Monday, March 21, 2016

Man, that John Byrne sure likes his rubble.

We mentioned John Byrne's 90's art and its rubble when we checked out OMAC a couple weeks back, but here's some more, color debris, from 1997's Jack Kirby's Fourth World #9, "Sons of the Father" Story and art by John Byrne.

Apokolips, recently merged with New Genesis, has now been separated again; although not without cost. Darkseid has been missing, as a helpful footnote points out, since the end of the (frankly terrible) Genesis miniseries; and a good 27% of Apokolips is completely uninhabitable. (Yeah, like it was a garden spot before.) Desaad, Granny Goodness, and the rest of Darkseid's hangers-on wonder how to proceed without falling into another civil war: without Darkseid's strong leadership (and constant threat of obliteration) they would start squabbling soon enough.

On paper, Darkseid's son Kalibak seems like he should be able to fill the void in leadership: he's got the raw power, the brutality, the lineage. On paper only, though, since his lack of finesse has often been his undoing, although he does all right against Lightray after he points it out. Still, Kalibak's like a typical boss in the middle of any video game: he may give you some trouble the first times you face him, but once you have his number he'll never be a threat to you again. Enter: Orion!

There's a good six-page fight sequence this issue, as Orion mops the floor with Kalibak. Still, Orion notes he once again stayed his hand and gave Kalibak the opportunity to escape, and wonders why. Orion's mother Tigra explains it is prophecy, since Darkseid's son must face him in the final battle. Orion thought that meant him, but she claims it will have to be Kalibak, since Orion is not Darkseid's son! That would've been a staggering retcon, but off the top of my head I'm not sure where Byrne went with that.

Also this issue: a Tales of Apokolips back-up, "School Days" Story and art by Walter Simonson! We meet a young student in Granny Goodness's orphanage, Iluthin, who has just been caught while stealing weapons from Darkseid's personal assassin, Kanto-13. (Granny points out stealing the weapons would be one thing, but getting caught quite another.) His punishment is to run the gauntlet through his fellow students, which he nearly does, save for Kanto-13 at the end. The assassin wants to simply murder the thief, but is stopped by the sudden interest of Darkseid himself! With his Omega Beams, Darkseid sends Iluthin elsewhere...while Kanto-13 resolves to make sure he never returns! If the names ring a bell, you may have an idea where this is headed, but so well done.

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