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Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Volume 3…

Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Volume 3 (2007)

by Jack Kirby

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It can be argued that Kirby's best work was when he had hit his stride with Fantastic Four (from the beginning) - but this wasn't because his best work had actually happened... it's because times and preferences in art style later changed. Neal Adams was changing the look of comics, and Kirby - with hundreds of comics and decades of experience under his belt - was beginning to appear antiquated on the racks. The diminishing racks. Publishing expenses were also going through a weird flux, and Marvel figured out the best approach before DC... leaving Fourth World - Kirby's masterwork - in a dry place for comics publishing. It was cut short long before its time.

This third omnibus encompasses the best of Fourth World. Kirby's best ink collaborator (IMO) Mike Royer was on board (compare the pencil pages to the inks - and MR is most faithful, by far). The cancellation wasn't truly upon the books yet (but by issue 10's of the 3 series, it was entering JK's awareness). They were flying.

"The Pact" was Kirby's single favorite comic creation - this from a guy with almost 60 years in his profession. I liked the Mister Miracle backstory "Himon" best in this collection.

There are a couple issues in the collection that JK wasn't feeling - he was never real happy to be doing Jimmy Oleson/Superman (other people's characters... complete with unwelcome retouching) - and the Deadman arc in Forever People wasn't something he felt motivated with... but the rest of it - he was on fire.

Later would come OMAC and Kamandi - - Kamandi, his final long form richly personal/independent piece - - but Fourth World was the pinnacle. Creative genius that would only get to grow for a short window of time. Truly comics' Star Wars - not for its polish, but for its raw power. Meanwhile - don't for a second ignore the fact that George Lucas borrowed HEAVILY (less than 4 years later)... Darkseid, Moonrider, The Source - displaced orphans who later confront their all-powerful evil father? - - with all of GL's academic mentioning of Joseph Campbell, the bigger influence by far seems to be Jack Kirby's masterwork - and the lack of credit given seems like the result of legal advisement and shenanigans.

Biggest complaint about the Fourth World Omnibuses? DC doesn't keep them in print. You can't even get ahold of most of them. That's criminal, and a sad statement about comic readers' tastes/discernment. ( )
  Ron18 | Feb 17, 2019 |
The Fouth World saga continues, but is clearly losing steam by the end of this volume. Kirby abruptly drops the Jimmy Olson/Newsboy Legion part of the story, which is really no big loss. He also includes "The Pact", the New Gods story that (finally) gives a lot of the background about what the hell has been going on this whole time. It's one of the best stories in the whole series, but it probably should have been done much sooner. ( )
  drewandlori | Jan 20, 2009 |
Just when you feel the stories are getting repetitive, Kirby begins to shake things up. So I guess the man knew what was up after all. In this volume, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen thankfully departs the plotline (in what is the shell of what could have been a great story, Superman's visit to New Genesis), Kalibak comes to Earth to do battle with Orion, the Forever People are on their last ropes, Mister Miracle returns to Apokolips at last, and the secret backstory of Orion and Mister Miracle is revealed. The last of these major happenings is somewhat of a disappointment-- "The Pact!" is simply a flashback tale with no impact on the main storylines of either character. Imagine if The Empire Strikes Back had been, well, Revenge of the Sith (that analogy sort of overstates it, though, as "The Pact!" is nowhere near that bad); imparting the backstory in the present would have been so much better. The story where the Forever People meet Deadman, on the other hand, is pretty dreadful. My favorite story in this volume is "The Death Wish of Terrible Turpin!", which throws an ordinary Metropolis cop into the middle of the Orion/Kalibak showdown. The invasion of Earth by the bugs is pretty good stuff, too.
  Stevil2001 | Jun 2, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Kirbyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Evanier, MarkAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gold, Glen DavidIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Royer, MikeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The third of four volumes collecting Jack Kirby's classic 1970s classic"Fourth World" magnum opus!  In this volume collecting THE NEW GODS#7-10, THE FOREVER PEOPLE #8-10, SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #146-148, MISTERMIRACLE #7-10, Darkseid's deadly schemes reach Earth as Orion of the New Godsbattles Kalibak, son of Darkseid, the Forever People run afoul of the DC Comicshero Deadman and more!

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