Orion of New Genesis
Writer/Pencils: Shane Davis
Inks: Michelle Delecki
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: A Larger World’s Dave & Troy
Teeth of the See: A Tale of Young Orion
Writer/Artist: Walter Simonson
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: John Workman
The Young Gods of Supertown: Introducing Lonar
Writer/Artist: Jack Kirby
Inks: Vince Colletta
Jack Kirby would have turned 100 this year and fittingly the comic book industry is celebrating the life and creations of the unrivaled visionary. I feel it is safe to say that Kirby’s biggest contribution to the wider comic world is his co-creation and development of the Marvel Universe with Stan Lee, most notably his long run on Fantastic Four. But Marvel was not Kirby’s only home and in the early ‘70s Jack Kirby found himself at DC comics and with his limitless imagination he created a magnum opus that was originally commercially unsuccessful but today could be one of DC’s most important properties both creatively and commercially. I’m of course speaking of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.
Wednesday saw the release of DC’s New Gods Special. Contained within the extra-sized special are three stories, two new and one classic Kirby story from the original New Gods title. Shane Davis’ story, Orion of New Genesis, is the longest tale and an excellent one at that. Fans of the original tales will be happy to know that this story is set in the ‘classic’ Fourth World universe and not the less then stellar New 52 interpretation. We have the classic costumes, classic costumes, and very much a loving homage to Kirby’s original tales. Set prior to the original series, when the peace pact between New Genesis and Apokolips still held. This is very much an Orion story as once again the protector of New Genesis, the New God of War, must battle with his half brother Kalibak who threatens to turn New Genesis into another Apokolips by lighting an energy pit that will terra form the planet. Joining Orion in the defense of New Genesis is his longtime friend Lightray and Bug of the Colony enslaved as a workforce by Kalibak. Sibling rivalry best sums up this story as the bulk of it deals with Orion and Kalibak dealing with their differences with a load of violence. Davis does a nice job of using Kirby’s characters but not trying to be Kirby. He has a nice grasp of the backstory and doesn’t play with continuity or disturb the toys; rather he is happy with just telling a fun tale.
The second tale is the return of Walter Simonson to the life of Orion. In the ‘90s Simonson had a nice run on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World with John Byrne then transitioned into an Orion ongoing that lasted several years. This is a short story of a young Orion as he and a mentor take on sea creatures. There isn’t a lot of depth to it but it is fun and nice to see Simonson return to the New Gods, even for a brief time. The final tale is a Kirby classic that ran in the back of his New Gods title in the ‘70s. I’m not sure why the introduction of the obscure New God Lonar. It’s classic Kirby and enjoyable but may be lost on new readers who are coming to the Fourth World for the first time.
Verdict: DC’s New Gods Special is a BUY for any fan of the classic tales. It’s true to the source material and does not try to change or update the characters. This is simply top notch creators paying homage to the comic icon Jack Kirby.