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Cosmic Odyssey by Jim Starlin

Cosmic Odyssey (1992)

by Jim Starlin (Writer), Carlos Garzon (Inker), Mike Mignola (Illustrator)

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"He is one of the most powerful and feared beings in the universe...but now Darkseid the schemer faces a menace beyond even his great abilities. Now the towering New God must find aid from beyond the boundaries of his realm -- forced to seek it in the camp of his enemies. What Darkseid needs...is heroes.This volume collects for the first time in eight years the universe-spanning 1988 epic that rocked the DC Universe. Written by the acclaimed Jim Starlin (BATMAN, Captain Marvel) and featuring art by Mike Mignola (Hellboy) & Carlos Garzon (Star Wars) with a cover by Mignola, COSMIC ODYSSEY finds Superman, Batman, Green Lantern John Stewart, Martian Manhunter, Starfire, the Demon, plus Orion, Lightray and Forager of the New Gods working together with one of the deadliest beings known to man: Darkseid. This eclectic group of heroes must race against time to stop a cosmic entity hellbent on destroying the galaxy. Do they have what it takes? Or will one hero's brashness spell cataclysmic destruction for an entire world?"--… (more)

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I picked this up for three reasons. The first is that I knew Green Lantern: Mosaic continued some of its threads, and I wanted to read that, so reading this first seemed helpful. Additionally, I knew it at least partially took place in space, and I have been trying to read all of DC's space-based comics. (It does have scenes set on both Thanagar and Rann, and Adam Strange is a minor character, but that's about it.) Lastly, I knew it was supposed to be good. When Jim Starlin's The Death of the New Gods came out, a lot of the reviews basically expressed surprise that man who had handled the New Gods so well in Cosmic Odyssey did so poorly in Death of the New Gods.

Well, I don't know what any of those people were thinking, because Cosmic Odyssey's take-- like so many other post-Kirby takes on the New Gods-- is terrible. Like in Death of the New Gods, they're not portrayed as gods here; the way Starlin writes them, they're basically just sci-fi aliens who call themselves gods. The New Gods should not be demeaned by explanations about pocket dimensions and sectors of space. They should not be engaging in technobabble. And certainly, the anti-life equation is not a thing you use to power an enormous space cannon! Like, Darkseid has not been scouring the cosmos for something as tawdry as a power source for a space cannon! The anti-life equation is the absence of free will, not a blob that flies around building bombs that blow up planets.

Even outside of that, this isn't a good comic. The title implies an epic. What we get instead is one of those old 1960s Justice League of America-style stories where a big group gets together, but then everyone splits up and carries out side quests in groups of two: Superman and Orion, John Stewart and the Martian Manhunter, Batman and Forager, and Starfire and Lightray. Plus, John Stewart messes up and causes a planet's entire population to die... but only because of incredibly poor, out-of-character writing. He spends the whole book telling everyone his ring can do everything and he doesn't need their help at all. Because of this, the planet Xanshi explodes when he leaves the Martian Manhunter behind to confront the anti-life entity alone and it turns out it painted its bomb yellow. (In Green Lantern: Mosaic, John actually thinks back to this and decides he must have been crazy because there's no other explanation for his behavior.) And the end of the story descends into thaumababble when Doctor Fate turns up and saves everyone.

I did kind of like the idea of Metron discovering the anti-life equation and being destroyed by it just because of his insatiable idea to know things. Too bad it couldn't have been embedded in a better story.

I did like the art of Mike Mignola a lot; how could you not? Mignola and the New Gods are a great pairing; it's only a shame the real New Gods aren't actually here, just these counterfeit sci-fi aliens. Jim Starlin did a great job with DC's sci-fi comics in 1990s and 2000s, but judging by this and Death of the New Gods, the mythical aspects of DC are beyond his abilities. Based on his Thor run, I can see why Walter Simonson would be praised for his take (I haven't read Simsonson's Orion Omnibus yet), because unlike Starlin, he knows how to write gods as gods.

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  Stevil2001 | Mar 6, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Starlin, JimWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garzon, CarlosInkermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Mignola, MikeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Oliff, SteveColoristsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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