Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Like the noise--these feelings rise inside me! I must give names to these feelings!"

Here's today's Fourth World Panel, from New Gods #9:

Actually, that's not my favorite one, but it's got some cool action; I love the exploding double upside-down kick. No, here's the panel that really struck me:

The story here introduces a race of insect-like creatures that have sprung up on New Genesis as a result of the war with Apokolips, although it's not clear if they're tiny people or full-size (they fight some gigantic foes at one point, but they're the same size as Mantis and seem to be human size when one of them comes to Earth). Led by the issue's protagonist, a member of the tribe known as Forager, they bring some food back to their colony, and they're feasting on it above, in a strikingly animalistic, insectile way. It's bizarre and unnerving, since even though they appear humanoid, they're acting like ants. Weird shit, man.

This is another one of those odd aspects of the world that Kirby occasionally introduces; are these creatures basically an infestation to the New Gods, even though they seem like people? What makes them different from humans, or is there no difference? Do the cosmic beings see humanity as anything more than lower beings to either use or exterminate?

Anyway, Forager stands out as a character with morals, hopes, and dreams, rather than just instinctual urges, so he's the one that we follow here, as his colony gets taken over by Mantis, who I think we last saw back in the early issues of Forever People. He defers to a leader known as "Prime One", although Prime One in turn serves the queen, "All-Widow". I love the weird titles that Kirby comes up with. But with Mantis planning to use the bugs for his own destructive ends, Prime One gets dethroned, leading to another unnerving scene:

Man, that queen gives me the creeps. It's all enough to make Forager rebel, and he's headed to Earth to probably team up with Orion and Lightray. We'll have to see what happens next issue. But for now, I'm as impressed as ever with Kirby's worldbuilding and capacity for establishing strange concepts that seem alien and yet mostly comprehensible.

And speaking of Orion and LIghtray, they spend the issue hanging out with some random woman on a rooftop and recuperating from the battle with Kalibak last issue. Orion still gives the chance to deliver an earth-shaking monologue against Darkseid though:

Awesome. Next: "Himon!" That's supposed to be a good one too; this volume of the Omnibuses seems to be where things really jump up to the next level.