Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Not-So-Shiny New Gods!

New Gods Special #1 is part of DC's celebration of the centennial of Jack "King" Kirby. And it's a mixed bag. The first story is like a blast from the past, the relatively near past of the Image-style stories which dominated and to no small extent corrupted comics in the 90's after Rob Leifeld made his mark.

The story pits Orion against his half-brother Kalibak when the latter attempts to make landfall on New Genesis. The two siblings fight for the causes in an explosive manner which supplies some superficial attempts at power but fails to offer up even a scintilla of the subtlety (yeah... I said subtlety) and craft which rested among the lines of a vintage Kirby story. Kalibak was shown as enormous compared to Orion which made their struggle feel less like a battle between rivals than a hero battling a monster. There was little depth and meaning to this overt slug fest.

Better was the tale of young Orion which shows him and his friend Seagrin confronting weird mutations in the depths of the sea. It's a short sampler of a story by Walt Simonson, but Simonson is one of the few modern artists who can properly translate the awe of Kirby and he does so here in a story which gives some brief insight into Seagrin, one of the Fourth World's most enigmatic figures, who we only encounter after he's been killed by the Deep Six.

Finally we get two delightful Kirby shorts featuring Lonar, a denizen of New Genesis who lives apart from his fellows and instead explores the ruins of the old gods and learns about them and about himself in the process. He encounters Orion in one of the two tales and his discoveries about the old gods gives us insight into him as well.

This one is worth the price of admission, but I must say the cover story is a letdown. Like so much of the stuff which has been produced over the years featuring the Fourth Worlders, it has the veneer of grandiosity but lacks the depth of true myth which informed the original Kirby yarns.

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1 comment:

  1. I hate to sound negative, but I have zero interest in Fourth World done by anybody but the man who created it. I've heard of Simonson's own forays into the world, and I appreciate a venerated creator's love for Kirby, but I don't think I can get into it. On the other hand, I would be super-interested in interviews or accounts of where Kirby was planning to take the whole thing. That would set my imagination on fire.


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