipso-infested Dove, Plastic Man, and Creeper pulled off a heist.
[2] Nelson read some of Inza's comics and wandered back to the magic store. The girl there showed him a picture from WW2 of a superhero wearing his helmet.

Countdown to Mystery #6 [10]

Cover Date: April 2008
Subtitle: [1] Retrograde Motion: The Music of the Spheres, part 3; [2] More Pain Comics part six: Fringe Society
Writer(s): [1] Matthew Sturges; [2] Steve Gerber
Artists(s): [1] Stephen Jorge Segovia; [2] Justiniano, Walden Wong
Storyline: [1] Eclipso took over Huntress when she attempted to apprehend Dove, Creeper, and Plastic Man. She went after a man who'd killed his daughter (a childhood friend), but she was stopped by Spectre, who took care of the man. Gordon altered the Eclipso diamond so that it would have the opposite effect.
Hanson began recruiting ghosts who'd been killed by Spectre.
Eclipso's minions uncovered the Heart of Darkness.
[2] Nelson spoke with Maddy about Dr. Fate and Negal. He entered a portal while going back into his room, but convinced himself it wasn't real.He handed the Helmet of Fate over to Maddy.

Countdown to Mystery #7 [06]

Cover Date: May 2008
Subtitle: [1] Pericynthion: The Music of the Spheres, part 4; [2] More Pain Comics part seven: Untethered
Writer(s): [1] Matthew Sturges; [2] Steve Gerber, Adam Beechen
Artists(s): [1] Chad Hardin, Dan Green, Walden Wong, Wayne Faucher; [2] Justiniano, Walden Wong
Storyline: [1] Bruce saved Dove from Eclipso's control, then went on to Creeper and Plastic Man. The group went after the rest, but were stopped when they encountered a man who followed Eclipso of his own will. Everyone was captured except Gordon, who was taken to the Heart of Darkness. Eclipso was transformed and more powerful than ever.
While the others fought, Eclipso and the Spectre fought on the moon. Hanson and his ghosts met them there.
[2] Maddy put on the Helmet of Fate, but no one she saw accepted her. She was captured by an imp named Ymp and taken to Negal.

Countdown to Mystery #8 [01]

Cover Date: June 2008
Subtitle: [1] Apocynthion: The Music of the Spheres, part 5; [2a] More Pain Comics part eight: Small Magic; [2b] No More Pain Comics: Final Chapter; [2c] More Pain Comics: The Fifty-Minute Hour; [2d] An End to Pain Comics chapter Zed: This Diminished Life
Writer(s): [1] Matthew Sturges; [2a] Adam Beechen; [2b] Mark Evanier; [2c] Mark Waid; [2d] Gail Simone
Artists(s): [1] Chad Hardin, Robert Campanella; [2a] Stephen Jorge Segovia; [2b] Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo; [2c] Michael O'Hare, John Floyd; [2d] Chad Hardin, Walden Wong
Storyline: [1] Spectre and Eclipso fought after Hanson's ghosts were easily dispatched. Reason was able to get to Gordon, who fought Eclipso along with Spectre. With Eclipso defeated, Crispus Allen returned to his non-solid form and rejoined the Spectre. The Eclipso diamond was forged into Gordon - it could not be removed.
On Earth, those who'd been under Eclipso's spell fought and defeated Corrotto, the man who gave him the Heart of Darkness. In an act of desperation, he used some sort of Jekyll and Hyde potion.
[2a] Maddy, Kent, and Inza were freed of Negal and his domain when an unknown shot the demon from behind. Back on Earth, Maddy gave the Helmet of Fate back to Kent and the three went for breakfast.
[2b] Maddy, Kent, and Inza returned to their lives after Nelson was able to defeat Negal with reason and wit - he could be destroyed, but Dr. Fate would always live on.
[2c] While unconscious, Kent had a conversation with one of his patients. He realized life wasn't as bad as he'd been living it. Once he awakened, he put on the Helmet and left with his two female companions - his soul was no longer in torment and Negal had no use for him.
[2d] Kent reasoned with Negal and offered him help.


  • The [bracketed] number indicates where it fits with Countdown.
  • Steve Gerber, who was writing the Dr. Fate story, died before completing the script for issue 8. Multiple creators put forth their vision of the story's ending.