Tag Archives: New Gods

Tom King Joins Ava DuVernay as Co-Writer for New Gods

He’s tackled Mister Miracle, but now writer Tom King is taking on the whole New Gods as he’s joined Ava DuVernary to co-write the upcoming film. DuVernary revealed the news via a Tweet.

King’s Mister Miracle maxiseries was praised as one of the best comics of the year when it was released. Mitch Gerads provided art for that project and it won multiple awards making numerous “best of” lists.

Mister Miracle #1

New Gods was created by Jack Kirby and involves two warring alien groups, New Genesis and Apokolips. Darkseid, the unseen villain of the Justice League film, is a despotic ruler of Apokolips. To bring “peace,” Highfather, the ruler of the New Gods, and Apokolips trade their children. Scott Free, Mister Miracle is raised by Apokolips, while Orion is raised by Highfather. Scott rebels from his adoptive father.

DuVernary was announced as the lead and director of the project in March 2018 and is a long time fan of the New Gods as she has revealed that Big Barda is a favorite character of hers.

Barda was one of the main characters in King’s Mister Miracle and is an elite warrior who breaks away from Darkseid and falls in love with Scott Free, aka Mister Miracle. The two become rebels fighting Darkseid’s totalitarian rule.

Review: Mister Miracle #1

Mister Miracle #1“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…”- Isaiah 53:10(NIV)

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Jack Kirby’s birth, writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads have teamed up to tell a twelve part saga featuring the New Gods, who are probably the King’s finest creation and an inspiration for Star Wars. But Mister Miracle #1 isn’t just about bright costumes, boom tubes, and the anti-life equation. It’s a story about a man, who although he is the greatest escape artist ever, finds out that cheating death is more painful than he bargained for. The comic opens up with cheerful, carnival barker like narration from King, but Gerads’ close-up of the dying Scott and the distorted blood around him in the bathroom

Mister Miracle #1 effortlessly sets the stage for a final, epic battle between the New Gods and Darkseid with the repeated use of the pitch black “Darkseid is” panel and references to Mister Miracle being a Christ figure: the suffering son of Highfather. Isaiah 53, a famous passage in the Hebrew Bible about the suffering of the Messiah, could easily be used to describes Scott’s experiences in this story. His half-brother Orion, the son of Darkseid who was raised on New Genesis, beats him almost senseless when he gets out of the hospital like some kind of bullying ritual until his wife Barda intervenes and shuts him up with a reminder that she and Scott grew up in the torture pits of Apokolips while he got to chill with the New Gods. Later, Barda slaps him when he hesitates to return to New Genesis to fight Darkseid, and the moments of peace are few and far between as Mister Miracle is either getting hit, trying to escape out of one trap or another, or wandering around sleepless.

In his rare moments of peace, Scott is usually talking with or in the arms of Big Barda. Mister Miracle #1Based on the relationship between Jack Kirby and his wife Roz, Scott Free and Barda are one of the iconic superhero couples and are adorable based on their height difference alone. Early in Mister Miracle #1, King and Gerads use the nine panel grid to show Barda’s grief in the hospital while she waits to see how Scott is. Even though they’re immortal beings, Gerads draws Scott and Barda with lines, wrinkles, and human expressions like when tears stream down Barda’s face when Scott has to stay in recovery longer. He even uses subtle visual shorthand like Scott growing a beard to mark the passage of time, one of many tools in his TARDIS-meets-Batman’s utility belt of storytelling skills. For example, Gerads’ Orion has a similar chin to his estranged father Darkseid that is colored in a more shadowy manner compare to his silver helmet and bright, red suit. He is definitely overcompensating for something, and even Highfather dresses more casually than him.

Before getting cosmic, Tom King and Mitch Gerads probe the psyche of one of the most fearless people in the DC Universe. Throughout Mister Miracle #1, Scott experiences his own mortality and has difficulty coping with it like when he hallucinates his old friend Oberon, who died from throat cancer, smoking and telling an old joke. Until Barda tells Scott that he’s alone, it seems like he is just bantering with his old friend because Gerads doesn’t draw their chat like his hazy flashbacks of a TV interview where Mister Miracle darkly jokes about suicide. Scott is a Chosen One figure as hinted by the “I drew God” joke that repeats in the issue, but he struggles with self-doubt and the fact that maybe death is the one trap he can’t escape. The black “Darkseid is” panels that end up engulfing Gerads’ grid show his stress and fear about the war to come. However, Barda is here for him every step of the way helping him up when they return to New Genesis at the end of the comic.

In Mister Miracle #1, Tom King and Mitch Gerads begin their likely-to-be-classic tale on a micro level honing on Scott Free’s thoughts, feelings, and relationships as he hangs out at his house, walks on the beach with his family before going to the macro level of the conflict between New Genesis and Apokolips.  They give us a power couple to root for in the Biblical battle between light and darkness, life and anti-life, a tyrant and the world’s greatest entertainer, and Gerads’ art makes the nine panel grid fresh and sometimes freaky again.

Mister Miracle #1 is character-driven, visually innovative comics at its finest and continues the time-honored Jack Kirby tradition of giving godlike heroes feet of clay.

Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review : Bug! : The Adventures Of Forager #1

Near as I can tell, Marvel is doing precisely fuck-all to commemorate the 100th birthday of the man who created pretty much their entire corporate universe, but DC , to their credit (not a phrase you’ll hear coming from my mouth very often) seems to think that a century of Jack Kirby is very much worth celebrating indeed : we’re four issues into the year-long Kamandi Challenge as we speak, the superstar creative team of Tom King and Mitch Gerads has just been announced as helming a forthcoming Mister Miracle revival, and Gerard Way‘s still-nascent (and, to date, uniformly interesting) Young Animal line has now gotten in on the act, as well, with the release of the first issue of the six-part Bug!  : The Adventures Of Forager. Chances are there will be even more to come as the year proceeds, but as far as company-wide love letters go, I’d say they’re off to a more than good start so far.

In many respects, the character of Forager is probably the last Kirby creation you’d ever expect to see again — he was a “bit player” (to put it kindly) in the Fourth World saga, making a brief but memorable appearance in the pages of New Gods before disappearing for well over a decade only to re-appear just in time to get himself killed in Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola‘s Cosmic Odyssey, and that was — what? Damn near thirty years ago now?

Still, the Allred family always seems to know a good unused concept when they see one, and so modern-day legend Michael, here confining himself solely to artistic duties, has teamed with wife/colorist Laura and brother/writer Lee to resurrect — in this case quite literally — comics’ most hapless (and, who are we kidding, only) “food-seeker” to see how he fits into the world of 21st-century funnybooks. Are you excited? ‘Cuz I sure as hell am. In fact, the $3.99 I plunked down for this issue had been positively burning a hole in my pocket ever since this project was first announced a few months back.

Choosing to address the elephant in the room right from the start, answering the question of whether or not their protagonist is even alive or dead is the first order of business here, and it appears as though puzzling that out — as well as what it means either way — is going to form the backbone of this series. To that end, there’s no better guide to help Forager along than another under-utilized late-period Kirby creation, the one and only — well, shit, that would be telling, but for long-time fans of “The King” like myself, seeing him and his two sidekicks turn up and assume de facto “co-starring” roles is a genuine “fist-pump” moment, and offers the promise of mind-bending psychedelic adventures galore in the months ahead. Several other products of Jack’s boundless imagination come in for cameo appearances, as well, and the hope here is that they’ll play a more active part in the proceedings in future installments as we go. Forager, therefore, might be the nominal “star” of this title, but all signs seem to point to this comic being a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Allreds work with any number of Kirby characters they’ve always wanted to take a crack at. Now are you excited?

Good, old-fashioned fun is the primary Allred specialty, of course, and at this point I think we’re just flat-out spoiled by the consistent quality of everything they produce. Mike’s been at the game for going on three decades now, yet his art is just as dynamic, fluid, graceful, and “realistically cartoony” as it’s always been, and Laura’s colors are never anything less than vibrant, eye-catching, and expertly-chosen. Lee’s a bit of a lesser-known quantity than his relatives, true, but his style of scripting fits in seamlessly, and with the undeniable “Spirit Of Kirby” that permeates all that goes on here, it almost feels like calling this a “labor of love” is something of a disservice, simply because it doesn’t feel like a “labor” at all.

Thinking about this book, the only knock I can offer against it is that some of the first-person-narrative caption boxes on page one are printed far too faintly and are difficult to read in anything other than an extremely well-lit room, but honestly, that’s it : a  frigging technical glitch. That’s all I got. Otherwise, this is as close to a perfectly-constructed comic as you’re gonna find. Get it. Read it. Love it. And know that Jack himself is surely smiling down on this heartfelt, amazing tribute.

Story : Lee Allred Art : Michael Allred Colors : Laura Allred

Story : 8.5 Art : 9.5 Overall : 9 Recommendation : Buy

 

Review: Bug The Adventures of Forager #1

The DC’s Young Animal enters the realm of Jack Kirby and his New Gods in Bug: The Adventures of Forager #1. Forager is a Bug aka the bottom of the bottom of New Genesis’ caste system, but he’s saved the universe, met Batman, and might be a New God himself. However, Bug #1 is less cosmic space epic than twisted dream logic in comic book form as storytellers Lee Allred and Mike Allred and colorist Laura Allred immediately question the nature of Forager’s reality as he dies and comes back to life multiple times, encounters the Jack Kirby Sandman (Laura Allred nails his garish red and yellow costume.), and talks to a teddy bear about Albert Camus.

Above all, Mike Allred channels the pure energy of the King of Comics’ pencils in Bug #1 with Forager bounding, punching, and vaulting his way through the issue. His poses are athletic and pop off the page as Forager is in constant discomfort and trying to come to grips with the reality around him. When the enigmatic enemies of the comic show up in the last third, Allred gets playful with his layouts arranging them in spirals as Forager dips and dodges. Most of the comic takes place in Forager’s dream, but there is something very solid about his art. Solid doesn’t mean though as Allred uses pop art spirals to make superheroes punching each other fresh again before he and Lee Allred joke about how tacky they are. This also connects to Sandman’s ability to make dreams “real”. (But what is reality.)  However, Allred uses some forced perspective tricks early on that remind me of his work on the underrated Vertigo series Art Ops, and his use of archetypical imagery like dominoes and creepy insects contribute to the surreal feel of the comic before the not-so-Goth Dream King shows up.

However, Bug #1 isn’t just a showcase for great art and colors. Lee and Mike Allred have a very playful writing style with puns, wordplay, and slapdash references to literature, DC Comics, and Jack Kirby lore. The protagonist of the comic may be a corpse, but Bug #1 is loaded with some quirky humor like Forager making fun of the overseriousness of the New God Metron or thinking about milking a camel when the teddy bear mentions Albert Camus. Even though they mention the restrictiveness of New Genesis culture and the nature of free will and existence, the Allreds don’t take themselves too seriously throughout Bug #1. I mean there’s a reference to Brute and Glob, er, Pinky and the Brain buried in here somewhere.

Even though it’s a lot like digging through fragments of someone else’s dream, Bug: The Adventures of Forager #1 is an excellent tribute to Jack Kirby’s vibrant imagination by the talented family trio of Lee Allred, Mike Allred, and Laura Allred. Mike Allred’s figures bounce off the page, yet have a human beauty to them, and there is something primal, almost Pixar-esque about his and Lee Allred’s plotting as Forager/Bug tries to make sense of his place in the world. Is he an insect servant of Highfather, an adventurer, a god, or just a dead guy? The next five issues should hopefully unravel this colorful existential crisis.

Story: Lee Allred and Mike Allred Art: Mike Allred Colors: Laura Allred
Story: 8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review