[Andy Bentley continues his issue by issue look at the New Gods. I make a brief comment about Final Crisis, which I weirdly look back fondly on while also remembering that I did not like it that much at the time. I almost want to add it to favorite comics. I should read it again.]
“The Omega Effect”
The Forever People continues to be my favorite title with it’s fast action, frequent Darkseid appearances, and focus on the quest for Anti-Life. The action pics up moments after the end of the last issue with Godfrey’s Justifiers attempting to secure the Forever People’s Super Cycle. The Super Cycle has a security system which allows it to transform into a defense station equipped with a powerful canon (add Transformers to the franchises Kirby has touched). Godfrey sends new recruits to help tackle this issue and Kirby expresses his objection to man’s penchance towards war through his character’s words.
Follower: They’re really eager to destroy! What’s the secret, Godfrey? The helmet? The uniform? The creed?
Godfrey: Earthmen are given all those things at birth!! I merely justify their readiness to use them!!
The scene shifts to the Forever People who are utilizing Sonny’s ability to wield the anti-life equation to incapacitate the remaining Apokoliptians in Happy Land. Mark Moonrider destroys the CPU and the perverse amusement park begins to crumble -attracting the attention of the police. Darkseid and Desaad watch from below and are none too pleased. Darkseid realizes it is time to unleash the Omega effect.
The Omega effect consists of energy beams that emit from Darkseid’s pupils and never miss their target. When they connect, they transport the victim to another place in space/time. The beams connect with each of the Forever People save Serafin. Desaad whines like a baby for Darkseid to finish his dirty deed, but Darkseid believes the threat has passed. How many villains have fallen into this trap? Serafin has little time to mourn his compatriots as the police begin to enter the room. He avoids them and commandeers an aero-van with the help of his cosmic cartridges. The story ends with a fantastic panel depicting Serafin hunched over in the direction of the sunset with an army of Justifiers waiting below to attack.
There is a final backup story set in New Genesis pre-war involving Serafin and Big Bear. Not too much of note here, however the final pin up does need explanation. It’s a self portrait of Kirby at his desk! The copy on the page urges the reader to explore Kirby’s older work at DC and Kirby himself says “there’s one in this mag!”. It took another look at the cover for me to realize that the original comic was 48 pages and had a backup reprint of the Simon/Kirby Sandman material he produced in the 40’s. Too bad, I would’ve liked to have read it.
Before I began this journey, I thought Forever People was to be the title I would have to push through. It looked to be about 4 space hippies who spouted out-of-date phrases and would preach peace and love to combat Apokolips’ hate. Instead, it’s four young but seasoned New Gods who are in direct conflict with Darkseid and have prevented him from obtaining his ultimate goal. Their personalities are more real and mature than the Newsboys and the Harries and the plot structure varies much more than the other titles. The title contains the main themes of free will and oppression, but it also has the strongest feeling of rebellion. Godfrey is the symbol of religious oppression and Darkseid is the ultimate authority figure. He demands all follow and obey without question. The Forever People realize they don’t have the power or stature to overthrow Darkseid, yet they push him to the point of retribution.
Apparently I’m the only one who liked this title: Forever People had the quickest drop in sales and the lowest sales overall of the four titles, including Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Well, to each his own.
Darkseid’s appearance seems to slightly shift panel to panel. His helmet moves from more of a bullet shape to more of a Darth Vader style. His height and bulk wax and wane and he sometimes has pupils.
The Omega effect is a great visual, and has been attached to almost all incarnations of the ruler of Apokolips.
erafin as the lone survivor jives with his cowboy getup. His get-out-of-jail-free cosmic cartridges did bother me slightly, but with this solid story I was willing to let it slide.
Some dialog seems to indicate that the Omega Effect is an ability which Darkseid has learned to harness rather than an inherited power. Could other beings wield it?
Another great panel: Darkseid walking through the burning remains of Happy Land.
Fun Fact: Vykin was the first black super-hero to appear in a DC comic book, preceding Kirby's Black Racer by approximately 7 months.
[Some Final Crisis fans thought it was a cop out for Batman to be revealed fine in caveman days or a caveman planet or something after he died one issue before at the end of Final Crisis, but if you look here that is what the Omega Effect IS, that is the way it is used for the first four times. (And as a brief sidebar -- it also makes sense that DC wanted to show Batman not killed at the end of Final Crisis because I dead Batman means an undead Batman Black Lantern, which surely no force on earth could even think of stopping. He would literally take over the universe and BE the next Darkseid.)]