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Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Volume 4…
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Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Volume 4

by Jack Kirby

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After co-creating comic book heroes including The Fantastic Four and The Hulk, legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby came to DC Comics in 1970 to write and illustrate four interlocking series known collectively as The Fourth World. Now, for the first time, DC collects these four series -- The New Gods, The Forever People, Mister Miracle and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen -- in chronological order as they originally appeared. These comics spanned galaxies, from the streets of Metropolis to the far-flung worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips, as cosmic-powered heroes and villains struggled for supremacy. Volume 1 features the debuts of Orion of the New Gods, the evil Darkseid, super-escape artist Mister Miracle and many others. It also features numerous appearances by Superman.… (more)

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  MightyLeaf | May 25, 2010 |
The last volume in Kirby's Fourth World series is by far the least interesting, though there are glimpses of what it could have been. It includes the last issues of "Forever People" and "New Gods", and the last good "Mister Miracle" stories (though that series continued for another half dozen crappy issues and a string of increasingly stupid villains, none of which involved the Fourth World saga).

Finally, the book comes to "Even Gods Must Die" and "Hunger Dogs", the two stories done a decade later to wrap up the whole thing. Kirby ends the story about as well as it could have ended, considering that he was given far too little space to conclude a massive story he had barely even started (not to mention the fact that DC reportedly wouldn't let him use the finale he wanted). Hunger Dogs has a "twist", for example, which is one of the saddest and best moments in the whole series, but it's so rushed and feels so crammed-in that it barely counts as a twist at all. There's also the fact that, well, Kirby was not getting any younger, and there is a noticeable change in the quality of his artwork. Dialogue was never exactly his strong point, but (I'm sorry to say) there are parts of "Hunger Dogs" that sound like they were badly translated from another language. In spite of all that, though, Kirby's ideas and his characters are as fantastic as ever, and the genius of his earlier stories is still there. The end of the Fourth World might not live up to the promise of its beginning, but it's still pretty damn amazing. ( )
  drewandlori | Jan 20, 2009 |
...and it all sputters to an end. Unfortunately, The New Gods and The Forever People were canceled in 1972, and Mister Miracle was retooled to remove the Fourth World elements... and then canceled anyway in 1974. The conclusions are abrupt in both of the former cases, but though they might be unsatisfactory endings, they're very good stories in themselves. The retooled Mister Miracle is more tedious and repetitive now that it's ordinary villains randomly trapping him all the time instead of Apokoliptians, and the introduction of the "hip" kid sidekick doesn't really help matters. And the two stories Kirby wrote in the 1980s in an attempt to end his saga, "Even Gods Must Die!" and "The Hunger Dogs", are not much more than disappointing looks at what might have been-- the former, where Orion infiltrates Apokolips to rescue his mother, is pretty good, but the latter is all over place, especially as it tries to end things but leave them open-ended at the same time. Ultimately, the last volume is typical of the series as a whole: filled with good ideas, but constrained by both the way comics were made at the time and the way DC jerked Kirby and his titles around. There's a great story about the Fourth World somewhere, but this isn't it, and hopefully someone tells it someday. Still, these books were well worth getting, especially for Mark Evanier's insight into the King himself, but also because they're just gorgeous to look at. Next, DC is doing a set of Starman omnibi, another series that has intrigued me and I'll no doubt be picking up.
  Stevil2001 | Jun 2, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Kirbyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Evanier, MarkAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levitz, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Royer, MikeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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