Categories
New Gods

Unearthed: New Gods #1

Hello Unearthlings! We’ve seen the work of Jack Kirby before on this site… he did the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. But today we’re taking a look at some of the most epic work in Kirby’s canon: the New Gods! It doesn’t get more epic than this, folks!

So here we have it, the first appearance of Orion, a conflicted figure. Re-reading this stuff makes me realize just how Shakespearean it all is. Not just in the plotting, but in the way the characters refer to each other and themselves.

Also, what’s going on with this cover? Is that a real starfield behind Orion, is that why it looks weird?

Aww, look! It’s Unca Jack, talkin’ atcha! I haz the warm fuzzies.

Check out this battle scene! But more than that, scope the All-Capsness of Kirby’s prose. Dude mostly known for his artwork, but he was no slouch in the words department!

But holy crap, what artwork.

You might think that with such a backdrop, any story that follows it would have to disappoint, but friends, just stick around. This is the grim visage of Orion, a Hard Man if there ever was one.

Look at that city. It’s virtually indescribable. Kirby’s artistic genius was in making things look magnificent without ever looking like they could actually exist.

See how the dialogue gives us a sense of who Orion is without any pesky captions having to tell us outright.

It’s this scene specifically that draws the Shakespeare comparison.

Also, Kirby’s clothing designs are amazing. Look at the variety on display here!

Shakespeare! Just listen to the flow of the dialogue here, the back-and-forth of it.

And Shakespeare isn’t enough for Kirby the King. Now we’re into Biblical stuff. This is clearly a nod to the ‘mene mene tekel upharsin’, the literal ‘writing on the wall’.

Shakespeare, the Bible, and now Greek tragedy. Kirby doesn’t fol around when he writes an epic.

This is one of the themes of the New Gods storyline: what’s more important, nature or nurture? It’s echoed in the Mister Miracle series that we’ll get to before too long.

Seething Apokolips, the dark mirror image of New Genesis. I still can’t read that name without thinking of a pack of lips.

Ah yes, the Anti-Life Equation. As we learn later, it’s a mathematical formula that allows its possessor to enslave all living things. Spooky!

This is Kalibak! I love that his weapon is just basically a club, but Kirby has to add all kinds of techy stuff to it.

Ah! And here we have the famous Kirby Krackleā„¢. How do a ton of black dots manage to so artfully portray a coruscating energy field? The world will never know.

You don’t get this kind of self-expository dialogue in modern comics. I really miss it.

So, some human mind on Earth holds the secret of the Anti-Life Equation. Social commentary? MAYBE.

It’s also kind of strange that our first view of the titanic Darkseid (pronounced Dark Side, by the way) has him just kind of directing minions without dialogue.

Color-coded humans! What will they think of next.

Hey, lookit! A boom tube! You may remember these things from the Justice League movie, where they sucked. But it’s a cool idea. It’s teleportation, which we’ve seen many times before, but as a physical manifestation… a glowing tunnel, announced by an ears-shattering explosion.

Oh, you uppity humans. Shaddap. The adults are talking.

Are you getting tingles? I’m getting tingles.

THERE’S the reveal I wanted, and it ends this first issue. What a setup! But lo, one last panel:

The light-hearted and happy-go-lucky Lightray! As is always the case, Lightray is drawn to Orion, though they couldn’t be more different. But they both serve New Genesis, by gar, and that’s enough.

Join us on Friday for the next issue of the New Gods!

Tags