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


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.


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


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.


Parting Shot

Gah – that art burns my eyes!


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Starlin’s art has always been…eh, even when it looked more professional. I remember the good ol’ days when he’d depict Dreadstar with eight rows of abs and wielding a energy-sword with a wee little hatchet on the blade.

    I keep thinking Orion’s going to be the last one, setting off a bomb at the end of Final Crisis to recreate the Big Bang and form a new universe “free of the taint of Dan DiDio.” Morrison would probably sue, but I can hope.

  2. Ah good, the Racer is dead. That explains those broken Skis in the Second Countdown Teaser.

    is Jimmy dispalying his elastic powers, or is that just crappy art? His neck seems to be trying to push his head out of the way, his oversized ear is devouring his cheek…and what is it with that HAIR?

  3. I concur. I really hate to trash someone’s art, since I’m no artist myself, by WOW, I just really don’t like the art. That panel in “Parting Shot” is horrible, just horrible.

  4. I still don’t think Jim Starlin’s the right man for this massive event. He doesn’t deserve it. With him on board, this should just be considered an Elseworlds event.

  5. Surprised no one mentioned that there were Monitors on New Genesis and Apocalypse in the big group shots of gods. The New Genesis one was second half of the splash page and the Apocalypse one was first half of the splash page in the middle.

    Are the Monitors acting like Pariah, harbingers of great doom or are they just curious about events that might effect the Source Wall?

    Curiouser and Curiouser

    ShaithisXL (The observant)

  6. I still don’t think Jim Starlin’s the right man for this massive event. He doesn’t deserve it. With him on board, this should just be considered an Elseworlds event.

    Mmm. I have to disagree, in theory. Starlin is one of the guys who could actually pull this off, presuming that he was operating at peak capacity. But here it seems that the quirks of his art have completely overridden the pluses. Even I can’t defend what Jim has done in this issue, seemingly a rush job.

    But if anybody can do death and cosmic themes on this scale, I would expect that Starlin can, or at least the Starlin of legend could have…

  7. The one problem with Starlin is that his storeis have to involve the death of characters, even those with great potential. No matter how well his stories begin, you know the inevitable ending.

    And I have to agree with his art, although a fan of his art in the Warlock (lightning bolt emblem) days, his art does seem rushed and is not at all appealing.

  8. Glad to see everyone is knocking the art, I like Micheal Turner and I like Ian Chruchill, I understand people have gripes with them but I love the detailed style they do, and would perfer them on a book vs. Starlin any day of the week.

    Some will disagree, but the art can truly ruin a story for me, and in this is one case where I’m thankful to our spoiler site, as I won’t waste my time or money on this issue.

  9. Well he did an interview with Newsarama and he really came across as a jerk about the whole thing. Smug, so his enthusiasm for this project was pretty low.

  10. Starlin = Cosmic

    End of story. Sure, I can see where the kids that read comics today might not have confidence in Starlin and think that he doesn’t deserve it, but they probably don’t remember his 70’s run on Marvel’s CAPTAIN MARVEL, his Adam Warlock work. They weren’t around for his groundbreaking cosmic stories in the independant field or the fact that he penned the DEATH IN THE FAMILY story which killed Robin. What about INFINITY GAUNTLET? Or his SILVER SURFER run with Thanos as the main antogonist?

    His little MYSTERY IN SPACE mini may have disappointed some, but to say that he is not the right person for this story is ludicrous. His stories don’t HAVE to have the death of characters, although since THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL and his writing the death of Jason Todd/Robin, he has been pigieon holed as such. His COSMIC GUARD stuff is a great, fun read as well. His work has constantly examined the ideas of God and the Universe on a cosmic scale. The man’s bread and butter is the cosmic story.

    The art is Jim Stalin and Matt Banning. No, it may not be perfect anotomically, but is better than the majority of the stuff out there. Matter of fact, the more cosmic he gets the more his art fits.

    And I read the JIM STARLIN: FERRYMAN OF THE NEW GODS article you mention J’osh. Sorry, but just because he wasn’t screaming the praises and talking about what a great story he did does not translate into smug and low enthusiasm. The man is old school. He doesn’t have to make a bunch of empty promises to sell his stuff. He has paid his dues. He claimed, in the article, that he felt the Death of the New Gods was a way of putting a conclusion to Kirby’s creation. Half homage, half mercy killing. Even though we know that DC will resurrect the names, at least Kirby fans can look at this and say they have an ending. The New Gods have been abused for years and Kirby’s vision has been distorted nearly beyond recognition.

    And, for the record, I still say that it is Infinite Man commiting the murders. The Serifan appearance just enforces it for me.

  11. DrStrangeCubicle on

    I bought this with trepidation; I’m not a huge fan of the Fourth World, but I think certain characters can work in the regular DCU context (Barda, Scott, Darkseid as an occasional Big Bad, etc.), and I wasn’t really a fan of what I read in this. The art was pretty bad and I came away thinking that I’d much rather they’d have had a Ragnarok-type event, or simply killed off most of the New Gods and kept some of the more viable ones if it was really that big of an issue.

  12. Why does Orion have a pistol on the cover? Am I missing something? To me, it doesn’t look like they miscolored that part of the astro-glider, it looks like a pistol. Does anyone know the story behind that? Am I forgetting something?

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