The Death of the New Gods #1

by

This is the end… the end, my friend, the end…

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Forget those Search for Ray Palmer one-shots, Death of the New Gods is the first major crossover/tie-in title with Countdown, and one would think it would be a major issue kicking off the conclusion to a series started 30 years ago. I mean, we’re talking the Death of the New Gods. They’re gods, how can they die? It must be something pretty damn ominous to kill off gods. Why then am I so disappointed?

 

Even the mighty Darkseid understands everything must die, and the opening page prepares us to suspend belief and buy into the fact the New Gods’ time is limited. And just in case you aren’t ready to believe, Jim Starlin kills Black Racer (known to the gods as Death – ah the irony).

The first person on the scene just happens to be Jimmy Olsen, who along with the Newsboy Legion, which includes Flippa Dippa – someone not seen in Countdown, discover a major clue to who might be behind the murders.

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deathofnewgods_02.jpgOk, so Serifan of the Forever People might be behind this? I doubt he has a cosmic cartridge that will do the hatchet to the chest job that is offing the New Gods, but perhaps his appearance is a clue.

Anyone notice anything wrong with the art? What the hell is up with Jimmy Olsen’s neck? For that matter, the anatomy for every person in the issue is way off. Perhaps that’s a clue; everything taking place in current DC continuity takes place on an Earth where everyone is a descendant of giraffes. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket! It explains everything including why Metron is having reoccurring dreams of an energy globe splitting into dark and light globes!

The Mobeius Chair confirms Metron’s fears; there is something slightly off in the universe, something big is happening, and it appears only he knows it.

But that is mighty presumptuous, the mighty Darkseid is also concerned about New Gods dropping, but he isn’t letting on.

At this time of “crisis” – perhaps a “final crisis” – it is good to draw close those that you most trust, even if you don’t. And that is what Darkseid has done; bringing back Kanto, Kalibak, Desaad, and others we haven’t seen in some time.

A lot of the issue is told via a recording of High Father as he teaches the young children of Supertown the history of New Genesis. Reemphasizing what Darkseid said at the beginning of the issue, High Father tells of the fall of the old gods, the creation of Apokolips and New Genesis, how High Father became High Father, and High Father’s first encounter with

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The multi-page sequence is an attempt to pull off Kirby’s style and the four color printing from the 70s. On the one hand I like it because it is a different look we haven’t seen in a mainstream comic for a long time, but on the other hand it really seems off and comes off as a bastard attempt to merge the King’s work with that of Starlin. As you can see, I’m split here, but I’m going to lean toward liking the style.

The other big story, which is kind of spoiled if you’ve already read Countdown #28, is what happens between Big Barda and Scott Free. Barda and Scott have a contest that whoever takes down the most badguys has to chop onions for the dinner the Frees are having for the Kents (of Lois and Clark fame). It seems kind of goofy, like something Booster Gold and Blue Beetle II (that’s Ted Kord to you young’uns) would cook up.

When they do get home (Scott loses the bet) Barda takes the groceries to the kitchen while Scott checks to see if the Kents will be late. When he doesn’t hear Barda, he goes to investigate and discovers the first issue shocker – which really isn’t a shocker if you’ve read Countdown #28.

Again, check out that art. It looks like Scott Free is about to come undone like Ralph Dibny in Identity Crisis. I mean, come on! I can understand artistic license, but if people are going to beat the hell out of Michael Turner for anatomical goofs, then Starlin shouldn’t get a Get Out of Jail Free card here.

In this entire sequence, the most interesting moment is when Scott looses control and thinks about using the Anti-Life Equation to bring Barda back to life. But it isn’t what Barda would want…

The Good

  • The impact of the New Gods dying is being felt by the Gods themselves
  • Nice attempt at re-imagining Kirby
  • Got to see a character from at least every Kirby New God series

The Bad

  • The art
  • A lot of the story seems like an origin story to introduce readers to the cast
  • The art
  • Like Countdown, little is revealed

Death Count

  • Sleez
  • Lightray
  • Knockout
  • Black Racer
  • Magnar
  • Doctor Bedlam
  • Deep Six
  • Grayven
  • Speed Queen
  • Big Barda


The Anti-Life Equation

loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding x guilt x shame x failure x judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side

I like the premise of Death of the New Gods, it seems like a good closing chapter to characters that everyone is aware of but rarely know in-depth. Even Starlin has gone on record to say “I’ve been telling everybody I’m killing them all. One survives. And he was going to have a good death. I had to keep him around until the end.” But will one really survive? If Darkseid is to be the last to go, how long will it be before DC decides to resurrect the New Gods just because someone has a hair in their butt to tell a story featuring Scott Free and Batman teaming up against Kalibak and the Joker? I’m going to stick with the series just to see if Starlin is able to kill every New God listed on the Wikipedia. His writing isn’t half bad, but the art is pretty wonky. Had the elongated necks not disturbed me so much, Death of the New Gods #1 would not have earned 2 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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Gah – that art burns my eyes!