Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kirby Genesis #1

I get it.

With Kirby Genesis, writer Kurt Busiek and artists Jack Herbert and Alex Ross are doing their best to capture Kirby's high-energy, concept-dense style while keeping the story fresh and modern.

It's a difficult stunt to achieve, and this first issue feels like a rocket sled bouncing around as it hurtles down the tracks - but to their credit, it stays on course.

One of the many things Jack Kirby was a genius at was packing a heck of a lot into every story. Ideas just seemed to fly fast and furious, and the same can be said about this issue.

The story begins with the introduction of a young woman named Bobbi and a young man named Kirby (which seems like a mistake - it's the equivalent of a character saying, "That looks like something you'd see in a comic book!" - it takes me out of the story every time I read his name. Maybe it's just me).

Through their eyes we see a mysterious cosmic event in the skies above St. Paul, Minnesota - and that seems to trigger a number of related (or unrelated) events - aliens arriving on Earth, secret cities being uncovered, super heroes appearing - it's almost too much to take in all at once.

Longtime Kirby fans will recognize some (though perhaps not all) of the characters introduced here - and only the sharp script keeps it all understandable.

I'm not sure how the artists are dividing the work (though some pages are obviously painted by Ross), but the final product is impressive. It's not a Kirby imitation, but in a more modern, realistic style it does seem to capture the power at the heart of Kirby's work.

Attempts over the years to adapt some of Kirby's more "out there" ideas have usually not worked for me - but so far, I'm enjoying this one, and I'm encouraged by the potential.

It's not Kirby - but so far, it's a good use of his creations. I'm in.

Grade: A-


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