To round out the month of Jack Kirby, we have Darkseid #1 to bring us tales from the shadows of Apokolips and give us insight into the head of its cruel overlord.
The first story, by Mark Evanier, Scott Kollins, and Dave McCaig, tells of a trio of young revolutionaries who have been rebelling against Darkseid from the shadows. They escaped the orphanage of Granny Goodness, and they have been on the run ever since. Darkseid wants them caught, and he enlists three of the Female Furies, Lashina, Stompa, and Mad Harriet to bring them in.
The second tale, by Paul Levitz, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, and Dave Stewart is a short of Omac, the One-Man-Army-Corps, and his discoveries about the organization for which he fights.
The Kirby Grabbers consist of a short from "The Young Gods of Supertown" and a story of The All-Seeing Eye from the old The Thief of Baghdad tale.
The Darkseid tale is actually a genuine story of rebellion and revolution against tyrannical overlords — how weird is that? It's like we don't get those anymore or something.
The trio of freedom fighters, Makayla, Lukas, and Jaydon, are all distinct figures in this tale. Makayla is the devoted and reckless leader, Lukas is her closest support, and Jaydon spends every moment in great fear for his life. They make an odd band, and the story goes in some interesting directions with each, even if some of the plot beats are a tad predictable.
Makayla is great. I could easily read a series about this character. She is devoted to the revolution above all else. To move into some spoilers, the comic makes noises in the direction of a relationship between she and Lukas. Instead of falling into that cliché, we see Mikayla instead shrug him off in favor of continuing to fight for freedom against Darkseid.
She even manages to get one up on the dark lord himself. She gets him to admit to his paranoid fear, which is a trait I never thought about Darkseid having, and then records his statements on this and almost gets this news out to the wider world of Apokolips.
This bit of insight into Darkseid was unexpected, even if it does make sense. It is the mentality of a tyrant. They acquire power to stave off the day someone takes it away from them.
Kolins manages to truly capture the misery and vileness of Apokolips and how it affects the three freedom fighters. He also does a great job of depicting Darkseid himself, and the color work of McCaig adds a lot to the atmosphere.
The biggest flaw in this short is that Evanier seems afraid to leave anything simply implied or hinted at. Everything must have its own explanation in dialogue or in a panel. It can get a bit tiresome at times.
The Omac story is fun, even if the pacing feels panicked as hell. It establishes a world and then overturns it in a matter of pages. You really get a feel for nothing, and then suddenly everything is different anyway.
That being said, it's great seeing Omac again, and Hester, Parks, and Stewart do a great job bringing the world to life.
The Grabbers are fun and bizarre as they ever were. The short from "Supertown" is a neat little vignette, and the "All-Seeing Eye" story is quirky and fun in that old "Strange Tales" kind of way.
Darkseid #1 brings another great add-on to the mythos of Kirby characters with a balance of charm and grit. It's a damn fine read, and it gets a recommendation from me. Go pick it up.