Forever People #7 (Feb.-Mar., 1972)

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When we last saw the Forever People, they  — most of them, anyway — were in the process of disappearing.   In the climactic scenes of their sixth issue, their great enemy Darkseid had wielded the terrible power of the Omega Effect against the young gods from Supertown (as well as their new ally, Sonny Sumo), consigning them all to apparent oblivion — all, that is, save for the youngest of the group, Serifan, who was left to face the tender mercies of Glorious Godfrey’s Justifiers alone.

Now, writer-artist Jack Kirby (aided by inker Mike Royer) continues the story.  He opens issue #7’s chapter in a novel fashion, with a character — Highfather — who, while quite familiar to readers of FP‘s companion title New Gods, has only been spoken of in this series, never seen — until now: 

The other named characters in this scene, Metron and Esak*, have like Highfather never appeared in the pages of Forever People before, though (again like him) they’d be familiar to regular readers of New Gods.  Metron is of course one of the big guns of that title; Esak, on the other hand, had only appeared once prior to FP #7, in NG #4, where he was shown accompanying Metron on the latter’s cosmic explorations.

Esak would appear once more during the original run of the Fourth World titles, in New Gods #8; after that, however, the character would not be written or drawn again by his creator, Jack Kirby, until the 1985 release of The Hunger Dogs.  There, readers would learn that in the years between Kirby’s earlier Fourth World stories and this late-period graphic novel, the young scholar had been terribly disfigured in an accident and, driven to bitterness, had defected to Apokolips and Darkseid.  Did Kirby have this tragic fate in mind for Esak as early as 1971?  We’ll probably never know, but awareness of what lies in store for this avatar of youthful innocence can’t help but cast something of a disquieting pall over scenes like the one above.

Tee-hee!!“, indeed.

Post-Civil War“?  “some kind of theatre“?  Oh, we know where this is going, don’t we…

“Be still, girl!”  Alas, it seems that reflexive, casual sexism is no more unknown on New Genesis than on our own benighted sphere…

We generally think of Jack Kirby as more of an expressionistic artist than a representational one, but his portrait-in-profile of President Lincoln is entirely convincing; your humble blogger has the feeling that it was important to the artist to get it right.

Having realized what’s about to take place, Mark Moonrider is determined to stop it — but we’ll have to check back later with him and Beautiful Dreamer later to see how that turns out…

“Who are you cats?”  Sometimes, Kirby’s young gods talk like the alien visitors they actually are.  Other times…

Having temporarily pacified the unruly Britons, “history buff” Big Bear settles back to watch the show:

According to the modern historical consensus, the withdrawal of Roman military power from Britain happened over a period of decades, rather than all at once, as this scene implies.  But who’d want to deny Kirby the opportunity for such a dramatic splash?

With the Super-Cycle at his command, Serifan is hardly defenseless (though he’s still badly outnumbered, of course).

A cosmic cartridge from his hatband comes in handy, as well:

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