Sunday, November 1, 2009

"I can sense your presence, Doctor Bedlam!--And also,---your failure to kill me!"

After a several-issue jaunt on Apokolips, it's back to basics with Mister Miracle #11, the source of today's Fourth World Panel:

I love how forward-thinking Kirby is with his sci-fi concepts here; in the early 70s, when computers were the size of buildings, something like clothing with working electronic circuits printed on it was the stuff of the far future. Plus, it's a cool image; I wouldn't mind having a shirt with a pattern like that on it.

Anyway, the plot: like I said, it's a return to the formula of the early issues, with Scott and Oberon testing a new super-escape, and then a bad guy from Apokolips showing up for a fight, with a crazy, inescapable trap that Scott manages to escape anyway. Kirby makes it sing though, highlighting the horror of the villain, Doctor Bedlam, and his nightmarish mental attacks:

And then, after providing some awesome action, sends Scott on a crazily large-scale escape, with him trapped in a flying saucer that zooms into orbit, crashing into meteor showers and skipping off the atmosphere:

But Scott manages to make a daring escape, of course, and traps Bedlam on the saucer in the process, just before it crashes onto the surface of the moon:

That's pretty awesome, but what really gets me is the reaction of the human bystanders to the explosion:

It's an amazing, beautiful sight, and a sign that while this incomprehensibly large-scale conflict is terrifying, it's also something exciting and wondrous to behold. Maybe that's part of what makes these characters "gods": that feeling of being beyond human understanding is something that can be glorious and enrapturing. It's a good look at the human scale of this conflict, when it's so easy to ignore it in favor of the earth-shattering action and cosmic drama. I love that Kirby took the time to cover all those bases.

Next: Mystivac!

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