Friday, September 1, 2017

Darkseid Special #1

   Of all the characters Jack Kirby created during his run at DC during the early '70s, none has had more of a lasting impact than the villain Darkseid.

   That's because he filled a real void at DC - for a powerful, ruthless villain who was at the same time deep and thoughtful - but still able to go toe-to-toe with any DC hero, including Superman.

   While there were occasional powerhouses in the ranks of the bad guys at DC, they were pretty thin - or had thin reasons for being villains. Most were either criminals (Flash's Rogues, many of Batman's foes), crazy (the Joker) or jealous (Luthor).

   But Darkseid was a god looking for ultimate control through the Anti-Life Equation (whatever that was). While in more recent times he's been portrayed as a towering, Hulk-like giant, I prefer the Kirby version: human-sized but rippling with menace and power.

   This issue, written by former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier and drawn by the talented Scott Kolins, is the slim story of a trio who have escaped from Darkseid's training and threaten his rule in unexpected ways.

   Of all these specials that I've read, this one seems closest to the kind of story that Kirby would have written, with a mix of action and surprising revelations about the title character.

   There's also a nifty backup story featuring one of my favorite Kirby characters, OMAC (the One Man Army Corps) taking on a surprising foe.

   I hesitate to recommend a comic that "stars" a villain, but this one is a treat.

Grade: A-



Kevin Findley said...

Did Jack ever write Darkseid as a villain? Obsessive and controlling yes, but I always got the feeling he (Jack) felt the New Gods were past our definitions of good and evil.

That was certainly Darkseid's opinion.

Chuck said...

Excellent point, Kevin. While the rest of the DC Universe probably sees him as a villain, we're all heroes in our own story, and Darkseid no doubt sees himself that way. The same is true for all great comic book villains - they either are sympathetic to some degree (Namor, Mole Man), crazy (Red Skull, Green Goblin) or convinced they're doing the right thing, no matter what (Dr. Doom being another great example).