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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 126

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at the most famous issue of New Gods, #7, “The Pact”….

Enjoy!

“The Pact,” written and penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by Mike Royer, comes seven issues into the New Gods series, and works as a brilliant little look back at the origins of the current war between the New Gods of New Genesis and those of Apokolips.

In this story, Kirby cleverly shows how Darkseid came to be in power, but at the same time, he also shows how Highfather came to be the way that HE is.

This story also lays the groundwork for a few notable plot points of Final Crisis decades later.

The book opens with a striking set scene where two lovers are interrupted by violence (note the deadly powers of Radion)…

What an awesome intro, huh?

Later, we see Darkseid establish Boom Tube technology through the help of Metron…

This scene has two major moments for Final Crisis – the establishment that Metron is a separate being than the New Gods and the idea of the “X-Element” (now called Element-X).

After some more machinations by Darkseid, we finally get to the point where the Source steps in, and a “peace” begins, but right from the start, we see that Darkseid was planning ahead (as Kirby uses the stories that have already happened to show that Darkseid was planning them a long time ago – also note how Mister Miracle’s “too on point” name is explained nicely)…

and the book ends with a counterpoint to the violence it began with…

What a great comic book.

And there’s a WHOLE lot of awesome stuff that went on that I DIDN’T show you – so go seek out the trade collections of Jack Kirby’s New Gods work, people! It’s great!

14 Comments

The Crazed Spruce

May 7, 2010 at 7:06 am

Y’know, I’ve been a fan of the entire “fourth world” concept for years, but I’ve never actually read the original series.

I have got to get my hands on that trade paperback some day….

@Crazed Spruce – You could do a lot worse than the New Gods trade. But be warned that is reprinted in gray scale (which beats the heck out of straight black-and-white, but it doesn’t match the brilliance of Kirby in color.) If you’re really a big Fourth World fan, you might want to invest in the four volumes of the Fourth World Omnibus, collecting everything Kirby did with those characters sequentially.

Peter Woodhouse

May 7, 2010 at 7:37 am

Thanks very much for this article, Brian. I had the DC/Marvel collection of my older brother (thanks, Kev!) for beginning my Kirby love.
Unfortunately he sold the lot years ago, & I recovered 99% of the Fourth World thru comic marts; BUT I got a dog-eared copy of The Pact at a car-boot sale – do you have equivalent in the US? Like a huge garage sale, but people turn up in their cars at a large site or green & sell their bric-a-brac.

To those who think “Kirby wasn’t the same without Lee/when he left Marvel” and so on, check out the Fourth World, plus The Demon and Kamandi. His work with Royer was one of the highlights of Kirby’s career. I couldn’t come with a Darkseid top 10 – apart from The Pact I didn’t know where to start. I too thought more Jolly Jack original stuff should’ve been in the top 10 – maybe due to the fact it’s only recently been collected?
-And George Lucas maintains he’s not read or been influenced by the Fourth World? Yeah, right! …..

As a Fourth World noob (but LOOONG time Mister Miracle fan from the JLI days. Super Powers action figure on my desk, thank you) can someone please explain where the Kirby influences allegedly appear in Lucas’ work? I have heard this referenced before and I can only I presume you mean in Star Wars? Thanks!

Just read this issue in the Omnibus not a month ago and it was awesome. Those Kirby hardcovers are worth every penny. I’ve been getting myself one every birthday for the last few years.

All these moments are gonna begin with “new”. What do I win?

Mark, I believe that the references to Kirby’s influence on George Lucas refer to the fact that a child was raised away from its father with the intention that the child would later oppose the father (Luke and Leia growing up to oppose Darth Vader; Orion growing up to oppose Darkseid). Perhaps also the Death Star being somewhat remniscent of Apokolips? The Force and the Source? The storm troopers being like Hunger Dogs? I assume there’s more out there somewhere.

I recently read “Rock of Ages” for the first time (I started buying the JLA deluxe editions) and I was slightly confused as to why Darkseid would take over Earth if the Stone was destroyed. However, re-reading Final Crisis, it occurred to me that maybe the Element-X in Metron’s chair in Final Crisis (used to power the Miracle Machine that Superman uses to save the day) was embodied in the Philosopher’s Stone. I haven’t read the rest of Morrison’s JLA run yet, so I don’t know if he explained everything in a later issue, but if my explanation is possible I think that would be some cool meta-planning by Morrison. Does anyone know if this is right? (sorry for the digression; the mention of Element X got me thinking)

Does anyone know if this is right? (sorry for the digression; the mention of Element X got me thinking)

He never outright SAYS it, but that was the prevailing belief at the time, yes.

About when Final Crisis was coming out, I read the first three Fourth World omnibuses, as a sort of research. A lot of those stories fall pretty flat, and I understand that many of them were editorially mandated, but The Pact, man The Pact just hits all the right notes. What a great story, good call Brian.

PS: Glad to finally see a comic that doesn’t begin with the word “Star” or “Strange!”

Kirby was just insane. Great stuff.

Hurray! Now do the Glory Boat.

@Peter Woodhouse: Kirby really wasn’t the same when he left Marvel. He was so much better! As good as his work on FF was it pales in comparison to his ’70s work at DC, especially The Fourth World.

Cracking issue.

@Mark, in terms of Kirbys influence on Lucas, Darth Vader is essentially Darkseid in Doctor Doom’s armour (Particulary in New Hope, where the back story isn’t yet fully defined on screen), and Doom’s welcoming of the Sue & Crystal in FF#87 bears a striking resemblance to the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader is revealed on Bespin.

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