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New Gods

Unearthed: New Gods #2

Let’s venture further into the mad world of the New Gods… or as Kirby called it, the Fourth World. Believe it or don’t, it never occurred to me until just last year that this was Kirby’s take on the “Third World” designation. Not sure how to approach this, really, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the following tale!

You don’t see layouts like this in comics anymore. It’s distinctive and arresting, innit?

Not quite sure what’s up with the visible lines on the surface of New Genesis there. But just look at the texture in this picture. I don’t know if there is any video of Kirby at work, but holy cats, he puts a lot of work into each panel.

How do you talk about a panel like this? Kirby’s shapes are somewhere between mechanical and organic. His buildings could be machines and vice versa. Everything’s just so sumptuously rendered, I can spend long minutes just letting my eyes play over every line.

And again, look at this clothing!

Highfather looking very Biblical here, which is by no means an accident. As we’ll learn later, his true name is Izaya, pronounced as “Isaiah”. Kirby isn’t afraid to let his influences speak loudly.

Not sure why Lightray suddenly has a mask over the upper half of his face, but it’s a look, huh? And Highfather here looks like Animal of the Muppets with his eyebrows covering his eyes.

Ah, nothing like a late title card! When we got the big Darkseid reveal in the final panel of last issue, I didn’t expect that meant he’d be right there in the same apartment!

And I’ll leave a note here: it’s got to be difficult to ink Kirby’s work. I think a lot of people would prefer that Kirby always inked himself, but given the frequency of his output, I’m sure that just wasn’t possible. But I think Vince Colleta does an admirable job.

I said it in the last episode, but I love Kirby’s dialogue. It’s Shakespearean in the best way.

Ah, the Kirby Krackle™! Notice how Kirby employs an extreme perspective here, Orion’s right hand far in front of him, his right foot far behind. It adds an odd kind of dynamism to the figure.

Notice that in these panels we don’t see the faces of either combatants. This doesn’t usually happen in modern comics. Also, great use of movement lines here, something that’s also in short supply these days it seems. But there’s no denying the power of the impacts, especially coming instantly one after the other, which is conveyed by the nearly identical panel staging.

Huh. Turns out Brola’s “Hand of Stone” is literally a hand fused with a brick. … sure.

Here Kirby makes use of the left-to-right eye motion of English readers to carry this motion from one panel…

… to the next. Subtle, but to maintain the sense of flow between panels, it’s important.

Later, Darkseid upbraids Brola in front of everyone. And Kirby again reminds us that Orion, who fights against Apokolips on the side of New Genesis, is himself FROM the oppressive place.

Now THIS is a Fear Machine! Holy cats, LOOK at it! Up close, it’s a visual feast. Seen from father back, it’s a head with an open, screaming mouth. Kirby just drops images like this all over the place.

Darkseid’s opening dialogue here is a cut above the kind of prose typically read in comics of the time. Its allusions and cadence elevate this conflict above mere superhero stories.

At the same time, Kirby’s characters are broadly-written. “Desaad” is a bit on-the-nose.

Man, look at the depraved landscape of Desaad’s face here.

We never see the guy on the left again, which is a shame, but WOW, look at that face.

And I don’t know if “deep six” is a phrase that people even say anymore, but nice one, Kirby.

This is just a cool costume.

We’ll have a look at the Forever People soon. They deserve their own Unearthed, and they’ll get it.

O crafty Desaad! He suspects Orion’s true parentage, and Darkseid confirms it with his next utterance:

Compare this face with Orion’s in the next panel:

Do you see the resemblance? Maybe not yet, but you will soon.

Oh man, wait’ll you meet the Black Racer! Join us on Monday for more!

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