Funnybook Babylon

August 28, 2007

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus – Blowing your Mind since ’71

Filed under: Reviews — Pedro Tejeda @ 5:15 pm

All these creators start realizing, That Jack’s got that shit, that’ll keep you vibing, Kirby is here to bring, you funnybook’s finest, But if your comics are weak, you better step behind him

Before picking up the omnibus, I have to say I have never read Jack Kirby at all. I know of him only though a second or third party. It’s always been Waid or Morrison’s interpretation of Kirby concepts that I end up reading. Even as engaging as their spin was on the characters, the energy of Kirby’s original work still cackled through. I sometimes found myself loving the details that you could tell were pure Kirby, especially in regards to the New Gods, more than the new added bits.

My first introduction to the New Gods was from a stack of JLI/JLA/JLE comics I received as a Christmas present. It was nearly every Giffen/De Matteis issue and it even had a bunch of Mister Miracle comics penned by those guys. I love the design of Mr. Miracle and his wife Barda’s costumes. The whole concept of a superhero, whose power was to escape, being besieged by a group of people who did not want traditional super-villain desires but just the hero’s subjugation was mind blowing for my little 13 year old mind. I still find it incredibly poetic. Dematteis and Giffen’s spin of Mister Miracle and Barda trying to live a simple life in a small town was great, but it only worked because of the great premise and characters Kirby had created.

It was announced a while back that they were planning to reprint almost all of Jack Kirby’s New Gods work in a series of hardcover collections. Upon hearing this, I knew this was my chance to finally experience Jack Kirby straight from the source, no filters and no reimagings. It was almost a hard choice considering the Omnibus runs 50 dollars retail, but I knew that this was something I had to finally read first hand…

Whiz Whagon more like the wack wagonIt don’t even have 20 inch rims

I am really pleased I took the plunge. At first I was apprehensive of the opening Jimmy Olsen material. It seemed hokey and a throwback to a time where zany was done for zany’s sake. The first issue front cover sold big on the whiz wagon but it didn’t do anything for me. I misread it as a campy. It wasn’t until the Zoomway, that the Omnibus clicked for me. The manic energy of a death trap filled and otherworldly raceway was nailed by Kirby’s art. From his depictions of futuristic battle motorcycles spinning out to an amazing photo montage piece out of nowhere, each one of his stylic touches drew me deeper and deeper into the story.

This is some Mind blowing shit right here.I am sorry I underestimated you Whiz Whagon.

The Zoomway sequence convinced me that Kirby was taking this entire concept seriously. Even if there are jokes and a good amount of fun to be had in the Omnibus, there is an underlying direness that powerful forces are set to clash and possibly destroy all life as we see fit. Once I realized, I found myself no longer questioning what I originally thought was camp and just enjoyed the ride, even when Goody Rickles shows up.

I’m still waiting for this 30 year plotline to settle

The book spins off into 3 other stories halfway through the Jimmy Olsen run. Forever People follows a favorable depiction of the 60s flower child movement as a Superheroic team that fights against Darkseid attacks against earth. It’s my least liked of the 4 series but that’s mostly due to it featuring the largest cast and in 3 issues they barely get as much character development as I would have like. Darkseid ends up being the star of this series, as you see him manipulating other players toward his goal of Anti-Life.

I just can’t get into these characters. It’s as shame since the villains rock

I loved reading Orion of the New Gods. In less than a few pages, Kirby gets us feeling Orion’s struggle and hints at a dark secret about his nature. The idea to give him a supporting team of pretty much random humans to assist him in battle against the epic power of Darkseid is inspired. What I liked best about this series was that Orion feels this epic bloodlust inside of him that he only controls due to his decision to do so, a choice that Darkseid wishes to take away from him and every sentient creature in the universe.

It’s sad because I know the truth behind Orion.

However, my favorite series is Mr. Miracle. Everything worked for me here. The characters, the premise, the escapes. The first issue reads as fresh as I imagine it did 37 years ago. Even though I followed the character and know enough about him, his supporting characters and his antagonists, I got something new out of each of the issues. The sick relationship between Granny Goodness and her army of sycophants in the second issue underscored the beauty of Scott Free overcoming and escaping his twisted upbringing. The setup and cliffhanger for the last issue is strong enough to make me already plan ahead to get the next book.


We can can him, manhandle him, if you wanna run in his crib-o, get ditto, skate like a limo And jet to the flyest estate, relate take a break Break down an eighth and then wait drop it like Drake Thugs they be booing and screwing, we canoeing Claim they doin the same shit we doin, fuck your unit

Overall, I have enjoyed each of the four separate series presented in the Omnibus. Each of them have these wonderful messages that Kirby built them around and as they shine individually, they are even stronger woven together. Any one who likes Kirby or the New Gods should definitely take a look at this Omnibus. It’s a great read.

2 Comments »

  1. I wish there was more Kirby stuff available. That Mr. Miracle stuff looks really spectacular. I recently read this editorial on Kirby, you should take a look at it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/opinion/26sun3.html

    Comment by Abby — August 29, 2007 @ 11:17 am

  2. Always been a real fan of the Whiz Wagon, pity DC never licensed such as a plastic model kit.

    Comment by Patron Zero — March 9, 2009 @ 12:47 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress