On this fascinating journey I am in the midst of, yours truly is consistently reminded that though I too often think I’m as smart as Metron in understanding Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, I’m often as dumb as Kreetin when it comes to comprehending Mr. Kirby’s vast mythology. This being Thanksgiving 2010, I’d like to extend my profound thanks to the gods, old and new and forthcoming, for this recurring ignorance and (ahem) an ability to learn from my mistakes.
Y’see, Kirbyheads, though I’ve read the opus time and time again over the last four decades, I’ve failed to comprehend the essential and true duality the former Jacob Kurtzberg has concocted for his magnum opus. Here I’ve been thinking, all these years, that the conflict was of good and evil — of good New Genesis versus evil Apokolips, of good Highfather versus evil Darkseid, of good Orion versus bad Kalibak — with us, humanity and our planet Earth, set squarely in the middle of the ultimate war.
Sure, I could make the argument a nuanced debate, seeing the tutored-in-goodness son of Apokolips, Orion, contrasted with the raised-in-hate New Genesis offspring, Scott Free, viewing them as the personified yin and yang of this Super-War… but the reality both are on the same side kinks that view up a bit, but I smugly think maybe we don’t know the true destiny of the son of Darkseid after all…
But now, as the elements [see Elements, Master of] of the Fourth World story are only just now giving me a glimmering of what this masterwork is really all about, allow be to expound on one of my theories [see Theories, Master of] regarding Jack’s symbolism.
The secret, I think, lies not in the unknowable mysteries beyond the Final Barrier, but in the two greatest comic books of Kirby’s interlocked tetralogy, tales that expound on the epic’s backstory, “The Pact” and “Himon” (along with hints sprinkled about the run, remarkably some early on). Maybe it’s a no-brainer to some of you guys — yeah, I’m talking to you, RAB and PF! — while I do see a yin-yang aspect to the core conflict, it is not about Orion and Scott Free; rather I see the opposing players as those characters who work as collaborators together: Metron of New Genesis and Himon of Apokolips.
Frankly, I’m beginning to perceive Metron as the evil, black spot in the whiteness of the New Genesis yin, and Himon as the white, good essence in the Apokolips yang field of black. It’s that handshake between the two, on page 16 of Mister Miracle #9, that clinches the bond and contrast for me.
Allow me to throw out this (hopefully tantalizing) opening volley to my emerging opinion, but Turkey Day dinner calls from out of town and the family and I must travel now. Much as I intend to detail my observations today, the WordPress time clock (notably earlier than my own East Coast timezone) might indicate tomorrow before I have a chance to post… But, please, if any of you folks can pull yourself away from the game or the game bird, chirp in when you can and let’s get a rousing debate a’ ragin’! Back as soon as am able.
Happy Thanksgiving, Kirby acolytes!