Review: “RASL”

RASL

Anyone that has entered into the realm of serious comic book reading will no doubt be familiar with the Bone series.  Primarily meant for kids, Bone transcended age with stories that were appropriate for younger audiences, but written and visually rendered so exquisitely that older audiences were enthralled as well.  All this stands as a testament to the extraordinary skill of writer/artist, Jeff Smith.  Smith’s art is immediately recognizable and highly imaginative.  With his series RASL, now collected in a single, colored hardcover volume, Jeff Smith tells a gritty tale of speculative science, metaphysics, alternate histories, and human drama so intelligent and stark that it precludes the younger audience of Bone.

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A Glimpse at the “Drift.”

Beginning with a mysterious main character stealing a Picasso from a upscale New York apartment, the reader is introduced to a man named “RASL” who is able to shift between alternate realities with what appear to be twin handheld jet engines and a Tiki mask. The ambiance and style of the first chapter set the tone as a sci-fi/noir thriller, with the hard-as-nails grifter/thief RASL pulling a job and lying low in a southwestern cantina, only to be accosted by a mysterious lizard-face man in a trench coat and fedora, packing .45 heat.

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The Man in the Black Hat.

The Man in the Black Hat.

As the story progresses, however, the narrative descends into a very comprehensive, thought-provoking account of the life and discoveries of the 20th century wunderkind, Nikola Tesla.  Tesla was something of a dark horse in life and  accomplished wonders in the first four decades of last century that even today sound impossible.  Alongside his various acts of eccentricity stand some coincidences of extraordinary phenomena that conspiracy theorists have claimed were far from coincidental, most notably the infamous Tunguska event.  Weaving these conspiracy theories and a clear passion for the immense figure of Tesla, Jeff Smith crafts the backdrop for a fast paced science-fiction action drama predicated on the discoveries and demons of one of the modern age’s most tortured geniuses.

RASL3

In this neo-noir setting, RASL provides a compelling anti-hero, who was once a leading physicist, Dr. Robert Johnson, before discovering Tesla’s lost journals detailing the workings of the universe.  And just like Tesla, he does his utmost to keep the power of the gods from the questionable hands of mankind.  Populating the world(s) around him are an equally diverse and intriguing cast of characters.  There is the “fallen woman,” Annie, a prostitute whom RASL visits often when he comes out of a”drift” and needs to indulge his baser instincts, the “man in the black hat,” Agent Crowe, whose reptilian appearance and shadowy comings and goings fuel the “otherworldly” feel of the book, and the “damsel in distress” in the dual form of Dr. Maya Riley and Uma Giles.  All of these characters and their vibrant portrayals (made more vibrant in this technicolor redux) immerse the reader in an engrossing drama that refuses to be put down.  Whether you are a fan of comics or not, the pacing and narrative prowess of RASL ensures its enjoyment by most readers.  Just close your eyes and take a “drift” into another reality . . .

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Entering the “Drift.”

 

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

RASL: Art by Jeff Smith, Colored by Steve Hamaker.

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Review: “Solders of Victory” Vols. 1 & 2

It goes without saying that Grant Morrison is one of the greatest comic book writers of all time.  Its empirically fact.  Seven Soldiers is one of the hallmarks of that meteoric career.  It also showcases his admiration of Jack Kirby’s body of work, featuring several of the master’s characters.  Admittedly, it took me many years to read this series.  My best friend has been hounding me to read it since it came out in 2005/2006.  I held off, because I knew it was going to be good and I needed to be in the right place to take it all in and appreciate it for what it was.  I think that I was right to do it this way, but also angry that I did, because I’ve missed out for those six years on something incredible.

Bang!!!

The most striking thing about Seven Soldiers is that while people refer to it as a series, possibly owing to several jumping on the bandwagon after the fact with the collected graphic novels, it is actually not a series but rather a heading over seven 4-issue miniseries preceded and succeeded by the two proper Seven Soldiers issues.  Each series, as you can imagine, pertains to a different member of the eponymous Seven Soldiers of Victory.  Those characters are a veritable lottery of third stringers and people that a lot of comic readers from the millennial generation had never even heard of.  While I had heard of them by the time I read these graphic novel collections, that can be owed greatly to the fact that Morrison wrote about them in this series.  This is one thing that Morrison is aces at, taking old, seemingly worthless characters and turning them into goldmines of innovative, provocative storytelling.   His first gig with DC was revamping the laughable character of Animal Man into one of the bestselling books on the rack.

Frank Is Back

This time around his cast of characters include: the Shining Knight, The Guardian, Klarion the Witchboy, Zatanna, Mister Miracle, Bulleteer, and Frankenstein.  The Shining Knight, Sir Justin and his his winged steed Vanguard, were original members of the Seven Soldiers from the Silver Age version.  Though I heard of Justin before, Morrison puts a crucial twist on the character that has influences seen in comics currently coming out, i.e. Demon Knights.  Zatanna is perhaps the most mainstream of the characters, but again her inclusion makes sense considering the characters Morrison is drawn to.  Bulleteer was technically a new character remodeled off the Golden Age characters, Bulletman and Bulletgirl.  Frankenstein, though a character of classical literature, was adapted into DC’s panoply in 1973 by Len Wein for the Phantom Stranger title.  Morrison picks him up, but again warps him into a completely new and innovative version.  The remaining three, The Guardian, Klarion, and Mister Miracle, are all Jack Kirby characters that until Seven Soldiers hadn’t been utilized since the 70’s.  Klarion appeared in two issues of Kirby’s The Demon, and little was known about his background, so Morrison had a blank slate to work with.  Jim Harper, the 40’s beat cop known as the Guardian, is replaced with Jake Jordan, ex-cop turned roving reporter/avenging superhero.  In the original Mister Miracle series the title character, Scott Free, was an exiled god of New Genesis who masqueraded as a daring escape artist known as Mister Miracle.  In that same series Scott mentored an African American youth name Shilo Norman to one day replace him.  Shilo is the Mister Miracle here, but there is no mention of Scott, so it is insinuated that Morrison is taking the character in his own direction yet again.  In all seven cases, he has spun straw into gold.

Zatanna and Misty Riding Vanguard

What really makes the Seven Soldiers series interesting is that though they are the Seven Soldiers who are destined to defeat a common enemy, they have never met and we are told in the #0 issue, will never meet.  So who is this apocalyptic threat to mankind, and how can the Seven Soldiers hope to hold off Armageddon when they don’t even know who each other are or that they are part of a team? Morrison finds a way, and getting there is more than half the fun.  Each series follows the character’s individual destiny and defines them.  In the meantime, as you read each, references are made to other series tantalizing the reader as to the larger picture evoked by all seven.  Aided by an army of artists, Simone Bianchi, Frazier Irving, Ryan Sook, Freddie Williams II, Yanick Paquette, J.H. Williams III, and Doug Mahnke, Grant Morrison’s work is a masterpiece and should be read by anyone who considers themselves a comic book aficionado.

The Dark Side of Things

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #1:  Drawn by Yanick Paquette, Colored by Alex Sinclair, Inked by Michael Bair

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #2:  Art by Doug Mahnke, Colored by Alex Sinclair, Inked by Michael Bair

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #3:  Drawn by Ryan Sook, Colored by Nathan Eyring, Inked by Mick Gray

Seven Soldiers of Victory #1:  Art by J.H. Williams III, Colored by Dave Stewart & J.H. Williams III

Review: “Roots of Swamp Thing”

Swamp Thing was a character that I can remember from as early as Kindergarten.  In fact the beginning years of the 90’s marked a resurgence of his popularity with the live action TV show, animated series, and a line of action figures.  My cousins even had a few of these that we used to play with.  Despite this, I was never that into him, but like so many things, after giving him a shot I have come to realize how fantastic the Swamp Thing series is.  Scott Snyder taking over the rebooted series was the catalyst to get me interested, and his excellent writing is what has kept that interest alive, but going back and reading the original series created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson is what has me sold on him.  These original 70’s stories are phenomenal.

The graphic novel “Roots of Swamp Thing” collects the first thirteen issues of the series and lays down the metaphorical roots of the character.  Within lies the rebirth of Alec Holland as the Swamp Thing, the introduction of the villainous Conclave that brought about his fiery death if not his leafy resurrection, the wicked Doctor Arcane, his angelic niece Abigail Arcane, Matt Cable, as well as other story material rife for future retelling.

What Len Wein did well was setting the atmosphere of the piece.  When reading these original Swamp Thing issues, the world is portrayed as very tragic and lonesome.  Perhaps this is overly pessimistic, but considering the subject material it is most likely as accurate to the world of the 1970’s as it is to the world of the 2010’s.  Alec Holland is a lumbering monstrosity with a limited capacity to communicate and form discernible words, but a vibrant, healthy mind that is as keen as before his accident.  When he ventures out into the world he is judged by his appearance and not by his deeds.  Most that only meet him once curse and hate him, regardless of the good he does for them.  Those with whom he interacts on a more regular basis tend to take a very long time to put his altruistic actions together to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Similarly, the stories feature a cadre of horror show creatures such as a Frankenstein’s Monster-esque patchwork man, a werewolf, a space alien, and mutated earthworms.  In all of their cases they are also judged superficially and in two cases, Swamp Thing, who is himself misunderstood attacks them without provocation as he himself has been attacked.  Through these issues, Wein gives a very thorough account of humanity’s greatest flaws.  It makes one think.  Perhaps the most resonant issue is the one featuring a Swiss village comprised of clockwork men and women modeled after persons who died violently before their time.  This Utopian village is heavily suggested to have a sinister side, but upon further inspection and reading, it is exactly what it tries to be: a Utopia.  And for this paradise to exist, it has to be free of human beings.  Truly a sad thought.

Bernie Wrightson’s art is the other half of this perfect equation, as his lines and colors are shaded and macabre, bringing out the eerie atmosphere dripping from the dank stories of Wein’s Swamp Thing.  Len Wein sets the tone, but Wrightson is the one who cements it, sharing in equal parts the success of the series.  If Scott Snyder was able to bring the series back to prominence, its largely due to the quality of the source material that fuels his plots and inspired him to write about Swamp Thing in the first place.  As stated above, I was never a Swamp Thing fan, but I am an evangelical convert of the title and say now that people should seek this or any other original collection out and read about Swamp Thing’s genesis.  These issues are some of the classics of beginning of comic’s Bronze Age.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Swamp Thing #3: Cover and Art by Bernie Wrightson

Swamp Thing #11: Art by Nestor Redondo

Review: “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Vol. 1” (DC Series)

2010 saw DC pick up a series that had bounced around three other publishers since the 1960’s.  That series was, of course, T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents.  Admittedly, when this happened I had never heard about the original series and though it sounded interesting, abstained from reading it due to a dry spell in disposable income.  But when I saw that one of my favorite artists, Mike Grell, was doing backup art I got the issue and retroactively collected the previous issues.  After that, I became addicted to the series and sought out anything about it, past or present.

The concept of the original T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents series was a perfect combination of the popular genres of the day.  It featured an element of espionage involving a multinational organization with a cool acronym like the then popular TV series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, as well as superheroes like those in other mainstream comics, and sci-fi creatures and technology that were reminiscent of the cult classic films of the 50’s and 60’s.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents also featured one of the most unique premises, that even to this day is rather novel.  T.H.U.N.D.E.R is an acronym for The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserve, and as such The Higher United Nations employs agents to wield enhancing devices devised by by the brilliant scientist, Dr. Emil Jennings.  These devices include a power belt worn by agents codenamed “Dynamo”, a speed suit worn by agents codenamed “Lighnting”, a mind control helmet worn by agents codenamed “Menthor”, and a set of steel wings worn by agents codenamed “Raven.”  The devices give the wearer great power, but . . . the cost of use is that after a certain amount of time they will eventually kill the wielder.  That said, the choosing of agents is  very interesting. Recruitment is 100% voluntary so the candidates range from suicidal, to the crestfallen seeking atonement, to the just plain crazy.

The Grand Legacy

This new series by Nick Spencer feeds directly off the old material and presents a continuation of that series’ legacy into the new millennium with great care and fidelity.  It starts out with a brand new roster of agents, and then to illustrate the morbid premise of the series, kills off half the agents in the middle of a crucial mission of global importance.  Hence, a new team must be chosen, accept the terms of recruitment, be crash trained, and thrown into a conflict that could result in the downfall of nations . . . No pressure.  Through his artful storycrafting, Nick Spencer also fills us in on the gaps between this series and the previous series by Deluxe Comics from the 80’s.  He also flashes back to moments in the various other series and time periods with an interesting use of back up artists to segue and facilitate the flashback sequences from the present which is done for the seven issues by Cafu, two issues by Dan Panosian, and the final issue by Dan McDaid.  He uses the very stylized art of Nick Dragotta to go back to the original T.H.U.N.D.E.R team from the 60’s, Howard Chaykin to explore the life of the enigmatic colleague of Dr. Jennings, Dr. Anthony Dunn aka NoMan, George Perez to recap the history of the Dynamos, Ryan Sook to recap the SPIDER sequence, Mike Grell to do the 1980’s sequences, and ChrisCross doing the Lighting sequences.

Mike Grell's Rendering of the Iron Maiden in the 80's

This is one of those series like Green Lantern or Captain America where a writer who really understands the core of the piece invigorates it for the contemporary audience, and doesn’t just remake it so it holds up to today’s standards, but also feeds off of the older “hokier” source material and uses that as a moral foundation, but also a plot foundation, making those seemingly outmoded issues MATTER.  That is the real mark of an excellent series and a talented writer.  That is what makes modern era comics excellent.  This truly is an awesome collection and a good jumping on point for anyone that wants to start a long love affair with the world of T.H.U.N.D.E.R.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #1: Cover by Frank Quitely & Val Staples

T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #4: Drawn by George Perez, Colored by Blond, Inked by George Perez & Scott Koblish

T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #7: Art.0 by Mike Grell, Colored by Val Staples

Review: “The Red Star” Vol. 1-4

The Red Star is a series that has haunted my imagination for over ten years.  Partly it has to do with the passion endowed by writers Christian Gossett and Bradley Kayl.  Partly it is due to the breathtaking artwork of the aforementioned maestro, Christian Gossett.  And further still, it is due to the jaw dropping CG backdrops and landscapes composited onto Gossett’s pages.  The latter most effects were done by WETA Workshop (The same who lent their designs to the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy) in the later volumes of the series.  All together these components combine to an incredible whole.

The Enigmatic Red Woman

The Red Star has been described as  “Saving Private Ryan” meets “Star Wars” set in the Soviet Union.  This is perhaps the most succinct overview, evoking all the elements present.  Like “Saving Private Ryan” the series focuses heavily on soldiers fighting violent battles for their homelands. Rife with explosions, gunfire, guts, and gore parallels between the two abound.  Red Star‘s comparison to “Star Wars” lies in the futuristic technology employed which bear what George Lucas called a “Used Universe” look.  Despite being futuristic, the technology employed has been in use for some time at the point in which the story takes place, so the equipment has a tarnished, “used” look that furthers the believability of the story.  In The Red Star the flying fortresses called “Skyfurnaces” and ruined cities of the decaying Republics of the Red Star all bear this same look, and thus attain the same intrinsic believability.  Also the soldiers of the Red Star all bear special abilities that harken to the supernatural religion of the Jedi.  The Red Infantry Hookmen have telekinetic control over their hook bladed rifles and surroundings, attaining the height of physical and mental control over their surroundings.  Also are the Sorceress Korps of the Red Army who cast spells called “Protocols” and use themselves as living weapons of the State.

Sorceress Major Maya Antares Casting a Gatling Gun Protocol

The story itself is an allegory of Russian and indirectly World history, recounting fictionalized versions of all the relevent events: The Bolshevik Revolution, WWII (which is referred to as the Great Patriotic War, just as the Russians do in reality), the War in Afghanistan, and the American invasion of said country.  In this world, however, the Cold War was not about Capitalism or Communism, but rather Transnationalism and Internationalism, respectively.  The US and USSR find their proxies in this world as the WTA (Western Transnationalist Alliance) and the URRS (United Republics of the Red Star).   Though the story takes place in the URRS during Internationalism and after its decline, the story doesn’t dwell on Internationalism or Transnationalism.  Both, like Communism and Capitalism in real life, are just red herrings that distract the people who live under both systems from the corruption of their leaders.  The creators of The Red Star understand this perfectly and portray this principle thoroughly and with great eloquence throughout the whole of its run.

The Glorious Imbohl

What I believe really makes this series work is the characters.  Their pain, suffering, selflessness, faith, and moments of glory (no matter how small) make this series burst with the bright red light of the human spirit; the light of the Red Star of their homeland’s lore.  This red light that their nation was built off of is the light of Truth, and that is what we are given through them: Truth.  In their every word, action, and expression they exude the truth and fight for what they intuit to be true.

Rarely do I do this, but I am going to put the link to their website at the bottom of this review in the hopes that those who read this and maybe pick up a spark of interest will look at the information on the website about the World of the Red Star and perhaps purchase a comic or graphic novel to experience it for themselves.  I hope this is the case, as I am afraid a lack of interest may extinguish the Red Star’s light of Truth forever.

In closing, I will say that this is perhaps the most incredible, innovative comic that has ever been put out.  It was unique in 1999 when it first hit the comic racks and thirteen years later, nothing has come along that even comes close to mimicking the grandeur of its presentation.  To those involved in Team Red Star, I owe a great debt for the wonderment they have given to me and others like me . . .

Thanks, Team Red Star

http://www.archangel-studios.com/comics/redstar/frame.htm

 

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Artwork by Christian Gossett

Colors by Snakebite

3-D Composites by WETA Workshop and Paul Schrier

Review: “Kamandi Omnibus Vol. 1”

When Jack Kirby came to work at DC after his long run at Marvel Comics in the seventies he had a lot of ideas he wanted to explore.  Some of his endeavors would become iconic, such as “The Demon” and “The Fourth World”, whose denizens include Great Darkseid of Apokalips, Orion, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, the Forever People, Granny Goodness, and the New Gods of New Genesis.  However, among his more esoteric projects is the oft overlooked gem, Kamandi: Last Boy on Earth.  I have to admit that for the longest time I fell into the trap of not paying this series any mind.  I’m not the biggest fan of post-apocalyptic storytelling.  Often they are rather trite, and I tend to steer closer to Kirby’s work that was more in the superhero vein.  What personally got me interested in Kamandi and OMAC, another of his lesser known masterpieces, was the weekly DC series Countdown to Final Crisis from 2007/2008.  With the release of this Kamandi Omnibus, for the first time in years Kamandi is available (at a price) for those that wish to read it.

The premise of the series, as foreshadowed by the title, is that of a young man who grew up in a government bomb shelter emerging out onto a post-apocalyptic world as the “Last Boy on Earth.”  His name, Kamandi, comes from the bunker in which he spent the entirety of his life thus far, Command-D.  Educated on film reels housed in the bunker, he has a very comprehensive knowledge of the human world and human history up to the present of the reader’s perspective (mid to late 70’s).  Upon emerging, however, he is shocked to find that human civilization as been replaced by nations, tribes, and bands of intelligent, upright animals.  In the East lies the Tiger Nation, the Midwest is ruled by the Gorilla Communes, the Lion Tribes own the West Coast, Leopard pirates rule the seas, Rat gangs infest the old New York Subway systems.  Its a world gone mad.  However, not far into the series (so this ruins nothing) you see that the title is a misnomer.  Running wild like herds of deer or buffalo, are human beings who in the aftermath of their world falling to pieces have become feral and bestial.  In that respect, if you are a fan of the “Planet of the Apes” franchise, you will most certainly enjoy Kamandi, because they share similar concepts.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

I would argue though that Kamandi has a much more comprehensive, intriguing premise.  While it makes sense as far as sci-fi series go that a single species would dominate the world, a la “Planet of the Apes”, the way in which Kamandi has evolved apes, as well as feline species, rodents, etc, reveals a great deal about intrinsic natures.  The Gorillas have certain characteristics, the Tigers have certain characteristics, as do the Lions.  Its fascinating to read the stories and see what Kirby is saying about them, and how that relates to our own society.  And he doesn’t demonize.  I think that is what is so great about the series.  There is conflict amongst all the races, but despite this, there are members of all the nations that, while sometimes stuck in their ways, are actually noble and redeemable in one way or the other.  So again, while there may be topical differences, most of the animals are actually the same, also sharing a common heritage, a legendary Eden known as “The Washington Zuu.”

Kirby Within Kirby

Kamandi is a phenomenal series by “The King of Comics” that is completely unbound by any constraints of the world in which it’s readers live.  After the Great Disaster that changed the Earth the rules have been thrown out and anything under the sun is possible.  The way in which Kirby frames his stories are very naturalistic, making everyday life as epic as Superman fighting Lex Luthor or Batman the Joker, and mere survival a stunning victory.  For a series I avoided like the plague for so many years, reading twenty issues contained herein went by in a flash.  This series is a masterpiece. Period.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Kamandi #1: Art by Jack Kirby, Inked by Mike Royer

Kamandi #4: Art by Jack Kirby, Inked by Mike Royer

Kamandi #12: Art by Jack Kirby, Inked by Mike Royer

Review: “Silver Star”

Silver Star marked a significant hallmark in the career of Jack Kirby.  Jack Kirby, called “The King of Comics” was also a King-maker, building up Marvel Comics, and later DC Comics, with iconic characters synonymous with their respective imprints, including: Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Darkseid, the New Gods, the Fourth World, Etrigan the Demon, OMAC, and so on . . .  Most were for Marvel as his career with them was long and prolific.  It became acrimonious toward the end of his tenure with them due to what he felt was exploitation by the company of his creations and his rights to them.  In the mid 80’s he had distanced himself from mainstream comics doing freelance work here and there to pay the bills.  When the indie company Pacific Comics, originally a comic shop turned direct-sales distributor, offered him a hands off venue to publish from, he became one of the first comic creators to own his own creations.  From his time at Pacific he put out two stellar series: Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers and Silver Star.

A (Silver) Star is Born

Owing to the laissez-faire environment and freedom given him, Silver Star was pure, unadulterated Kirby.  Kirby is a maestro of the superhuman story, and in this title he chose to deal with the Atomic Age, as he and collaborator Stan Lee did earlier in series like Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk.  However, in this case he chose not to deal with people who were transformed BY the Atomic Age, but rather FOR the Atomic Age.  Hulk and the Fantastic Four were accidents of science where exposure to radiation gave them superpowers.  The main character, Morgan Miller, as well as his unknown compatriots, were transformed genetically at birth to withstand radiation and nuclear fallout.  Its a very novel approach, and storywise it is a spectacular Cold War era story of impending doom not by super humans, but regular garden variety human beings playing God with the fundamental forces of nature.  A new breed of man, Homo Geneticus as they come to be called, are needed if mankind is to survive the inevitable.

Morgan Miller is the son of Dr. Bradford Miller, the doctor who performed his invitro alterations on several children across the lines of both race and class, giving the new breed a diverse population.  He also performed his work on Morgan, and the changes manifest in the height of the Vietnam Conflict.  After this, Morgan is accoutered by the US Military in silver armor and modeled into a symbol of American ingenuity and superiority.

The Deadly and Dangerous Darius Drumm

As one can imagine, with all those evolutionary leaps popping up around the country as a result of Dr. Millers work, a few rotten eggs will emerge from the clutch.  And so arises the deadly and dangerous Darius Drumm.  Drumm has found his way, along with Silver Star, into the new series Kirby Genesis, and truly it is astounding to get to know the man behind the myth.  This original version done by Kirby is incredibly sinister and one of his best creations.  Just my opinion, mind you.  What also makes him interesting is that while he was created physically by what might be viewed as a perversion of science, he is created mentally and emotionally by a perversion of faith and politics, which Kirby foresaw to be an evolving calamity. Thirty years later we are seeing this first hand, as his fiction is becoming all too real.  Perhaps that is why I am so intrigued by him as a villain, hoping that science and reason can smite down unchecked zealotry by the overly ambitious politician who panders to mass hysteria.   Perchance to dream, right?

The Female of the Species is More Deadly Than the Male

Morgan isn’t alone, either.  Many of the other Homo Geneticus who have matured and manifested their genetic legacy have used their powers for good.  One combats urban crime in the slums where no one seems to bat an eyelash at the violence and corruption breeding in the shadows, another uses his powers to entertain the masses in carnivals and bring happiness and joy to the world, and another is a stunt person in films.  Each is an interesting snapshot of the human spirit, magnified by the advent of special abilities.  One of these, Norma Richardson, also is a recurring character in the new Kirby Genesis: Silver Star series.

The series is only six issues, sadly, but those six issues burn bright and work towards the betterment of mankind and the forestalling of the nuclear holocaust that these beings were made to survive, not prevent.  Yet most do work to prevent it, showing that despite evolving past mankind, empathy and compassion aren’t lost in the process.  They haven’t lost touch with the species they were bred from, or stopped caring about the safety and welfare of the seemingly outmoded mankind.  Thankfully, these six stunning issues are now collected in one volume, allowing new audiences to read them and fully enjoy one of Jack Kirby’s most innovative works.

Will This Be Man's Last Sunrise . . . ?

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Silver Star #1: Drawn by Jack Kirby, Colored by Janice Cohen, Inked by Mike Royer

Silver Star #4: Drawn by Jack Kirby, Colored by Janice Cohen, Inked by Mike Royer

Silver Star #5: Drawn by Jack Kirby, Colored by Tom Luth, Inked by D. Bruce Berry

Silver Star #6: Drawn by Jack Kirby, Colored by Tom Luth, Inked by D. Bruce Berry