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Kirby 100: Darkseid Special #1 Review

The Jack Kirby 100 specials continue!

DC Comics had to save Darkseid for last. Although The New Gods were already the subject of one Jack Kirby 100 special, the evil leader of Apokolips deserves his own book. Mark Evanier, a former Kirby assistant and the author of Kirby: King of Comics, provides the lead story, while Paul Levitz and Phil Hester provide a backup story starring OMAC, the One-Man Army Corps.

Here’s the official synopsis from DC Comics:

Mark Evanier, longtime Kirby associate and biographer (Kirby: King of Comics), tells a tale starring one of Jack’s greatest villains. The latest daring escape from the orphanage of Granny Goodness leaves an infuriated Darkseid determined to capture and punish the escapees. The Lord of Apokolips puts his best hunter on the case, but one of Granny’s students is unlike anyone he’s encountered before. Plus, an untold tale of Omac by Levitz & Hester and a classic Kirby Fourth World tale!

In “The Resistance,” Evanier creates a trio of brand new characters hoping to break free from Darkseid’s grasp of Apokolips. Makayla is a strong-willed human hoping to finally overthrow him, even though she’s only armed with a Mother Box and is followed by two cowardly men. They’ve been on the run from Darkseid for three years, and the evil lord has had enough of the Paradeamons’ failures to capture them. He sends the Female Furies on their trail.

Stories like these are enjoyable, because you get to see how the average person lives on Apokolips. It’s not about the big picture “good-vs-evil” struggle between Highfather and Darkseid. “The Resistance” is just about a group of the enslaved populace overcoming impossible odds (or at least trying to) without superpowers. But it also shows why Darkseid rules with an iron fist. Evanier provides a new perspective and the dingy, dark art by Scott Kolins is a perfect fit for it. Kolins is clearly inspired by Kirby’s work, rejecting any formal panel shapes to tell the story.

Paul Levitz provides the back-up “OMAC: One Man Army Corps” story, which doesn’t have a title. It’s a breezy introduction of a character who only appeared in eight issues before the storyline could be finished. Despite his short life span, other DC Comics writers have kept the character alive and Infinite Crisis even introduced modern OMAC cyborgs. Kirby’s original stories were set in “The World That’s Coming,” where a “Global Peace Agency” is keeping the peace by using OMAC (whose real name was Buddy Blank). OMAC is also linked via an artificial intelligence satellite called “Brother Eye,” which plays a role in Levitz’s story.

Running just six pages, the story doesn’t get much room to breathe and feels more like an introduction to a longer story that we may never get to see. Hester’s art is bright and dynamic, as Levitz packs as much action into the script as possible.

In the back of the book, DC provides a peripheral Fourth World story, “The Young Gods of Supertown: Raid From Apokolips” from Forever People #6. We also get a 1956 short story called “The All-Seeing Eye” from Tales of The Unexpected #12, which features an evil eye that’s curiously like the one on OMAC’s chest.

The Kirby 100 specials have been exciting explorations into all aspects of Kirby’s work with DC, from the well-known New Gods to the obscure Sandman. If anything, they prove that these characters need to be used more often. Although Kirby’s genius is no longer with us, his creations continue to live. Now it’s up to DC to make sure they keep breathing too.

Kirby 100: Darkseid Special #1
Is it good?
Mark Evanier provides a great tribute to his mentor with this Darkseid tale that shows a new perspective of Apokolips.
The main Darkseid story is excellent, with gritty art from Scott Kolins and a wonderful script from Mark Evanier that explores the troubled existence of Darkseid's slaves.
The OMAC story is a little too short to be memorable, feeling more like a set-up to a longer story we'll never get to see.

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