Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Welcome to the humble tinker's shop of the 'World Protection League'! As you can see--I'm literally the 'head' of this organization!"

According to Mark Evanier's afterword at the end of volume 3, Kirby tried to scale back the depth of the plots of the Fourth World series with the tenth issues, and that seems to be the case in Mister Miracle #10. It sees Scott and Barda arrive on Earth via boom tube, accompanied by the four most well known of the Female Furies, and they immediately stumble into a conflict with a terrorist group ironically called the World Protection League. It's a surprising bit of shorthand for Kirby; we see the organization's deadly threats, but other than their name and a brief mention of blackmail, we learn nothing of their intentions. It's a real departure from the sorts of villains of the time (including previous threats in the series, like Victor Volcanum), who would usually go on at length about their plans and motivations. Anyway, there's a ton of cool action and crazy technology and ideas, although I went with something slightly different for today's Fourth World Panel:



That's Scott trying to disarm an automatic cannon instants before it blows his head off, and I love the intensity of his expression there, the proximity of the barrel to his face, and the energy flowing off it. It's just a great instant that Kirby captured. But if you want cool Kirbytech, check out this splash page:



And for awesome action, I love the way Barda casually rips some machinery off the wall in order to block a fleeing scientist from escaping:



She's pretty awesome here; another great scene has her taking no guff from a smooth-talking good-guy secret agent named Mike McCracken:


She was the original feminist superhero, wasn't she? She wouldn't have fallen for any of that Wonder Woman "loving submission" guff.

So, yeah, it's a fun issue, even if it seems to be a departure from the high-stakes cosmic conflict of recent installments. I love the head-in-a-box villain, and the continued crazy escapes, so I'm sure this will continue to be awesome (especially since it's the only surviving title after New Gods and Forever People get cancelled after their next issues). Don't let me down, Kirby! Yeah, like that'll ever happen.

Next: Devilance the Pursuer!