Friday, January 15, 2016
The trouble with being a lower-tier character on a lower-tier team is that you're the first one to be killed off for shock value. And worse, your death may be completely forgotten--not in the sense your sacrifice won't be remembered, but that everyone forgets you died and you show up again! From 1977, New Gods #15, "The Apocalypse Child" Written by Gerry Conway, art by Rich Buckler, inks by Bob McLeod.
In this series, Orion and some of the other New Gods were trying to defend the humans who had the Anti-Life Equation locked in their minds, from falling into the hands of Darkseid. Orion disguises himself as a security agent to stay close to paranoid General Torch; while cheery Lightray watches Richard Roe, paranoid junkie. It actually does make sense for Torch and Roe to be paranoid, since they were being watched, and Lightray may be working on Roe's girlfriend; but neither man comes across well. (Possibly the Equation's influence?) Elsewhere, lone wolf Lonar watches an Eskimo family openly, having befriended them, and they warn him of the sudden arrival of a boy seemingly escaped from Granny Goodness's orphanage on Apokolips! Lonar knows this can't be coincidence, but as the Eskimos care for the boy, he's uncertain what to do. (The somewhat turgid narration refers to Lonar as "paralyzed by his own misanthropy." I don't know if I'd usually think of misanthropy as a paralyzing condition...well, you know, just maybe.)
Lonar calls Lightray for advice, who decides the boy, Lucifar, should be taken to New Genesis. The Eskimo family doesn't want to leave the boy, so come as well, but are completely unprepared for the spectacle of the New Gods' home. Their leader, Highfather, questions Lucifar, and they realize he was sent to earth in "exchange" for an earth boy captured by Darkseid: a mockery of the pact that exchanged Orion and Mister Miracle. Still, they don't have much time to think about it, as New Genesis is attacked by Parademons! (They look a little generic and un-Kirby like here.) They are a distraction, though; as Darkseid uses the opportunity to extract the Equation from the Eskimo man, apparently killing him. An enraged Lonar tries to kill Darkseid, and is himself slain instead.
Furious, Orion is on the verge of murdering Lucifar, but Highfather points out the boy wasn't any more responsible for what happened than Orion had been in the pact. Still, while Lonar was killed here, I know he was back in 1986's Warlord Annual #6! And maybe even in Kirby's 1983 graphic novel the Hunger Dogs. Then Lonar would be (presumably) killed again in Jim Starlin's Death of the New Gods. He would appear in the New 52's Threshold, but would probably be overshadowed by the gritty Captain Carrot reboot.
Orion and Lightray were often a team, but rest of the New God's watching the human's with the Anti-Life Equation besides Lonar, were Forager, Metron, and Jezebelle. It's odd to see Metron as a team player, but I hadn't seen Jezebelle before this issue--although, from her entry there, it appears like Lonar she's been killed off and returned by accident as well! Still, Orion's new costume, Lonar's death, Jezebelle...I'm not sure what, if anything, from this series was referenced the next time the New Gods appeared.