Monday, August 17, 2009

Forever People #7

[Andy Bentley continues his issue by issue look at Jack Kirby's New Gods.]

“I’ll Find You in Yesterday”

The opening prologue to Fourth World titles is usually where the reader gains more insight into the larger saga and this issue is a fine example. High father is holding a meeting with the Council of the Young to discuss the fate of the Forever People. Notice not a council of elders, but rather a council of youth. Kirby affirms his hope for the youth of the US nation by depicting the trust New Genesis has in their children. Metron is also present for this meeting which is taking place in a spanning cathedral hall which Kirby illustrates beautifully. The debate is whether High father should intervene and rescue the time trapped Forever People who have disobeyed him by taking on Darkseid himself. The youth believe the Forever People must be saved, and High Father agrees.

The Forever People have been split into three different war time periods which reinforce the themes which punctuates the Fourth World Saga. Moonrider and Beautiful Dreamer are in Ford theater moments before Lincon’s assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. Vykin has been transported into a camp of Spanish conquistadors in early America, and Big Bear has come upon the Romans pull out from Ancient Britain. All these example reinforce Glorious Godfrey’s theory from several issues ago that war is always within man’s heart. Each of the Forever People find ways to assimilate into their surroundings and are soon returned to the current time with the aid of High Father. He has moved to the chamber of regeneration and has conjured up alpha bullets which will reverse the damage done by Darkseid’s omega sanction. The use of the term bullets to describe this effect is puzzling given New Genesis’ stance on violence.

In the present time, Serifan is making his last stand against Godfrey and his justifiers. The Wiz Wagon and his cosmic cartridges help even the score. The justifiers return with a weapon that ignites an avalanche above Serifan. Before he is crushed, an Alpha bullet finds his way to the space cowboy and zaps him to current day Japan. There, he learns that Sonny Summo was blasted back to Feudal Japan by Darkseid’s beams and was allowed to live a life more appropriate to Sonny’s demeanor. The mother box Sonny used to harness the life equation has been kept by a sect of people who await the return of a Forever Person. With Mother Box in hand, Serifan walks off with hope because High Father has shown them compassion.

This issue along with the forward by Glen David Gould prove to me that Kirby really didn’t have that much of a plan, but rather a notebook full of ideas. Gould theorizes that the clunky dialog does serve a unintended purpose of slowing the reader down to look and think about the material being presented. I’m reading these at a critical level so I’m already at a slower pace. Gould also theorizes that Kirby had post traumatic stress disorder from his service in the army and that he was probably working these feeling out (unconsciously or not) through the Fourth World. Many argue that Will Eisner did some of his best work on “The Spirit” post war as well. I agree the war shaped Kirby’s work tremendously as did the counter culture movement and the rise of evangelism.

Final Musings

The Fate on Sonny is fitting to the character, however it makes me feel as if the Anti-life reveal several issues ago is being swept under the carpet.

The vignettes with the Forever People in the past weren’t of much consequence (Spoiler, they don’t stop Booth from assassinating President Lincoln) however they prove how versatile Kirby can be illustrating several time periods.

The alpha beams did seem too convenient. I wonder if this is how DC plans to ultimately return Bruce Wayne to present time.

Lonar: He’s back! However the story lacks the thick mood that the first Lonar tale had. It features an encounter with a younger Orion who is even less level headed than the current one. Lonar’s horse becomes spooked by Orion which labors a fact we already know: Orion’s bad news.

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