A Timeless Cosmic Odyssey
Writing a review for a comic so intertwined and based in the imagination of the great Jack Kirby, is like attempting to review a work of Shakespearean importance. I don't say this to flatter the late king of comics. I state it as a fact. The writing here, is absolutely classic Kirby. It feels like an ages old mythology and as a result takes on a timeless quality that transcends the place this issue came from, DC circa 1971. This is the work of someone exploring the boundaries of imagination. And more importantly, with the exception of Vince Colletta's outstanding inks, this is the work of a single man. Jack drew, wrote, and edited this baby. To non-Kirby followers, this is still an important comic. The New Gods make their first appearance, and we meet many of the familiar faces of the Fourth World. Despite a significant portion of this comic being used to make introductions, there's still plenty of action and intrigue. This was a major milestone in a science fiction epic that Kirby planned and composed in four books, New Gods, Forever People, Mr. Miracle, and more obscurely Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen (where he introduced the comic world to Darkseid and the brilliantly coined Mountain of Judgment). Unfortunately, time has not been kind to the New Gods, true some from this cosmic cast have gotten decent treatment over the years, but unfortunately mediocrity was the fate of too many of them. Until, more recently, comic book grim reaper extraordinary (and great writer, despite his reputation as a character killer) Jim Starlin did Death of the New Gods. It's best to approach this book/ issue as I did, with a fresh mind and only casual acquaintance with the characters and just sit back and enjoy a brightly colored world of astro harnesses and beta clubs and mobius chairs that travel through time and space. At the back of the book, you get an interesting gem because there's a brief article written by Marv Wolfman that glowingly praises Jack Kirby. I'll quote a portion of it in this review because as the years go on, I get the impression that people respect and like Jack Kirby because "you're supposed to" or because he's a "co-creator" and not because of his tremendous merits and talents. As I said, I'll let Mr. Wolfman do the rest of the talking,
"If Jack leaves a strip, there is no way that anyone could follow him, for he has said it all. You can only stand in awe of what he does, wonder how he does it, and just hope that someday you might be able to do half as well as he can. Jack's imagination is not Just Earthbound. The universe itself is his to play with. Time and space bend under his will. Whatever can be conceived, is. If there is an explosion, you just don't see an explosion, you see the universe itself shattering at the seams; you watch raw energy strained to the utmost. The imagination of Jack Kirby has no boundaries, no limits. Nothing is too bizarre to be tried, nothing is too incredible to be conceived. A wise man once said that when man eventually reaches the far end of the universe, he will undoubtedly find the name Jack Kirby signed in the lower right hand corner..."